Whether you're getting ready for a contest or just want to lose fat, choosing a bodybuilding diet that will work for you can be an arduous task. Naturally, you want a diet that allows you to
retain muscle mass and reduce bodyfat without a lot of mental discomfort. The diet also needs to work for you and your individual biological needs.
So, how do you devise the best bodybuilding diet plan for your particular physiology? Look no further than ketosis dieting. Simply put, ketosis dieting involves manipulating your nutritional
intake to burn fat, while allowing you to maintain your muscle by sticking to a high-protein regimen. Some people even gain muscle while on this diet. It's meant as a short-term diet that can
lean you out quickly - you can use it for a period of a few weeks to about two months, depending on your particular metabolic needs and physique goals.
Best yet, it's foolproof, since you can use Ketostix (a brand of test strips used to measure ketones in urine) every day to measure your body's state of ketosis. This takes much of the
guesswork out of the process of strict dieting.
THE SCIENCE OF KETONES
Ketone bodies are a byproduct of fat metabolism. The brain, heart and muscles oxidize ketone bodies for fuel, but under normal blood sugar conditions, these tissues prefer to use glucose for
fuel. When glucose is abundant, ketone body utilization stays at a minimum, as little as one to two percent of total energy output.
Ketosis occurs when ketone concentration in the blood is higher than glucose levels. To increase ketosis, insulin levels must drop. The drop can occur during complete fatigue, intense exercise
or by restricting carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day. Ketone bodies will then become the preferred source of fuel, producing 75% of total energy output.
The formulation of ketone bodies and the utilization of fuel are controlled by levels of the hormones insulin and glucagon. Insulin is released by the pancreas after eating carbohydrates.
Glucagon, also produced in the pancreas, stimulates the conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver. Glucagon is present only when insulin falls to very low levels.
HOW MUCH AND WHEN?
Anyone who has tried low-carbohydrate dieting realizes the difficulties in maintaining the diet - due to hunger and decreased mental capacity. To offset these two problems, use lecithin as a fat
source. Consuming fat also has the added benefit of helping to induce ketosis. Take one teaspoon five times per day with food; this dosage can be gradually increased over the course of the diet.
Heavier individuals (200 pounds or more) should increase this amount to one tablespoon five times per day.
Also take 200 milligrams of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid or calcium pantothenate) per day and increase the dosage every three or four days until you work up to one gram. Be careful not to
increase B5 too quickly, as this will produce a laxative effect.
For some people, taking vitamin B5 and lecithin together has an antidepressant effect.
On the first day of dieting, women should take in 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates. The carbs should be evenly divided among four to six meals. Vegetables are usually the best choice for these
low-carb days. Occasionally, women will need to drop their intake below 50 g if no ketosis occurs after five days. In that case, move to the two-day carb-up phase described below, then reduce
carbs to 25 g during the next low-carb phase for another five days, or until ketosis is reached. It's very important to start the carb-up phase the day after you hit the trace mark on the
For men, begin with 150 g of carbohydrates per day for the low-carb stage. You should achieve ketosis by the fifth day. If not, move to the two-day carb-up phase described below. Then, for the
next low-carb stage, lower your carb intake by 25 g every three days until you find the amount at which you achieve ketosis.
Carb-up days are limited to two. On these days, eat low-insulin-secretion carbohydrates (e.g., apples, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lima beans, lentils, plums, peaches, grapefruit and cherries),
consuming a total of approximately two grams per pound of bodyweight, spread over six to eight meals per day. On these carb-up days, then, a 120-pound person should eat about 240 g of carbs; a
200-pound person, about 400 g. Don't take lecithin on these days, but do take vitamin B5.
Protein should be consumed every day during this diet at a rate of 30-50 g per meal, depending on the size of the individual. These meals should be spaced two to three hours apart. Take digestive
enzymes to help with assimilation. Start with one per meal. If you experience gas and bloating, increase enzymes to two per meal.
DON'T FORGET FIBER
Dietary fiber increases the process of ketosis in the body and helps increase the metabolic rate by encouraging frequent elimination throughout the day. Fiber is lacking in most American diets.
The recommended amount of fiber for good health is 20-30 g per day. Those on low-carbohydrate diets can never achieve this amount, therefore, supplementing with psyllium husk is a good idea.
Adding psyllium husk at a rate of one-and-a-half teaspoons (one teaspoon of husk is equal to approximately four grams of fiber) four times per day with at least eight ounces of water will
increase the rate of ketosis.
Water is another important part of dieting. Hydration allows for the cellular regulation necessary for muscle protein anabolism. Believe it or not, a leaner physique is achieved by increasing
your consumption of water. Start with one gallon of water per day, drinking most of it between meals so you don't interfere with the digestive process by diluting stomach acids. Increase the
amount of water you drink until you reach two to three gallons per day.
Exercise also increases ketosis. Doing cardio first thing in the morning, before eating, is the best way to induce ketosis. It's possible to burn approximately 200% more bodyfat by performing
cardio at this time than at any other time of the day. During exercise, keep your heart rate at 70-80% of your max. Adding another cardio session at night, after your last meal, will further
increase the effect.
Depending on an individual's metabolic rate, the suggested amount of cardio is at least 30 minutes per day, but do more if you feel it's necessary in order to achieve ultralean condition.
How do you know if you've reached ketosis? To monitor your ketone levels, purchase Ketostix from a drugstore. Test your urine in the morning, afternoon and evening to gauge if you're in ketosis.
Ketosis occurs when the urine strip reads trace.
The beauty of using Ketostix to check your urine is that sometimes you may feel you really need more carbohydrates. The urine test will tell you if it's your body or your head that's demanding
them. Usually, it's your head.