As promised, I am going to write a few key points on the two most popular questions on the Maximuscle Facebook page from 26th October 2011.
The first was how to lose fat/weight, specifically from around the middle. It’s true that a lot of guys (and girls) get to a point that they are happy with their body, except for their stomach – that little spare tyre that hides the lower abs. Again, this is really common, and something the majority of casual gym goers and hobby bodybuilders find.
First, it’s worth saying that for this last little bit of fat/weight loss in those stubborn areas like the lower abs, only 20% is down to exercise. 80% is down to three major things: sleep, stress and (of course) diet. But all three can be as important as each other.
If you’re stressed, you will cause your body to release stress hormones that (due to our ancestry) cause us to store fat. There is nothing you can do about it. If you have a stressful job, stress when the gym is busy, get easily stressed in the traffic on the way home, likelihood is, this will effect you. Simply (or not so simply) find a way to not get stressed. Find things that de-stress you, if it’s training at the gym, great. If not, find what it is. We are all different.
You need around 7/8hours sleep a night. Much more or less, and believe it or not a similar thing occurs as when stressed. Hormones are produced that cause the body to store, again, in those troublesome areas. For most people, lack of sleep is the issue. Consistently being tired, waking up to alarms (think about it, we are the ONLY species on the planet that always wakes up unnaturally) and never quite getting enough sleep, again causes stress and our body’s natural reaction is to store – yep, right over that six pack.
Diet seems obvious. It isn’t. Cut all your carbs, you’ll stress your body and it’ll store when you feed it. Eat 3 small meals a day, you won’t feed your body enough, you’ll be breaking down your own proteins and causing stress (through starvation), slowing your metabolism and thus will kickstart your body into storing again. Diet for exercise is different for everyone, but in short (very short), eat 5 or 6 small meals a day, make sure you eat low glycemic carbs (especially first thing in the morning to give your body fuel for the day!), but avoid excess high glycemic carbs. Before and after exercise, don’t just consume protein, you need carbs as well, and these are the perfect opportunities for high glyecemic carbs as they will be burnt during your session or replace glycogen stores afterward. Every 4 to 5 days have a cheat meal. Sit down and eat something “bad”, this will help keep your metabolism up.
Lastly, don’t overtrain – it’ll stress your body (and yes, you know by now) will cause you to store, covering that all so illusive six pack.
To sum up:
- Reduce Stress where possible
- Sleep 7 – 8hrs daily
- Eat 5-6 small meals a day
- Don’t cut all carbs
- Use high glycemic carbs pre and post exercise with your protein
- Use cheat meals every 4-5 days
- Don’t fixate on your weight/body fat
The second most popular subject seemed to be the core – training and strengthening it. Check out tomorrow’s post to see the full article on this.