Getting into contest shape doesn't have to mean sacrificing hard-earned muscle mass. While many of the so-called miracle diets can result in a significant loss of lean tissue, it's possible to speed up your metabolism so that virtually all of the weight lost during dieting is
bodyfat and not muscle. You just have to diet intelligently, following these 10 simple guidelines:
1. Eat complex carbs for breakfast.
The first meal of the day is very important. Breakfast is often your body's first food intake in eight to 10 hours. Your stomach is totally empty, and whatever you eat will help set the tone for the rest of the day. Instead of the usual sugary junk, make sure that your breakfast
is predominantly complex carbohydrates, which will digest more slowly and therefore cause less of a spike in your blood glucose levels. This will minimize the amount of calories shipped off to the adipose tissue, or fat. Your breakfast should also include some nonfat protein,
such as egg whites or nonfat milk products.
2. Increase the number of meals you eat.
Every time you eat a meal, your body responds with a modest rise in its metabolic rate. Of course, this rise isn't sufficient to offset the calories consumed. If it were, there would he no overweight people. If you divide a given number of calories per day into a greater number of
meals, however, the net result will be an increase in metabolism over and above what it would have been if you'd eaten only three meals. Mm for four to six meals each day, but make sure you don't wind up increasing your total calorie intake as a result. While it can be difficult
to juggle that many meals with your work responsibilities, the results will be well worth the effort.
3. Reduce your intake of dietary fats.
This is probably the easiest way to lose bodyfat, yet for many people it's the most difficult. Fats contain nine calories per gram, more than twice the caloric punch of proteins and carbohydrates. A single tablespoon of butter has more calories than an entire cauliflower. So by
cutting out fats, you can significantly reduce your total calorie intake without sacrificing the amount of food you eat. Reducing the quantity of beef and pork and substituting turkey, fish and chicken will also help decrease your consumption of dietary fats.
4. Eat more complex carbohydrates.
It's a good policy to consume a high proportion of complex carbohydrates throughout the day. Complex carbs contain fiber and enough water to give you the satisfaction of eating a relatively large volume of food. Lo-fat, high-carb foods such as brown rice, potatoes, breads and pastas
should be staples of your diet. That way you won't miss the dietary fats that you're cutting out.
5. Reduce your consumption of simple sugars.
Think of your body as a furnace. If you throw easily burnable material such as paper into the furnace, the flame will burn brightly but soon die. On the other hand, if you put in thick logs, the rise in heat will be more gradual but will remain longer. Simple sugars are like paper,
and complex carbs are like logs. By cutting out sugary snacks, you can reduce your furnace's short-term energy production and minimize the amount of that fuel that's sucked into your fat stores. Your consumption of fruit should be moderate for the same reason, although fruits
contain fiber and are therefore much better than refined sugars.
6. Don't overly restrict your calories.
This is the main mistake athletes make in their quest for a defined, muscular physique. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a great body. You have to reduce your calories gradually. Too quick of a change will send your body into metabolic shock, an evolutionary mechanism
that slows your metabolism to prevent starvation in the face of restricted food supplies. This is the opposite of what you want. Although you'll be tempted to get the dieting over with, you must resist it. In bodyfat reduction, as in all things, patience is a virtue.
7. Increase your aerobic exercise.
When you perform aerobic activities at a moderate pace, your body will take much of the energy it needs for the activity from the adipose tissue stores. Since it takes 10 minutes or so for this aerobic energy pathway to really kick in, you should do aerobic exercise for at least 20
minutes per session and build up to a 30-to-45-minute session. Aerobic workouts such as biking and powerwalking not only melt away the fat during training but also give your body a metabolic boost to keep on burning calories throughout the day.
8. Intensify your progressive resistance training.
Weight training is also a valuable tool for raising your metabolism. Although pumping iron doesn't directly consume fat, due to the energy pathways involved, the increase in activity gets your body charged up and running more swiftly This raises your baseline calorie requirements
and produces a reduction in bodyfat, provided that you don't eat more to compensate. Stimulating the muscles with progressive- resistance training also sends a clear signal to the brain that your muscles are needed for a functional purpose. Consequently, your body will get the
energy it needs during the day from the fat stores instead of from the glycogen residing in your muscle fibers.
9. Eat some complex carbs before exercise.
In order to maintain high intensity throughout your workout, you need to eat some complex carbs before you train. These longer lasting carbs supply a more even and prolonged source of calories than the sugary sports drinks sometimes sold as 'quick energy boosts." This sustained high
intensity will help catapult you to greater lifts and consequent metabolic and muscle gains.
10. Reduce your carb intake late in the day.
There's a 30 percent reduction in the basal metabolic rate during sleep. Therefore, your body requires fewer calories during that time. If you supply too many calories, they'll simply be sent off to the adipose tissue for storage. In order to prevent this, you need to reduce your
carbohydrate intake late in the day Eat only a Limited quantity of carbs with your dinner, and then wait until breakfast before you consume carbohydrates again.