'Tis The Season To Be Cutting! Fa la la la la, la la blah.
Course: Fat Loss-Muscle Retention 241
Instructor: Master BiG RED
Yeah, summer time is here, and for the average guy between 14 and 30, that means one thing. Beach! Suntan lotion, towels, sand, sun, waves, and oh yeah, bikinis. Most guys on the beach will be strutting around like monkeys with the chest stuck out and the stomach sucked in, but you want more than that. You want the real deal, that way when you go up to a broad and start working your thing, you're relaxed and smooth, rather than all winded from sucking in that winter gut. But, you don't want to be tiny either. You want to be intimidating too though, not some skinny little Abercrombie model. So here's the skinny (well, mean and lean actually), I'm going to outline to you in this article how you can become the guy with the ripped chest, deep abs, and large arms; welcome to fat loss muscle retention 241.
Before we jump in to the course, lets get some facts straight. First off, YOU CANNOT SPOT REDUCE. What does this mean? Well, this means that you cannot burn fat from only one part of your body. So say you want to "reduce the fat on my love handles and hips." No number of hip abductors or side raises will burn the fat from this area. You see you are born with a genetically set number of fat cells. They expand and deflate depending on stored body energy (body fat). When you lose fat, you will lose it from each fat store, not just one. Also, you cannot burn fat and gain muscle at the same time, so hopefully you are at least somewhat satisfied with your gains during the winter. To burn fat you need to take in fewer calories than you burn. To gain muscle you must take in more calories than you burn off. See the connection? Without drugs, it's impossible.
I'm going to break this down into three parts. We'll start off with your diet. Yes that's right, the highly over looked diet. Eating 'healthy' just won't cut it if you are trying to get ripped. Sure, it will keep you in shape, but it won't make your abs pop out. You need to time your macronutrients to properly serve your goal. You also need to take in just enough calories below maintenance to burn fat, but not muscle.
1 lb of fat is equal to 3500 calories. I suggest never trying to lose more than 1-1.5 lbs per week. Anymore, and you will be loosing halffat, half muscle. To do this take in 600 calories per day less than you burn off (one day will be a 'cheat' day).
A good way to start is by multiplying your skeletal mass by about 15. So if you are 200lbs, at 10% body fat, your skeletal mass is 180. 180 * 15 = 2700 calories. This is about your what you burn off per day.
Now that you know your maintenance, we can go on to what you should be taking in each day. The first week you want to slowly introduce your body to a fat burning mode. By jumping down to 2100 calories to fast, your body will quickly turn to muscle for energy.
Using the same 200lb individual, we'll start him off around 2500 calories per week for the first week. We then reduce by 200 calories every week after than for 6 weeks. The reason you must reduce is your metabolism inevitably slows down when you are dieting. Keep this calorie intake for 6 days straight, and on the 7th eat about maintenance, or cheat. This helps to speed up your metabolism for the following week and also curb some cravings. The 6-week course for this 200lber would look like this:
Week 1: 2500 calories
Week 2: 2300 calories
Week 3: 2100 calories
Week 4: 1900 calories
Week 5: 1700 calories
Week 6: 1500 calories
So what's on the plate?
Every day you should be taking in 1gm of protein per pound of body weight. It should equally spread out into 6 meals, this gives your body the best chance to digest and utilize it for repair and to fuel workouts. The rest of your calories should come from fat and carbohydrates. A good ratio of the two in your remaining calorie intake is 60% carbs and 40% fat.
First we'll start with fat. Let's get over the thought of the late 80's that "Fat makes you fat." Fat doesn't make you fat, too many calories makes you fat. You should though, avoid saturated fats at all costs. Saturated fats are very hard to burn off, and have no nutritional value in the body. Unsaturated fats, more specifically, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play a very important role in your body. They support testosterone production, immune system and your thyroid gland. Your thyroid regulates part of your metabolism, so by completely cutting out fat, you will be doing yourself a great harm. Some good sources of these fatty acids are:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Flax Seed Oil
Cold Water Fish (such as salmon)
Omega-3 Enriched Egg Yokes
Try to spread your fat intake out into at least 4-5 meals per day. You don't want to be taking it in all at once, that sudden rush of fatty acids is not good on the digestive track.
Next on the agenda are carbohydrates. Carbo's can be your best friend or worst enemy in any diet. First, you take in all your carbs before 8pm or about 3 hours before you go to bed. The reason for this is as the day winds down your metabolism starts to slow to prepare for rest. Any unused carbs will be stored as fat. You should try to eat the majority early in the day and then slowly let them taper off.
You should try to avoid high glycemic carbs. These are generally refined carbs, such as white bread, white potatoes, white rice, sugar, and some fruits such as bananas since they quickly spike insulin levels, sending nutrients racing through the blood stream. Unless you have just worked out, your body can't handle these nutrients and they will get stored as fat. Also, when your insulin goes back down, it will leave you hungry again. This is why I suggest low glycemic carbs high in fiber and protein. Some good examples of carb choices are:
Whole Wheat Bread
Lastly is fiber. While fiber carries no calories, it is very important that you take in plenty of fiber when cutting. Fiber helps curb insulin, keeps the digestive track clean that way you absorb more vitamins and minerals, curves hunger and plays an important role in the digestion and utilization of fats and carbs. Around 35-50 grams of fiber is needed. Some good sources of fiber are:
Now, that we've reached the 1/3 mark in the course, I suggest you take a moment to look back over the above info, as it could greatly effect your results. If only one part of the equation is not right (we'll get to part 2 and 3 in a second) you will not achieve your desired physique.
Next, onward to training.
As you now know, a pound of body fat is equal to 3500 calories, and it is impossible to spot reduce without lipo-suction. The only way to burn fat is to burn more calories then you take in. The first part of this equation is your diet. By gradually lowering calories, and strategically eating foods that control blood sugar levels, you already have an edge. Your second weapon is cardio. Like lowering calories, cardio should be increased weekly as well, both in duration and frequency. The type of cardio is up to you, however the best cardio to burn fat and not muscle is low intensity cardio. Take your resting pulse rate, then run a 200 meter sprint at full speed and take it again. Somewhere in the middle is the optimum place for fat loss. Now, it doesn't have to be this exact, but make sure you're not going all out on these cardio sessions. A light jog is perfect.
We already talked about blood sugar and how it can effect weight loss. Knowing this, studies show the best time to do cardio to burn fat is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This is because your blood sugar levels are at their lowest possible. You have just gone 8 hours without food, and quite possibly 10-12 hours without carbs. Rather than burning off calories from food, you will burn calories from your own fat. Essentially, all you need to do now is just make sure you take in less than you burn. The next best time to do cardio if you cannot do it in the morning is after you weight train. Again, your blood sugar will be low, not quite as low as in the morning, but still low enough to burn fat.
An example cardio schedule may look something like this:
Week 1: Monday, Thursday: 20 minutes
Week 2: Monday, Thursday: 30 minutes
Week 3: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 30 minutes
Week 4: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 30 minutes
Week 5: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 40 minutes
Week 6: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 40 minutes
As you can see, we slowly increase the sessions and the amount of time over the 6 weeks. By the 6th week you should be in pretty good cardiovascular shape and able to handle the 40 minutes pretty well. The 6th will also challenge your will power the most since you will be training 6 days a week, and eating very little, but come July and August, it will be worth it.
Next we come to weight training. This is where it gets interesting. Many people advise changing your workout to mostly shaping exercises, taking less time between reps and working out more frequently. I disagree.
You should actually start working out less frequently. With the added cardio, and lack of calories your body's recovery ability will be greatly lowered. You won't be producing as much glutamine as when you were bulking, and your immune system will also be slightly lowered. By weight training more often, you expose yourself to over training and high release levels of cortisol (the hormone that breaks down muscle). I highly suggest a 3 day a week routine.
Muscular maturity and body fat levels mostly define being "toned". The more your muscles are developed and the leaner you are, the more toned you will look. Switching to all shaping exercises like concentration curls and cable crossovers will actually set you back. Granted, you still need these to help shape your muscle, but by only using these exercises your muscle bellies will shrink and you can become smaller. I suggest using 1 isolation, or shaping exercise, and 1 to 2 power exercises per body part.
Here is an example of my routine this week during my cutting phase (keep in mind these are working sets and should be very intense):
Dumbbell bench press: 2 sets x 5-8 reps
Incline bench press: 2 sets x 5-8 reps
Cable crossovers: 2 sets x 7-10 reps
Preacher curls: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Cable curls: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Leg raises: 2 sets x 12-20 reps
Squats: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Leg extensions: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Leg curl: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Calf raises: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Military press: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Dumbbell side raises: 2 sets x 7-10 reps
Dead lifts: 2 sets x 4-6 reps
Pulley rows: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Chin ups: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
Skull crunches: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
1 arm triceps press: 2 sets x 7-10 reps
Crunches: 2 sets x 12-20 reps
The rep range is simply a guide. You should still be gaining strength, even when dieting, just at a much slower rate. When bulking you usually will pick a weight that will allow you to fail at the lowest rep. Then next week you will shoot for 1-2 reps more, until you reach to top of the rep range. The week after that you should increase the weight. Don't expect these gains while dieting. It may take you all 6 weeks before you can increase the weight, but if your strength is going down, you should increase calories. This is a direct sign that you are losing muscle.
2/3 of the way through the course, if you are still with me, then you're taking the first major step in getting cut: properly informing yourself. Again, I suggest you take a moment to quickly look back all the information that was poured upon you. Now that you understand how to use your first two weapons, we shall move on the lucky third.
For those of you looking for the easy way out, and have scrolled down to this part, shame on you. There is no easy way out. Supplements can greatly improve the amount of time it will take you to achieve that ripped physique, but without having the above two weapons in your holster, you're just throwing bullets (and wasting your money).
Now, with that being said, supplement time.
Multivitamins: As many of you already know, today's food lacks many of the vitamins and minerals that you need to maintain optimum health and fitness. Since you are dieting, you have an even less chance of taking in these important nutrients. So many chemical processes in your body depend on this, including burning fat. If you are deficient in even one, your results will be dramatically lowered.
Protein powders and MRP's: As we discussed above in the diet section, protein is very important to retaining your hard-earned muscle. You know you need to eat 6 meals per day, but many of you are in school or at a job. Enter the MRP. It provides a quick and easy way to get your protein and a small amount of carbs to fuel your body and keep your metabolism running high. They also contain a moderate amount of protein and minerals. Protein powders are equally important since they are low in carbs. You can take one before bed and be sure that you are getting enough quality protein, and almost no carbs.
Chromium picolinate: Many take chromium expecting great results. Chromium will not produce dramatic results; however, it is needed for fat loss. Chromium works by making your body more insulin sensitive. It causes muscle cells to absorb more insulin and nutrients, while at the same time helping to keep it from being shuttled to fat cells. Combine this with a diet that centers around blood sugar control, and you have a good combo. It's also quite inexpensive at about 5 bucks a bottle.
Glutamine: Glutamine is a must if you are dieting. Glutamine makes up 60% of your free amino acid pool. It is used to repair muscles, strengthen the immune system, and even raise growth hormone levels. Since you are dieting, your cells run out of energy quite fast, and use glutamine to fuel them self by releasing cortisol to break down muscles into amino acids. By taking in extra glutamine, you can prevent this.
HMB: HMB is an iffy supplement because it only works for 2 out of 3 people. However, it helps to body to utilize protein increasing recovery time, and many have found it to be very effective when dieting. The choice is yours, personally, I wouldn't put it at the top of my supplement list, but if you have some spare money, then it's definitely worth a shot.
Guggulesterones: When you diet, you effect your thyroid gland. You produce less T3 (the hormone that keeps your metabolism high) making it harder to burn fat, this is why we increase cardio and reduce calories. Guggul works by stimulating the thyroid to produce more T3 that way your metabolism stays higher. E/C stacks also can reduce your T3 production, by stacking guggul with E/C, you create a very powerful fat burner.
Always remember, supplements are not magical, and can be dangerous. Always take them as recommended. When using an ephedrine product, never take in more than 80mg of ephedrine per day, and never stay on it for more than 8 weeks without taking 4 weeks off.
This concludes our fat loss muscle retention 241 course. You now hold the knowledge of the three most powerful weapons of fat loss. By following the above program correctly you can achieve the results that you need. Now, let's discuss the final exam. It will be over several days, in several different locations. The most popular will be the beach. I highly suggest you review this material several times, you'll thank yourself when that hot blonde actually comes up to TALK TO YOU.