With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
Spring Break is approaching fast, and even though you’ve put in hours in the gym, you might still feel a bit flabby. It’s time to get that hard-earned physique ready for a summer preview.
To get your confidence back in full swing, you’ll need to push harder than ever in the gym and amp up your diet. A solid diet is the backbone to any training routine — as I’ve said before, you are what you eat. These last weeks of winter offer the perfect opportunity for adjustments.
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Spring Break Workout Plan
Any cutting phase involves a caloric intake of up to 400 calories a day. Putting your body through a constant calorie deficit can trigger a plateau, which is the last thing you need before spring break. A plateau brings a decrease in thyroid hormones and metabolism; this instigates hunger and testosterone levels will start to drop. You need to find a balance between the appropriate amount of calories and macros.
The goal here is to gain muscle and burn fat; for that, protein is a must.
Up your protein macros to 40 percent of your daily calorie intake. Having a higher protein content than usual is an efficient way to maintain muscle while dropping calories. Protein and carbs contain the same amount of kilocalories per grams, which are four kilocalories per gram. However, your body uses about 25 percent more energy to digest protein; this is called the thermic effect of food. Use this to your advantage by making sure each meal contains 25 to 45 grams of protein. You should be eating every two to three hours, and the higher protein content will allow you to feel fuller for longer.
This diet has been trending in the lifting world as the quick approach to fat loss because you’re using fat as fuel. Stop, if you’re thinking about jumping on to this diet trend — you will gain the weight back. Instead of dropping your daily carbs below 50 grams a day, make this macro 35 percent of your daily caloric intake. A low carb diet will leave you feeling sluggish, light headed, and nauseated. You’ll also have bad breath from the ketones. Keeping your carb macros at 35 percent of your daily caloric intake will allow your body to refuel properly post-workout and allow for you to take advantage of insulin’s role in helping build muscle.
Fat’s Bad Wrap
It’s time to stop giving fat such a negative connotation — eating it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pack on the pounds. To get fat, you have to eat the “bad fats,” they’re the fats that will make your cholesterol skyrocket along with other health consequences. Stray away from them and delve into the “good fats,” the omegas and polyunsaturated fats. Surprisingly, these fats help build muscle by heightening testosterone levels. High testosterone levels burn fat and build muscle. So keep your fat macros at 25 percent of your daily caloric intake.
Once it’s time to ramp up your cut, a fat-burning supplement stack can really expedite the process. If you’re a lifter who experiments with a single supp, it might be time to invest in a stack that hits fat loss from various angles. Stack up with a pre-workout, protein, and fat-burner to help combat stubborn physique-hiding fats.
Pre-workout powders cannot only revitalize your workouts but they can also burn fat with ingredients like caffeine and yohimbe. Caffeine is the key player in most pre-workout blends and the go-to-supp because of its wide-ranging benefits. For our fat-loss concern, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which signals your fat cells to start breaking down. Once the fat cells are broken down, fatty acids get released into the blood stream and are then used as fuel. The Physician and Sportsmedicine journal indicated that caffeine does show a positive effect in fat metabolism during moderate to intense exercise.
Another fat-burning ingredient to look out for is yohimbe, which can enhance lipolysis post-workout. Lipolysis is the breakdown of fats into fatty acids — you’ll be burning off fat in no time. And to back it up, a study published by Medical Hypotheses resulted that yohimbe promotes lipolysis and serum free fatty acid levels during moderate to intense exercise — that’s if it’s taken pre-workout.
To really gain more of an edge in your workouts, keep an eye out for citrulline, beta-alanine, and Rhodiola rosea. In a nutshell, citruilline is the precursor to arginine, which gets converted to nitric oxide (NO) in the body. But when you ingest arginine alone, a majority of it gets used in the intestines — leaving a lesser amount in your bloodstream. That’s why it’s more beneficial to consume citrulline — your NO levels will be higher. Beta-alanine helps promote more muscular strength and endurance and Rhodiola rosea supports your hormones —growth hormone, testosterone, thyroid hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1. Each of these hormones plays a vital role in the fat loss process.
If you’re not already doing so, you need to include whey protein in your spring break diet-prep. Loaded with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), whey protein is fast digesting — providing a rapid flood of fresh, muscle-building tools to hard-worked muscle fibers. Once you down your whey protein shake, your bloodstream absorbs the amino acids and directs them to muscle tissue. Whey is a complete protein that contains a substantial amount of leucine, which triggers the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. The mTOR pathway regulates muscle protein synthesis. Also whey protein increases blood flow to your muscle, which delivers more nutrients to them — you’ll build muscle fast and expedite your recovery time.
For starters, whey protein concentrate contains about 70-80 percent protein; the rest of it is carbohydrates and fat. It experiences a light filtration process, which allows for whey’s valuable peptides that support the immune system and contain antioxidant properties. Whey protein isolate is more than 90 percent protein because it goes through a longer filtration time and different forms of processing. As opposed to proteins that contain more fat, this type of whey is digested quicker. Lastly, whey protein hydrolysate is most processed via hydrolysis. Hydrolysis breaks down protein chains into smaller portions — making it easier for the body to use. In 2006 The International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism published a study in which 13 male weightlifters took whey protein hydrolysate post-workout and strength was measured by one-rep maximum (1RM) in three exercises. The results: subjects had a significant fat loss and were able to build lean muscle and strength. You’ll notice that most whey protein powders contain two or more types of whey so that you can benefit from each one.
Proper nutrition and a functional training routine is the foundation to losing fat, but finding the right fat burner can not only help accelerate the process but also target those hard-to-burn fat areas. A quality fat burner should contain these three ingredients: green tea extract, CLA, and 7-keto-DHEA.
Popularized as a “detox drink,” green tea doesn’t just fight free radicals but it also helps to burn fat. Green tea extract is a staple ingredient in top-notch fat burners. But what is it in green tea that helps melt the fat off? Your answer: polyphenols or to be technical catechins. The king of all catechins in green tea is call epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been seen to enhance the body’s fat burning hormone, norepinephrine — you’ll have an increased metabolic rate. And when you pair this ingredient with other ingredients, like yohimbe (ingredient in a pre-workout), expect the fat to burn.
Yes conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), the fatty acid, is a chief fat-burning ingredient. It works by preventing the enzyme, lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which lets fat enter your bloodstream to be stored as body fat. Another added benefit is that CLA also boosts muscle growth and strength. Results from a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that supplementing with CLA allows for healthy fat loss.
Last but not least, 7-keto-DHEA, a by-product of DHEA. This ingredient boosts thermogenic enzymes, which fuels fatty acid oxidation in the liver. The enzymes make the liver cells use fatty acids for energy; this lowers triglyceride levels in the liver. It also supports the activity of your thyroid, which can play an influential role in fat loss.
Pre-workout — 30 minutes before workouts.
Protein — morning and post-workout.
Fat-burner — before meals.
Check out this sample, fat-cutting meal plan.