STATEGY ONE: Eat on the Clock
Though many people use this strategy for their off-season bulking phase, eating 6-to-7 meals per day is the way to reduce the chance of your calories being stored as bodyfat.
Here are the reasons for this approach to eating:
· Maximize lean body mass and limit muscle loss by providing the body with protein, they building blocks of muscle, at regular intervals.
· Eat more frequent meals to greatly reduce the body's tendency to kick in "survival mode," which is where your body starts storing calories as fat when you have not eaten for a long period. Eating a lot of meals also keeps your appetite down.
· Keep energy levels up by having constant regular blood sugar levels. Not eating for long periods can decrease your blood sugar and make you tired.
· Decrease bodyfat by increasing resting metabolic rate. Your body can digest a lot of small meals more efficiently than a few large meals. By eating every three hours you are providing your body with constant "fuel" to burn.
STRATEGY TWO: Eat Clean
I know most every somewhat experienced body has heard these guidelines before but I will briefly do through it. You need to consume lean protein sources, complex carbohydrates and frozen or fresh fruits or vegetables. Simple carbs like white-flour products (white bread, crackers) and sugar (cookies and cake) can elicit too much insulin response, which can prevent your body from pulling bodyfat from storage. This is why diabetics with trouble with insulin levels cannot eat certain foods with too much sugar content.
STRATEGY THREE: Reduce Carbs Later in the Day
The majority or your carbohydrates should come from things like yams, brown rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. These are great energy sources that keep your insulin levels steady. These also have a ton of fiber, which keeps your more full than simple carbohydrates. At night though you do not need the energy from carbohydrates like in the day, so decrease your intake of carbs to keep your body from storing it as bodyfat. Also, your metabolism is slowest while sleeping and the only thing your body will be asking for is protein, anything else is likely to be stored as bodyfat. Decreasing carbohydrate intake at night can be hard to do, but focus on eating proteins (with little or no carbs) like protein shakes. One thing that keeps my hunger down is a carb-free protein shake mixed with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter.
STRATEGY FOUR: Eat Protein!
This is another subject that isn't new to anyone. No matter if you are in your bulking or cutting phase, plenty of protein is the way to success. Consume at lease 1g of protein per pound of body weight per week. This may seem hard (and it is), so I suggest other than eating meats like chicken, fish and lean beef, eat peanut butter and use protein supplements to get up to 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Remember though that protein supplements are called supplements for a reason, because they can't take place of natural protein sources like lean meats.
STRATEGY FIVE: Increase Water Intake
When cutting you are eating more and increasing your water intake. Also, since you are increasing cardio you need water to replace the fluids and minerals lost. This is even truer if you are using a thermogenic fat-burner. Supplements like Hydroxycut, Xeadrine, Ripped-Fuel and BetaLean will make you sweat more during your cardio or workout, so make sure you drink an adequate amount of water to prevent dehydration.
STRATEGY SIX: Rotate Carbs
This is one of the most important strategies in your cutting phase. Many people either don't know about or just don't use this strategy and have poor result when cutting. There are two reasons to use this strategy:
First, if you eat the same amount of foods day after day and your body gets use to all the macronutrients being supplied and begins to think of this as a status quo. When this happens, the body is less likely to pull body fat from storage than if the amount of carbohydrates varied from day-to-day. If you rotate the amount of carbohydrates you intake daily than your body does not know how many carbs to expect so it starts to rely bodyfat as an energy source.
The second reason is that your high-carb days replace glycogen stored in the body. When your glycogen levels are low, you feel drained. Your physique looks flat and you feel weak during workouts. Eating more carbs every third or fourth day replenishes the body for hard training and helps to hold onto muscle mass and shed bodyfat. The chart below represents two examples on how to cycle carbs intake.
Daily carb intake (in grams) for a 200-pound bodybuilder:
*Carbs for a 150-pound bodybuilder
"Operation Primal Cuts" FLEX April 2002: 208-214
I hope this article helps for those of you planning to enter a competition or are already cutting.