30 Lessons In Leanness!
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Here is a grab bag of strategies that you can use to up your fat loss as we approach the warm weather. Unlike most of my articles this will not just focus on nutrition but the nutritional, physical, and psychological aspects of fat loss. Use one or use them all (but the more you use the more successful you'll be).
Protein is great! Upping your protein intake will help protect your muscles from breakdown when your calories are down. Protein also stimulates glucagon secretion which will help liberate stored energy.
More frequent feedings will provide your body with a constant stream of nutrients, helping prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown) when you are calorie deficient. Plus "grazing" can help curb hunger because you are constantly eating.
Green leafy vegetables are loaded with nutrients but not calories. As an added bonus they help keep your body functioning at an optimal level by helping to maintain your systems acid/base balance. Try to have green vegetables at every main meal while dieting.
Low glycemic carbohydrates (green vegetables, fruits, beans, etc) should make up the bulk of your carbohydrate intake but don't shy away from starches (sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, etc) and some simple sugars (dextrose and maltodextrose) after your workouts.
Eating foods that are high in volume but not calories (nutrient dense not calorie dense) will keep you full but not fat. Cabbage, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli are great foods that you can eat lots of without getting a lot of calories. Egg whites expand a lot if you beat them long enough (just don't make meringue) and make you feel like you are eating a lot more calories than you are.
Dehydration is a killer. It makes you tired mentally and physically. Plus drinking cold water has a little thermogenic effect so you can burn some extra calories while you hydrate.
Calories from unplanned snacking can add up quick and can wreak havoc on your fat loss goals. If you haven't planned on it, don't eat it.
This is an essential part to any fat reduction journey. A good food log helps monitor your progress so you can make accurate adjustments to better meet your fitness goals. It has been shown that people who keep food journals also snack less.
Consuming adequate protein (30% of your total calories) is so important I had to include it twice!
Why tempt yourself and test your will power? Clear all the chips, sugary drinks, ice cream, and other processed physique destroying goodies from your kitchen. If it's not there then you can't eat it.
Getting accustomed to reading the nutritional facts is a good habit to get into. But don't stop at the protein, carbohydrate, fats, and sodium content - read the ingredients. You'll be amazed at how many foods are loaded America's "favorite nutrient", high fructose corn syrup.
Taking BCAAs during an interval cardio session will help burn more fat when your carbohydrates are low. They'll also halt muscle breakdown and activate protein synthesis.
Prior to the advent of modern anesthesia, high doses of magnesium were used as sedatives for medical procedures. Now you don't use that strong of a dose but the magnesium in ZMA will help you relax and get a good night sleep. Proper sleep is not only important for muscle building but also for optimizing fat loss hormones such as growth hormone, and leptin. Intense training can deplete your mineral stores; the zinc in ZMA will help keep zinc levels up which is important for maintaining optimal testosterone levels.
Green tea is a fat loss powerhouse. It is calorie free and contains an antioxidant/caffeine combination that will boost your weight loss.
If you are not too sensitive to caffeine then 200mg before your workout (cardio or weights) can help liberate some of that stubborn stored body fat. The extra energy boost from caffeine will also help keep your lifts up as reduced calories can zap your energy levels.
Fish oil will also decrease your resting heart rate, making you work harder (i.e., burn more calories) to reach your target heart rate during your cardio session.
The big problem with reduced calorie diet is the loss of lean body mass. Lifting heavy weights can give your body no choice but to hold on to every ounce of muscle you've got.
This builds on the previous rule. Compound movements allow you to lift heavier weights, recruit more muscles, and burn more calories. Lose the leg extensions and squat!
When you are trying to drop body fat every extra calorie you can burn will take you one step closer to your goal. Increase you NEPA and burn more calories. What are some things you can do?
- Park farther away at work or when shopping.
- Stand while taking phone calls at work instead of sitting.
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
- Don't drive around the corner to the store - WALK!
There will come a point where you cannot add more high intensity exercise such as resistance training and interval training. If your fat loss has stalled, you're going to need to add low intensity, steady state cardio. Slowly increase your duration overtime to 60-90 minutes. Increasing your duration is important because your body adapts relatively quickly to repeated stimuli.
Interval Sprints, also known as High Intensity Interval Training, is another great fat loss strategy. Two or three 30 minute sessions will be a great addition to your training program.
You won't be able to lift as much weight but cutting down on the duration of your rest between sets will keep your heart rate up and have you burning more calories.
When your focus is on fat loss, your ability to recovery will be compromised. Training to failure and compromised recovery don't mix. Make sure to keep one rep "in the hole" to help avoid overtraining.
You need to be on a mission and every mission has a set end point. Determine what you want, write it down, carry it in your pocket everyday, and be accountable.
Whatever your goal may be, someone has done it before. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Finding a solid mentor will save you a lot of time and frustration.
In order to achieve your goal physically you need to have already achieved it mentally. Visualize yourself the day you reach your goal. What will you look like? What will it feel like? Hold that image in your mind and achieve it!
Posing is essentially just a series of isometric contractions. Adding a couple rounds of the mandatory poses will help "harden" you up (you'll have to be pretty lean to notice) and burn more calories. Just don't forget to breathe!
Skipping your Pre/Post Workout shakes just because they contain sugar is a bad idea. The simple sugars, hydrolyzed protein peptides and BCAAs found in a workout shake will due much more benefit than harm. It will help you recover fast, train harder, and build muscle while dieting.
This is not directly related to fat loss but it is very important. When your calories are low, you are at a much higher risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Taking a multivitamin or supplementing with whole food extracts can help prevent deficiencies from occurring and keep you functioning in top condition.
Words To Live By
There you go-30 tips and strategies to maximize fat loss. Don't just read them, put them into action.
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