You Need Debt

I love debt.

I get into and out of debt every single day. You likely do as well, and have no idea.

Here’s the caveat. We’re not talking about financial debt. Though just like financial debt can be used in a healthy way to build your credit score, the debt I’m talking about can be used to build your fitness score.

Just like in the financial world, there are good kinds and bad kinds of debt in the fitness and nutrition world. Most everyone in the modern world is concerned with their financial debt. We monitor it and work to pay it down to build our credit score. So why don’t we monitor the levels of debt in other areas of our life?

I’m gonna do you a solid. I’m gonna show you how to take stock of your current levels of debt, see where you’re saddled with debt up to your eyeballs, and show you how to pay it down. You can thank me later.

But first we need to know what kind of debt actually exists outside of the financial world.

The forms of debt in fitness?

  •  Nutrient debt – BAD


Idaho apparently gets it

Nutrient debt consists of a poor nutrient profile in your diet. Usually marked by being deficient in one or more of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for not only surviving, but thriving. Being nutrient deficient is related to quite a few issues that are seriously bad news and can manifest into serious issues over time. Including:

  • Impaired immune function
  • Poor circulation
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive bruising
  • Bone loss
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

The fix: Be consistent with your multivitamin and fish oil. Work in a salad with a base of dark leafy greens everyday. Eat foods that come from the ground and animals that eat things out of the ground. Little changes can go a long way, compounding into huge changes over time.

  •  Caloric debt – BOTH

This particular brand of debt can go both ways. It’s all dependant upon your goal. If you’re looking to lose weight, then you need a caloric debt. You need to expend more calories than you consume. This is a non-negotiable.

However too low calorie can lead to serious issues like impaired cognitive function (your brain machine isn’t firing on all cylinders), amenorrhea in women, drastic lowering of your metabolic rate (your metabolism slows down), and your body can’t repair itself like it used to. Which means your body can’t repair itself like it used to. And the worst of all? Lack of reproductive functioning, and desire to reproduce. Since we basically live our entire lives looking to pass down our genes, this is a serious issue.

If you’re looking to make strength gains or size gains, then you want to avoid a caloric debt. Caloric debt is your worst enemy in this situation. In order to bring about strength and size gains, a caloric surplus is a necessity. The body must be supplied with high quality nutrients and calories to make positive changes in strength and size, and unless you’re a user of anabolic steroids this can’t happen if you aren’t eating enough.

The fix: Don’t go to drastic measures either way. 800 Calories a day can be just as harmful as 4,000 Calories a day. Try to stay within a healthy range depending on your goals. Giving you a specific number to shoot for is beyond the scope of this article. But feel free to fill out an Online Coaching form and I’ll be happy to help you.

  • Oxygen debt – GOOD

This sounds crazy, but an oxygen debt is a fantastic tool. It was actually the driving force behind this article. More people need to force themselves into an oxygen debt.

Now this isn’t me saying you need to restrict your breathing or get into some weird choking and suffocating fetish. It doesn’t work that way.


Safe to say these two women are in the middle of serious oxygen debt.

Anytime you workout your body goes into an oxygen debt, and has to later repay that debt. Basically your body consumes more oxygen during a workout than it would during a steady state period of rest.

Hard, intense workouts send your body into a prolonged oxygen debt after your workout is over. Forcing your body to continually burn calories at a higher rate than normal for hours (up to 48 hours!) after. This is thanks to a phenomenon known as EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC exists to break down additional nutrients for recovery, replenish used up energy, and restock the used up oxygen stores in your muscles and blood. EPOC also works wonders. It’s the secret to working out less but burning calories faster than those who pound away on the treadmill or elliptical.

TIP: As crazy as it sounds, an oxygen debt is a great thing. It’s why your workouts work so well. High intensity interval training seems to be far better at creating a prolonged oxygen debt, burning more calories overall than steady state cardio. The same can be said about big complex movements like squatting, deadlifting, pull ups, push ups, etc. If you haven’t yet, start implementing intervals into your training and watch for some wild changes to take place.

While debt often invokes images of being chained down to the man, debt in the right manner can actually provide you the tools to break the chains of your previous self and reach your fitness and nutrition goals. Take stock of your current situation, and apply the various forms of debt to transform yourself.

Learn to fall in love with debt.