...And Diet Information
Dieting is part of life. It seems odd to some that someone trying to get as big as a house would entertain himself by going on a diet, but those of us who are in the Iron Game know that we have to cut up, show every crease and crevice, every vein and every inch of dry muscle we can if we want to impress the judges. Since the criteria changed in bodybuilding and rewarded this 'complete' physique we have slowly become experts at the art of cutting bodyfat. So much so that the average Joe trying to get rid of his heaping beer belly looks to the sport he was condemning when he started piling on the slabs of disgusting fat.
Even the less passionate practicioners of the sport would love to show as much of the beef they built in dark caves of metal during the winter when they stroll the beaches and avenues in the summer looking for the most beautiful specimen of the fair sex. And those same specimen would love to look their best to get ogled by the many passers-by. Bodyfat is ugly, period. Man's survival for tens of thousands of years has depended on storing fat for the rough times ahead. Now society has changed and the new found welfare is stocking more fat than it could use if it no longer ate for three years. This year it became official: Over half of the American population is overweight, and I assure you the European continent isn't far behind. So the art of shedding that ugly fat has become an illusive trade that everyone would love to master.
Oleg Zhur Got Ripped For The 2001 Arnold Classic! (c)Avidan
If you are one of those consumers who believes that there is or ever will be a pill or whatever that can rid you of bodyfat without having to do anything, dream on. Chances are you won't learn much here. If there ever were such a thing, it would probably kill you. To persuade the body to give up its fat storage voluntarily is lethal. Evolution corrects its mistakes, and is its own best judge. It would not take kindly to your judgement. There is help, but for something to help you have to put forth some kind of effort first. That means perfecting your dieting skills. It's really not as complicated as some make it look, in fact it's quite simple. That won't make it easy. Dieting down for the first time is a hard and long endeavour. But with every time you do it, it becomes easier. Staying lean, in bodybuilding terms, is impossible, so this is a trade well worth learning. Sure, as a model you can stay relatively lean, but even that is not wishful for the ones among us seeking maximum gains in the shortest amount of time. Fat can be your friend. That doesn't mean you want to hold on to it like it was your dearest possession though, does it?
I, personally, have not had much trouble dieting down. I have a metabolism that was faster than Lance Armstrong on speed. One of the reasons I thought I was a hardgainer by the way. But I really wasn't, my metabolism was just holding me back. I corrected the problem by upgrading my food intake. And so I dieted down quite easily in 8 weeks while watching the others around me struggle to reach a peak in 16 weeks. But enough of flattering myself, I'm about to teach how to do it, and then I'm going to give you the low-down on the best supplements that can help you do it.
The first time you do it right is a true test of character, more so than any weight you've ever lifted or any plateau you've ever broken through. Don't try to do it fast and furious, allot yourself at least 16 weeks to do it properly and 24 if you are seriously overweight. Start by calculating your calories and then drop 500 of them. Start bringing back all your weightlifting exercises to 8-10 reps, or if it works for you even higher. Don't max out anymore and don't oversell the intensity in the first 8 weeks. Start doing moderate cardio 3 times a week. 30 minutes at a decent intensity is fine. 14 weeks out you should be starting to think of a fatburner. 13 weeks out, drop another 500 calories and make sure that this time it's mostly simply carbs. And again at 11 weeks, a cut of 500 calories of both carbs and fats. This is close, two cuts in two weeks, but the second one is fats too, and 1 gram of fats compared to 1 gram of carbs is 9 to 4 in terms of calories. At 10 weeks out start upping the intensity of cardio. The intensity in cardio is the key here. Sitting on a bike stepping for 2 hours will burn no fat, only totally depleting glycogen and forcing the body to burn fat, no matter for how long, will start dropping the adipose tissue. And at 8 weeks, if you notice a visible decrease in fat tissue supplementing with either whey protein isolate or glutamine will become necessary to avoid burning muscle protein. Split your servings in 3-5 doses over the entire day depending on the intensity of cardio and try to get at least one dose immediately after working out. HMB and Carnitine may help too, but as I said before, that choice should depend on what you want to spend and how far you want to go in losing bodyfat.
|At 6 weeks out you have to assess your calories, if you aren't there yet, go as low as 1300-1500 calories. Do not go lower in any case if you see a chance of making it in 6 weeks. After 10 weeks you should have a good idea of how much fat you can drop in 6 weeks time. If you notice no muscle loss, and you want to push and early peak, cut some more calories. But considering you'll be consuming 150-250 grams of protein, totaling 600 to 1000 calories, so going lower at this point is nearly impossible if you want to hold on to your muscle mass. As long as you are making nice progress, I find 1500 to 2000 calories is probably the safest. This gives you a nice margin of protein and fats, along with a little complex carbs. If you are supplementing with Glutamine or WPI that should cover you fine, but again, if you notice muscle loss, its time to bring back some carbs. Especially in the final stages, consuming some, very little, simple carbs during workouts or cardio could replenish some glycogen without adding fat.|
Now the time of peaking is near. This is the time I should best bring up psychological distress. Lack of glucose can be very depressing, the lack of energy that accompanies it makes you feel lustless and may hinder performance in some activities. Combined that makes for some rough times. Fat loss will slow down, you'll feel like its not working out and you tend to lose courage. It's a true test of character. You have to hang in there. It gets easier after you've completed it once, and it keeps getting easier because you know what results you can expect. So as simple as dieting can be, it's never easy.
If you make it to the final week, it's time to put the finishing touches on. It's time to shed the water weight. Drink a lot, the more you drink, the less you tend to hold on to water. A little insider trick is to use diet soda. It's a practice that seems to be gaining popularity these last few years. Diet soda is low in calories, but it has a tendency to make you go to the bathroom more often. Especially Caffeine-containing sodas like pepsi or coke. Making vegetable soup is one of grandma's remedies to diet down for parties and special events. I think a show qualifies as a special event. Substituting 3 of your 5 meals with vegetable soup will make you lose more water in less time than anything I've tried before. And then finally we get to the final days. At 5 days out start loading creatine. 4x5 grams daily. This will shed more water to begin with, but the idea is to saturate the muscle with creatine, filling muscle cells with water surrounding the cells. It makes you look dryer, and the muscles look bigger and fuller. Creatine loading is a new phenomenon that originated in natural circles, but has spread to the pro-circuit as well. At 3 days out, go really low-carb, I mean deplete everything. And a couple of hours prior to the show, get in some dextrose, about 30 grams. It'll give you energy to pose longer and better and make your muscles look healthier.
I realize that all this may be oversimplifying it a bit. The numbers obviously don't apply to everyone, since you will have different metabolisms, diets and bodyweights. The common prescription for fat loss is to take in less than 10 calories per pound of lean bodyweight. That is the maintenance line that stretches for about 200-500 calories. So stay below it in order to reduce bodyfat by producing cathecholamines and cortisol. Take in 500 calories more to grow. The above example explains that reducing calories is a gradual process. Going too fast will shock the body into extreme cortisol production and start burning muscle-protein instead of glycogen. There is no way you can reduce bodyfat naturally above your caloric line and no way you can grow when under it. The science behind the itch in this case is that cathecholamines and cortisol both burn fat as one of the main sources for energy. The downside is that they will also burn muscle-protein, hence supplying the body with its primary choice amino, glutamine, is a must to preserve lean tissue. On top of that cortisol will make more glycogen but refuse to burn it, so you are left with only fat and protein to burn. And cathecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine) will turn glycogen back into blood glucose to keep sugar levels up. So this catabolic state is needed for fat loss, but is not good to maintain for extensive periods of time, nor is it healthy.
These are all real and effective tools and tips in dieting. Peruse it, and take of it what you will. I supply this information to help you. Remember, I have nothing to gain and everything to lose if I give you bad advice. Throughout, as illustrated, Glutamine, HMB and carnitine are helpful tools. But an almost necessary tool in today's everything-or-nothing world is a decent fatburner
It's a household abbreviation for Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirine. This combination is the revolution of dieting. They are thermogenics (substances that increase blood-pressure by narrowing the veins in the body, resulting in more heat production and more energy use as a direct consequence) with and incredible synergistic effect. Ask anyone in the business and they will tell you there is nothing better for dieting down. It's top of the line. Every company has its own ECA fat-burner. A lot of people have a problem with ephedrine-containing products, because it can be a dangerous substance. It's illegal in some countries, and in most countries if more than a certain amount is sold at once. Ephedrine is perfectly safe for a healthy individual, but as you no doubt derived from the previous, anyone with and already high blood pressure or with cardiac problems could seriously aggravate the condition. This could be lethal. And even in those healthy people large doses can be life-threatening. But to this day, I have yet to come across any weight-loss product containing more than a tenth of the potential dangerous amount per dose. A little insider trick is to replace ephedrine with its herbal alternative Ma Huang. It's structurally the same compound, slightly weaker, but with a very similar effect. It's also standardized for ephedra alkaloids so the doses are adapted to the means.
Also some people have adverse effects from ephedrine or similar substances. And not a few people will get the jitters from it, and most likely at some point during your stack you will experience a couple of nights of sleeplessness. They are very stimulating compounds, all three of them. This makes for one beneficial side-effect though, and that's added vigor in your workouts. Ephedrine and caffeine are also popular ingredients for pre-workout energy stacks. Should you find that jitters or sleeplessness make your life rather difficult, try cutting back the dose. And avoid using it close to bedtime. The best advice I can give as far as this is concerned is to consider it a pre-workout stack, and use your last dose prior to a late workout, so you get it out of your system by the time you get home. That should solve the problem for most. I'm not going to get into the doses, most of the fatburners are pre-stacked and they are the only products where you can rely on the prescribed dosage. I advise you to follow the directions. If however, problems remain or you really have a low tolerance for ephedrine, it may be time to consider an ECA free stack.
ECA stacks should be taken at a rate of 175 to 250 mg of caffeine (or 900-1100 mg of guarana), 60-90 mg of ephedrine (400-550 mg of ma huang) and 15 mg of the aspirin ingredient (usually salicin). In actual life this is of little use, since noone these days buys all three ingredients separately, so you are at the mercy of the producer of the stack. Taking it 3 times a day seems to be the standard recommendation, and considering you will be eating at least 3 actual meals daily, that's not such a bad idea. You take it about 30 minutes before your meal, this will increase thermogenics and suppress appetite. Another good way of using it, is as a pre-workout stack (I'm not a big fan of those because I believe they aren't really worth the money). Taking them before a workout will energize a potentially bad workout and salvage it. The thing is, the ingredients are basically the same as most pre-workout energizers.
As I'm writing this Guggul is vast becoming a popular supplement. Questions as to the how and what of it are rolling in and I'm as curious as the next person whether or not this one will last or not. I never did any real research into the matter until I set out to write this article, because not even I would dream of doing THE article on fat-burning and leave out guggul. You'll be glad to know that I have included it in a new study I'm planning on synergistic dieting and I'll have some real world results for you guys in a few months.
Commiphora Mukul, the stuff grows in India, and the Indians made Guggul out of it. Another one of those wonder-plants. I know, it didn't instill great confidence in me either. Commiphora is actually a tree, and the guggul is made from a sap in the bark. It's extracted much in the same way as rubber is, through incisions in the side of the tree, collecting it as it seeps out. In the sap there are two active components, a Z and an E version, both plant sterols. Guggul is standardized for these two versions, through different processes.
In India it is considered traditional medicine, often used to treat hypothyroidal conditions. Because of this, it was first linked to fat loss. Guggul has been shown, clinically (I mention that for the disbelievers) to raise temperatures drastically in the body, up to a feverous 101.5 degrees. This is also the best way of testing whether you have quality guggul. You should be sweating a little bit. Guggul does effectively influence thyroid metabolism and cholesterol management.
|The President of Syntrax (which produces Guggulbolic) recommends the use of Guggul in ketogenic diets because these diets decrease T3 levels by inhibiting T4 conversion, and guggul supposedly raises the conversion rate. Of how much use this is, I don't know, because I don't know any sensible nutritionists who recommend ketogenic diets these days, but in any case raising T3 conversion is always handy. If it is true of course, because I failed to collect any actual data on that. But I promise to keep you posted.|
It's taken in doses of 30-60 mg, in the same manner as ECA, over 2 or 3 doses daily. Guggul is an effective supplement (speculative information I gathered from several testimonials) and I've yet to hear of anyone who claims it doesn't work. It's not quite as effective as ECA of course, but it could be a lifesaver for people with a low tolerance for ephedrine. And for the others, why not stack it with ECA? Guggul is not overly expensive, and with the strong competition and low production cost there is room for price reduction. It should have a great synergistic effect, combining the effects of adrenaline (raised by ECA) and Thyroid hormones (raised by Guggul).
Chitosan is actually considered a fat-blocker and not a fat-burner. It relates to dietary fat and not stored adipose tissue in the body. It is a natural fiber found in shellfish. Chitosan circles the digestive tract and binds to fat molecules, and then removes them before they can enter the bloodstream. Chitosan can bind up to 12 times its own weight in fat. It does this because it is positively charged and attracts negatively charged fat. As a fiber it is not absorbed into the bloodstream and thus takes all the bound fat out of your digestive tract with your stool. In terms of calories this is quite an achievement because if you consumed an equal amount of fat, carbs and protein, you'd be eliminating over half of your calories. Though this is a great invention for short-term dieting in a pre-contest phase, I sincerely hope it's no news to you that this is a very unhealthy practice. Eliminating fat from the diet will inhibit the manufacture of hormones in the body. Getting rid of some of the saturated fat you get from consuming bags of raunchy chips and canned foods is beneficial, but who the hell eats that if they are trying to lose weight anyway? Chitosan is great if you are in the final 3 or 4 weeks of a diet, but since fats are essential to your success as a bodybuilder, eliminating them long-term is just plain stupid. Especially because chitosan makes no difference between good fat and bad fat.
The name alone probably gave away that this is another plant-substance. This one is a tree that grows in West-Africa, in a pretty dry climate and is substracted from the bark. The active ingredient is yohimbine, an alkaloid that is linked to several benefits. Yohimbe has been used as a vasodilator and an increaser of the sex drive. But I put it in here because its main use in supplements is as a fat-burner. It decreases fat synthesis by not allowing excess glucose to be stored as fatty tissue. Yohimbe is not a key ingredient in a fat-burner however. It can create enormous jitters, and make you very hungry. What worries me however is that it also widens the bloodstream, thereby negating some effects of ECA, with which it is commonly stacked. Yohimbe is usually taken in doses of 1000 to 3000 mg, but if it standardized for yohimbine, its often just a fraction of that dose. I believe its potential is much greater as a maximizer of a good diet on a mass phase than as fat burner in a diet phase.
Hydroxycitric Acid is and extract of 50 percent potency, out of Brindall berries (garcinia cambogia), a small fruit native to India. Like yohimbe, most of its effect comes from its lipogenesis inhibiting properties and stops the body from manufacturing new fat. Normally the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase turns excess carbs and starches to fat. By inhibiting this enzyme HCA slows down and sometimes even prevents the production of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and instead optimizes the use of carbs to make glycogen in the liver to produce more energy.
HCA curbs the appetite, making it an incredible boost to other products in a fat-burner stack, but since it also cuts fat production it turns into a mighty weapon in the war against fat. It's been around longer than all these other products and still remains a favorite today. Unlike some claim, HCA is also completely safe. It's another form of citric acid found in fruits such as oranges and lemons. And as for effectiveness, well, one test subject claimed he lost 1 pound per day if he supplemented 1 gram before every meal. The common recommendations are 500 to 1500 mg daily, spread out over your meals. Take it, as with most of the supplements presented here, before your meal.
Dieting down is a part of life for us. Much as we dislike it, we all have to go through it if we want to get into peak condition. Fat is the enemy when it comes to showing muscle and as much of it as possible. The key ingredient here is willpower and an adjusted diet, but I hope I illustrated in this article that there are tools that can aid you in your ultimate quest, and if you add in what you learned from past features that gives you a mighty arsenal that will allow anyone to reach their goal in fat loss: ECA, guggul, yohimbe, HCA and chitosan, but also HMB, glutamine, chromium picolinate and carnitine. The choice is yours.
Before I leave you to ponder today's intake of information, I'll give you this to get you motivated: I've asked every woman I could find and they unanimously agreed that a rock-hard six-pack is the sexiest thing about a man. Asses rated a distant second. Don't trade your squat rack for an ab-roller yet, but at least it gives you a goal for summertime fat loss.
Stay lean, until next time...