So you’ve been muscle building, eating big and making gains. Great. Now it’s time to get ripped and strip off those extra fat layers you’ve inherited!
If you’re an experienced bodybuilder you’ll know that building muscle works in 2 basic cycles. First we have the growth cycle. While you’re on the growth cycle your goal is to put on as much poundage as possible! This means eating loads of good calories like protein and complex carbohydrates. You should never feel hungry. The minute you feel hungry, it’s time for another meal. Get the picture?
The second cycle is what’s know as the cutting cycle. This is where you trim off your excess fat to give you muscle definition and a really ripped look. When cutting you want to strip off the fat quickly without losing any muscle size. This means a different workout and much different diet. In this article I’m going to give you my top tips for losing the fat.
I’m going to focus on the basics of weight loss. I’m not going to go into different cutting workout, that’s an entire article in itself. Some people will find it very hard and frustrating to lose body fat. But if you stick to strict diet and train hard you will do it and it will be worth all the hard work!
TIP #1: Cardio training Cardiovascular exercise is arguably the best way for you to burn fat. Even if you are eating the best diet possible, you will not see the full benefits if you do not do cardio exercise. When cutting you want to up your cardio to around 4 times per week. Start off at about 20mins per session and work your way up to an hour or so. When doing cardio you need to try and stay in the “fat burning zone”, which is about 65-70% of your maximum heart rate. To determine your “fat burning zone” subtract your age from 220 and multiply it by 0.65. That is what you want your heart rate to be at.
TIP #2: Eat small meals, more often Today’s western society is slowly moving away from the traditional 3 meals per day and there’s a vary good reason for that. As soon as you start eating your metabolism starts to break down the food. It takes everything it needs from the food including nutrients and energy.
When you only eat 3 meals per day you metabolism has a chance to slow down in between meals. This is not good if you’re trying to burn fat. You need to keep your metabolism fast throughout the whole day. The faster your metabolism is working the more fat and energy you will burn. Maintaining a high metabolism is imperative to losing weight and keeping it off.
It’s often a good idea to use protein supplements or protein bars between meals to keep your metabolism up and make you feel full. Some people do not have time to prepare so many meals per day so this is a good option.
TIP #3: Don’t eat before bed When you go to sleep your metabolism slows right down. If you eat before bed (especially carbohydrates) there’s a good chance that your body will not burn the energy and you will store it as fat. Try not to eat and carbs for at least 2-3 hours before bed. A protein shake is ok before bed because your body will not store it as fat.
TIP #4: Up your protein intake If you want to keep all your hard earned muscle (and I know you do!) while burning fat it’s very important that you keep your protein intake as high as possible. Because carbohydrates are the bodys main source of energy it will always use them up first. Once there is no carbohydrates left your body will turn to it’s fat storage. If you do not have enough protein intake per day, your body will start taking protein from the muscles resulting in catabolism (breaking down of muscle tissue). Read more about whey protein.
TIP #5: Drink plenty of water Well, you should be drinking plenty of water even if you aren’t trying to lose weight! The human body is made up of 70% water. So to me it’s pretty obvious that we need a high daily intake of water to keep the body running efficiently. Water helps transport nutrients that you eat throughout your body. It also plays a role in determining how your cells use these nutrients. If you are not getting enough water intake each day, you are not making 100% use of the nutrients in your diet.
On the other side of the scale water also helps flush your system of waste and bacteria. It’s essential for removing toxins from your body. So you can see that water plays a vital role in all bodily functions, so don’t underestimate it.
TIP #6: Lower your carbs As I mentioned earlier in this article your body burns carbs first because carbs are the bodys primary food source. So if you do not lower your carb intake your body will just keep burning up the carbs and you will not see any fat loss. As soon as your carbs supply runs out, the body burns fat. Keep your carbs down and your body will start burning fat quicker. Try to eat all your carbs for the day in the morning. This was these carbs will be burnt off during the day and your fat store will start being used faster.
TIP #7: Avoid snacking If you snack throughout the day you’re asking for trouble. While there are some health snacks available, most are full or fat, salt and sugar. If you plan your meals for the day you should not even feel hungry or the need to snack. If you cannot prepare enough meals for the day have a protein supplement or protein bar between meals. If you have to distance yourself from tempting items then do it.
Just to recap on what we’ve just been over here are some rules of losing weight and cutting that you should be sticking to.
- Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day
- Keep your protein intake high
- Keep your carbohydrate intake low
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Don’t eat carbohydrates before bed
- Incorporate cardio training into your weekly routine
- Don’t snack betweek meals
- Get plenty of sleep every night (including weekends!)
No one said stripping that fat was going to be easy, even experienced trainers say that it’s harder than building muscle! But if you stick with it, the rewards are fantastic - a muscle bound and ripped body! If you have any questions about cutting or losing fat come over an ask me or one of the other Muscle&Strength members on our forum!