Good morning, day, or night depending on where you are located. It’s been a while since I’ve written something on this blog for which I am truly sorry. As I am drinking my favorite cup of tea, green tea, I decided that I will write a short and informative article discussing one of my favorite topics of all time “How to lose fat and preserve our muscle mass ?”.
This question has baffled the minds of many beginner bodybuilders, even mine.
Here is a fun little anecdote that will lighten the mood of this dreadful topic. Back in 2011 when I was just learning the fundamental steps needed for building muscle, I went on a bulk. The problem of course was that I gained way too much fat – 6 months = 35 pounds of fat. So i decided to go on a cutting cycle to lose all the fat I’ve gathered throughout those six months of intense lifting of weights. Two months later I had lost 30 pounds, thinking that I’ve preserved the 5 pounds of muscle I’ve gained while bulking, well it came as a shock to me when I learned that I’ve lost almost all the muscle I worked for every single day. I was devastated. That’s when I decided to start “hitting” the books and learn as much as I can. Finally I had the answers to the dilemma and I am here with you today to share my knowledge with you. Hopefully I will be of assistance.
The first and biggest mistake everybody does is connected with the amount of calories they intake every day. Here is what I am trying to say ( I hope you will understand my poor explanation!).
As an example lets say I need to consume 2700 calories everyday to maintain my current weight. And I train approximately 4 hours each week. That means that I need about 3000-3200 to gain good muscle weight. 6-7 months pass and I decide to go into a cutting phase here is where everybody do the biggest mistake. Instead of keeping the same amount of calories (3000 cal. per day) and just increasing the hours that they train each week they do this: they train 6-7 hours a week and eat 2600 cal a day. I really hope you understood what I was trying to say.
I am probably repeating myself for the millionth time for saying this but your body hates muscle (because it requires more calories to keep them running) and loves fat (because it’s a solid source of energy) and at the point where you put you fat levels in danger your body will do everything in its power to retain as much as it can even if it has to lose some of your muscle and bone in the process. Take things slow no need to rush it.
When you do this (lower the calorie intake and increase the training hours weekly) you put your body in danger mode. Cortisol and epinephrine (stress hormones) are released into your blood stream. The effects from those two hormones are destructive as they are going to break down your muscle tissue and store it as fat. Unless that is exactly what you are attempting to do I suggest you stop doing it NOW!
Second thing you have to pay attention are compound exercises. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a rookie is that I wasn’t doing any compound exercises during my cutting phase. I focused my attention primarily on doing cardio instead on those precious compound exercises without which nothing is possible in the gym.
Compound exercises will increase your metabolism. For me cardio exercises are a complete waste of time. The only time I do low intensity cardio is right after my compound exercises. And the only reason I do them is because I want to relax my muscles and my heart rate. When you run on the treadmill or when you take that stationary bike for a ride in the gym you only increase your metabolism for the time that you are doing your cardio exercise (if you are doing 1 hour worth of cardio you get only 1 hour worth of increased metabolism) of course depending on the intensity of the cardiovascular exercises that you’re performing (I personally prefer HIIT-High intensity interval training. I give myself one day in which I rest from weight training and I complete on HIIT for about 6 minutes and then ride the bike for another 10 minutes so my heart can cool down. HIIT boosts your metabolism for a VERY long time! *caution* if you have any heart problems I suggest your have a conversation with your fellow doctor before doing this exercise it’s really physically tiring!)
Do you want to guess for how long your metabolism is increased after you are done with your compound exercises ? Well nobody surely knows it all depends on your genetics but it goes for hours and hours to come. The results you are going to notice are insane.
*KEY POINT* – Increasing your metabolism is what we are primarily focusing our attention at. The less cardio we do the more muscle we preserve and more fat we lose!
Compound exercises will increase your anabolic hormone production. This is really important as those anabolic hormones (testosterone, growth hormone, and others) will act as an anti-catabolic serum. This in return will help us save as much muscle mass as we can throughout the cutting phase.
The third factor is of course supplementation. I understand that for most of you out there supplements are expensive and hard to get that is exactly why I decided to list only supplements that you MUST have in order to achieve success ( plus they are pretty much inexpensive).
Number one: Protein powder has a strong anabolic action when taken after your workout or any other time throughout the day. It also contains anywhere from 20 to 25 grams of protein which is really useful when you are trying to get up to 190 grams a day. Protein powder will help you get out of the catabolism you put your body into after your workout and into an anabolism.
Number two: Fish oil is for sure a must have. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids fish oil brings a lot of advantages to the table. It has a really strong anabolic affect on your body and a really strong anti-catabolic affect as well. Fish oil is also a really powerful supplement when it comes to strengthening up your immune system. You can find fish oil at any of your local drug stores.
Number three: Multi-vitamins and minerals. They will help you increase your metabolism, give a pretty good anabolic boost, prevent muscle loss, help your muscles recover, and most importantly help for your overall health.
Number four: Green tea is a remarkable way to increase your metabolism not to mention how healthy it is for you. I love drinking green tea late at night because at that point my metabolism is at its lowest point. I want to increase that and turn my body into a furnace for my stored fat while I’m asleep.
Fourth factor is the most enjoyable of them all. Just relax and rest as much as you possibly can. The more you stress yourself the less results you are going to see and this is not only connected with fat loss. Give your body a minimum of 6 hours of sleep and a maximum of 9 hours of sleep ( don’t overdo it ).
And that’s pretty much it guys. If you follow these simple steps I can guarantee you that you will start noticing results from the next week!
Have a wonderful week and see you till’ next time.