With summertime fast approaching, shedding any excess fat you might have put on over the winter is a hot topic. How would you like to get into super shape by summer? Now is the time to start. There are specific strategies of diet, exercise, and supplementa-tion that maximize fat loss while retaining hard-earned muscle. When I use the word “diet” I’m NOT referring to classical “low calorie” diets. Restricting calories will work over the short term but always fails in the long run. The body has specific defense mechanisms in place to defend against body weight loss (specifi-cally fat stores) and these biologic mechanisms are triggered when a drastic reduction of calories oc-curs. During severe caloric restriction you lose as much muscle as fat – and this bodybuilding nightmare reduces the metabolic rate like slamming into a wall. It aslo brings fat loss to a screeching halt. Reduced caloric intake primes your enzymes and hormones to preferentially replenish fat depots after normal caloric intake is resumed.
Rather than restricting calories and call into play the body’s starvation response, we need to work with our bod-ies, giving them the nutrients and energy they require – but in a clever way that pro-motes fat loss while retaining hard-earned gym muscle . There is no magic here and it’s really not too complicated once you know what to do.The single best move you can make – if you want to lose fat and gain muscle – is to purchase the Parrillo Performance Nutrition Manual. This amazing book dis-cusses my philosophy and introduces you to the method by which you can make it all happen. Food is the foundation of good nutrition and you will derive the maximum benefit from your supplements and training only if they are combined with a proper and plentiful diet of wholesome foods. The foundation of our diet is based on the idea that in order to maximize fat loss you need adequate amounts of protein. Protein helps prevent muscle loss while you are losing fat and protein generates a hormonal and thermodynamic milieu that is optimal for fat loss.
Normally I recommend protein consumption of around 1.5 grams per pound of body weight per day. During a serious fat loss program I would suggest you increase that: take in up to two grams or more of protein per pound of body weight, per day. To avoid increasing your caloric intake while increasing your protein consumption reduce your starchy carbohydrate intake by an equivalent amount of calories. Exchange starch calories for protein calories and you will jump-start the fat loss process. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and normally consume 200 grams of protein per day, to facilitate fat loss while minimiz-ing muscle loss, you would increase your protein intake to 400 grams per day and decrease your starch intake by 200 grams per day to compensate. Since a gram of protein and a gram of carbohydrates generate the same caloric amount, 4 calories per gram, the net result is no change in the total amount of calories you consume. Our research and knowledge gleaned in preparing some of the best bodybuilders in the world indicate that you benefit tremendously by tilting the ratio of calories contributed by protein and away from carbohydrate. Detailed information about how to precisely adjust this ratio is provided in the Parrillo Nutri-tion Manual. Upping protein has several metabolic effects. Increased protein reduces insulin levels. Insulin is not a bad thing and is required for many vital functions but the problem is that too much insulin blocks the use of fat as an energy source . And that is a bad thing.Carbohydrates stimu-late insulin release and by reducing the amount we take the brakes off the fat-burn-ing process.
This is why low carb/high protein diets are so popular these days . Another consequence of increasing the protein-carbohydrate ratio has to do with thermodynamics. Every time you eat a meal a certain percentage of the calo-ries are lost as body heat during the process of digestion and metabolism. This is called the thermic effect of feeding, or TEF. Whatever calories are lost as body heat are no longer available for storage as fat. These calories are no longer available for use as fuel by the body to perform its work and the body is forced to rely on stored fat for fuel. This procedure automatically promotes fat loss without reducing calories or lowering the metabolic rate. The TEF for dietary fat is 2-3%. This means 2-3% of the fat calories you eat will be lost as body heat during the process of digestion and metabolism. Under conditions of normal caloric consumption the rest of these calories are retained as body fat. The TEF for carbohydrate is 8%, while the TEF for protein is 25%. This means that 25% of the calories you consume as protein “go up in smoke” before they can be used as fuel to perform work – or be stored as fat. That’s a good thing. Protein’s high TEF makes it roughly 23% better than fat insofar as TEF efficiency.
An-other benefit of increased pro-tein intake during weight loss is that protein reduces the loss of muscle tissue. Usually (but not always) when you lose fat you lose some muscle as well. By increasing protein intake we minimize this undesirable result. Why? Protein, in addi-tion to having a high TEF also provides essential amino acids that muscle needs to maintain itself. The higher the protein intake the more likely the hard dieting athlete has of retaining muscle mass throughout the process . By increasing protein, reducing fat intake and lower-ing starchy carbohydrates, we minimize muscle loss and end up leaner and more muscular as a result. We “trick” the body into burning fat as fuel and keep our metabolic rate elevated.Good protein sources include skinless chicken or turkey breast, egg whites and most fish. Our Nutrition Manual includes a food scale and a nutrition composition table listing the nutrient breakdown of all the foods you should be eating. Many people have trouble eating enough protein in food form so we manufacture two excellent protein powders, Optimized Whey™ and Hi-Protein™. Each supplies 31-33 grams of pure protein per serving.
This is the way top bodybuilders, strength and professional athletes ingest high amounts of “clean” protein without having to eat and cook all that food. Parrillo Performance Hi-Protein™ Powder and Optimized Whey™ Protein are both ideal for this application. Good starchy carbohydrate sources include oatmeal, corn, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, le-gumes, and brown rice. Examples of fibrous vegetables include lettuce, spinach, squash, zucchini, spinach, greens, green beans, broc-coli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. See the Nutrition Manual for a comprehensive list of preferred foods as well as their indi-vidual nutritional profiles.A common misconception is that when you want to lose fat you should shift your weight training from training heavy to training with lighter weights for high reps. This is a big mistake and has no basis in physiology . The reasoning commonly pre-sented is that you’ll burn more calories if you train lighter, longer and for higher reps: this might be true but it is irrelevant. Weight lifting doesn’t burn many calories no matter how you do it and by training for high reps you may burn a few more calories but not enough to notice. Weight lifting is an an-aerobic exercise fueled almost exclusively by carbohydrates. Fat cannot be used as an anaero-bic fuel. It can only be oxidized in an “aerobic” metabolism. Whatever few extra calories you might burn by training with high reps will be supplied by carbs anyway.
The main issue is how do we maintain muscle mass while shedding fat? Intense training with heavy weights provides the stimulus necessary to increase muscle mass – and is also the best stimulus to main-tain muscle mass while you’re losing fat. Your body will adapt to heavy training by increasing muscle mass. If you back off on the intensity of your training, or the amount of weight you lift, your body will realize it no longer needs hypertrophied muscles and you will experi-ence varying degrees of muscle wasting.To promote fat loss, add or increase your aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise. Aerobic exercise is fueled in large part by fat, especially while on a reduced carbohy-drate diet. If you couple aerobics with a low fat diet whatever fat you use to fuel your aerobic exercise must be derived from stored body fat. A good rule of thumb is to keep weight training hard and heavy as usual, but double your aerobic exercise. Thirty minutes of aerobics in the morning before breakfast and another 30 minutes before bed works very well for most people. The advantage of doing aerobics before breakfast is at that time of day glycogen stores are at the lowest level and more energy will be derived from stored body fat.Use the protein powder as needed to obtain your required number of protein grams. Use CapTri® if you are going low in carbs and feel a loss of energy or strength.
The proper way to use CapTri® in our shape-up scenario is as a replacement for calories derived from conventional fat or starch. Replace the equivalent number of calories from CapTri®, which has a very high TEF and has almost no capacity to be retained as body fat. It is used-up, almost immediately as an energy source (as rapidly as glucose) while having little effect in terms of increas-ing insulin levels. Unlike conventional fats, CapTri® is not stored as body fat and unlike carbohydrates CapTri® does not block the use of body fat as energy. It is an ideal energy source to use while losing fat.You may also want to consider our Muscle Amino Formula™ and Advanced Lipotropic Formula™. Muscle Amino Formula™ provides the ideal balance of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), leu-cine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are used as fuel by muscle cells and supplementing the BCAAs has been shown to decrease muscle catabolism. This is a high-tech product that can help you maintain muscle mass while losing fat, resulting in a leaner, more muscular physique. Advanced Lipotropic Formula provides l-carnitine along with several other nutrients required for fat metabolism. L-carnitine works as a transporter molecule to shuttle fat into mitochondria, the tiny furnaces inside cells where fat is burned. I hope this article spurs you into action. Hopefully, by the time the summer arrives you will have a total physi-cal makeover. Best of luck!
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