T-Nation has an article about metabolic damage on their site, shown here:


In short it basically talks how your weight loss progress can stall if you do some extreme things. However, it makes me wonder about my own progress. I'm on my second week of 5/3/1 and trying to go all out pushing myself as hard as I can with the exercise each day(I'm doing cardio every day and after every session)and I'm worried that I'll succumb to something in the article if I haven't already.

I know the author isn't technically selling anything, and it's well sourced, but still, it makes me feel a little fear mongered. For example it talks about how if you fall into one of the stages you'll need 2-3 months to get back on track which doesn't sound good. I want to lose weight as soon as possible and I'm absolutely dedicated to putting in the work to doing it, but, should I really give this article much thought?

  • Lol....the article wasn't as scary as your question made it. I got scared for a second....until I read it :). Mar 27, 2014 at 18:29
  • I think that the main way one can encounter this issue is through nutrition. If exercising is too much, the body will simply become fatigued. Mar 27, 2014 at 18:38
  • Sure 'weight loss progress can stall if you do some extreme things', but that’s not really the danger. If you make your muscles grow, your weight low will stall, and that's a good thing. The real danger is when you're weight loss doesn't stall but your fat loss does.
    – Pibara
    Mar 28, 2014 at 0:33

2 Answers 2


Keep the article at the back of your mind as a caution to not to under-feed yourself; besides that, there's little reason to think about it.

If you exercise your body to a fatigue level, your body'll alert you before reaching this stage. If you pay attention to your body, you can easily identify when you've overworked it.

If you do happen to fall into this state (very unlikely if you pay attention), it certainly wouldn't take 3 months for your body to return to its natural state. With enough nutrition, rest, and lower exercise, your equilibrium should return in about 2 weeks.

Continue your routine (be more concerned about the safety of your exercises), have enough nutrition, and take plenty of rest.

Your lean, mean self is around the corner :).


Well I see people in my work succumb to "metabolic damage" in the sense that stress takes a toll on their physical/mental health. And I skimmed the article, from what I gather, the whoe "eat less exercise more" paradigm taken to the extreme can cause the same. The high cortisol and sympathetic stimulation can lower testosterone, mess with the thyroid, and mess with neurotransmitter levels that will take time to recover from . So yes, one should not only focus on the action at hand (such as working out), but should also focus on proper recovery.

But, when I see metabolic damage, I think of people who cycle their weights up and down on large calorie deficits and surpluses. What we know from studies of individuals who do this is that the BMR rate is lower, meaning, not that it is "slower" per se, but that scaled to LBM(kg) the rate is lower because lean mass is lower, because organ mass has been lost.

Hope that helps.

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