Believe it or not more Body Fat can be lost sitting on the couch then in the gym - purely because of a magic process called; Metabolism. Our daily energy consumption relates to the requirement of our individual Metabolic needs, from Fat Burn and energy usage to Nutrition needs of important cells. The more tissue that requires maintenance and sustenance the higher our Metabolic needs. Muscle cells are important and expensive in both energy and nutrient requirements. Hence, the more muscle an individual has the higher the Metabolic rate. So, all we have to do to burn more Fat is to increase our Metabolic rate. Now, if we devise a nutrition plan in which the majority of the energy our Metabolism uses comes from our own Body Fat stores then we have the fastest most effective way to burn fat and get lean. Getting lean cannot be done fast, so we leave plenty of time to get in shape - so start now! See below tips to get lean for summer!
1. Increase Metabolic Rate With Weight Training
After cardio vascular focused training, metabolic rate increases for only a few hours after your workout. However, after intense weight training your metabolic rate increases by a huge 30% for upwards of 48hrs after the workout! That means that your energy consumption, just sitting on the couch is 30% higher than usual - you will literally be burning energy fast while doing absolutely nothing! Perform 3-4 weight training sessions per week and you will raise your metabolic rate for the entire time. This is generally the reason why people who train with weights are leaner, healthier and happier then people who do cardio based training exclusively. Click here to learn how to lift weights properly.
2. Don't Try To 'Work' OR 'Starve' The Fat Off
Good Nutrition will undoubtedly get you to your goals faster, easier and healthier than just trying to 'work' the fat off. The truth is, our bodies are very energy efficient, so when we workout for 1hr even with heavy weights our energy consumption during the workout is actually very low, only 200 or 300 Calories. With correct dieting we can make sure our bodies are burning an extra 500 calories from our fat stores not by rapidly decreasing food intake (which causes the loss of valuable muscle) but by just choosing the correct food. Burning the equivalent energy in the gym would mean training for over 2hrs daily, on top of weight training! If you workout too much, and try to burn fat in the gym all day you will end up producing too much stress hormone - which leads to fat storage and muscle loss, the worst nightmare of someone working towards their summer body!
3. Prioritise Protein and Fat
Protein and Fat are the most important Macro Nutrients, they are what we call 'essential nutrients'. There are no essential Carbohydrates, they are basically just 'energy' and have no nutritional aid to our body cells. Our Muscle cells need Protein and Fat to be maintained and grow, and they only use Carbohydrate (glucose) for energy - something that our own bodies produce any way, without the need for it to be in our diets (hence 'non-essential'). So, as you can probably guess, the over consumption of carbohydrates (glucose) will lead to fat storage, and a lower consumption can lead to Fat Loss. So we must reduce them down to approximately 20-30% of our daily calorie consumption. 40-50% will come from Protein, and 20-30% from Fat. This will be the basis of your fat burning diet. Start with 1.5g of Protein per pound of body weight and calculate the other ratios from that result. E.g. Male weighing 190lbs who trains with weights can start with approx. 280g Protein, 170g Carbs, 50g Fat. Learn more here.
4. Only Eat Carbohydrate in the Evening
As we know, Metabolism is key to body composition. Weight training will increase our Metabolism due to the high energy demands of Muscle Repair, as well as eventually having more overall muscle tissue requiring maintenance and energy. As we've discovered that Carbohydrates are just energy, and offer no nutritional value, it makes sense for our bodies to use our own stored fat for energy instead of using the Carbohydrates in our diet. The best way to maximise this is to force the body to use stored fat for energy during the period when our Metabolisms are most active, early on in the day. This method goes against other theories that say eating Carbohydrate during the day is better as you can burn it off... Well, would you rather burn energy from food or your own body fat? Your choice. This means that you can eat your required amount of Carbs (using the calculation above as a basis) in the evening (after 5pm), when muscle glucose levels have been depleted and dietary Carbohydrate is less likely to be stored as fat.
5. Eat Only Every 3-4hrs
Insulin is stimulated by the release of nutrients into the blood, most notably by Carbohydrate. When Insulin is released there is an excess of energy in the blood, so Body Fat is not burned as a priority. Insulin then needs to remove the excess energy from the blood by storing it as Fat or storing it as glucose inside Muscle Cells (which are only depleted after a period of low Carb intake). Body Fat burning can only occur when Insulin is low - so as you can see, we need to spend as much time as possible with our Insulin low, so the environment in our bodies is suited for Fat burn rather than Fat Storage. We do this by leaving 3-4hrs between meals and choosing foods that don't stimulate Insulin very much, like Protein and Fat. If we snacked every half hour, then no matter what we eat it would be difficult for our bodies to do any fat burning at all due to the constant stimulation of Insulin. Divide your required food into 4-5 manageable meals (supplements can form a small fraction of required nutrients) only eating Carbohydrates in the evening (see Point 4).