As you proceed along the bodybuilding lifestyle path, it is inevitable that at some point you will desire to display your physique in the best way possible. Whether your goal is to compete, look better at the beach or at a special occasion, be more attractive to the opposite sex or take pride in your hard work and accomplishments, nutritional manipulation through dieting as well as dedication to a rational plan remains the best route to revealing the fruits of your labor.
Over the years, we have found that these are the most significant facets for eliminating bodyfat, which can obscure muscle definition. Consider them when putting together a dieting program that lets you exhibit your physique at its best.
1 Calories Are The Tipping Point
There are numerous tricks you can implement to help burn bodyfat. The key principle above all others is to create a calorie, or energy, deficit to stimulate the body to burn bodyfat as fuel. That means eating less, whether it be fewer calories from dietary fat, carbs or a combo of the two.
2 Calorie Deficits: Weekly Approach
Conventional wisdom states that you have to eat fewer calories daily to shed fat. Not true. On average, you have to eat fewer calories over a seven-day period to drop bodyfat. You can fudge a bit by eating fewer calories than normal for a couple of days, followed by a couple of very strict days and then a few days where you eat roughly what you did before starting the diet.
3 Protein Needs Rise During Dieting
When excess calories from dietary fat and carbs are removed from a diet, the body burns small amounts of amino acids from protein or, worse, muscle mass when calories decline. The extra protein protects muscle loss, because it can be burned in lieu of muscle tissue.
4 Aggressive Dieting Leads Nowhere
If you cut calories too drastically, the body tries to hoard energy by slowing down its metabolism, the calorie-burning mechanism in the body.
Moderate cuts in calories, such as decreasing daily caloric intake by 200-400 per day (or 1,400-2,800 per week), allows the body to tap into fat reserves without throwing the metabolism into a tailspin.
5 The Role Of Protein
Of the three sources of energy (carbohydrates, protein and dietary fat), protein has the least impact on fat storage. Overeating calories from carbs and dietary fat will lead to their accumulation as bodyfat. That’s not to say you can, or should, gorge on protein. It means you should add more protein from chicken, turkey or fish instead of snacking on additional carbs or fat to satiate hunger.
6 “Step-Up” Dieting Preserves Muscle & Promotes Fat Loss
Although reducing dietary fat and carbs results in fat loss, keeping carbs down for a prolonged period (more than seven days) can deplete glycogen (stored carbs) reserves in muscle. Low glycogen can trigger the burning of metabolically active muscle tissue. Increasing carb intake by 100-200 grams once each week should replenish glycogen reserves sufficiently to avoid muscle loss and may even increase the metabolism.
7 Thermogenics Offset Metabolic Downturns
Synephrine, evodiamine and capsaicin are common thermogenic agents. They stimulate the nervous system to increase the production of norepinephrine, which, in turn, causes fat cells to release and burn bodyfat. Thermogenics are predominantly helpful in preventing the metabolic slowdown that comes with long-term dieting.
8 Overdieting Has Its Place
Sometimes you have to go to the extreme. A very-low-carb day once every 10 to 12 days, during which you limit your carbs to just 50-80 g, can trick the body into greater fat loss by lowering glycogen reserves. That amplifies fat burning.
9 Disrupt The Regimen
Over time, all diets ultimately cause slowing of the metabolism. When you hit a true “nothing works” roadblock, get off your diet! Eat anything you want for a couple of days within reason. Load up on “good” carbs and fat before returning to the diet. This splurge will kick up thyroid hormones, which tend to spiral downward with long-term dieting. Once you’re back on your diet, your body will resume burning bodyfat.
10 Fiber Is A Wild Card
Let’s compare two diets with equal amounts of calories and carbohydrates, with the sole difference being the source of carbs. One diet comprises fast-digesting near-fiber-free carbs, such as rice cakes, white rice, white bread and cold cereals. The other comprises slower-digesting fiber-dense carbs, such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, beans, brown rice and sweet potatoes. The fiber-dense approach will likely result in greater long-term fat loss. Why? Higher amounts of insulin are generally associated with greater fat storage and lower fat burning.
Fiber slows the digestion of carbs, which moderates insulin secretion.
11 Glutamine Boosts Recovery & Conserves BCAA’s
Glutamine spares the burning of branched-chain amino acids, which are used in greater amounts when calories decline. Glutamine has also been found to increase metabolic rate and fat burning. Try 5 g of BCAAs before training and another 5 g after training, as well as with breakfast and before bed.
12 Low Blood Sugar Amps Fat loss
When you train with restricted amounts of glucose from carbs in the bloodstream, the natural, training-induced release of the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine exerts a greater impact on fat cells. That’s why the pretraining meal should be a combo of easy-to-digest protein, such as whey protein, with relatively limited amounts of carbs (less than 20 g). Particularly, the carbs should be slow-digesting types, such as fruit, oatmeal, Cream of Rye cereal or whole-grain bread.
13 Fish: A Dieters Best Friend
Many types of fish are virtually fat free and when you deprive the body of the fatty acids found in dietary fat, it encourages the breakdown of bodyfat to make up for the fatty-acid shortfall. The result when you add fish to your eating plan: you will burn more fat.
14 Fatty Fish Also Assist
Even “high fat” fish, such as salmon, bluefish, mackerel and tuna steaks, are “leaner” than protein foods that have comparable amounts of dietary fat, such as red meat, cheese or eggs. These fish sources provide omega-3 fatty acids, which encourage the body to take glucose from carbs and repartition it, sending it down glycogen-storing pathways rather than fat-storing ones.
A four-month study demonstrated that 63 overweight subjects who ate higher-fat fish daily lost more weight than those eating fish only once per week.
15 Ratios Are Important
Calories count, and so does the source of the calories. Check out this study. Two groups of women followed a 1,600-calorie daily diet that included 50 g of fat. The difference was that one group went with higher protein and fewer carbs, while the other followed a higher-carb, lower-protein menu. After 10 weeks, both segments lost a similar amount of weight, but a closer look reveals that the higher-protein group had higher thyroid levels and metabolic rates, lost 18% more fat and retained 27% more muscle. The takeaway message: the type of calories affects fat loss. When in doubt, the way to go is more protein and fewer carbs.
16 No Carbs Before Bed
A secondary goal while dieting is to maximize GH output. GH spares the burning of muscle, thereby propping up the metabolism and encouraging the breakdown of bodyfat. GH levels rise in the first 90 minutes of sleep, but the total amount of glucose (from digested carbs) in the blood affects GH release. In short, a low blood-glucose level allows for maximal GH release. Abstain from carbs in the final meal (or two) before bed.
17 Frequent Meals
If you are eating fewer weekly calories than your body is accustomed to, nothing beats eating at least five times a day. Small meals impact fat loss by preventing the metabolism from slowing. They also keep energy levels more stable and ward off feelings of hunger, which is helpful to a dieter trying to get by on less food.
18 Fat Fighters: GLA & CLA
Gamma linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid common to borage oil and black currant seed oil. Conjugated linoleic acid is a fatty acid contained in dairy foods and beef (both are available in supplement form). GLA appears to induce the fat surrounding the spinal cord and organs, sometimes called metabolically inactive fat, to burn calories similar to muscle tissue. CLA likely affects hormone-sensitive lipase levels. HSL acts as a gatekeeper on fat cells to determine when to “open up,” so fat can be burned. CLA can upgrade HSL activity, making you leaner.
19 Never Emphasize Cutting Calories Over Muscle Retention
The minute you cut calories too far, you start compromising muscle mass. Burning muscle, in turn, significantly impairs your long-term objective by slowing down the metabolic rate. As metabolism slows, continued fat loss becomes nothing more than an exercise in futility.
20 Take A Total Break
The body simply does not respond well to continually pushing past the boundaries of lower-calorie intake, especially when implementing all kinds of diet and training strategies. When the body no longer responds, the ideal remedy is to take two or three days off from training while consuming a reasonable menu before beginning again.
It’s a contrarian approach, yet it can be remarkably effective.
Author: Chris Aceto
COPYRIGHT 2009 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning