I get more questions about fat loss thanany other single topic because everyonewants a lean, athletic looking body.Whether your goal in bodybuilding is tocompete or just to look and feel your best,control of body fat is a central issue. Overthe years the Parrillo Performance Nutri-tion Program has earned a reputation forbeing the best way to gain muscle andlose fat, simply because it works. Theconcepts of our nutrition program are usedby the vast majority of competitive body-builders around the world. This month Iwant to explain some basic conceptsabout how to structure your diet andtraining program to achieve your physiquegoals.Concept #1. Food is the founda-tion of nutrition. A healthy diet of natural,low-fat foods is the best approach to bodyfat control. You’ll get better results fromeating the right foods than you could everget from some “meal replacement pow-der.” Several supplement makers suggestthat you should use their product to formthe core of your nutrition program, andthen add regular food as needed to supplythe rest of the calories.
They’ve reversedthe roles of foods and supplements. Foodis always more important. The numberone rule for getting lean is to eat a cleandiet of healthy food.Concept #2. Build your metabo-lism. This key Parrillo concept means thatthrough proper training and nutrition youcan steadily increase muscle mass, therebyincreasing your metabolic rate and fatburning capacity. Metabolic rate is pro-portional to lean body mass (1,2), so themore muscle you’re carrying the morefood you have to eat. The conventionalstrategy to lose weight is to restrict calo-ries. Current medical literature reports thatthis approach fails about 90% of the time(1,2). This is because during energy re-striction as much as half of the weightlost is muscle. This lowers your meta-bolic rate and sets into play the body’sstarvation response, which actually pro-motes fat retention. Later I’ll explain moreabout how to eat and train to build yourmetabolism.Concept #3.What to eat and what notto eat. Good proteinsources are skinlesschicken breast, skinlessturkey breast, egg whites,and most fish. Use proteinpowder as needed to meetyour daily protein require-ment, but don’t fall intothe trap of using “meal re-placement powders” inplace of real food. Goodcarbohydrate sources areoatmeal, rice, beans, po-tatoes, sweet potatoes,corn, peas, salad greens,and vegetables. Stay awayfrom salt, sugar, and fat.Avoid fruit, dairy prod-ucts, bread, and pasta.These contain simple sug-ars and refined carbohy-drates that are easily con-verted to fat. Prepare yourfood yourself and take itwith you in a cooler.Concept #4.How much protein, carbs,and fat. One gram of pro-tein per pound of bodyweight per day is a goodgeneral rule. Limit dietaryfat to 10% of calories. Theremainder of calories are derived fromcomplex carbohydrates.Concept #5. How to constructyour meals. Each meal must be balancedwith one protein source, one or twosources of starchy carbohydrate, and oneor two fibrous vegetables.
For example,for dinner you could have a grilled chickenbreast, a baked potato, and some steamedbroccoli. Adjust the serving sizes appro-priately to generate the grams of protein,carbs, and fat you need at each meal. Di-vide your total daily re-quirements roughlyevenly over six smallmeals.Concept #6.How to use supple-ments to build yourmetabolism and losefat. By far the most ef-fective supplement inthe world for fat lossis CapTri. Of course,to get the results youwant you have to useit correctly. CapTri hasa special molecularstructure and follows aunique metabolic path-way in the body.CapTri is preferentiallyburned for energy(burned in preferenceover regular food) andhas virtually no ten-dency to be stored asbody fat. To useCapTri to help you losefat, use it in place of anequivalent number ofcalories from starch.For example, at eachmeal eat 30 grams lessof starchy carbohy-drate such as oatmeal,rice, or potato (about120 calories) and add one tablespoon ofCapTri instead (114 calories). CapTri hasa higher thermogenic effect than carbs (itincreases metabolic rate more than carbs)and is less prone to be converted to fatthan carbs (3). This change also lowersthe insulin response of the meal, whichencourages use of body fat for energy Advanced Lipotropic Formula suppliesmetabolic cofactors used by the liver andmuscle to metabolize fat. This ensures thatall of the biochemical pathways involvedin fat metabolism are operating at peakefficiency.Putting it all together: The firstorder of business is to faithfully follow aclean diet. Set a specific goal, map out aplan, and stick to it. Dedication, consis-tency, and hard work are the ingredientsof a champion bodybuilder’s physique.Put more effort into eating the right foodsand less thought into worrying aboutsupplements. A lot of bodybuilders callme for advice on high tech supplementsand it often turns out they’re not eveneating right. They wonder why they’renot getting the results they should.
Notinfrequently a young bodybuilder will callme, depressed because he can’t afford alot of supplements. If you’re a bodybuilderon a budget, don’t worry. You can gettremendous results from good old fash-ioned hard training and a solid bodybuild-ing diet. In fact, I believe a one time in-vestment in a Parrillo Nutrition Manual willget you better results than all the supple-ments in the world.If you’re not making good progress in at-taining your bodybuilding goals, eitheryou’re not training right or you’re not eat-ing right. It’s that simple. Don’t talk tome about genetic limits unless you alreadylook like Dorian Yates. Don’t be afraid tomake changes in your program or to callus with questions. That’s why we’re here.To fine tune your nutrition program forfat loss, consider increasing your proteinintake and decreasing your carbohydrateintake. This increases thermogenesis andaffects the insulin-glucagon axis so as tofavor use of stored body fat for energy.Using CapTri in place of an equivalentamount of starch will have a dramatic ef-fect. You may want to eliminate starchentirely from the last meal of the day. Limitconventional fat to 5-10% of calories. Anoverwhelming amount of scientific evi-dence shows that conventional dietary fatcontributes much more to body fat storesthan do carbohydrates or protein(1,4,5,6). Some researchers even thinkthat dietary fat content is just as impor-tant as calorie content (if not more im-portant) in causing obesity (7,8). Excesscarbohydrate is stored as glycogenwhereas fat consumed in excess of en-ergy need is simply stored as adipose.Limit any reduction in energy intake to amaximum of 500 calories per day less thanyour maintenance requirement. In otherwords, don’t ever cut calories by morethan 500 below what you need to main-tain constant body weight. Any more en-ergy restriction than this tends to result indecreased metabolic rate and muscle loss.If you hit a weight loss plateau, increasecalories by about 300 per day for a weekor two. This will stimulate your metabo-lism and get you going again. I haveworked with a lot of people who haveused repeated bouts of starvation to loseweight. After prolonged periods of energyrestriction their metabolic rates are so lowthey just can’t lose any fat.
In this case itactually works better to increase calories.This works by increasing lean body massand metabolic rate, and shifts the bodyfrom a fat-hoarding mode to a fat-burn-ing mode. It sounds paradoxical, butsometimes the trick to stimulating fat lossis to increase calories (of course, from avery clean diet). A couple of good rulesare never to reduce calories by more than500 below maintenance and not to loseweight for more than ten consecutiveweeks. After ten weeks or so of dieting itis often helpful to increase calories for aweek to add some muscle mass and getyour metabolism going again. You maywant to try this if you hit a plateau in yourfat loss.What about training for fat loss? That’s abig topic in itself, but it’s worth brieflymentioning a few key points. You’ll hearsome people say to train heavy to gainmuscle but do a lot of reps to lose fat.Basically, that’s wrong. You need to keeptraining heavy while losing fat. Musclesare very plastic, which means they adaptto whatever level of stress is placed onthem. Muscles hypertrophy (grow) in re-sponse to a heavy training stimulus. Toget your muscles to grow you have toconstantly push them a little beyond theirprevious limits. When you take a heavyset to failure, you actually do some dam-age to the muscle at the cellular and mo-lecular level. This serves as a stimulus forthe inflammation response, which setsabout to repair the damage. Each time thishappens the muscle builds itself up a littlebigger and stronger than it was before,so the next time it is subjected to thatstress it won’t get damaged. If you keepusing the same weight, pretty soon themuscle will get as big and strong as itneeds to be to withstand that level ofstress, and muscle growth will cease.Then it is time to increase the weight, toforce the muscle to grow even bigger.
Ifyou eliminate your heavy sets and startdoing a lot of reps to burn fat, yourmuscles will shrink. You should strive tokeep training as heavy as possible even asyou diet down for a contest to providethe stimulus needed for muscle hypertro-phy. Furthermore, weight training forhigh reps just isn’t a very effective wayto burn fat. Weight lifting is fueled mainlyby burning carbohydrate from muscleglycogen. Aerobic exercise is much moreeffective for fat loss because it burnsmany more calories than you ever couldby lifting weights and a higher propor-tion of those calories are derived from body fat. So while losing fat keep trainingheavy but do more aerobics.Here are some very rough guidelines forsuggested programs. Note these may re-quire modification for each individual, butare presented just to give you an idea ofhow to make changes to your programas your goals change.1. Program to gain lean mass: Train heavyand get plenty of rest. Recovery is key.Most people do best with three to fiveweight training sessions per week, al-though some people can do more. Afterwarm ups, take each set to failure. Dosome work in the 8-10 rep range, andsome work in the 3-6 rep range. Continu-ally try to increase the load as you’re able.Consume one gram of protein per poundbody weight per day. A representativebreakdown might be around 30% protein,60% carbs, 10% fat (as energy). If yourgoal is to gain body weight, you’re goingto have to increase calories. Generally,these extra calories should come fromstarchy carbohydrates. If you put on fateasily, use CapTri to supply the extra calo-ries you need to gain weight. This willreduce fat accumulation as you gainweight (3). Limit aerobics to 30 minutesthree days a week, preferably on non-weight training days. This will help youavoid over-training. Increase calories byaround 300 per day until you’re gainingweight. Try to gain between one poundper week to one pound per month. Usethe Body Stat Kit to follow your percentbody fat. If you’re gaining a significantamount of fat, cut back on calories andgain more slowly or else use more CapTriand less carbs. (You could do more aero-bics, but your body will adapt to this aswell. It’s probably best to save your maxi-mum effort at aerobics until your fat lossprogram.)
Try not to let body fat exceed10% for men and 15% for women.2. Program for fat loss: Continue to trainheavy. Consider increasing training vol-ume until you’re just at the edge of over-training. You really have to push it to thelimit to get into contest shape. Decreasecalories by about 300 from what you wereusing to gain weight. This will put yousomewhere close to your maintenancerequirement. This is the time to add Ad-vanced Lipotropic Formula to your supple-ment program. Increase protein intake anddecrease carbs. Some people go as highas two grams of protein per pound ofbody weight. A representative breakdownmight be around 40% protein, 50% carbs,and 10% fat (as energy). This is a greattime to use CapTri in place of starch. Anextreme cutting diet would be 40% pro-tein, 30% CapTri, 20% carbs, and 10%fat. This diet isn’t very fun, but you’ll beshredded. Drink a lot of water to preventketosis. Pay attention to absolute carbo-hydrate intake. At no time should carbo-hydrate intake drop below 100 grams perday, because this leads to rapid muscleloss. A lower limit of 150 grams per dayis probably safer, and you’ll have moreenergy to train. Increase aerobic exerciseto 30 minutes seven days a week. As yourcontest approaches increase it further to45-60 minutes a day. Adjust caloric in-take as needed to lose about one poundper week. Limit weight loss to a maxi-mum of one-and-a-half pounds a week,and one pound per week is better. If youlose weight more quickly, you’re likely tolose muscle. This means you have to planahead to know when you need to startyour diet.
Use the Body Stat Kit to followyour body composition as you lose weight.If you’re losing a significant amount ofmuscle, make a change. If you don’tknow what to do, call me. This can be acomplicated period. If you’re losingmuscle you’ve probably reduced caloriestoo much. The first thing to try is usuallyto increase carbs. A lot of people get con-fused about how to balance the amountof aerobics to do with how many caloriesto consume. A good starting place is towork up to 60 minutes of aerobics a day,and then adjust calories as needed to loseabout one pound per week. The optimalamount of aerobics is highly individual-ized, and you’ll have to experiment to findwhat works best for you.3. Program to gain muscle and lose fat atthe same time: Most novice and interme-diate bodybuilders need to both gainmuscle and lose fat. Done properly, thisapproach can result in a rapid and dra-matic change in body composition andappearance. This is where most peopleshould start out. If you’re already ex-tremely lean, then follow the program forgaining lean mass. If you already haveenough lean mass and want to prepare fora contest, follow the fat loss program. Onthis program your goal is to keep overallbody weight relatively constant while in-creasing muscle mass and decreasingbody fat. Since overall body weight is toremain constant, your caloric intakeshould be approximately equal to yourmaintenance energy requirement. You willbe building muscle tissue at the expenseof body fat. In other words, the energycost of building new muscle tissue willbe derived from fat stores. Simply adjustcalories so that your body weight remainsthe same. By keeping a daily record ofyour diet, it’s easy to determine your main-tenance energy requirement. Consumeone gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. Limit dietary fat to 10%of calories. The rest of your calories comefrom complex carbohydrates. Followyour body composition with the Body StatKit to make sure you’re making progress.If a month goes by without any improve-ment, make a change. Train heavy andget plenty of rest. Avoid over-training.Perform aerobics for 30 minutes three tofive days per week. As your lean body mass increases you will have to graduallyincrease calories. An increase in lean bodymass will increase your metabolic rate andyour maintenance energy requirement.
This is where many, many bodybuildersfail. They make good progress for the firstsix months or a year, and then hit a pla-teau and seem to stay stuck there forever.The most common problem is that theyfail to increase their caloric intake as theygain lean muscle tissue. If you never in-crease calories, your muscles will growas big as they can on that level of energyintake and then stop. If your body burns2400 calories per day to maintain itselfand fuel your exercise, and you eat 2400calories per day, that doesn’t leave any-thing left over to build and maintain newtissue. This approach works well as longas you have enough body fat left to sup-ply energy to fuel growth, but as you losefat your progress will grind to a halt un-less you increase calories.Here’s the idea: Start off by consumingyour daily maintenance energy require-ment. If you’re eating and training rightyou’ll automatically gain muscle and losefat. Follow your body composition. Stayon this program until you reach about 8-10% body fat for men, and 12-15% forwomen. This may take two months, or itmay take a year depending on how fatyou are when you start out. When youreach your target body fat percentage, it’stime to increase calories by about 300 perday. You will gain weight. Most of it willbe muscle if you’re following the dietfaithfully. (Most of it will be fat if you’renot.) At this new level of energy intake,your body will reach a new steady state(constant level) body weight.
You will gainmuscle for awhile, until your metabolicrate rises to equal your new level of en-ergy intake. Then it’s time to increasecalories again. If you think about it, basi-cally what you’re doing here is stayingon the maintenance energy program untilyour body composition drops to your tar-get body fat percentage, and then you’reswitching to the program to gain leanmass. Many bodybuilders hit a terminalplateau because they fail to recognize it’stime to increase calories. Many bodybuild-Nutrition and Training 101ers fail to reach their goals because whenthey do increase calories, they put on fat.This means they’re not being strict on theirdiets. So then they cut calories and justdiet back to the same place they startedfrom.These examples illustrate my concept ofbuilding your metabolism. I hope I havegiven you some insight into how the pro-gram works and what to do to achieveyour particular goals. You CAN have thephysique of a bodybuilder – you just haveto want it bad enough to do what it takes.It’s not really that complicated. Trainheavy, eat right, and do your aerobics. Ifyou’re not making progress you have aproblem in one of these areas. The mostcommon problems are getting sloppy onyour diet or getting lazy in the gym. Ifyou’re ready to take your physique to thenext level, I can show you how. Get outyour Parrillo Nutrition Manual and re-ex-amine your diet.
Are you really eating theway you need to to look like a bodybuilder?Have you let some foods creep back intoyour diet that you shouldn’t be eating? Areyou attacking the weights in the gym? Youshould be increasing your weights in eachlift at least every month, if not more fre-quently. Have you fallen into a rut and justlift the same poundages every workout?You HAVE to lift more weight. You can’twait for your muscles to grow and thenlift heavier weight. You have to lift moreweight now or else your muscles won’tget any stronger. I don’t want any peopleon the Parrillo Program to be stuck on aplateau. Next time you walk into the gym,add some more weight to the bar. Everymonth your goal should be to get a newpersonal best in at least one of the basiclifts. You’ll never do it if you don’t try.I’ve recently developed a new tool to helpyou structure your diet: The Parrillo Nu-trition Computer Program. It includes avariety of menu-driven features to helpyou plan and keep track of your diet. Ithelps you figure out your calories, andgrams of protein, fat, and carbs. You tellit what foods you like to eat and then itplans out your meals for you, and evengenerates a shopping list. No more tediouscalculations. Basically, it does everythingexcept cook your food.
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