We all know that dieting can be a very arduous process and restricting your caloric intake can be quite difficult at first. As a trainer, I get asked many questions, but none more than “How do I get a six pack”? or “How do I get rid of this fat on my stomach and waist”? The only answer I can give them is “with diet, exercise and dedication”!.
The truth is that you can do all the exercise in the world and never see you abs if you are consuming too many calories a day. Diet and exercise go hand in hand no matter what your fitness goal may be. If you want to bulk, you need plenty of carbs and protein. If you want to cut up, which this article will address, you need to keep an eye on lowering your carb intake and make sure you have adequate protein.
1) Eat 5-8 small meals per day rather than 2-3 big meals - 5-8 small meals per day keeps the metabolism burning. Your metabolism is like a fire, if you dump a heap of fuel on it all at once it will go out, if you keep feeding it small amounts over time, it will keep burning. 5-8 smaller meals also spreads the load so the body is getting just enough food at a time, there is nothing left to store as fat.
2) Increase your protein intake - It is important while trying to lose fat that you don't also lose muscle. Muscle makes your resting metabolic rate faster so by losing muscle, your metabolism is slowing down, which we DON'T want. Protein is used by the body to build muscle, so by having adequate levels of protein we ensure minimal muscle breakdown or atrophy. Your metabolism also increases 30% more after eating a protein meal as opposed to a carbohydrate meal. Protein should make up about at least 50% of your caloric intake.
3) Use supplements - A simple multivitamin will ensure that your vitamin and mineral levels are where they should be during this time of restricted calories. A fat burner and protein powder will also be of great assistance. A fat burner or thermogenics will also increase your metabolism and vitalize you for your workout, fat burners also help mobilize body fat so it can be used as energy. Ehedrine or an ECA stack will also protect muscle from being lost while dieting. Flax seed oil is also very important, this is an excellent source of essential fatty acids and assists in hormone creation. A WPI or HP protein powder will ensure you are getting adequate levels of protein with minimal carbohydrates and fat.
4) Don't have too many carbohydrates after 4pm - Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy. Having a high carb meal after this time seems pointless as most of you will be going to bed and you wont burn it off, it will turn to fat. If you exercise at night you will obviously need some carbohydrates for energy, don’t go overboard. Cottage cheese is a filling source of protein that will breakdown slowly throughout the night to provide a constant source of protein for the muscles.
5) Don't be afraid to have some fat - Fat is essential for the diet, it is dense in energy and it is vital for the health of the brain. If the body is refused fat in the diet, it will start to store it, which is the opposite of what we are trying to teach the body. This is not to say go and have fast-food for dinner every night, we are after essential fats, not saturate fats. Get your fats from fish, seeds, peanut butter, nuts, flax-seed oil etc.
6) Calculate BMR - Calculate your basal metabolic rate and get an idea on how many calories you are burning per day. Keep your daily caloric intake approx 500 calories per day below maintenance levels to lose fat. Remember it is very hard to lose fat if you are eating more calories than you burn.
7) Snacks - A healthy snack is important to keep the hunger at bay. You don’t want to wait until you are starving and have to eat a large meal. Try a low carb protein bar or some of the low carb muffins etc that are on the market now.
8) Drink, Drink, Drink! - Not Beer! Drink litres and litres of water per day. The body is made up of 60% water and while your sweating and urinating you need to replace these levels constantly. If you aren’t having enough water your body will begin to store it, which gives the feeling of being bloated and the impression that you are fat. If you are constantly drinking water, it begins to work as a diuretic and the body doesn’t store water any more, which allows you to see the results of your hard work dieting and exercising. Drinking water also keeps the liver healthy. The liver is responsible for metabolizing fat, so this is important.
Also try drinking cold water. Your body has to heat it up which causes a thermic effect which may burn a few more calories.
9) Cardio - Performing regular cardiovascular activity is an imperative part of losing fat. Varying the types of cardio is just as important to keep the body guessing, and to force adaptive change. Interval training has been shown to be an effective method of burning fat. Types of cardio include running, swimming, walking, boxing, cycling, rowing etc. 3-5 sessions per week of 15-30 minutes in duration will be very effective in helping you attain your fat loss goals.
These are the basic points for an effective fat loss diet. In conjunction with a sound exercise routine you will notice some effective results. Dieting can be hard and requires a lot of patience and dedication. Don't be afraid to reward yourself once a week for your hard work with a chocolate bar. When times get tough, remember why you are doing all this. When you shed that unwanted fat, it will all be worth it.
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