Decrease bodyfat %
But is it possible to lose body fat while gaining muscle at the same time?
Why are these two goals in conflict?
Building muscle is an anabolic process, the body is building something. In order to promote anabolism you must consume surplus calories.
If you aren’t building muscle, one of the following things is happening:
- Inadequate stimulus – you aren’t working hard enough, you aren’t creating new neural connections and you aren’t tearing down the muscle to the degree that you need to to require it to rebuild stronger, thicker (strength = neural adaptation + an increase in muscle fibre size, ie, hypertrophy)
- Inadequate rest – you need to have scheduled off days and get enough sleep at night. Miss either of those and muscles don’t get adequate time to recover and grow
- Inadequate calories – surplus calories, Ie MORE than your resting metabolism (BMR) + energy expenditure + thermal effect of food (TEF, about 10-24% of calorie expenditure)
Losing fat however, is a catabolic process, the body is tearing something down. In order to promote catabolism, the body has to be in deficit, it must believe it needs to tear down energy storage molecules (fat) in order to help you meet your energy requirements.
To promote catabolism, you need to:
- You could eat deficit calories, but that would break down muscle along with fat. We don’t want that. So we weight train, eat protein, and meet our metabolic needs. Eating less that your metabolic needs tells the body it needs to store fat when carbohydrates or fats become available for next time, it kicks in survival and fat accumulation mode.
- You need to exercise intensely so the sudden demand for energy is HIGH.
- Work out for long periods – long workouts effectively promote catabolism, but we don’t want muscle to break down
- Many of these mechanisms work off of cortisol – which regulates energy usage, increases hunger, and can move fat to the mid-section. The enzyme to convert cortisone to cortisol is stored in fat tissue. More fat = more enzyme. In stressed individuals it can also lead to fat storage in and around the abdomen (http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/stresscortisol.html)
We like to think of body tissue as a permanent thing. Our cells are built and then they stay there right, until they die? Not exactly. Body proteins are in constant flux. They are broken down to replenish the amino acid pool. They are built up when there is stimulus, adequate materials, and time to allow it.
The delicate walk between anabolism and catabolism is such that you need to consume adequate calories, and the right kinds of calories at the right times, to allow you to perform at high intensities during your workouts; AND have enough left over to build muscle. But low enough so that the surplus isn’t converted into fat storage. Over time, building more muscle will help reduce body fat % all on it’s own. Building muscle, is a slow process. Lots of patience is required. But if you want to do both, well you NEED A LOT OF DAMN PATIENCE. It will take time, time, time, work, work, work, patience, patience, patience, and CONSISTENCY.
If you want a fast easy way to lose weight, well, go to some other blog because I will never recommend those methods. But you will also be losing lots of muscle. Over time, when you invariable fall off your unsustainable gimmick you will regain weight, BUT GUESS WHAT, it’s mostly FAT. You get pudgier and pudgier and more and more frustrated (“why me!, me and by poor genetics” no doofus you’ve slowed your metabolism to a crawl with yo-yo diets and obliterating the little muscle you had). You didn’t do it the right way, it’s never going to stick. And in the long run you’ll have wasted time and only be worse off.
- WEIGHT TRAIN. I train heavy, 5-6 days a week. I do volume reps and medium reps. I still go as heavy as I can for the given rep range
- I’m incorporating lots of supersets, triple sets, work sets combined with active rest sets. I want to sweat, and I want fat to melt
- I do cardio. But not usually in the same session as weight training unless it’s necessary due to my schedule. I don’t want my muscle to break down
- Consume 1.75 – 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (protein: promotes satiety, prevents lean tissue breakdown, increases the TEF)
- I usually combine my protein with fibre, to help promote satiation (they both improve satiety), promote fullness, and aid in digestion
- Consume large quantities of vegetables – they provide the most nutrients per calorie (they are nutrient dense), vitamins and minerals in the most valuable form for the body to absorb (always better from a food source than a supplement), and are full of fibre. I get to eat a big huge bowl of food, with little caloric bang
- Regular meal pacing – I always eat breakfast, never go more than 3-4 hours without eating. If you exercise you tend to be hungry more often, timing your meals mindfully will ensure you make good food choices
- Carbohydrate timing – carbs around workout time help replenish muscle glycogen, making sure that during my next workout my muscles aren’t run down and unable to perform – if they can work harder, I can lift more, and get better results. Also insulin helps shuttle other nutrients into muscles.
- Keep sugars as low as possible – excessive insulin promotes fat storage
- SLEEP – I aim for 8 hrs a day. It doesn’t always happen, I work 7 days a week and I constantly find myself running out of time to get everything done. But I try.
What else can you do?
- Coconut oil – is a medium chain triglyceride (fat), it is more immediately usable by the body than most other fats, as such, it is more likely to be utilized for energy than other fats
- L-carnitine – helps move fat molecules into the mitochondria of cells (the energy powerhouse), to be utilized as fuel
- Ensure adequate vitamin C, it’s an antioxidant and it helps promote anabolism, but you’re already doing this if you eat lots of veggies
- BCAA’s – branched chain amino acids – help prevent muscle breakdown during cardio and weight training sessions.
- Glutamine – #1 amino acid in the free amino acid pool. Therefore, it helps promote recovery when needed, reduces muscle soreness, and is good for the immune system (please remember your immune system is built out of proteins too)
- Creatine – this supplement is one of the oldest, most utilized, and most scientifically backed. It is generally safe (for healthy adults), and it works by increasing POWER during those first few seconds of WORK (ie, anaerobic training, like lifting). Increased work load translates to increased muscle growth
My Everyday Meal Plan
- 1/2 cup egg whites
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 scoop (1/4 cup ish) of coconut flour or quinoa flour
- 1-2 Tbsp flaxseed or psyllium husk
- 1/4 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt w/ cinnamon mixed in
- 2 tbsp sugar-free syrup, or berries heated in the microwave and sweetened with stevia
- 1/2 cup Oat Bran
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 2 tbsp sugar-free syrup
- 3/4 cup 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- stevia to sweeten
- Big ass salad – usually ~5 or 6 cups mixed veggies
- Low fat/sugar dressing (I like to make my own but haven’t found the time lately)
- 1 scoop protein powder
Usually within two hours of my workout. If I workout earlier in the day I have this meal earlier.
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1-2 cups steamed broccoli
- 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup tofu – I cook it in coconut oil, sesame oil, chinese 5 spice, garlic, crushed chillies, and ginger
- Light sodium soy sauce or Frank’s hot sauce to flavour
- Red delicious apple
- 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
- 3/4 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt with protein powder (casein works great here, I use a protein blend)
- 1/2 cup scrambled egg whites
- 1 oz low fat cheese
- 1 or 2 small corn tortilla wraps
- hot sauce
Other supplements I take, when I remember:
- vitamin D
- vitamin B6 & B12
- flaxseed oil caplets
- sometimes take a pre-workout (no particular favourite), or just a cup of coffee