The “Fitter But FATTER” Phenomenon? (PART 2)

The “Fitter But FATTER” Phenomenon? (PART 2)

The other day we started covering the “Fitter But FATTER” Phenomenon and dove headfirst into the reasons why this happens. (FBFP)

Today, we’re covering the “The I.T. Effect” – 

The Intensity Threshold Effect.

And that’s the point at which your body releases cortisol in response to your exercise.

We’ll get to the specifics in a minute, but first, we need to deal with cortisol and understand its role in the FBFP.

Cortisol is a “stress hormone.”

It’s mobilized by your body when you need energy.

Normally this is a good thing.

But in modern Western culture, this creates multiple problems, all of which contribute to FBFP. 

PROBLEM #1: Many people with excess stomach / visceral fat are chronically stressed, so they have higher-than-normal circulating levels of cortisol.

This can increase hunger and negatively alter mood including increasing feelings of anxiety, which many people alleviate (a.k.a. “self-medicate”) with food and/or alcohol. 

These unnecessary extra calories increase body fat.

Furthermore, chronic stress elevates cortisol levels, which directly promotes stomach fat deposition.

PROBLEM #2: Increased circulating levels of cortisol increase stomach fat.

Research indicates that chronically elevated cortisol levels produce extra stomach fat, apart from a caloric surplus. 

Apparently, your body preferentially deposits fat in your stomach around your organs, as opposed to other places in your body. Cortisol increases and promotes the redistribution of visceral fat – the dangerous fat inside your stomach around your organs. 

Increased stomach fat increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and even cancers.

It goes without saying that obviously none of that is good.

PROBLEM #3: Increased circulating levels of cortisol suppress your fat-burning and muscle-building hormones. 

Testosterone (T), Growth Hormone (GH) and IGF-1, are your strength-getting, muscle-building, fat-burning (anabolic) hormones.

Since these hormones are what help you lift more, run faster, and get leaner, it goes without saying that having these suppressed by elevated cortisol levels is No Bueno.

Unfortunately, it gets worse…

PROBLEM #4: Excess stomach fat increases / keeps circulating cortisol levels high.

This is the real “kick in the groin” that no one seems to be addressing.

In fact, research has also shown that the more stomach fat you have, the more stomach fat you’ll keep getting through what I call the “aromatase cycle.” 

Here’s how it works:

Excess fat, especially stomach fat, blocks the release of testosterone (T), the male anabolic / muscle-building hormone.

Fat cells produce an enzyme called aromatase.

And aromatase takes your T and converts it into estrogen – the dominant female hormone, which is partially responsible for producing women’s breast tissue. 

(And yes, this explains why so many men these days have “Man Bewbs.”)

As if excess stomach fat slowly turning men into women isn’t bad enough…

(No offense to the women reading this. To be clear, being a woman is great – if you’re a woman.)

This also results in the down regulation of GLUT4 – the insulin-responding glucose transporter protein found predominantly in muscle and fat cells.

And as a result, you end up with increased glucose intolerance and insulin resistance.

Glucose intolerance is abnormally and excessively high blood sugar.

And insulin resistance is the need for excess insulin release for cells and your liver to store carbohydrates.

Both are dangerous because they can lead to type 2 diabetes (and all the “fun” stuff that comes with it, including heart disease, ED, and even having your feet amputated).

So you end up with low T, high estrogen, and excess body fat, and most of the carbs you eat are stored as fat.

This becomes a vicious cycle from which many never escape.

PROBLEM #5: Working out TOO HARD increases cortisol levels.

Which can be a big problem if you already have elevated circulating cortisol levels.

And that’s because you’re adding MORE CORTISOL to the mix, which your body does not need.

It needs less.

So, you can reverse the damage to your anabolic hormone profile – and increase your natural levels of Testosterone, Growth Hormone, and IGF-1, and more importantly…

Get rid of that heart-attack and stroke inducing visceral / stomach fat that’s slowly strangling the life out of you.

Which brings us back to the “Intensity Threshold Effect” and answering the question,

“How hard is TOO HARD?”

For time’s sake, and in order to digest the gravity of the “stomach fat” situation (no pun intended), we’ll pick this back up next time, ok?

We’ll also cover what “TOO HARD” actually means.

More then.

Stay Strong,


P.S. Some guys – many guys in fact – are concerned that they’ll lose strength and get weaker  if they shift their focus from “getting stronger” to “getting leaner.”

And that’s 100% true – IF you do it wrong – which most in the “traditional fitness world” do.

Fortunately, you’re not in that world and you can use almost any of my programs to keep that from happening – to do it correctly.

I recommend you use this program to “recomp” – simultaneously get stronger and leaner.


And if you want to just get leaner and strip off that stomach fat?

One of the variations of this program will work too.


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