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5 Steps image1

Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Featured Content, Supplement Articles
By Jeff Volek, PhD, RD | Nov 16, 2012

Targeted Tactics that Support
Muscle Growth And Cut Body Fat

If you are an athlete, whether you are a weekend warrior or professional caliber, there's a good chance you want to lose additional body fat.  I also bet that in the process of shedding a few inches off your waistline, you prefer to keep your hard-earned muscle and even add some.  Here's five tactics to make sure that happens.

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Prolibra, as found in Vectron

Protein is obviously a key component of supporting muscle growth.  Although it is necessary, it should be used in moderation.  It's much more important to focus on quality than quantity.  And when it comes to quality, it's hard to beat Prolibra.  Prolibra is available in ProSource's premier fat-loss protein Vectron.  Because of Prolibra's high BCAA and leucine content, as well as the isolation of other highly bioactive components, it's an extremely efficient agent for augmenting fat loss and muscle support.  Prolibra is a proprietary formula containing a specific blend of intact whey protein, specific whey peptides, and milk minerals. A notable feature of Prolibra is that about 25% of the total amino acids are branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), and leucine makes up half of the BCAA. The BCAA are ideal for preserving lean tissue because they are the only amino acids specifically taken up by muscle and used for energy, thereby becoming limited during exercise and periods of caloric restriction.

Whenever we speak of Vectron, of course, we have to talk of the groundbreaking clinical study that validated Prolibra. In an independent, randomized, double-blind, 12-week clinical trial commissioned by the makers of Prolibra and published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, subjects who took 24 grams of Prolibra daily showed significant improvements in the ratio of lean mass to fat as compared to a placebo group. While other products focus on one side of the weight-loss equation, Vectron provides a double-edged attack by helping you reduce fat, while at the same time maintaining your hard-forged muscle.

Vectron contains 65 calories and 10 grams of protein per serving (24.2 grams per day) with virtually no carbohydrate.  To attain maximal benefit, it is recommended to consume one serving 20 minutes before breakfast and 20 minutes before dinner. To get an additional benefit, consider taking another serving 30-45 minutes before your workout.

Cut Sugars and Starches

In order to lose body fat you need to gain access to your fat cells and burn the excess body fat.  The most efficient way to ramp up your body's ability to mobilize and utilize fat is to reduce glucose availability for cells.  That's a more technical way of saying the best method to lose body fat is to cut your carbs. More specifically decrease the amount of sugars and starches you eat.  There are smart and not so smart ways to go about reducing carbs. First realize that everyone is different.  Some people will need to restrict carbs more than others to get the desirable metabolic and fat loss benefits.  This may require some trial and error.  In general you may need to restrict carbs more if you have insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, high propensity to store fat in your mid-section, poor history of success with low fat diets, wide swings in blood sugar after carb intake, or increased blood levels of triglycerides.  My colleagues and I are working on a non-invasive test that would tell you more or less the specific carb level below which you convert it to fat, but it's not quite ready yet, so stay tuned.    

The Right Fat for Fuel

Since your carb level will be lower, or plummeting in some cases, in order to provide the right metabolic environment for optimal fat burning and fat loss, you'll need to compensate by increasing either protein or fat.  Since it doesn't make a lot of sense to consume excess protein, it means you'll need to eat more fat.  But in many ways the type of fat chosen is much more important than sweating about how much.  

In the context of a low carbohydrate diet, satiety is an excellent signal that you've eaten enough.  In order of effect on satiety fat delivers the most potent punch followed by protein, then high fiber carbs, then refined carbs.  In reality, it comes down to how much body fat you want to lose.  If you have a lot to lose, then you'll need to keep total calories lower which means you won't need to replace the carbs with as much fat.  If you have just a few pounds of body fat to shed, then you'll be consuming considerable more fat to replace the carbs you cut from your diet.  

It is essential to focus on the right types of fat.  Since your new metabolism favors burning fat for energy, you want to feed it the specific types of fat your body prefers to burn.  Fats (or more specifically fatty acids) are generally classified as saturated (SFA) that contain no double bonds, monounsaturated (MUFA) that contain one double bond, and polyunsaturated (PUFA) that contain more than one double bond.  The PUFA category includes the two essential fatty acid classes (omega-6 and omega-3) that humans need to consume in relatively small amounts to maintain healthy cell membranes.

To get an idea what fats the body likes to burn, it helps to look at what our bodies choose to store in our fat cells. The fatty acids that make up the majority of triglycerides in human adipose tissue consist of SFA and MUFA.  These are the fats that our bodies have selected and prefer to burn.  Thus, in seeking out foods to eat, keep in mind the necessity to emphasize MUFA and SFA (olive oil, coconut oil, cream, butter, nut/seeds, etc.) while keeping carbs low and consuming both protein and PUFA in moderation.  

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The Right Essential Fats

The essential PUFA are needed in indicated amounts, but it is critical to make sure you get the right balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats.  The actual human requirement for these two forms of PUFA is low -- about ~1% of daily energy from each of these two classes. Most Americans consume about ten times the amount of omega-6 they need due to frequent intake of soy, corn, cottonseed, peanut, sunflower, and safflower oils.  By contrast, many of us barely meet our daily minimum 1% for omega-3.  Furthermore, because a high omega-6 intake can interfere with omega-3 metabolism, this disparity between omega-6 and omega-3 intakes throws off the balance between these two competing classes of essential fats, making our marginal omega-3 intake worse.  

The clinical importance of consuming a lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is well established, but there are additional reasons why athletes may benefit.  Omega-6 fats are more strongly associated with inflammation than omega-3 fats.  Increasing omega-3 status consistently leads to lower levels of inflammation, and it also has a potent effect on lowering fat levels (triglycerides) in the blood.  In addition to being linked to many chronic disease states, chronic elevations in inflammation can impair recovery from exercise, compromise adaptations to training, and increased risk of injury. As many of our reader know, ProSource offers an Omega-1250 product that contains the highest-quality Omega-3 fatty acids.

Get Adequate Minerals

While it's important to get the right balance of macronutrients, don't forget about the micronutrients, especially minerals.   For example, low carbohydrate diets increase the loss of sodium and water by the kidneys.  Failure to adequately replace sodium adversely affects potassium balance and has several negative effects (e.g., fatigue, fainting, headache, loss of lean mass).  Thus, if you are restricting carbs to a low level, you will likely need to consume an extra 1-2 grams of sodium per day.  Magnesium is also critically important for proper energy utilization and muscle and nerve functioning.  Many athletes experience muscle cramps.  Most muscle cramps are due to magnesium depletion in cells and adequate magnesium intake helps prevent cramps.  Dietary magnesium and potassium (as well as other micronutrients) can be increased not discarding the water or broth used to cook meats and vegetables.  Most people, including athletes, don't need to worry about getting enough zinc; but zinc is absolutely required for growth, protein synthesis (building muscle), healing, and your body's defense against infection.  So if you are one of the few who has a zinc problem, it is definitely going to affect your well-being and physical performance.  

And there you have it, five steps to maximize your progress toward a leaner, harder, more muscular physique. Put these steps to work for you and you'll be swell on your way to your "hardbody."

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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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