How your g-flux impacts muscle gain and fat loss

written by Philip Stefanov  |  AUGUST 9, 2022

This week’s newsletter is based on a guide I wrote on the same topic. You can read the whole breakdown here.

G-flux, also known as energy flux, refers to the balance between the energy we consume and expend. We consume energy through foods and drinks, and we then expend it through (1):

  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR) - your body expends energy to carry out its many internal processes that keep you alive
  • Thermic effect of food (TEF) - each time you eat food, you burn calories to break it down and absorb its nutrients
  • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) - you burn calories to brush your teeth, walk up a flight of stairs, get dressed in the morning, stand in line, and every other way you can think of
  • Exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) - you burn calories each time you have a workout, be it a lifting session at the gym, a jog in the park, or a bodyweight routine at home

The Importance of G-Flux

Your metabolism is highly adaptive and often changes in response to external stimuli, such as caloric restriction (1). Luckily, we can leverage our metabolism’s adaptive qualities to optimize our health, energy levels, and body composition.

A high g-flux means burning and consuming more calories each day. In contrast, a lower g-flux means burning and consuming fewer calories.

G-flux might not seem important. After all, what matters most is your calorie intake based on short-term goals. Be in a deficit for fat loss; be in a surplus for muscle growth. This is fundamentally true, but how much energy you’re turning over will have an impact on your well-being, energy levels, recoverability, and long-term fitness progress.

A simple explanation for why that’s the case is that you have more available energy. Having more energy means your basic needs (BMR) get covered with a smaller percentage of your overall calorie intake. More calories are available for digesting food, training at the gym, moving around during the day, and recovering.

Move more ⇒ Eat more ⇒ Have more energy ⇒ Move even more ⇒ Build muscle, lose fat, improve your health, feel good

In contrast, what would we have with a lower g-flux? More of the energy you ingest goes to cover your essential needs (basal metabolic rate), and less is available for everything else. As a result, you don’t move as much, your training performance suffers, and you struggle to make any progress.

Move less ⇒ Eat less ⇒ Have less energy ⇒ Move even less ⇒ Gain fat, lose muscle, feel worse, allow your health to deteriorate

How to Increase Your G-Flux

There are two primary ways to boost your G-flux:

  1. Build muscle
  2. Get active

1. Build Muscle

Building muscle is beneficial for G-flux in several ways:

  • Muscle is metabolically costly tissue, and your body expends energy daily to keep it around. The expenditure isn’t huge (only 13 calories per lb of muscle, according to research), but there is a difference if you build 10, 20, or 30 lbs over baseline (2). For reference, adding 20 lbs to your frame (which can happen within 12 to 18 months for beginners) would allow you to burn an extra 260 calories without doing anything.
  • More muscle means improved athleticism and physical capacity, allowing you to do more demanding workouts, causing a more potent growth stimulus, and burning more calories. For instance, you might only be able to burn 200-250 calories per workout initially. But, as you build up your fitness, you could start burning 300, 400, or even 500 calories per session.
  • Larger muscles require more time and energy to recover after workouts. If a beginner needs a day to recover after training legs, an elite powerlifter might need up to 5 or 6 days and much more energy.

2. Get Active

Boosting your activity level is the second way to increase your G-flux and reap all associated benefits. The lifestyle change works great on its own, but I recommend combining it with the goal of increasing your muscle mass over time.

First, it’s essential to understand that physical activity doesn’t necessarily matter that much on a day-to-day basis. Instead, you should look at your weekly activity to gauge if you’re moving enough. Boosting your G-flux doesn’t mean you can never have days where you stay at home or that you absolutely must walk 10,000 steps, even if it’s pouring rain outside.

Second, you must approach the process with a mindset shift. Instead of boosting your activity level in one way (e.g., doing 2-hour treadmill sessions daily), think of many small ways to incorporate movement into your day:

  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator
  • Play with your kids
  • Carry the groceries to your car instead of using the shopping cart
  • Take a few extra minutes to warm up before training
  • Park your car farther from destinations or leave it at home and walk or bike instead

There are many creative ways to get more active, and you must look at your daily life to find opportunities.

This week’s newsletter is based on a guide I wrote on the same topic. You can read the whole breakdown here.

Thank you for taking the time. Until next week,


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