Bobby follows a well-balanced, high protein, medium carbohydrate, low fat diet year round, consuming five to six small meals per day. He realizes that to build and keep muscle, you must feed your body frequently and your protein and caloric intake must be sufficiently high to sustain muscle growth.
The problem is that Bobby has probably consumed a few too many calories and, hence, is sporting some unsightly pounds of fat in places that will make his female admirers say, “Yuck!”
Bobby has only a few weeks before he is scheduled to go on his beach vacation. So, throwing all of his knowledge of nutrition to the wind, he does what most people do whenever they want to lose a few pounds: He cuts his calories severely, and also the number of meals.
Why Just Cutting Back on Food is NOT the Answer
We’ve been socialized to think that whenever we need to lose weight, all we have to do is cut back on food. At first pass, it seems logical doesn’t it? Drop food out of your diet, and you will lose weight. Eat more food, and you will gain weight. Simple enough, right?
When people start restricting calories in their diet, they definitely want to lose weight! However, weight should not be confused with fat. In reality, most people want to lose body fat. Looking at your body composition from the simplest of viewpoints, your body is composed of lean muscle tissue (or lean body mass), water, and fat.
When you want to reduce fat, your goal should be to hang on to as much lean muscle tissue as possible while reducing the unwanted fat tissue. As I have mentioned in an earlier tip, your metabolism is determined, to a great degree, by the amount of lean muscle tissue that you carry.
Your metabolism (or metabolic rate) is the number of calories required to sustain your body daily. When you lose muscle tissue, your metabolism suffers. In other words, your metabolism slows down, leaving you in a position where you burn even fewer calories.
The Vicious Cycle of Dieting
And so, a vicious cycle ensues. You diet hard; you burn muscle tissue. You burn muscle tissue; your metabolism slows down. Your metabolism slows down; you diet harder! And so on…
As I mentioned before, the initial impulse of most people who are trying to reduce fat is to cut calories out of their diet. This results in an indiscriminate loss of muscle tissue along with body fat and water. Sure, you will weigh less on the scale, but you may not look much better.
Let’s go back to our bodybuilder, Bobby. Bobby begins by cutting his caloric intake by almost half, reducing the vital calories that his body needs to sustain his lean muscle tissue. At first, he loses weight relatively easy.
Because he’s cut his carbohydrate calories back so drastically, he burns up the existing glycogen (stored glucose calories) in his liver and in his muscles. Now, in case you don’t already know this, a gram of glycogen holds approximately three grams of water in a muscle. Burn the glycogen off and you lose a lot of water weight. But you also lose a lot of muscle size!
So, Bobby ends up looking a little smoother and a little smaller, yet the persistent layer of fat around his mid-section is still there. Next, Bobby cuts out one of his meals, robbing his muscles of the protein they require every three to four hours for growth.
It didn’t take Bobby’s body very long to realize that he was throwing himself into a starvation mode. His body’s survival mechanism kicked in. Bobby’s thyroid function slowed down. His body began secreting more fat-storing enzymes.
What’s worse, his body began releasing catabolic hormones that began breaking his muscle tissue down for energy. Bobby’s body couldn’t care less about what it looked like at the beach for his vacation. It did, however, care very much about surviving. It’s as if his body was clinging on to the fat and burning off the muscle.
A normal person, having undergone the first phase of a restricted calorie diet, would more than likely feel self-satisfied when he or she stepped on the scale and saw that they were getting lighter.
However, Bobby was a bodybuilder, and being body-conscious, really started disliking the way he was looking in the mirror: smoother and smaller. The diet was already starting to seem like a very bad idea.
How to Lose Fat the Right Way
There are many Bobbies around the country. The fact is, folks, that diets which are severely restricted in calories don’t work. We’ve seen that cutting back the calories is not the way to lose fat and keep it off. So, what is? Here are some things that Bobby should have done:
1-Kept the same number of meals in his nutrition program.
2-Kept the same amount of protein consumption spaced out over those five or six meals.
3-Cut back on bad fat and simple sugar calories keeping good fats and complex carbohydrates.
4-Eliminated all junk foods and processed foods from the diet. Instead, opting for unprocessed natural foods.
5-Increased the consumption of fibrous vegetables.
6-Increased water intake.
7-Added 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity, three to four times per week to his training regimen.
8-Begun the diet sooner. In other words, he should have allowed more time to strip off the unwanted body fat. Typically, you will only be able to reduce body fat by two pounds per week at best, without losing muscle tissue.
To help you with the process of fat loss I would also recommend the use of a good thermogenic formula like Lean Body Fat Burner or Lean Body for Her Fat Burner. Thermogenics are substances, which can accelerate and aid the loss of body fat when the training and nutrition components are being implemented correctly.
Be sure to carefully read the label of any nutritional product which you are contemplating the use of, and consult your physician if you have any questions.
In conclusion, the last thing that you should do when trying to reduce unwanted body fat is to cut meals or to cut calories indiscriminately. Instead, a well thought-out nutritional program incorporating the reduction of fat and sugar calories, increased aerobic activity, and careful planning and use of food and supplements will speed your progress.
Yours for a Lean Body,
Your Lean Body Coach™
About the Author
One of the world’s most well-known and celebrated bodybuilding legends, Lee Labrada holds 22 professional bodybuilding titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. He is one of few pro bodybuilders in history to consistently place in the top four at the Mr. Olympia competition (the “Super Bowl” of bodybuilding) for seven consecutive years—a feat he shares with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He has appeared on the covers of more than 100 bodybuilding and fitness magazines and has been featured on CNBC, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and ESPN as a fitness and nutrition expert.
Lee was also inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, is an Internationally known best selling fitness authos and holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. For more about Lee please visit his page here: Lee Labrada’s page.