So your bulking phase is over and you’re ready to declare war on fat and get lean. You’re one huge step closer to your ideal body, hooray! However, burning fat can be a challenging endeavor, especially after a period in which you got to eat as much as you wanted. It will take a lot of willpower to give up those tasty desserts!
Now you have to cut down the calories while producing the same amount of sweat in the gym – not that easy if you don’t have the right plan. There are many things to think about: food choices, calorie count, exercise routine and supplementation, just to name a few. But don’t worry, we won’t let you drown in the endless ocean of possibilities – instead of trying everything to see what works best for you, learn the 10 commandments of fat loss to make sure you’re on the right track at all times!
#1. Consume Less Calories
Here’s a no-brainer: in order to lose excess fat, you have to consume less calories than you’re used to – this will push the body to dig deeper in your fat reserves in the search for fuel. No matter which diet you choose, this rule applies to them all and there are no shortcuts. Carefully plan the needed calorie restriction and stick to it.
A good way to start is by cutting down on excess carbs ( primarily ) and dietary fat. Every little change that you make in your current diet, such as ditching sweetened drinks, fatty cuts of steak, whole eggs and butter, will eventually add up and allow you to burn more fat.
#2. Limit the Carbs
The thing about carbs is that they are great for powering muscle performance, but they also stimulate fat storage by promoting your levels of insulin. And insulin is the hormone that tells your body to keep piling fat around your waist instead of utilizing it as a source of energy. So reducing your consumption of carbs will lower the levels of insulin and support your fat loss goals.
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#3. Choose Complex Instead of Simple
However, what we said above doesn’t mean that you should avoid carbs altogether – they’re still an important part of a healthy diet, even when it comes to getting leaner. You simply need to replace fast-digesting carbs that cause insulin peaks with slow-digesting carbs, such as whole-grain products, potatoes, legumes, corn and pumpkin in all meals except the post-workout meal (that’s actually the only time when simple carbs are preferable since your muscle glycogen stores need immediate replenishing).
These foods release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream, offering a steadier source of energy and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels under control.
Bonus tip: never eat carbs alone or before going to bed. Instead, pair them with protein or green low-carb high-fiber veggies to ensure a slower nutrient breakdown and more stable insulin levels, and eat your last meal at least two hours before going to sleep to avoid fat storage.
#4. Increase Protein Intake
Increasing your protein intake will keep you feeling full while lowering your caloric intake, while protecting your gains at the same time. Also, protein is especially useful for directly stimulating your metabolism and a faster metabolic rate is the first thing you’ll need in order to spark up greater fat loss. As a bodybuilder you already know the importance of protein in your diet, but when you’re trying to burn a drastic amount of fat, your focus on protein should grow even bigger.
A general rule of thumb is to eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight on a daily basis, while limiting your intake of carbs. Opt for lean meats, fish, egg whites and protein powder. Also, your last meal before bedtime should only consist of protein – as we said before, eliminate all carbs from your dinner or late night snack and stick to protein shakes or low-fat dairy products.
#5. Add More Fiber
To furthermore slow the release of carbohydrates, include more high-fiber foods in your diet. As you know, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t break down into glucose, and both types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, are beneficial for the organism in many ways. Soluble fiber helps keep you feeling fuller longer and lowers blood cholesterol, while insoluble fiber promotes a healthy digestive function.
In addition, an adequate intake of fiber will cause a slow and steady stream of glucose in the blood stream, helping you avoid fat-storing insulin spikes. What more can you ask for? Best quality high-fiber foods include broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, celery, spinach, beans and green leafy vegetables.
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