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- If you want to lose body fat while building muscle, consume carbohydrates around your session, then try and reduce carbs when you’re inactive.
- Consuming caffeine before every workout helps with a little thing called lipolysis, but you’ll also burn more calories because you’ll be more awake and energetic.
- Calorie control is energy control. Consume high-fat with low-carbs and vice-versa.
- Often when dieting, we subconsciously choose exercises not to breathe as hard. When the aim is to burn more calories, choose harder workouts that utilise more muscle groups.
- HIIT (high-intensity-interval-training) catalyses fat cells, so it enters your bloodstream. Long slow cardio ensures the burned off fat doesn’t return to your body. Try hitting both of them in the same session.
1 – ONLY CONSUME CARBOHYDRATES AROUND YOUR TRAINING SESSIONS
Finding the Perfect Balance
If you want a lean physique, you must make it your top priority to strike the right balance of consuming vs restricting your carbohydrate intake.
As a general rule, consuming fewer carbs will assist you shedding that unwanted fat, due in part to bringing about lower average insulin levels.
However, take that too far and you’ll ultimately end up compromising some potential gains in muscle growth, once again due to the reduction in insulin.
When planning your daily carb intake, the first consideration should be your entire daily carbohydrate allowance. Nonetheless, make sure you give ample attention to WHEN you consume these satiating delicacies.
Consuming carbs around your workout is undoubtedly the best strategy. Carbohydrates before training will simply put, give you energy to smash your session, i.e. it will ensure your blood glucose levels are adequate.
To prevent plummeting blood glucose levels: known as rebound hypoglycemia, try and eat or drink a portion of carbohydrates an hour before training. Likewise, to achieve the best results, consume carbs with a high glycaemic index (bread, potatoes) about 10-15 minutes before exercise.
Option number 2 is to consume carbohydrates during your workout. Fast acting carbs and protein drinks intra-workout is an effective anabolic/anti-catabolic strategy.
Regardless of your pre- and intra-workout carb strategy, to facilitate proper recovery post workout you’re going to have to eat carbohydrates. And by drastically reducing (or eliminating) the carbs you consume at other times, you’ll maximise fat loss.
2 – THE ENERGY CONUNDRUM
Fats vs Carbohydrates
If you plan to consume higher amounts of carbs in a meal, try and keep your fat intake relatively low. If you’re going to have more fat in a meal, eat fewer carbs. Or, you can split the difference and have a moderate portion of each.
In simple terms, carbs and fats are sources of energy. The main reason people fail in their fat loss goals is that they fail to understand this and end up consuming too much energy in one meal.
Of course protein can provide energy, too, but for the most part, protein is used to build things in your body (muscle, hair, skin, etc.). It’s typically not used for energy unless there’s not enough carbs or fat around (starvation or extremely long-duration exercise).
Let’s look at this another way: We know low carb, high-fat diets work well regarding fat loss. We’re also aware that low fat, higher-carb regimes work well too. But have you ever heard of a high-carb and high-fat diet working, for anything other than making you fat!
Low Protein Diet??
On a similar note, you’ve never heard of a low-protein diet working to help someone get in shape, so make sure to consume enough protein. Doing so will help build and maintain muscle, boost your metabolism via its thermic effect, and provide a feeling of fullness.
In summary, keeping your protein intake considerable and consistent and your carbs and fat inversely proportional will lay the foundation of a successful fat-loss diet which you can adjust according to your needs.
3 – TOUGHEN UP – CHOOSE HARDER EXERCISES!
Making it Easy for Yourself
Whether consciously or subconsciously, all too often we opt for exercises that are easier and don’t make us as uncomfortable but also don’t burn as many calories. Why would we? Training is hard enough as it is. Now imagine you’re in a state of caloric deprivation (therefore a bit tired), and it’s even more likely that you’re going to take the easy way out.
A prominent example of this would be doing leg extensions vs squats, but a less obvious example would be choosing the leg press over squats. We’ll try to rationalise that squats and leg presses work the same area, but in reality, the leg press is way more comfortable in comparison.
Squats are hard AF because your back, core and other muscles are used to stabilise the weight, along with the glutes being heavily involved to extend the hips, but if you want to burn fat, that’s what you need to do!
Deadlifts are another exercise that begs for rationalisation. Say what you will, but back extensions will never be the same, even if you hold a plate throughout the motion.
Try doing chin-ups instead of preacher curls. They’ll bring into play your lats, rear delts, etc., resulting in those extra calories being burned off.
If you’re in need of some motivation, here is a list of some of the best compound exercises you can try during your next session to burn off those extra calories:
Best Fat-Burning Exercises:
- Clean Pulls
- Farmers Walk
- Walking Lunge
- Hanging leg raises
Regarding burpees, they’re one of the least sexy exercises ever invented, but my god are they great to make you catch your breath, create oxygen debt, and burn some extra calories. They’re especially useful in between sets of other, more traditional strength-training movements.
Speaking of supersets, they’re one of the easiest ways to create more oxygen debt and burn more fat, especially if you superset two compound exercises like bench press and push-ups.
The key is to step back and examine your training regimen objectively. Where could you implement harder exercises? Sub in exercises that force you to use more muscle groups, cause an increase in movement across more of your joints and get your heart pumping. By doing so, you’ll burn more calories and ultimately lose more fat.
To see the fat-burning benefits of burpees in real time, check out this 10-minute fat burning workout by Jeff Cavaliere.
4 – HIIT FOLLOWED BY STEADY-STATE CARDIO
High-Intensity Interval Training is super effective at breaking down fat from adipose tissue stores.
However, be careful!!!
Just because you’ve mobilised your fat cells into your bloodstream doesn’t mean they’re getting burned off.
You can break down all the fat you want with interval training, but all of that effort is pointless if it goes straight back while you’re asleep in bed that night!
Long-slow cardio isn’t half as effective as HIIT at mobilising fat from fat stores, but it’s your best bet to incinerate those triglycerides floating around the bloodstream as a result of interval training. Post-HIIT cardio is insurance that the mobilised fat gets burned for good.
This is why you catch bodybuilders mixing intense, short workouts with slow, steady cardio (SSC) to maximise fat burn before a competition or show.
To put this strategy into action, do at least 20 minutes of SSC after your intervals or circuit training. The HIIT session can be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes long.
Sample Training Sessions:
If you’ve planned 30-minutes of cardio, try 10 minutes of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of SSC.
If you’ve got an hour, try 20 minutes of intervals followed by 40 minutes of SSC.
5 – CAFFEINE IS KEY
Without getting into a detailed biochemistry lesson, caffeine promotes lipolysis (fat burning) and inhibits glycolysis (carb burning). Type “caffeine” into mayoclinic.org and expect to get 10,000+ results, with the one consistent trend in the body of research is the omnipresence of free fatty acids in the bloodstream, signalling the breakdown of body fat.
Breaking fat up is all well and good, but you must ensure you burn it off. (This is the same process that we discussed earlier with HIIT + SSC). That’s where exercise comes in to play. Caffeine before training makes biochemical sense to help with fat loss.
Not only will caffeine help with lipolysis, but it will make you more energetic in your training which will assist you in burning calories and achieving peak performance.
So, enjoy your morning coffee.