Your Guide to the Perfect
Physique-Ripping Day

If shedding fat and getting lean were easy, there would be a lot of late-night infomercial directors looking for other lines of work. The truth about fat loss is that it requires consistency; you have to be in it for the long haul. Most importantly, you have to address fat loss in every facet of your life. You can’t just stop eating for a week. (This is even more self-evidently true if you’re a bodybuilder.)

At any rate, real fat loss requires a rigorous a 24-hour commitment, day-in and day-out, to getting your physiological house in order. This includes your workout program, dietary program and other lifestyle factors. To make things even more challenging, these factors need to be properly balanced on a day-to-day basis to most effectively put the body in a position to burn fat. Drinks after work with some friends, dinner out or gatherings at a friend’s house all make the challenge that much harder. With a good bit of information to cover, this article is going to dive into discussing key areas that will help you avoid unwanted pounds and even shed a few extra.

Rest and Sleep

As an individual topic, getting enough rest and sleep is overlooked by many athletes. Inadequate amounts or quality of sleep have been shown to wreak havoc on every aspect of proper bodily function. For example, after just one night of complete sleep deprivation, aerobic exercise performance (walking or cycling exercise) is decreased anywhere from 5% to 20% (Martin 1981, Martin and Chen 1984, Chen 1991). Melatonin and catecholamine, key hormones that regulate sleep, appetite and fuel burning, are undermined (Goh et al. 2001, Chen 1991), and energy expenditure is reduced (Benedict et al. 2011). Moreover, after two days of reduced sleep, strength levels begin to decline (Goh et al. 2001). Not much good happening there, folks! Get some shut-eye, at least 7 to 8 hours each night. Make it a point, as much as possible, to get to sleep at around the same time each night. It sounds boring, but it pays off: Keep regular hours!

Hydration

Hydration is another important lifestyle factor that is easily overlooked. Put simply, you have trillions of cells that bathe in water. Without adequate water, the body will go to extreme measures to provide what it needs. The age-old advice directing you to drink X number of glasses of water each day is correct in principle, but cannot accommodate different body sizes, sweat rates and activity levels. Proper fluid replacement is extremely important for any athlete interested in performance, as fluid decreases of 1% to 2% (an amount that can easily occur in as little as 2 hours) can decrease performance. Exercising while dehydrated will challenge your body’s ability to cool itself. As a result, your exercise heart rate will be higher and your workouts will feel harder even if you aren’t really working any harder.

Cardio

Do you HAVE to do cardio to lose weight and burn fat? No, of course not, but losing weight and burning fat ultimately comes down to the balance of calories. People hate to hear it, but nearly every strategy from an exercise or dietary perspective comes back to calories. Herein lies the value of regularly doing cardio. The better your overall fitness and the harder you push, the more calories you burn! The better your cardiovascular health, the better your potential work output. There is nothing sadder than seeing a big, lumbering bodybuilder who can barely climb a flight of stairs or tie his own shoes without getting winded.

Depending on a number of factors (body size, body composition, fitness, exercise mode, etc.) it is reasonable to expect to burn 10 calories per minute during cardio. As you become more fit, this value will climb to 12, 13 or even 14 calories per minute. For those who are trying to monitor calories burned, cardio-style exercise is excellent for this. Don’t like to do cardio or you can’t stand the monotony of it? Then develop a simple interval-style workout on your treadmill, elliptical or cycle. As an example, increase the treadmill speed by 2 mph for one minute, then go back to a typical jogging pace for 2 to 3 minutes and repeat. Studies show that intervals are an excellent way to improve your fitness, burn more calories and make positive changes to your muscle and your overall health (Hood et al. 2011).

Resistance Training

We’re preaching to the converted here, but it still needs to be said, especially to beginners. More should be made of the value of resistance training for long-term fat burning benefits. For beginners who may be starting a program and potentially have more weight to lose, cardio is a common exercise mode to begin with, but as fitness improves and weight loss occurs, resistance training plays a more important role. For years, resistance training was revered for its ability to increase strength and muscle mass (two pretty awesome things!), but within the last 10 to 15 years the amount of information that supports the ability of resistance training to support body transformation goals has exploded. In particular, resistance training appears to be a critical component of the overall quest to lose fat through an energy-restricted diet.

With energy restriction, studies indicate that approximately 25% of the weight loss is fat-free mass (Carbone, McClung, and Pasiakos 2012). These losses must be controlled to help your body maintain its ability to burn calories and to encourage continual weight loss. While a complete understanding of the mechanisms at play are incomplete, it seems resistance training puts forth a very powerful signal to your body to hold on to your muscle and burn more fat for needed energy. Many examples of suitable resistance training programs can be found on the ProSource website.

Protein Intake

Protein intake is placed next to resistance training on purpose because several studies published in the last 2 to 3 years have positively highlighted the impact of consuming a diet with increased dietary protein in combination with resistance training to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss. The current RDA for protein, which is an inadequate level of protein for a dieting, exercising adult, is 0.8 g/kg/day. Stefan Pasiakos and colleagues completed an excellent student that required men and women to diet and exercise to produce a 40% reduction in energy balance for a 21-day period. One group consumed the RDA for protein (0.8 g/kg/day), another group consumed 2x the RDA (1.6 g/kg/day) and a third group consumed 3x the RDA (2.4 g/kg/day). They concluded that consuming approximately 2x the RDA resulted in the greatest amount of fat loss and smallest amount of muscle loss.

Lean cuts of flesh proteins (beef, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.) along with eggs and milk are excellent sources of protein. For times when you want to use a protein powder, whey protein has the highest concentration of all of the essential amino acids. Isolated versions of whey such as that found in NytroWhey® Ultra Elite have the highest quantity of protein and least amount of fat, carbohydrates and other fillers. I’ve written about NytroWhey before, and it’s still, ounce for ounce and dollar for dollar, a highly superior protein. You’ll never find a microgram of cheap concentrates or filler in NytroWhey.

NytroWhey Ultra Elite’s ultra growth-factor-rich Cross Flow Microfiltration (CFM) Whey Protein Isolate provides maximum bioavailability and spurs elevated blood amino acid levels for hours, while its TherMAX Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate is designed to flood aminos into the bloodstream immediately upon ingestion. A third component, Leuvon Leucine Peptides, is an advanced technology designed to enhance digestibility and utilization of leucine, a primary biological trigger for extreme anabolism. Put these together, and you've got a recipe for muscle and strength suport.

While on the topic of high-quality protein and its impact on weight loss, the advanced engineering of protein by Glanbia USA has led to the creation of Prolibra®, a patented combination of protein peptides incorporated into ProSource’s Vectron®. This combination was put to the test in the form of a research study that was published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. Each participant was instructed to reduce their caloric intake by 500 calories per day and consume either two doses of Prolibra or two doses of placebo over a 12-week study period using a double-blind approach (Frestedt et al. 2008). Both groups lost weight as a result of restricting their calories, but the study participants who were taking Prolibra lost significantly more fat when compared to control participants. Not only was more fat lost, but individuals taking Prolibra also lost less muscle as part of the research study. For fat loss and targeted muscle support, ProSource Vectron is an indispensable tool.

Nutrient Timing

Losing fat requires energy restriction, a process that can accelerate the rate at which muscle is lost from the body. While increasing the overall intake of protein in your diet is an effective strategy to minimize your loss of muscle, studies indicate that consuming more frequent feedings of protein is an effective strategy to consistently stimulate muscle protein synthesis across the entire day.

As an example, Areta and colleagues had groups of healthy male participants ingest the same total daily dosage (80 grams) of protein but in different patterns across a 12-hour time period after completing an identical bout of resistance training. One group ingested two doses of 40 grams every 6 hours, a second group ingested 4 doses of 20 grams every 3 hours and a third group ingested 8 doses of 10 grams every 90 minutes. Ingesting a 20-gram dose every 4 hours over a 12-hour period stimulated muscle protein synthesis to the greater degree throughout the day. To note, the 10 gram dose was thought to be too small of a dose to maximally stimulate the muscle while not ingesting any protein for a 6 hour time period was found to be too long of a time period to maintain muscle protein synthesis (Areta et al. 2013).  

Supplementation

Make no mistake, the lion’s share of your time and energy should be spent on eating a healthy diet and following an exercise program that will facilitate weight loss. For many individuals, adding a dietary supplement that can help their body burn more calories and control their appetite is recommended. A product like BioQuest’s BetaStax® Elite is an excellent consideration, as it contains a combination of ingredients that can support different areas of your weight loss goals. BetaStax Elite contains a number of thermogenic and energy-support catalysts supported by previously published research for their ability to support weight loss. In addition to these other nutrients, BetaStax Elite also contains PureWay-Slim®, a patented proprietary blend of ingredients that pilot research has shown may help with weight loss when compared to other ingredient combinations. Indeed, in an unpublished clinical trial performed at the University of Miami, PureWay-Slim elicited an extra 3.8 pounds of weight loss after 4 weeks. BetaStax Elite is well-suited to supporting your weight-loss program, while also supporting energy levels while you're cutting calories.

Conclusion

In closing, the pursuit of fat loss can be challenging. Individuals trying to lose fat must get their sleep habits in order to ensure their bodies are well-rested and motivated and also make sure they are regularly hydrating themselves throughout each day. As these lifestyle changes are made, an exercise regimen consisting of cardio-style exercise and resistance training exercise is needed several days per week. Intensity with either style of exercise and consistency in completing workouts are mandatory steps towards success.

To lose weight and fat, an exercise program must be followed and calories must be restricted in the diet. During restricted periods, fat is lost, but so is muscle and including resistance training sessions along with consuming protein at approximately 2x the RDA is an important first step to maximize fat loss. Finally, adding a dietary supplement with ingredients proven to help with weight loss can also help to facilitate more intense workouts while also providing the necessary energy and focus to stick to both your workout and dietary regimens.


Read more about NytroWhey Ultra Elite.

Read more about Vectron.

Read more about BetaStax Elite.


Scientific References

Areta, J. L., L. M. Burke, M. L. Ross, D. M. Camera, D. W. West, E. M. Broad, N. A. Jeacocke, D. R. Moore, T. Stellingwerff, S. M. Phillips, J. Hawley, and V. G. Coffey. 2013. "Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis."  J Physiol. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.244897.

Benedict, C., M. Hallschmid, A. Lassen, C. Mahnke, B. Schultes, H. B. Schioth, J. Born, and T. Lange. 2011. "Acute sleep deprivation reduces energy expenditure in healthy men."  The American journal of clinical nutrition 93 (6):1229-36. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.006460.

Carbone, J. W., J. P. McClung, and S. M. Pasiakos. 2012. "Skeletal muscle responses to negative energy balance: effects of dietary protein."  Adv Nutr 3 (2):119-26. doi: 10.3945/an.111.001792.

Chen, H. I. 1991. "Effects of 30-h sleep loss on cardiorespiratory functions at rest and in exercise."  Med Sci Sports Exerc 23 (2):193-8.

Frestedt, J. L., J. L. Zenk, M. A. Kuskowski, L. S. Ward, and E. D. Bastian. 2008. "A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study."  Nutr Metab (Lond) 5:8. doi: 1743-7075-5-8 [pii]
10.1186/1743-7075-5-8.

Goh, V. H., T. Y. Tong, C. L. Lim, E. C. Low, and L. K. Lee. 2001. "Effects of one night of sleep deprivation on hormone profiles and performance efficiency."  Mil Med 166 (5):427-31.
Hood, M. S., J. P. Little, M. A. Tarnopolsky, F. Myslik, and M. J. Gibala. 2011. "Low-volume interval training improves muscle oxidative capacity in sedentary adults."  Med Sci Sports Exerc 43 (10):1849-56. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182199834.

Martin, B. J. 1981. "Effect of sleep deprivation on tolerance of prolonged exercise."  Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 47 (4):345-54.

Martin, B. J., and H. I. Chen. 1984. "Sleep loss and the sympathoadrenal response to exercise."  Med Sci Sports Exerc 16 (1):56-9.

Tang, J. E., D. R. Moore, G. W. Kujbida, M. A. Tarnopolsky, and S. M. Phillips. 2009. "Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men."  J Appl Physiol 107 (3):987-92. doi: 00076.2009 [pii]
10.1152/japplphysiol.00076.2009.


Use as directed with a sensible diet and exercise program that includes reduced caloric intake and increased physical activity. Consult a health care professional before beginning any weight loss program. Read and follow all product label instructions and warnings thoroughly before use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Disclaimer: The information discussed in this article are not intended to be interpreted as endorsements by the author or the university he is affiliated.