How to Recomp Your Body and Lose Fat Long Term

Dr. Bill Campbell is back for part 2! In part 1, we talked about fat-loss myths and facts, anti-aging training, and how to get and stay fit using a lifestyle you can maintain.

In this episode, we get into the nuts and bolts of fat loss. Dr. Cambpell reveals the one thing the very lean women he’s studied have in common, the connection between muscle mass and hunger (this one may surprise you!), and what he learned about hormones when he intentionally gained 50 pounds.

Plus, Dr. Campbell is sharing specific—and very doable—recommendations you can use to start burning fat and shifting your body composition. If you've been stuck in a fat-loss plateau, there are some gems in here that will help you start moving in the right direction.

Timestamps

00:01:51 – Recommendations for weekly fat-loss goals
00:03:36 – Here’s what very lean women have in common
00:08:09 – How can women over 40 shift their body composition?
00:10:59 – Does this approach include eating fewer calories?
00:13:53 – Why does lower muscle mass make you hungrier?
00:15:36 – Which macros matter for losing body fat?
00:17:06 – Dr. Campbell’s favorite supplements
00:19:25 – Diet breaks and what the research shows
00:22:18 – The best way to determine maintenance calories
00:25:33 – Benefits of caloric variability
00:28:12 – What Dr. Campbell’s learned about weight-loss resistance
00:32:19 – The experiment Dr. Campbell ran on himself
00:36:14 – At the end of the experiment, the blood work revealed this
00:39:21 – Does everything have to fall off a cliff at 50?

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Take my 7-Day Eat Protein First Challenge

Subscribe to my podcast

Learn how foods cause leaky gut in The Virgin Diet

Read my book Sugar Impact Diet

Learn more about Dr. Bill Campbell

Follow Dr. Campbell on Instagram

Get the Body by Science Research Review

Track your protein & macros with Cronometer App

DEXA scan

Tanita scale

MyoTape tape measure

Reignite Wellness™ Clean Creatine Powder

Reignite Wellness™ All-In-One Shakes

Download my free Resistance Training Cheat Sheet

Reignite Wellness™ Omega Plus

Theia Health Continuous Glucose Monitor

Click Here To Read Transcript


ATHE_Transcript_Ep 633_Dr. Bill Campbell Part 2
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] I'm JJ Virgin, PhD dropout, sorry mom, turned four time New York Times best selling author. Yes, I'm a certified nutrition specialist, fitness hall of famer, and I speak at health conferences and trainings around the globe, but I'm driven by my insatiable curiosity and love of science to keep asking questions, digging for answers, and sharing the information I uncover with as many people as I can, and that's why I created the Well beyond 40 podcast to synthesize and simplify the science of health into actionable strategies to help you thrive.
In each episode, we'll talk about what's working in the world of wellness from personalized nutrition and healing your metabolism to healthy aging and prescriptive fitness. Join me on the journey to better health. So you can love how you look and feel right now and have the energy to play full out. All right, I know you've been waiting for it [00:01:00] impatiently.
Today, I'm featuring part two of my conversation with my new friend, Dr. Bill Campbell, a professor of exercise physiology and the director of the only performance and physique enhancement lab in the country. Now, if you missed last week's conversation, you definitely will want to go back and listen to it.
We talked about some really foundational, mission critical things. He's learned in his research, like at what body fat percentage women feel energetic and can prevent chronic disease. What happens if you don't train for power and what and when to eat to burn fat. And the second half of our conversation is just as interesting.
And if you're stuck on a fat loss plateau, there are some gems in here that will help you start moving in the right direction. So, let's dive back in.
In terms of losing fat, what is your recommendation? Because again, now there's the, you can only lose two pounds of fat a week. And I would [00:02:00] assume that's an up to two pounds and that's really going to depend on if someone's morbidly obese or if someone's as lean as they can possibly be. So where are your recommendations for fat loss?
Dr. Bill Campbell: So I tend to take a little bit more of a practical approach. While we need to focus on fat loss. I'll start with just scale weight. And typically that is about a maximum of 1 percent of your body weight per week. The reason I like that, whether you're obese or somebody that's smaller that wants to lose a little bit of weight, by basing it as a percentage of your body weight, it's better than just saying two pounds.
Because like you said, two pounds for a 400 pound person is different than two pounds for my teenage daughter. But a percent per week, that's scalable to any size. So, I'm about 200 pounds. So, my maximal rate of weight loss should be 1 percent per week, so that would be 2 pounds per week, based on my body [00:03:00] size.
If you're 150 pounds, we're talking one and a half pounds per week. And the reason that I feel confident in basing this on body weight is because we know two things. If you're losing weight at that rate and not faster than that, you are maintaining your muscle. And let me also say, I'm assuming that you're hitting your protein targets.
On all of my fat loss studies, protein is at least what we just said, 0. 75, sometimes up to a gram per pound. And I will say this. The leanest people I've ever met, the leanest females. And you're, you would be one of the females that's very lean. There's always one thing in common across the board and they eat a lot of protein.
Do you know how much you eat? Do you know how much?
JJ Virgin: I track it. I eat like 160 to 180 grams, sometimes 200 grams. I, I have always, and in fact, I remember someone was doing some kind of microbiome test on me. They go, Oh, you're someone who. Does better eating higher protein diet. I [00:04:00] always have felt better eating more protein.
And in fact, I was a vegan for a while back when I was at USC. It was when I was playing with the vegan diet. Now, prior to that. I'd read out at 10% body fat. Now I'm doing a vegan diet and you know, this is going on for a couple of years and I'm doing loads of cardio. I'd always been doing the opposite, 25% body fat.
We were doing all sorts of body fat measurements, so we did it multiple different ways and I'm like, oh my gosh, 25% body fat. And I remember at the time one of my docs was like, you either need to go eat a chicken or I'm gonna hospitalize you . Like, I'll, I'll take the chicken. Lots of protein. It's where I feel best.
Dr. Bill Campbell: And again, that's just my personal observation. The leanest females are the ones eating really high and resistance training
JJ Virgin: typically. And yet the most common stuff out there for women is higher carb, low fat. It's still there. Yep.
Dr. Bill Campbell: And yeah,
JJ Virgin: and pretty much ignoring protein. And doing [00:05:00] cardio and Pilates.
Yeah. And it just blows my mind that it is still going on like this. Crazy. So let's also talk while you're doing that. Are you in your lab tracking how much they're losing from fat? How much they're holding? A well designed plan, because I remember in the old days, you couldn't put on muscle and lose fat at the same time.
That was like, you had to do one or the other. And I think if you really want to build muscle, yes, you focus on that plan. In fact, that was what I did right when I had that second DEXA. I actually, I went from 147 to 154. Like focused on it for a couple months, then went in and did the DEXA and you gained four pounds of in the past.
And I don't know how much I had, 'cause I hadn't, I'd only done it via 10. I just know I was exactly the same as I was at 39. Then I went and ripped it down. The last DEXA I was at 11 and I was 1 42. So yeah, this Tanita's reading me an eight.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yeah. And that supports my [00:06:00] typical. DEXAs usually are going to read higher than most other measure.
At least that's been my experience
JJ Virgin: and I've done. And I would assume now one of the things early on that I discovered and I didn't know what to do with the information. And it all happened because I had this woman, Graziella, who was like a potato on stilts. And I was doing all my body comp testing back then, cause we didn't have a, bio impedance.
I was doing tape measure and skin pulse. So I was doing skin pulse and I was like, she can't have the body fat that it says she has. Cause you know, like someone who's aging. will start to gain a lot of visceral fat and lose their extremity fat. So she was lean on her arms and legs. She was so extended in her belly that it looked like she had no belly fat because it was all visceral.
So I started doing calculations. I went, I could do a calculation to figure out how metabolically unhealthy someone is. Just based on the disparity between bio impedance and skin folds, you know, anyway, this was way back, back in the good old days, [00:07:00] but back over to this. So what I'd love to look at is losing body fat.
Cause I would assume most people, and I'll tell you the story of Vicki who came to me. She had a BMI, I think it was like 20, 21, she's like, I want to lose 10 pounds. I go, you don't need to lose 10 pounds. She was 25 percent body fat. We worked together for a year. She got to 18 percent body fat. She dropped two clothing sizes.
She dropped 10 pounds of fat, put on 10 pounds of muscle. She didn't lose any weight.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yeah, right. She was, she was, she was upset. Oh,
JJ Virgin: I was like, wait a minute.
Dr. Bill Campbell: That's where the, the, the education has to come in. Yes.
JJ Virgin: You know, you can say it and say, and say, there's just something in us. I felt like I wanted to lie on the scale for her because she would have been so excited.
I was like, look at yourself. Like you look amazing. Even despite all that, he was still like, but I really want to wait. I'm like, Oh my gosh, you care. It's like, isn't it?
Dr. Bill Campbell: It's sad. It's almost sad. You just changed your entire
JJ Virgin: body. But women are still afraid of putting on muscle. [00:08:00] Like even creatine, they'll go, I'm afraid to do that.
I'll get bloated. I go, you're not going to get bloated. You're going to pull more fluid into your muscles. This is amazing and fantastic. You want that. Let's talk about, you know, that shift in body composition. What you see as possible. And what you're seeing, so the average person, I'm assuming, let's take the average woman, 40 plus, they want to lose body fat and they need to put on muscle mass.
So what would your prescription be?
Dr. Bill Campbell: So, I would ask them to prioritize, let's put the eggs in the basket that is most important to you. So, if that's fat loss, I'm going to give you one plan. If you're going to build muscle, that would be a different plan. Now, can you lose fat and build muscle at the same time?
Yes, you've worked with people. It is possible. I always say though, it is not to be expected. And it is the exception, not the rule to do both. So I like to have people identify your goal and let's attack that goal. And then once we have [00:09:00] success, let's go to the other one and then attack that one, because if you set out to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, it's to some extent, for most people, it's kind of spinning your wheels.
Can it be done? Yes. It's just not expected. In our example, let's go with somebody who wants to lose body fat. So if I may ask, does our hypothetical person, are they already exercising
JJ Virgin: or not? Let's have this hypothetical person is doing some Pilates. Okay. Like twice a week and they're
Dr. Bill Campbell: walking. All right.
They walk every day. So I'm going to congratulate them. You're not sedentary. You're walking. You're doing Pilates. Yes. Those are great things to be doing. Is this the only things we should be doing now? So I'm going to take this from a minimalist approach. First thing I would do is tell them your goal is to lose fat.
Yes, we know what they're doing. I'm going to tell them we are going to change nothing about your calories. [00:10:00] You're going to eat the same amount of calories, but we are going to do one change. And after about two months, you're going to have noticed. Losing body fat and you're probably going to have gained muscle, even though we're not changing anything about your workouts or your calories.
So what we're going to do is we're just going to increase your protein. What are you currently eating? We're going to increase this. Two studies. If you've read my research review, one of them, I'll just say the one, they gave females, the only thing they did was increase their protein for eight weeks. And these were women with normal weight obesity.
What that means is they weren't obese, but they had a lot of body fat, meaning that they didn't have as much muscle mass. The only thing they did was increase their protein. I think it was from 0. 5 to 0. 8. So right around where I'm saying everybody should be, they lost significant amount of body fat. They actually gained lean body mass.
So there's the first thing. It's easy. It's the lowest hanging fruit. So now [00:11:00] when
JJ Virgin: you're saying that, are you telling them to keep their calories the same or are you just, are you, okay. So, so we
Dr. Bill Campbell: would reduce some carbs or fat, whatever they would choose. The reality is
JJ Virgin: they're going to be less hungry. Yeah.
Like if all you did was say, Eat more protein, they'd probably end up eating less overall calories. I believe so. Plus they'd have the thermic effect of the protein.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yes, and that's exactly why I believe that they would lose fat. So there's the first change. Again, there's no dieting there. We're just changing one habit.
Even if it's just your philosophy, let's just get protein first. That may be enough for them to put them over that threshold. The next thing I would do is say, okay, now let's train your body. Let's put a new stimulus on your body. Are you willing to lift some weights? And this can be one time a week for this person who's never lifted before.
You don't have to live at the gym one to two times per week initially to put a new stimulus on your body to build muscle. Now we have this protein, let's give the body a stimulus [00:12:00] to adapt. So that would be the second thing. What we're going to see then is some greater fat loss. Now, even more muscle gain.
And to the woman who says, well, I don't want to get bulky. My answer to that is if you don't like what you see, you just stop. Your body will revert back. Nothing is permanent here. So if you don't like, and I'm going to tell you, you will like what you see, because you're going to see a body that looks fit and strong and healthy.
So again, if I'm wrong, just stop the stimulus and you'll go back to what you were doing. So notice so far. I've not even touched calories. Now I've touched protein, but I have yet to say, let's reduce your calories. I'm handling some more lifestyle things in this situation. Now we can be at the point where I want to lose more fat.
All right. So what my research lab has investigated over the years, mostly in females, is we're going to reduce your calories by 25%. If your protein level is optimal [00:13:00] and you're resistance training, what we've learned is all of the weight you lose at this caloric deficit comes from body fat. We maintain almost all of our lean mass, if not, in certain cases, even gaining more additional lean mass.
So 25%, it's not aggressive, but it's also not a walk in the park. It's enough to induce fat loss, but maintain muscle mass. And by the way, we have to do everything we can to maintain muscle mass. And when you lose muscle mass, you're setting yourself up for osteoporosis, osteopenia, sarcopenia. We have research suggesting that you're hungrier, you're more frail, more susceptible to injury.
My lab, yes, we're a fat loss lab, but we prioritize muscle during the fat loss phase.
JJ Virgin: Gotta have muscle to lose fat. Yes. Well, and you know, the hunger side of it is that, is a piece of that because you're likely to be more [00:14:00] insulin resistant with
Dr. Bill Campbell: Well, our work has been more on crash dieting, and that's not to say that there's not an insulin resistance.
So
JJ Virgin: maybe the metabolic adaptation piece of the crash dieting?
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yes, so if crash dieting, when you lose muscle, what several studies have shown is when the diet is over, so you're losing all this weight, But you don't care where it's coming from. You're just, you're starving yourself
JJ Virgin: for weeks. I will tell you on Dr.
Phil, I brought in the body composition machine, but they only wanted to use the weight side of it. I was using the body fat and stress testing to make it adapt. Yeah, you were a fitness professional. I was doing it that way, but the day we had a big contest and. Whichever group won the contest got to go to Canyon Ranch, and they were, the groups were within one half pound total difference between the two groups.
You know what one group did the day before? Sauna. They didn't eat, they didn't drink, they did cardio all day long, then they went in their rooms, they shoved towels under their bathroom doors, they turned up their [00:15:00] showers, and they sweated all dehydrated. And I could see it on the body, because it was bio impedance, I could see it.
I was like Yes. Oh, you know, but that wasn't what the contest is about. It was like, wait, like you look at Biggest Loser, it's not interesting to do the other. Yeah. It would take a
Dr. Bill Campbell: very educated and nuanced. It's like watch grass grow. Yes. And that's sad, but again, a lot of this stuff isn't sexy.
JJ Virgin: So the way you said it is really cool and important.
And this just shows that you're used to working with real people because you said, okay, first we're just going to do protein. That's it. So keep calories the same. So you'll bump out something. And did you care whether it was carbs or fat?
Dr. Bill Campbell: So in our studies, no, we, we track calories and we track protein, whatever you want to do with carbs and fat, that's up to you because the research would suggest it doesn't matter.
JJ Virgin: Protein matters. So you push out whichever, it's just protein. Once that's underway, now all of a sudden you've lost some fat because you're prioritizing protein, you probably held [00:16:00] onto lean mass. Next up is adding resistance training in, which is going to help you. And I know it's just little bits as you add muscle helps with your basal metabolic rate.
But then you've also just got the more energetic cost of muscle. You've got a little oxygen debt afterwards. You've got insulin sensitivity improving, you know, so you've got all of those factors. There's all that stuff. I had a great mentor early on who said, you don't lose weight to get healthy. You get healthy.
And I would put metabolically healthy to lose weight. Like, if you think about it. You know, you're improving muscle quality, you're improving insulin sensitivity, that goes a long way. So then once they've got that under place, now you can go and start doing the caloric restriction because now you're in a point where your body now is building muscle.
So you're not going to put yourself into that risk.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yeah. And, and also notice that I didn't say we're going to increase your protein. You're going to start resistance training and you're going to reduce your calories all at once. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: And you're going to come back in three days and go, I'm out.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yes, exactly.
And [00:17:00] you didn't hear me say supplements. Supplements can be helpful, but they're not going to move the needle as much as the things we just mentioned. Speaking of, do
JJ Virgin: you have any favorite supplements?
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yeah. So the, I only take three creatine, which we talked about a little bit. I think
JJ Virgin: every woman, every human, this is sad.
Like I took it years and years ago and kind of forgot about it. And I just started taking it. I don't know. Six months ago, I go, where was I? How was I not taking creatine? Again,
Dr. Bill Campbell: it's doesn't get the attention. It's stroke recovery. It helps with, for
JJ Virgin: people, for athletes. I've been using it with my son who has traumatic brain injury.
So, you know, it's like, look and I go, why isn't this something we all start
Dr. Bill Campbell: right away on? It's not just a sports supplement anymore. It is a health supplement.
JJ Virgin: It's a longevity supplement. This is the ultimate supplement. For anyone, 50 plus, like, you know, you've got frail seniors like this, this is crazy.
Okay. What else
Dr. Bill Campbell: besides [00:18:00] creatine and fish oil? I take fish oil, creatine in a protein supplement, and that's pretty much all I take. And I've done a lot of supplement research. That doesn't mean they're on others that are beneficial. It's just that they don't move the needle enough for me where I want to spend my money on them.
So creatine, yes. Protein, yes. Fish oil, yes. Because I don't eat a lot of fish, so I want to make sure I'm getting my essential
JJ Virgin: fatty acids. And I mean, is it just too early on some of this anabolic potential of fish oil? But your, have you looked at that at all?
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yeah. Early research, the first few studies suggested that it was anabolic.
My impression of the research is It is not going to build muscle. So I don't take it thinking that I'm going to build muscle. Now, if I'm deficient before I take it, now I'm healthier, maybe in that case. So again, I'm taking it more as a health supplement, not as a muscle building
JJ Virgin: supplement. I just wonder if the reason [00:19:00] they might've seen some anabolic effects is because of the anti inflammatory properties of it.
Improving, reducing inflammation that could have been impairing muscle protein synthesis. Could
Dr. Bill Campbell: be. There are studies that reported it does increase muscle protein synthesis. I
JJ Virgin: always want to know the mechanism. Yeah. You know, if you know the mechanism, then you don't have to wait till all the research is in.
That would be my question on it. One of the interesting things that you're doing that, again, to me is such a cool real world thing is this whole diet break. Are you the guy doing diet break research? I haven't seen it anywhere else. I'm
Dr. Bill Campbell: the only person doing it in fit people, so there have been other lab groups that have investigated it in obese populations, but one other lab has done one study in resistance trained people, so my lab was the only lab to do this in resistance trained females.
And we did another similar study, what I call the weekday diet. So it was like a short diet break on the weekends. That [00:20:00] was in males and
JJ Virgin: females. And to be clear, because I have a big problem with the cheat days, the cheat days make me crazy. I'd love you to explain what these studies are looking at and what a diet break means because a diet break is not a pig out day.
Right.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yeah. When people embrace that, they don't lose body fat. They actually, in many cases, they gain weight. I just had somebody in one of my students just say, yeah, I was doing intermittent fasting. I could eat whatever I want for six hours.
JJ Virgin: And it's not really what intermittent fasting is.
Dr. Bill Campbell: No, but that's what she thought it was.
And she's sitting in my class. My class is called the Science of Physique Enhancement. It's a grad class. And we talked about all the protein research, he goes, I've lost all this weight, just, and I've just been doing the protein that we've been talking about. I'm like, well, that's what the research says.
So diet breaks. Traditionally, the way that the researchers have done it is you, you have to figure out what are you doing before you're going to go on a diet? So I call that your maintenance calories. How many calories are [00:21:00] you eating so that you're not gaining weight or losing weight? That number is important or that range.
That might be like 2000 to 2200 calories. Then we have people go on a diet. So now they're reducing their calories during the diet. And then whenever the time comes to do a diet break, and we can talk about what would be the optimal times, we allow them to go back to their maintenance or pre dieting calories.
So is that a free for all? No. It is not eat whatever you want as much as you want. They're still having to exert some level of discipline because they're not allowed to go above their re diet or what I call maintenance calories. And the beauty of this is when you're on vacation, if you want to celebrate an event or it's the weekend, this cyclical pattern of dieting.
And then taking a diet break when life gives you opportunities where you don't want to [00:22:00] diet. It works beautifully. It works with you. What the other alternative is people go on a diet and then they fail and then they feel miserable and they're like, Oh, I'll do it again on Monday. No, let's design a diet using diet breaks.
That works with you and we're planning for you to increase your calories to make your life more enjoyable.
JJ Virgin: So, couple questions here. How are you figuring out their maintenance calories? Are you doing it based on a, on breath, on scale, on tracking on a app? Like, what are you
Dr. Bill Campbell: doing? So we do it through life.
I think it's the best because any other method, app, it's just a guess. Exactly. And guess is better than nothing. And you can adjust quickly. But what we do is in our research studies. And again, when I work with clients, I do the same thing. I tell them you need to track everything you're eating. So yes, there's an education component to this.
Yes. You're going to have to monitor if you're getting a snack, whatever you're eating. We need to know how many [00:23:00] calories you're putting into your body. We also need you to weigh yourself because we need to know, are you gaining weight or are you losing weight? And typically when we say, don't change anything about what you're eating, just continue eating as you normally do, but write it down and take a body weight every morning.
And usually within two weeks, we pretty much know how many calories you're eating on average and if your body weight
JJ Virgin: has gone up or down. So are they putting that into an app, weighing and measuring it all?
Dr. Bill Campbell: Maybe not weighing, sometimes weighing, but at least measuring. At
JJ Virgin: least saying no. Don't you find though, just the very process of actually Having to track everything they're eating makes them alter some of their behavior.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Well, research suggests that over and over. So what we say, and we're very intentional, do not change this. Our entire plan for you is predicated on you not changing your habit. So you will be tempted, like as an example, [00:24:00] you normally have, you know, 10 beers on Friday. Well, I'm only going to have five because Campbell's research.
Yeah, we don't care. We don't care. We want you to eat what you normally do. So with that attention and that education, I'm, I like to think that we're getting non altered logs, but yes, historically people will change. And that's another good thing. You can just have somebody to start tracking and that's enough to start things.
JJ Virgin: I will tell you when Tim discovered his 25%, Marker. And he would not track before that. And I go, you got to track, like track. Finally, he was like, okay, I'm going to track now. And you know, you don't have to track forever. So he did, he tracked for three months. But what he discovered was how many Siete chips and how much olive oil, you know, it's like, dude, it's an education for life.
If you
Dr. Bill Campbell: track for three months, for the rest of your life, you can't un forget or un know what you've learned. So I agree.
JJ Virgin: It's [00:25:00] hugely important. It's just like, I also believe that you should step on the scale every single day. Working on weight loss for all those years. And for so long, there was this whole thing against the scale.
You wouldn't have a campaign against taking blood pressure. Just think of it like it's a tool. Yes. It's not a shameful thing. I think there's something to I like that,
Dr. Bill Campbell: a
JJ Virgin: campaign against blood pressure. Right? I mean, it's like, everyone's plopping a CGM on, but doesn't want to step on the scale. I'm like, no different.
There's something to what I call caloric variability, like this idea, and I like that you just build it in. That we wouldn't be eating the same amount every single day in this rigid way. And that if you wanted to go on a diet, and I don't know that the diet research has shown this, I don't think it has, but it just seems like to me that if you did it, because I think what you showed was they lost the same amount of weight, but it just took a little longer for the diet breaks.
But I also wonder if. [00:26:00] They would have less metabolic adaptation if they also planned maybe like heavy weight workouts on those two days that they were bumping up their calories. They could do something with that. Well, there might be more
Dr. Bill Campbell: to it. There is more to it in the sense our lab showed this and a group from Australia showed this, and these are in fit people.
Both of our labs showed that the groups taking diet breaks, and let me just define that again, during a diet. We would have a week or seven days when we would say, stop dieting. You've been dieting long enough. After a few weeks, go back to maintenance calories. And this is all part of the plan. So follow the plan.
What we found was that in both studies, their subjective feelings of hunger were significantly less. So the act of increasing your calories improved hunger throughout the entire dieting process. And we know Hunger always wins. You can beat hunger today. You can beat hunger tomorrow. You will not beat hunger in the [00:27:00] longterm.
So anything we can do to help with hunger makes your diet much more successful if you can control hunger. And one other thing on this. We know through research, people eat more on the weekends. They just naturally increase calories on the weekends. I think it makes a lot of sense. Let's design a diet around your natural eating patterns.
So if we know you're going to eat more food on the weekends, let's design a diet where you're dieting Monday through Friday and not dieting on the weekends. We did a study on that. Fat loss was the same, but they maintained greater amounts of muscle mass.
JJ Virgin: And I think the important thing, and which is huge, I mean, that's everything.
The important thing is it's not. Everything has been like, you're either dieting or you're off the rails. Yes.
Dr. Bill Campbell: And what I like about this is it's the plan. The plan is to not diet versus the alternative is. People, if they keep dieting for weeks on end, they're gonna eventually, if they're human, fail and then they feel bad about themselves.
But you don't feel [00:28:00] bad when your coach or the plan is, Oh, I get to increase my calories. In fact, if you don't, I would say you might be doing yourself harm by not taking a break from your diet.
JJ Virgin: The other one that you just, I forget where you post this. Maybe it was your research reviews or it was on Instagram, but it was.
It was talking about people. And I think about this now, I was telling you earlier, I love weight loss, resistance, anything that could get in the way of you losing weight or cause you to gain weight. But I think a lot of times we're jumping to all of these things like stress and food intolerances, when the primary issue is that people have no clue how much they're actually eating.
Oh
Dr. Bill Campbell: yeah, they're under reporting.
JJ Virgin: Yes, and you said something and I went, what? Yeah. I'm
Dr. Bill Campbell: talking about? There was a study. These are people with obesity. And they asked them, why are you having problems losing weight? And their answer was, well, because of my genetics and because my metabolism is low. So they put them into a lab, I think it was for [00:29:00] seven days, and they measured every single metabolism test you could do.
And they realized you don't have it. There was nothing wrong with their metabolisms. But when they compared how much food they said they were consuming to what they were actually eating. It was over a thousand calories. They thought they were eating around a thousand calories. They were eating a little over two thousand calories per day.
So it's sad because a lot of people are in a bad situation thinking that, well, it's my body. The research would suggest, no, it's more to your perception of, hey, a bowl of chips, oh, that's 200 calories. No, that might be 700 calories. Or I'm just put on a little bit of peanut butter. You put on four tablespoons of peanut butter.
So that study really highlighted the importance of being aware of. Truly how many calories we're consuming. Again, this is just taking this to a scientific level. That's body by [00:30:00] science.
JJ Virgin: It's so weird when you think about growing up that you're never taught. Things like calories, fat, exercise. Like think if in school we were taught how to have a good relationship, how to balance, you know, I guess we don't have to balance checkbooks anymore, but understanding how to invest and then understanding how our body works and how many calories you can figure out you need each day and what does exercise look like and what about sleep and how to manage stress.
And we actually learned that in school instead and how different things would be.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yes.
JJ Virgin: Oh, yes, absolutely. Like it'd be entirely different, but you just the calorie thing itself. Like if I had it to go and do all over again, the very first place I would start with people is just do an audit and just track what you're doing and see that first, because it doesn't take much to make a big difference there.
And then again, what you said, increase protein. And then had in some resistance training. I [00:31:00] started lifting weights when I was 16 with the football players at my high school. There were no gyms back then.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Like you were the only female, I bet.
JJ Virgin: I was the only female. It was a bunch of, of football players literally in there.
They thought this was really funny. You were
Dr. Bill Campbell: a trailblazer.
JJ Virgin: I was like, it just was so clear to me, the whole muscle thing. And I remember I wanted to be a model because I was tall and I went in and they go, you have to lose 20 pounds. Now I weighed about what I weigh right now. I can't lose 20 pounds. It's just like, I can't like, it's ridiculous.
And I started to lose a little weight. And my dance teacher was like, are you anorexic? What's going on with you? Like, what's your problem? You know? So it just. It's such interesting stuff because it really, what I love about all of your research is it's actually pretty simple. Yeah. It's really quite
Dr. Bill Campbell: simple.
And the best compliment you could give
JJ Virgin: as a researcher. Yeah. And it's easy to put into place. What I'd love to know is what you actually do. Like [00:32:00] what's a day like for you? I know you just did this study on you. I don't know if you can talk about it yet. I was like, that's interesting. He's going to use himself.
We all use ourselves as guinea pigs all the time, right? That's my, my first project. And then I take it out to other people, but. What's your plan look like? And if you can talk a little bit, I don't know if you can about what you just did.
Dr. Bill Campbell: I can. So I'll talk about what I did. So I put myself on a case study where I actually gained a lot of weight.
I was obese. How much? I was 231 pounds, which previously in my life, the 216. Right now, today I'm probably 210. So I'm still heavier than what I'm typically, but I was heavy. And the reason I did this was the chatter finally got to me. Just so many people saying, you have to eliminate carbs. You can't eat carbs to lose weight.
So I said, okay, I'm going to eat not only a lot of carbs, but the worst kind of carbs. [00:33:00] So I gained a lot of weight. So
JJ Virgin: you supersized. You did that. Essentially.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yes. And I didn't just gain this weight and then start the diet as a scientist. I need to, I needed to maintain. So I gained weight. I maintained it for six months.
Yes. Before I had any intention of losing it, maintained it. Made sure that all of my diet was stable and my, my workout protein. So this is, this was done at a scientific validity level that will publish this in a journal as a case study. So I got blood work, DEXA. What
JJ Virgin: was your body fat when you started and what did it go up to?
My body fat was
Dr. Bill Campbell: around, oh, when I started, I was, I don't know, 15, 18 percent maybe when I started, but at the peak or what I maintained, and I did a DEXA right before I started this, it was right around 30 percent body fat. And the goal was I'm going to eat [00:34:00] high carbohydrate diet and highly processed food.
So the things that everybody says, you cannot lose weight when you're eating those kinds of foods. So I prioritize those foods. Never had done this in my life. So what did you eat? A lot of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruity Pebbles. I also had oatmeal. I mean, not everything was, but a lot. Never in my adult life had I had so little protein.
And remember for six months, even before I started this, my protein was low. I'm a high protein person. The goal was my research team and I planned this study. I would lose 10 percent of my body weight. That's a clinically significant amount of body weight eating this. So we're analyzing, I can't share a lot because I don't know a lot yet.
My team's analyzing my diet, which every single thing that went into my mouth, my body. I drank more sodas during this, like Cokes, than I had 10 years prior. A lot of breakfast [00:35:00] cereals, you know, more sodas, rice, but I've always had rice. Were you hungry? You know, this would be the worst way to diet because again, low protein.
When I put my mind to something, it's just, my wife gives me a hard time about that. She's like, can we eat normal now? I'm like, yes. When the diet was over, my family didn't eat like this. So I kind of had to eat separate from my family. So we, yeah, lost 10 percent body weight. And for my body composition, it was a, we use something a high level called a four compartment model where you're looking at water, you're looking at your density, you're looking at the bone mineral content from a DEXA.
So I'm, we're still analyzing a lot of this. I actually don't have a lot of the numbers. I can tell you, I lost 10 percent of my body weight. Eating carbohydrates and mostly highly processed foods, but my calories were low. My calories were 25 percent lower than typical and I took a lot of these breaks that we're talking about.
Weekends when I was traveling for vacation or speaking engagements, I got blood work as well. Oh, one [00:36:00] thing that I can share that I know When I started this, my testosterone was as low as it had ever been. It was borderline lower than the clinical threshold. Now again, I was obese, clinically obese. And at the end of this, I just looked at my blood work and this just ended like a month ago.
My testosterone now was back to where it typically was, like in the upper middle range. But we know that there's this problem with men having low testosterone. I just reinforced it's a body fat problem.
JJ Virgin: So is it a body fat problem, insulin resistance problem, conversion over to estrogen
Dr. Bill Campbell: problem? I did not get measured estrogen and I didn't do, I mean, I did fasting insulin, I did fasting blood glucose.
Those really didn't change much for me. I lifted weights. I had healthy muscle mass going into this. Had I not had that, I think we would have seen some This would probably take a lot longer. Yes. Yeah. And this was about Eight months. So March to the end of September. So whatever [00:37:00] that is, March, April, May.
JJ Virgin: So that's actually more interesting.
Testosterone tanked independent
Dr. Bill Campbell: of that. Yeah. Cause I maintained and I got my blood work right before I started the diet. I just can't believe
JJ Virgin: you. Like I used to have to. Get actors and actresses ready for films. And then there was one where I had to have them get emaciated, then gain a bunch of, and I was like, Oh gosh, I just don't want to do this with you.
Like, I just don't want to have to, like, I know how to make you fat fast. We'll just like load you with agave syrup, you know, and overload your calories. You know, fat and
Dr. Bill Campbell: sugar. My impression of actors and actresses, like they're so serious and professionals that. They do it, right? Or did they struggle? It's
JJ Virgin: interesting.
No, they'll do it. I had one once that had to lose weight for something who turns out behind my back was like eating cereal at night. And I was like going, so it wasn't working. I was like, I don't understand how this is not working. Like we are doing, I'm over here for two workouts a day and I know what I'm giving you.
And [00:38:00] some, this is not, this does not work and you're metabolically healthy. There's a problem here. But I just read an interview by, I don't remember. Which it was a gal, I think it was Charlize Theron, who was like, I will never do this again. Maybe it was Renee Zellweger. It was like the amount you just trash your body doing these roles, like,
Dr. Bill Campbell: you know.
Yeah, I always think of Matthew McConaughey in the, the one, the one movie. He got really
JJ Virgin: emaciated. And someone just had to get, like, gain a ton of weight. It's just like, oh, no, forget it. You know, I mean,
Dr. Bill Campbell: it's just, Hey, they're, they're true to their craft, though, if
JJ Virgin: that's the part they're playing. Although I, I helped Brandon Ralph get his.
Muscles for Superman, but they end up put you in the suit like a big muscle suit. Anyway, I go, why? What was it like? Well,
Dr. Bill Campbell: maybe just mentally he could carry himself.
JJ Virgin: Suit was really heavy, but yeah, that's, that was another weird part of life. Yeah. It's way more interesting. Like to me, the most interesting thing.
It's [00:39:00] really like, I heard Peter Attia talk about the centenarian decathlon and I got all fired up. Did you hear him talk about this? I have not. The idea is, what are the activities you want to be able to do in your nineties? And so you have to train for them now.
Dr. Bill Campbell: I have heard some of this. It's
JJ Virgin: like, it's such.
It's such. An interesting thing. And then you hear, and I just was listening to something he was talking about this morning, you know, like at 50, everything falls off the cliff and you can't put on muscle. And I heard that and I go, I'm going to call BS on that. And I'm going to see what I can do. Like I just, a lot of this stuff I'm going, you know, all the anabolic resistance, everything you hear about.
Sarcopenia and the muscle loss and stuff with the aging, how much has to really happen? How much is natural aging and how much could you offset if you put in the right nutrition, both diet and supplements? And you put in the right stimulus, not, you know, Goldilocks it, not too much either. I think that's, you've got to recover well, but if you can dial that all in, why can't you put on [00:40:00] muscle at 60 and 70?
When I was at SC we had, we had master's level athletes in their eighties and nineties who were. Amazing. You know, so, and especially if you've never really worked out, like you can't tell me that you're going to take a 50 or six year old who's never really exercised. Of course you could put muscle on them.
Yeah. Like
Dr. Bill Campbell: it's even easier. We have researched. It's just not as much as when you were young, but yeah, we know you can get stronger. And here's something else. When we look at all of this aging research, there's nobody like you in this. It's all people who were sedentary their entire lives. We don't have big cohorts of people who were fit and aging.
Does that make sense? Well, why
JJ Virgin: aren't you doing this? This is what your lab's like anyway. Well, so far it's been I guess you gotta find the unicorns, right?
Dr. Bill Campbell: Yes. Yeah. So far it's been mostly younger. Um, females is what my lab's focused on, but as I said, we're, we're starting to get into this. It's
JJ Virgin: very exciting.
Everyone's talking about menopause now. It's a, there's two very distinct pieces to it. There's perimenopause right up [00:41:00] until that one day. So there's perimenopause and post. Post is easy. And post with hormone replacement therapy, like it's amazing what you can do. And here he is. That is the time when it's rock and roll and everything's all over the place.
Dr. Bill Campbell: And not a lot of answers, would you agree? I think
JJ Virgin: now A lot of conflicting information. There's conflicting information because of the Women's Health Initiative that now has been so disproved that everyone's going and, and not following that advice anymore. So that's the good news. Because I think if you approach perimenopause and you You're monitoring thyroid, cortisol, insulin, and sex hormones, and you're doing what you have to do.
It's a hard time to do hormone balance because you have to do it based much more on symptoms than labs because the labs change every day. Like how do you take a hormone panel on estrogen and progesterone when they're going to be different tomorrow. Yeah, that's, that's a moving target. You have to, you know, you know, progesterone, you know, they're going [00:42:00] down estrogen is doing this, but you know, progesterone stomach.
So you just have to dose it more on symptoms and make sure thyroid and adrenals are doing well because you're leaning into your adrenals during that time. I mean, I went through it and just started in early with hormones and just had to really watch. I could tell I couldn't recover the way I was supposed to at the gym.
And that's when I would have to change my estrogen. So you just have to, someone's going to do this really well where they can do it more based on symptoms. Cause that's where it needs to be. Okay. Validate with labs based on symptoms, but yeah, that makes sense. But you know, all the information out right now, your metabolism doesn't change till 60.
I go, your metabolism may not change. But your hormones are changing and they're putting you into a place where you preferentially store fat. It's that fat. So it may not be your metabolism. It's your hormones. It's ending up creating the same problem. Yeah, we have to address it. So have fun with that.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Just starting, I'm on the journey.
JJ Virgin: I [00:43:00] will tell you, one of my friends who's a big menopause doc was like, I don't know that I want to do this because everyone's so angry. It is an interesting time because mood, etc. It would be cool just to do one on creatine. And perimenopausal women. Yeah. That alone would be an interesting study that maybe could calm everybody down about weight gain too.
So there's lots you can do. Yes. I just appreciate that you're willing to take us women on. Yeah.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Like I said, it's historically overlooked and why? Like it's exercise science is 90 percent focused male, male focused research.
JJ Virgin: Well, even when, you know, in my department, it was mainly men. Yeah, that's true. You know, there were very few women in there.
So here you go. Thank you for doing the good work.
Dr. Bill Campbell: Oh, thank you for appreciating it. Thank you for letting me talk about it. There's nothing I like talking about more than my research.
JJ Virgin: This was my longest ever. We'll probably divide it into a couple parts. I'm going to put all of your information at [00:44:00] jjvirgin.com/bodybyscience. And I think you also have that freebie of, I think it was your best of, Body by Science. Yes. This was tremendous. Yes. And then following you on Instagram for your fun research updates. Yeah.
Dr. Bill Campbell: I ask a lot of true false questions, multiple choice, so if you like to be quizzed every day.
JJ Virgin: Yeah. It's fun and you don't fight with anyone. Not what I like to do. Interesting and novel.
Dr. Bill Campbell: When I want to fight, I just say. Thank you for commenting. When you hear me say that, that's been a pike. All right. I'm not going to fill in the blanks.
JJ Virgin: Thank you so much. Yes. Thank you. Be sure to join me next time for more tools, tips, and techniques you can incorporate into everyday life to ensure you look and feel great.
And more importantly, that you're built to last and check me out on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. And my website, jjvirgin.com. And make sure to follow my podcast so you don't miss a single episode at subscribetojj.com. See you next time.[00:45:00]
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