1. INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN
If you struggle with bodyfat, you should stress protein — more chicken, eggs, fish, beef, low-fat dairy and protein powders.
Why? Not all calories — carbs, protein and fat — are equal in their efficiency to be stored as bodyfat. Protein exerts a greater metabolic-boosting effect than carbs or dietary fat. When calories drop, protein saves muscle, which helps keep the metabolism (calorie burning) elevated. Protein also helps to keep hunger down, which assists you in holding down your calories without losing your mind. Aim for 1 1∕2 grams per pound of bodyweight daily spread over five, six or even seven smaller meals.
2. MANIPULATE YOUR CARBS
Carbohydrates help retain muscle (and muscle is a metabolic booster), yet they can also stimulate fat storage. Following a modified low-carb diet — three consecutive days of consuming 100-125g a day, followed by a single day of taking in 300-400g, offers muscle support minus the fat storage. How so?
When you eat fewer carbs and replace those carbs with protein, in general, the body ramps up fat-mobilizing enzymes and hormones resulting in accelerated fat loss. However, a prolonged period of lower carbs can leave your muscle looking flat, since glycogen (the storage form of carbs in muscle) pulls water into the muscle. When you go low carb, the muscles get depleted of their glycogen and lose some water and therefore their fullness. Therefore, load back up on carbs every fourth or fifth day.
3. STACK CARNITINE, BCAAS AND CAFFEINE
Cardio is a good way to trigger fat loss. The ideal time is after workouts, as research shows that you burn more fat when you do cardio after a weight workout. However, another good time to do cardio is in the morning before eating. Why? That’s when sugar levels in the blood are at their lowest. If you perform cardio when your blood sugar and insulin are low, fat burning is maximized. One drawback: cardio can burn muscle. Using 5 g of branched chain amino acids, 1-3 g of carnitine and 200-400 milligrams of caffeine 30 minutes prior to cardio helps block muscle breakdown, preserves metabolic-driving muscle tissue and boost hormones that break down bodyfat.
The supplement combo can even preserve testosterone, the muscle-building hormone that often declines with cardio activity.
4. EAT MORE FISH
When calories are controlled, the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, trout and sardines may promote speedier fat loss. One study revealed that dieters who ate fish on a daily basis lost more weight than those who ate fish just once a week. One possible reason — omega-3s are thought to make the receptors on fat cells more sensitive to the fat-liberating effects of norepinephrine (also known as NE), a main fat-burning hormone. In other words, fish fat makes NE work better. The other possible reason is that omega-3s tend to promote the storage of carbohydrates into muscle as muscle glycogen. If carbs are kept busy producing glycogen, they cannot stimulate or participate in the fat-storing process.
5. TAKE CREATINE FOR CUTS
Creatine — the muscle-building supplement — can also aid fat loss. Creatine exerts an increase in metabolism when combined with weight training, to the tune of 100 calories a day. So, make sure you get in 3-5 g with your pre- and postworkout meals.
6. COOK WITH GARLIC
Mother Earth’s flavor enhancer stimulates adrenaline (epinephrine) and uncoupling proteins (UCPs). Adrenaline triggers fat breakdown; UCPs increase calorie burning. Garlic also controls cortisol levels, which can support muscle retention in a dieting bodybuilder. Use fresh bulbs in cooking or give supplements a try.
7. SUPPORT THE THYROID
It’s the fitness world’s most frustrating irony: When you eat less and try to drop bodyfat, a lot of times your metabolism adapts to the change and burns fewer calories. One way to get around the slowdown is with phosphates. In one study, a combo of 537 mg of calcium phosphate, 107 mg of potassium phosphate and 25 mg of sodium phosphate given to strict dieters yielded a metabolic rate that was 12-19% higher compared to that of dieters who did not use phosphates.
The amino acid tyrosine is also effective in turning a moderately calorie burning thyroid hormone called T4 into a more potent calorie burning one called T3. Three thousand mg of L-tyrosine taken before training or cardio will do the trick.
8. TRY FENUGREEK
This is one of those herbs that longevity buffs have been using forever, no pun intended. Used heavily in cooking curry dishes or even in supplemental form, Fenugreek is extremely effective in controlling the rise in blood sugar levels associated with carb consumption thanks to its active ingredient 4-hydroxyisoleucine. Carbs cause the amount of sugar in the blood to rise, which can trigger fat storage. This herb buffers the rise so that sugar levels remain steady. Steady sugar translates into improved sustainable energy minus a rise in fat-storing enzymes or hormones. In short, fenugreek helps fuel your body without making you fatter. Take 300-600 mg of 4-hydroxyisoleucine or 1 1∕2 g of fenugreek daily.
As much as we’d like to report otherwise, you won’t achieve the physique you want just by counting calories and training religiously.
Your metabolism has to be on board with your efforts. These eight simple strategies should put the twist in your metabolic rate to provide a real return on your training and nutrition investment