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Diet For Getting Shredded?
I'm a 19-year-old wrestler/bodybuilder. I am a huge fan of yours. I have the same type of physique as you. I'm about 5'4 and compete at wrestling at 130 pounds. I bulked up a lot after this season for about three solid months to put on some size. I'm about 150 now but would like to start shredding up. I have noticed that you seem to be a complete expert on nutrition. I follow a very strict diet. I would appreciate greatly if you can give me some pointers on training and nutrition and maybe a sample meal plan for shredding up so I can take my training and physique to the next level. Thanks a lot and congratulations on your last win. I saw you on bb.com and you looked great. Thanks again.
This was an interesting question, yet it was one I can relate to. This guy juggles sports. I used to be a collegiate powerlifter during my off-season from the bodybuilding arena. Although I never stopped bodybuilding, I was altering my diet and training regimen from season to season. This was disappointing to some of my powerlifting fans because I would lose weight and strength while preparing for a bodybuilding competition. The situation became so disgruntle that I was almost forced to leave powerlifting and pursue my ultimate dream of becoming an IFBB professional. Enough about me lets see if we can help this guy out!
First of all thank you for the kind letter. I always appreciate encouraging words. I think that the battle you will experience is similar to mine. You want to keep most of your strength while shedding weight in order to make a weight class or achieve a certain level of aesthetics. Either reason is fine with me but it is more likely than not the first reason that you listed. Although I must admit that looking great is an added benefit.
I recommend that you start cutting your body fat early, the earlier the better actually. The slower the weight comes off the more muscle you can maintain. I always recommend a cyclic diet. This means that you cycle the macronutrients. To keep your strength levels soaring I would start with going 2 days down and one day up. Then go three days down and one day up. Rotate this for as many weeks as it takes. I lost 25 pounds this year and it took me 22 weeks to do it right.
So... what is the difference between an up day and a down day? CARBOHYDRATES! On your up days I would eat about 300-500 grams of carbohydrates. This amount will be enough to refill the muscles and liver full of glycogen and allow you to pull for two to three days when you will be on your down days. So what is a down day? A down day is nothing more than a low carbohydrate day complimented with high protein. On the down days you will be consuming anywhere from 300-400 grams of protein. As you can see the words "up" or "down" specifically refer to your carbohydrate intake. On an up day your carbohydrate intake is high. On a low day they are low.
You may be wondering what the rationale behind this theory is. Long scientifical story made short... it works. By consuming a high protein diet on your down days allows you to pull from stored body fat for energy. But because your protein intake is so high you will be in the state of gluconeogenesis for some of the time. This state is when the body makes glucose from a new source. In this case the new source is protein. By doing this the muscles will stay healthy and you will lose fat. But for this to happen you must eat your protein. What will happen if you do not eat your protein? You will still go into the gluconeogenic state of metabolism but guess where the protein will come from? Well if you are not eating it there is only one more place that it could come from. If you are thinking "muscle tissue" you are right! So eat your protein.
Many great nutritionists would agree that the key to digestive health is in keeping the gastrointestinal tract healthy. How do you do this? Eat plenty of fiber. I have always said that my favorite source of fiber is spinach. Spinach as well as some other veggies creates a calorie deficit when consumed. Most fibrous vegetables are pure vitamins, minerals, and fiber! You can pretty much eat all of the spinach your heart desires and it would not hurt you! It would make you go to the bathroom but it wont hurt you. Fiber speeds digestion and keeps the colon clean avoiding any medical mishaps associated with an unhealthy intestine.
I need to mention type of carbohydrates. I would use high glycemic index rated carbohydrates in the morning and immediately following my workouts. This type of carbohydrate will be sucked into the muscle cells and not shuttled into unwanted fat storage. Granted this will happen only if you eat those carbohydrates at the times that I recommended. Furthermore do not count the carbohydrates that are listed in the spinach count. Anytime that you have a fibrous carb you can omit it from the carbohydrate count. Fiber is not digestible and yields zero kilocalories to the human being.
But wait, why does the nutritional information say that it has kilocalories? Because a part of you that you may not even know about does use those kilocalories for energy. What part? The bacteria in the gut are able to use these kilocalories. These bad boyz are part of us. They live inside of our intestine and help us digest. They use anaerobic respiration as a form of energy because they obviously do not breathe air if they live inside of our gut. So pay no mind to that kilocalorie count my friend eat up!
Lastly I would drink copious amounts of fresh water. Drink to your hearts desire. In order to process all of the spinach or whatever source of fiber you choose you have to give the colon some water to resorb. Water will also keep the muscles full and hydrated. Did you know that most of the size gain from a steroid cycle is simply the increase in the amount of water that the muscle cell can actually hold? This sounds simple, huh? Well it is not as simple as it sounds but the point is that water is great for athletes and more importantly their muscles.
Try this out for a while. I think it is your ticket to fat loss and strength maintenance. Train hard!