Boosting Your Metabolism To Get 6 Pack Abs
When you eat the same number of calories every day your body becomes very efficient. If your caloric intake is too low for too long your body will reset your metabolic rate at a lower level. This will put a stop to your fat loss and is a main reason why people who go on a low calorie diet for an extended period of time gain all the weight back and more.
It works the other way as well. If you are trying to build muscle and take in a large number of calories above and beyond what you need, your body will become very efficient at storing them and you’ll start piling on the weight. But the weight won’t be muscle, it will be fat.
The purpose of calorie cycling is to avoid this problem of metabolic efficiency by ‘tricking’ your body and not allowing it to get used to a certain caloric intake.
The cycling of calories in this manner is good both for building muscle and losing fat. How high you start and how low you go depends both on your goals (building muscle or losing fat) and your individual metabolism.
If you are building muscle you don’t want to make your low days too low. You just want to have some slightly lower calorie days so that you keep fat gain to a minimum as you add muscle.
For losing fat, you don’t want your high days too high (for obvious reasons) but you also don’t want your low days too low, otherwise you will lose lean muscle and put your body into starvation mode, which will cause it to slow your metabolism down and store fat – two big no no’s.
Another important aspect of your nutrition plan is cycling macro-nutrients. It’s not true that a calorie is a calorie and one way to manipulate this to your favor is to cycle and combine your macro-nutrients in a way that maximizes fat burning, muscle burning and your metabolism.
Cycling macro nutrients and calories has been going on for a long time in bodybuilding. Bodybuilders would eat a lot of calories in the off-season to build as much muscle as possible.
Bodybuilders would then switch to a lower calorie program, as well as reduce carbohydrate intake and fat intake, as part of a pre contest program to maximize the fat burning.
The problem with a program like this is the length of time a bodybuilder would focus on muscle building or fat burning. The bodybuilder would be in each phase for too long a period of time.
During the off-season muscle building a phase the body would adapt and begin to store most of the excess calories as fat instead of muscle.
During the fat burning phase most bodybuilders would take their calorie intake too low. The same goes for their carbohydrate and fat intake. This would cause muscle loss and or the body holding onto its fat.
An adjustment was made to this cycling idea years ago in Muscle Media magazine called the ABCDE or the anabolic burst cycling of diet and exercise. This program sought to refine the typical off-season and pre contest program of bodybuilders.
Basically, the ABCDE program was an alternating cycle of two different two week periods. The first two weeks you would focus on an excess of calories while concentrating on lifting for maximum muscle mass.
The second two weeks focused on a strict low calorie diet and an exercise program that focused on fat burning weight training and lots of cardio.
The idea was to keep the body from adapting to either part of the cycle, thus eliminating (or at least minimizing) the negative aspects of both parts of the cycle. You would maximize your muscle building over two weeks, most likely adding some fat as well.
Before your body could adjust and get really good at piling on the fat, you would switch up to the two week fat burning program, drop the excess fat and more, while preserving the lean muscle.
Before your body could start burning the muscle tissue as well, you’d switch back to the two week muscle building plan.
The theory was sound and many people did very well with it. However, there were some problems. For a lot of people, two weeks of extreme dieting and training would be too much, either causing over training and a decrease in positive results or they would quit altogether.
The body would also seem to begin eating that new muscle rather quickly because of the extreme switch in plans and calories.
However, there are ways around this. For one, you could moderate the program by not taking in too many calories during the muscle building portion and not going as low with your calorie reductions durning the fat burning phase.
Another, better, way would be to shorten the cycle, while manipulating your macro-nutrient intake as well, to maximize fat burning, while retaining or adding lean muscle, too.
As you’ve probably seen through first hand experience or someone you know, calorie and/or carbohydrate restriction can work against long term fat loss. Even though people lose weight this way, most gain it all back and more over time.
However, when utilized correctly, both carbohydrate and calorie restriction can play an important roll in long term fat loss success. If it is done periodically as part of an overall program, it can be very effective in helping people to lose body fat and stay lean.
By combining calorie cycling (under-eating and overeating) with macro-nutrient manipulation (low carbs/high carbs) you set yourself up for some serious fat burning by minimizing the impact of insulin while also keeping your metabolism revving at a high level.
Burning More Calories and Controlling Appetite with Protein
Protein isn’t just for building muscle. It’s for burning fat too. A good way to keep your metabolism elevated is to increase your protein intake. While protein helps build and preserve muscle, it also helps to control your appetite as well as boost your metabolism.
Eating more protein to burn fat was confirmed in a study published in the American Journal of Physiology. One group was fed a high protein diet (just over one gram per pound of bodyweight per day) while the second group consumed a protein diet near equal to that of the RDA.
The group eating the high protein diet burned more fat than the group consuming protein near equal to the RDA.
One reason for the ability of protein to burn fat could be an increased “thermic” effect. The thermic effect of the RDA group was elevated 16% after eating.
However, in the high protein group the thermic effect increased a lot after eating, almost 3-times that of the RDA group.
This thermic effect of digesting your food peaks approximately one hour after eating.
By adding more protein to each meal, you increase your metabolism. Your body requires more energy (i.e. calories) to process protein than it does carbohydrates.
Increasing your whey protein intake also helps to control your food intake, appetite, as well as your blood sugar levels.
A study at the University of Toronto (American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 91: 965-75,2010) shown that food intake decreased when participants consumed a whey protein, 10 to 40 g, 30 minutes before an all you can eat pizza buffet.
The more protein that was consumed, the less overall food was eaten. Protein makes you feel fuller than empty carb calories and you don’t feel hungry again as quickly either.
In addition, digestion has a caloric cost. It takes energy in the form of calories to digest food. It takes more calories to digest protein than it does to digest fat or carbohydrates.
So not only does eating more whey protein reduce overall calorie consumption, calories burned through digestion increase as well, boosting your overall metabolism.
By increasing your protein intake you will increase your fat burning results in two ways:
1. Decrease overall calories consumed.
2. Boost your metabolism by using more calories to digest your food.