The quickest path to improving your appearance is to lose a little bodyfat. Want your muscles to appear bigger? Lose some fat. Want a smaller waist? Lose fat.
Unfortunately the approach to fat loss has been complicated by the dozens of different books, audio tapes, videos, DVDs and weight-loss programs that appear
on the market; and by the numerous articles, ads and infomercials that appear in the media year round. So many different fat-loss tools and techniques are
now available that to try and find something applicable to give you a clear path to carve off the excess flesh can be frustrating. In reality fat loss is quite
basic. Your fat appears on your physique because you have been taking in more calories than you have been expending. That's the explanation - nothing fancy to
that equation. No one is exempt from this equation - not even bodybuilders.
Your body gained its fat from either eating too much or exercising too little - or most likely a combination of both. For most people fat gains happen
gradually. Many writers note the gains occur "one French fry at a time." The end result isn't pretty.
Bodybuilders are not immune from the creeping gains that fat makes on the physique. Some bodybuilders stay in constant off-season condition, carrying a little
extra around the waist than needed. Many of them consistently have a bodyfat level above 10 percent, some as high as 12 to 15 percent for most of the year.
If you want to break out of this mold and trim down, forget all the fancy fat-loss techniques and concentrate on three simple tools. The key to the battle
against fat loss is not eating some exotic new herb; rather, the key is willpower. Willpower applied to the three tools will do the trick. Here they are.
The Body Builder's Best Friend
Walking is the bodybuilder's best friend. We are not talking about walking from the couch to the microwave but rather taking a brisk walk outside or on a
treadmill on a consistent basis. Walking is a perfect cardio activity for a bodybuilder as it burns fat without cutting into muscle mass. Running, on the
other hand, can cut into gains in muscle size. Walking takes longer to burn off fat, but the fat comes off without affecting hard-gained muscle mass. A
couple of key factors for bodybuilders to realize are people who run a lot tend to lose some muscle size (have you ever noticed how emaciated a long-distance
runner looks? and people who use diet alone as a fat-reduction tool also tend to lose some muscle in the overall scheme of trimming down.
Walking, however, is not as wicked on the muscles as either running or dieting, and the body tends to keep more muscular mass when walking is the tool of
choice. Set your sights a little farther out, and walking will do the trick for you. Try to get in three to four strolling sessions a week at a strong pace
for 30 to 60 minutes a walk. If possible take a longer hike on the weekend - a good one-hour jaunt. Go uphill on the weekends and you will burn even more
calories. Take your partner along on the walks and start a habit you both can enjoy as you burn off calories.
Fiber: Fat Fighter
Walking is a superb fat-loss tool, but you can make it more effective when used in conjunction with a simple change to your diet: increasing your fiber
intake. You are more than likely not getting enough fiber; the average person eats far less than half of the fiber nutritionists deem necessary to ingest
every day for good health. Fiber has specific benefits beyond basic health issues (for which it is very beneficial). Fiber, it turns out, is a superb fat-loss
tool. Many bodybuilders live on egg whites, tuna and protein powders and fall far short of reaching the recommended fiber intake of 20 to 40 grams a day
necessary for a healthy body. Two of fiber's best benefits are it blocks fat absorption while at the same time providing no or very little increase in calorie
intake. Fiber also makes you feel full, and you then have less of a tendency to keep snacking and packing on those unwanted excess calories that turn into fat.
Boosting your fiber intake can help you avoid putting on excess bodyfat. If you replace calorie-dense food in your diet (sugars and many fats) with fiber, you
will be lowering your calorie intake, helping you to trim down quickly. Some fibrous foods even have a low- to no-calorie effect on the body when considering
the thermal action of the full digestive process. Using fiber as your tool in fat loss will leave your stomach feeling satiated and not needing more food.
Nutritionists note fiber tends to linger in the stomach, thereby delaying gastric emptying (which provides the feeling of fullness).
How do you incorporate more fiber into your diet? Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, both high in fiber. Leave the skin on the veggies and fruit
as the skin contains most of the fiber. Some cereals are high in fiber as are beans, rice and some fun foods such as seeds and popcorn. (No butter on the
Taking The Slow Train
The last tool for fat loss - a slow and steady approach - really holds the true key to successful fat loss. Almost everyone who uses a crash diet to burn off
fat not only gains the fat back - according to the Food and Drug Administration - but also gains a little extra to boot. Try and get to your fat-loss destination
too fast and you'll fail. The only way to lose 15 pounds of fat instantly is to cut your head off, Jack. Forget what the media says: Fat doesn't drop off just
like that. In reality nutritionists say the best way to take fat off is to lose a pound or two a week. A couple of reasons to go slowly are:
1. Those who go slowly tend to keep the fat off instead of gaining it back.
2. Lose fat too fast and you frequently lose some muscle mass with it.
So slow down. Relax. The fat will come off. You may not get to your goal as fast as someone on an extreme fad diet or those running their legs into the ground -
but when you do you will look much better (not like a shriveled prune as many diet faddists or extreme runners do) and you will maintain your lean-muscle gains
Achieving fat loss does not require some miracle technique or wild herb. Three simple tools will do the trick -walking on a consistent basis, adding more fiber
to your diet in place of sugar and bad (trans) fats, and taking a gradual but persistent approach. Employ these these tools and you will melt off the unwanted
fat from your physique while maintaining your muscle mass as well.