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Cutting Body Fat?
NOTE: J from the UK wrote in a common question that I felt could be answered and explained in a way that could help many others. Read his questions concerning cutting body fat and learn the path that I give to him on his journey.
Visitor: I weigh 190lb and train 5 days a week. I consume 232 grams of protein and 180 grams of carbs per day. Most of the carbs are consumed in the morning. I am trying to lose body fat and cut up a little bit. Are the amounts okay?
My Response: It depends on when you are training, J. Taking in all or most of your carbohydrates in the morning is fine, IF you are training in the AM hours. Additionally, I consider 180 grams of carbohydrates a relatively high amount for cutting. This amount is unusually used when trying to get shredded. I know bodybuilders that are genetically gifted and live at 6-7% body fat year round. They have very fast metabolisms. Those guys might be able to get away with eating that many carbohydrates while trying to get lean. Notice I said MIGHT! I would definitely lower my carbohydrate intake to at least 100 grams for a couple of weeks. I would consume 50 grams in the morning and 50 grams immediately following your training sessions.
Also, because your carbohydrate intake is so low you can bump up your protein ratio with out gaining any fat. The extra protein may only allow you to feel stronger, repair tissue more adequately, and keep the amino acid pool in check. I would consume at least 300 grams of protein each day. Remember you want to eat lots of protein because some may be used for energy because your body will be in a quazi-ketogenic-gluconeogenic state at times. Not to fear we all go through this when losing weight. It all depends on how much fat you are consuming. You did not mention fat so I will recommend anywhere from 20-40 grams each day. Use good fats of course, sources coming from EFA's, fish fat, and some good nuts like soy nuts and walnuts. These fats will be beneficial for maintaining energy and an optimal hormonal balance.
Visitor: Also how much cardio do you recommend I do? Will I lose muscle if I do cardio with the amounts of protein and carbs that I take?
My Response: Start off slow and go for 4-5 days each week at 20 minutes. Once you see what this does for you can make adjustments from there. Increase to 6 days each week or increase you time on the cardio machines. You will not lose muscle if you continue to eat high amounts of protein. I promise if you are eating for any activity you can do anything you want. I always use the analogy: I can write you a diet that would allow you to get fat even if you were doing 5 hours of cardio each day. So do not worry about losing muscle, beside cardio has many health benefits associated with it. Cardio mobilizes fat, gets the blood pumping (which brings fresh oxygen to the muscles), burns fat, increases the hearts blood pumping capacity, and helps to flush toxins such as lactic acid in muscle tissue.
Visitor: One more question - should I take glutamine when I am cutting or all the time even when bulking? Thanks a lot for your help! Ill really appreciate it!
My Response: Yes take L-glutamine always. The body uses a massive amount of glutamine if you are a weight-training athlete so use it. L-glutamine helps to reload glycogen into the muscles through an unknown mechanism so use it. Take about 20-30 grams a day if you can.