New Science Is Solving the Paradox Of Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle
From the dawn of bodybuilding’s “golden age” until today, physique transformation has been a two-stage process. Bulking and cutting. Eat big, train big, eat some more. Gain plenty of muscle
and plenty of fat. Get as big as you can and then try to trim as much fat as possible
, while also maintaining some of that hard-earned muscle.
This is the long and winding path to the ideal physique. Think of it as the scenic route. The express route would involve adding muscle while simultaneously burning fat. Sages of the physique game will tell you this is impossible, but science loves a challenge.
Take, for instance, Dr. Stuart Phillips and his team of researchers at McMaster University. Their investigations into the physiology of muscle mass increase and fat decrease have evolved into a comprehensive program of weight training, high-intensity cardio, and dietary protocols that may just hold the key to unraveling the ultimate bodybuilding paradox. Recently they tested their hypotheses on forty well-trained Canadian athletes (Longland, Oikawa, et. al. 2016). The results were profoundly exciting.
Keep in mind that the regimen these athletes followed is tough and not for the faint of heart. Step aside because if you are not ready to push all of your chips to the center of the table. This protocol may break you!A Gauntlet of Weights and High-Intensity Work
The process involved two key steps: first, a challenging six-day-per-week workout program and second, a strict dietary regimen consisting of cutting calories and increased protein intake, both over a four-week study period.Heavy Resistance Training Circuit:
Two days per week, each participant in the study completed a full-body resistance training circuit. Three sets of ten repetitions were completed for each set of exercise and the load for each exercise was established at 80% of their maximum, while during the last set the participants completed as many repetitions as they could. No rest was taken between each exercise and one minute of rest was completed between each set of the circuit.Sprint Training:
Two other days, the participants completed two different sessions of high-intensity interval training on a bike. One session required four to eight 30-second wingate sprints on a bike and another session required ten all-out sprints for one minute at 90% effort.Plyometrics:
A plyometric body weight circuit was completed one day per week with 30-second rest between exercisesHigh-Intensity Time Trial:
Finally, participants also completed a 15 to 20-minute time trial on an exercise bike where they were required to cover a certain distance as quickly as possible.
This is a very challenging workout, but if forty guys from Canada did it for four weeks, you can.Dietary Path to Shredded
The next part was the diet. All forty athletes were prescribed to consume a diet that required them to restrict their calories by approximately 40%. One group was prescribed to ingest approximately 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and the other group ingested twice that amount, 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The diet composition for the lower protein group was approximately:• 15% protein: 116 grams/day (1.2 grams/kg/day)• 50% carbohydrate: 286 grams/day (3 grams/kg/day)• 35% fat: 86 grams/day (0.9 grams/kg/day)• Approximately 2,500 calories each day (25 calories/kg/day)
The diet composition of the higher protein group was:• 35% protein: 245 grams/day (2.4 grams/kg/day)• 50% carbohydrate: 311 grams/day (3.1 grams/kg/day)• 15% fat: 38 grams/day (0.4 grams/kg/day)• 2,500 calories each day (25 calories/kg/day)
Notably, the participants in this study were pretty good-sized men with an average body weight of 216 pounds and an average height of six feet. They were 23 years old and had approximately 23% body fat. At this size, daily caloric needs are estimated to be around 4,100 calories, so on average each person had their calories cut by 1,600 calories each day! Not sure how many calories you require? Check one of many caloric intake calculators online to help you determine your caloric needs.Enough Talk Already! What are the Results?
Performance in the form of strength, muscular endurance and aerobic endurance all increased impressively in both groups. No surprise there!
Both groups lost significant amounts of body mass and body fat. In fact, the lower protein group lost approximately 8 pounds, with nearly all of it being fat while experiencing no changes in muscle mass.The higher protein group lost approximately 13 pounds of body mass, of which 10.5 pounds was fat and managed to gain approximately 2.5 pounds of muscle! That is what you call a physique transformation!Using Vectron® and NytroWhey® Ultra Elite to Achieve Your Physique Goals
To help the study participants achieve their dietary goals, each subject received three to four prepared drinks each day. The protein source was whey protein isolate, the protein base found in ProSource's NytroWhey
and NytroWhey Ultra Elite
. The drink for the higher protein group contained 50 grams of protein and the lower protein drink had approximately 15 grams of protein.
All of the other meals consumed by the study participants contained necessary amounts of protein and carbohydrates to meet their required numbers, but each meal was appropriately spaced (approximately every three hours) to make rates of muscle protein synthesis remain elevated. A recent study illustrated that a 20-gram dose every 3 hours stimulated the greatest overall increase in muscle protein synthesis over a 12-hour interval when compared to smaller, more frequent doses or larger, less frequent doses (Areta, Burke et al. 2013). Thus, a key first step to achieving this dietary prescription is 1 to 2 scoops of NytroWhey Ultra Elite
mixed with some other carbohydrate and fat sources each day.
Choosing a premier supplemental protein source, it should be said, is essential to attaining your physique goals. NytroWhey Ultra Elite
contains a powerful combination of three cutting-edge protein technologies. Its Provon whey isolate is an ultra-pure CFM whey isolate that yields the purest, most potent, growth-factor-rich amino acid profile and maximum bioavailability, while the TherMAX hydrolyzed whey in NytroWhey Ultra Elite is subjected to advanced micro-processing to yield extremely low-molecular-weight di and tri-peptides for immediate amino absorption and assimilation by the body. In addition, NytroWhey Ultra Elite contains a unique leucine-bound leucine-peptide technology, which provides bioactive muscle-growth triggering leucine in great amounts, up to four times that found in competing proteins. This is a powerhouse complex for supporting muscle tissue and the natural thermogenic activity associated with protein intake.
To really zero in on fat-loss and dial in your perfect physique, ProSource’s Vectron
would likely be a fantastic consideration. Vectron is a unique fat-loss protein that has a high-quality isolated whey protein source as its base as well, but it also contains Prolibra®, a specialized fraction produced by industry leader, Glanbia® Nutritionals, that contains the highest concentration of leucine and leucine-containing peptides, a powerful combination to signal protein synthesis to proceed.
Prolibra is clinically proven to improve lean mass/body fat ratio. Indeed, in an independent, randomized, double-blind, 12-week clinical trial published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
, subjects taking Prolibra retained twice as much lean muscle while at the same time experienced 79% fat-loss compared to the control group at 51% fat loss. While all protein is thermogenic to some extent, results like that place Vectron
at the head of the class for transformational power.The Power of Protein During Energy Restriction
The people in this study trained hard! That’s no problem for you, because you do that anyway. The killer “gut check” part was the dietary restriction. As mentioned, a 40% restriction of calories is substantial, slightly over 1,500 calories from their daily needs! Previous studies have identified that when dieting and cutting calories without exercise (or at least high-intensity exercise), approximately 25% of the weight that is lost is lost as lean mass (Weinheimer, Sands et al. 2010, Pasiakos, Cao et al. 2013). That’s not good!
In fact, did you know that when cutting calories the rates of muscle protein synthesis inside your muscle decreases? That means it is harder to replace muscle that needs to be repaired as well as building more muscle. What two things reverse this negative change? Ingestion of at least 30 grams of a high quality protein such as that found in NytroWhey Ultra Elite and Vectron, in combination with heavy intensity training (Areta, Burke et al. 2014). Final Thoughts
The timing of this article is ideal. April is upon us and the weather is getting nicer. The unofficial start of beach and pool season, Memorial Day, is two months away and this article provides a detailed blueprint on how to shed some fat around all of the muscle you have been laying down the last few months. I have purposefully added more detail to help you best understand exactly what needs to be done.
Sure the workouts are tough, but the combination of weights and sprints will shred you up in no time. One final plea, it is critical that you understand that cutting back on calories as discussed in this article must be countered with an increased protein intake. A protein intake that is close to 3x the RDA or 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is approximately 200 grams of protein each day for someone who weighs 180 pounds. You must also be completing high-intensity training. Lower intensity weights and cardio help burn calories and fat, which might be what you want to do because the calorie cutting has you feeling tired and hungry. But you have to train hard. This is a powerful stimulus along with the protein to hold on to your precious muscle and burn fat.Read more about NytroWhey Ultra Elite here.Read more about Vectron here.Scientific References
Areta, J. L., L. M. Burke, D. M. Camera, D. W. West, S. Crawshay, D. R. Moore, T. Stellingwerff, S. M. Phillips, J. A. Hawley and V. G. Coffey (2014). "Reduced resting skeletal muscle protein synthesis is rescued by resistance exercise and protein ingestion following short-term energy deficit." Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 306(8): E989-997.
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.
Longland, T. M., S. Y. Oikawa, C. J. Mitchell, M. C. Devries and S. M. Phillips (2016). "Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial." Am J Clin Nutr 103(3): 738-746.
Pasiakos, S. M., J. J. Cao, L. M. Margolis, E. R. Sauter, L. D. Whigham, J. P. McClung, J. C. Rood, J. W. Carbone, G. F. Combs, Jr. and A. J. Young (2013). "Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial." FASEB J.
Weinheimer, E. M., L. P. Sands and W. W. Campbell (2010). "A systematic review of the separate and combined effects of energy restriction and exercise on fat-free mass in middle-aged and older adults: implications for sarcopenic obesity." Nutr Rev 68(7): 375-388.
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Chad Kerksick received his PhD in Exercise, Nutrition and Preventive Health in 2006. Since that time he has conducted several studies examining the impact of exercise and nutrition and continues to conduct research in these areas resulting in over 70 peer-reviewed publications, 100 research presentations, two books and several books chapters. The information provided throughout this article are not to be construed as endorsements of ProSource or the products discussed. Further, the views discussed are those of Dr. Kerksick and not the university or any organization in which he is affiliated.