The golden tan, the washboard abs & the perfectly sculpted summer physique, sounds like a winning combination. All the hype these days is over looking and feeling healthier. The problem, unfortunately, is that way too many people want the results without understanding the core concepts that are a must to achieve them. Most importantly, they overlook the necessity of a rock solid nutritional plan & assume that weightlifting is the only thing that matters when it comes to building that aesthetic physique. To lose body fat while retaining the muscle you have on your frame is no simple task, so let’s get right to it.
Article written by D. Curt. – and the results posted are his, based on developing and following the general principles shown here.
There are 3 main areas I’d like to address in this article, areas that I found were the biggest contributing factors to my cutting success. The principles are simple, however, you must not only come to understand them but adapt them to your body to get the most optimal results. Everybody is different, so everybody has to track their own progress and make the necessary tweaks.
It all starts in the kitchen something most look right past. If you’re planning to get lean or cut down to lose body fat, then you must do exactly that, plan it.
a) Protein – there has been alot of discussion and confusion as to how much protein should be consumed lately. The method I like best is that of Alberto Nunez (WNBF Pro) who stated that the intake of protein should be what you aim to be in lean weight (lbs) in grams. For example, if I wanted to weigh 190lbs lean, I would strive for 190g of protein per day. There are times when protein may need to be increased a bit more, this especially holds true when there is a need for carbs or fats to be lowered (low carb diets) whilst maintaining the same energy balance (same amount of calories). In simple terms, it’s all about replacement. You compensate for the loss of carbs or fats with protein (most often) in order to stay close to your maintenance calorie threshold.
Chicken Breast, Tuna, Turkey, Lean beef mince/pork mince, salmon, basa fillets, whey protein powder, casein protein powder (especially important either in the morning or before going to bed for its slow and timed release).
b) Carbohydrates – when it comes to carbohydrates it is all about maintaining stable blood glucose levels in order to avoid cortisol & catabolism in the process. For that reason, sources of carboyhydrates should be complex/low gi, this also ensures that insulin levels do not fluctuate too rapidly and we are getting a slow release of energy throughout our day to meet our energy demands.
Grained breads (whole-grain/multi-grain/whole wheat), sweet potato, oats, long grain white rice/basmatti/brown rice, high fibre spaghetti or pastas.
c) Fats – it is important to obtain fats from each of the following sources in your diet. While we don’t want to completely abstain or ignore saturated fats, keeping them at a minimum is important as they have much larger bonds (chemically speaking). As a result, they take much longer to be broken down into readily available fuel for exercise. Because of that, we want unsaturated fats as our primary consumption & to avoid hydrogenated oils & mcg (found in alot of processed/greasy foods).
Monounsaturated: almonds, olive oil, canola oil, avocado, peanut butter, peanuts.
Polyunsaturated: walnuts, margarine, (egg yolks are a good mix of both).
Fish oils (omega 3, 6, 9, EPH/DHA): oily fish, fish oil capsules, margarine.
Cardio should be thought of as a bonus supplement which can help you lose body fat. It also has direct effects on heart hypertrophy and lung functions, which are integral for living a healthy lifestyle and achieving longevity. Either way, I would definitely recommend some sort of cardiorespiratory training alongside your nutrition and weighted workouts for the health benefits alone.
As an important aside, I’d like to mention that even though cardio may be a supplement, many people would benefit from it when it comes to leaning out. For some, however, cardio isn’t needed to continually lose body fat. This is directly related to the fact that their basal metabolic rates/metabolism is much higher than the average person, thus they burn fat more efficiently both at rest & during exercise (may just use weighted workouts as their form of cardio). In these cases, quite often, dieting alone can get the job done when it comes to building their sculpted physique.
Frequency: 3-5x per week (after workouts, as this is when your glycogen stores are depleted)
Intensity: 55-70% MHR (55-65% is the optimal zone where fats are predominantly burned, any point after that & carbohydrates become the primary source of fuel). This type of training is referred to as LISS, don’t be afraid to try HIIT methods either (High intensity Interval Training). If you’re using a HIIT protocol for the purpoe of fat loss, rest ntervals directly equivaent to the amount of work intervals work best i.e if you’re going to work/run at high intensity for 20 seconds then you also rest for 20 seconds.
Both methods are equivalent to each other in terms of amount of fat burned, for those who lack time, HIIT is a great way of getting the same benefits without being on a treadmill or bicycle for long periods of time.
Duration: For LISS a minimum of 30 minutes is recommended, personally I usually do 30-40 minutes & aim to burn 250-300 calories. A minimum of 15 minutes (including warmup) is needed to see any health-based benefits. Again, if you wish you use HIIT as your form of cardio, it would be good to start using a duration which you can comfortably complete. You have to lose that body fat!
Like cardio, supplements are an added bonus in helping you achieve your goals. Rememeber to do as the labels say, ‘dont use as a sole source of nutrition‘ as they are only there to help.
Many of these can be found in foods, however, I would still advise getting the pill/capsule forms as the amount accumulated from foods is often not enough in order to achieve the desired effects.
Fat-burning ingredients in many supplements: all these have some sort of proven efficacy.
1. ECGC (epigallocatechin-3-gallate)
Found in: Green tea.
Its function: Powerful antioxidant, speeds up metabolism.
2. CLA (Conjugate linoleic acid)
Found in: Eggs, Kangaroo steak, meats
Its function: Said to target visceral adipose fat (the fat surrounding the organs)
3. Inositol (phytic acid)
Found in: Lecithin, fibre, legumes & grains
Its function: Plays a role in the fat metabolism process.
4. Niacin (vitamin B3)
Its function: Interacts with several hormones including the adrenal gland -
relates to metabolism.
5. Caffeine Anyhydrous
Found in: tea, coffee, energy drinks
Its function: speeds up metabolism, more effective sarco-plasmic muscle pumps (allows more time before fatigue as it is a great source of energy).
Its function: Acts as a thermogenic in the body, elevating bodily heat levels via metabolic means (allowing for more calories to be burned).
Its function: Very similar role to caffeine, however it is twice the potency, so be careful not to go overboard (speeds up metabolism, also acts as strong antioxidant).
Its function: A powerful appetite suppressant, if you have trouble controlling the amount you eat and tend to go overboard, get your hands on some of this.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Its function: Acts as a bodily thermogenic along with impressive antioxidant effects.
1. Casein/Whey Protein (post workout/before bed/meal replacement)
2. BCAA’s (anytime of the day, a good idea to use during cardio)
3. Creatine Monohydrate (3-5g per day, increases ATP re-synthesis, aiding strength & lean muscle gains)
4. Waxy Maize/Dextrose/Malto-dextrose (post-workout, 50-80g in order to cause an insulin spike). Assists in the uptake & delivery of protein to the recently trained muscles.
5. Multivitamin, Night Multivitamin (helps you hit the recommended daily intake for vitamins and minerals which you may be deficient in if relying on diet alone).
It’s time to lose body fat, and get the physique you want. Don’t rely solely on your workout routine to give you the results you need, because without focusing on nutrition and diet you will not be able to attain the type of look you desire. Throw in cardio to give you that extra boost, and use supplements wisely (if you use them at all). Good Luck!
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