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March 8, 2011

7 Fat Loss Tips We Can Learn from Bodybuilders

Since I tend to surround myself for the most part with people who have similar interests in nutrition and training, I think I take it for granted how much my inner circle knows about the Fat Loss Lifestyle.  Besides, we know that having the information is only half the battle–implementation is a thousand times more important and often fleeting.  I sometimes miss the fact that many still don’t even have the information yet.

I met with a client last week who wants to give her eating an overhaul, and during our conversation, I was reminded of how new (and foreign!) a lot of the fat loss lifestyle tactics are to many people.  My parents are the same way–a year ago, the thought of drinking a protein shake was crazy–only bodybuilders do that, right?  Wrong.  The ways that bodybuilders and figure competitors have used to get lean are finally being adapted to reach the masses.  We can all get savvy to fat loss eating from this subgroup of people who know how to get lean at will and have been doing it for decades.

Kelley V is ready to step on stage!

Here are 7 new things to try this month to bring a little bodybuilder style into your life–you may not be getting on stage, but you can shed a few l-b’s with these new (to you) approaches.

1] Think protein, protein, protein. This should be your first priority–physique athletes are always aware of getting protein at each meal first and foremost because they know that it preserves muscle and makes them feel fuller for longer.  Instead of ordering a pasta dish or a pizza at a restaurant, always choose a lean piece of meat first, like fish, chicken or beef.  Then add green veggies second.  Finally, and the least important, is the starchy carb–and use moderation here: 5-15 bites, preferably using your Metabolic Effect Burner Type.  Most people seeking fat loss should aim for about 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight each day.

2] Stop “carbing up.” Why are people who want fat loss still carbing up like they are running a marathon?  If you skip complex carbs for a day, you will not die of lethargy.  For someone who wants fat loss, replace complex carbs from bread, cereals and pastas with fibrous veggies like green leafys, broccoli, asparagus, onions, peppers, mushrooms, etc and watch the pounds go away for good.

3] Choose fat over carbs. In large amounts, neither are ideal for fat loss but a higher fat, lower carb diet will have you automatically eating less because of the satiating effect of fat.  Here are some substitution examples to consider making:
Instead of toast with eggs, get a side of sausage with eggs
Instead of the bread basket, get a caesar salad
Instead of a vanilla latte, get a coffee & add 2 tbsp half & half
Instead of a sandwich on wheat, order a Cobb salad
Instead of  potato skins appetizer, order a cheese plate
Instead of ice cream after dinner, eat a heaping spoonful of natural peanut butter

4] Do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Once again, if fat loss is the goal, having the most energetic workout of your life is not the most important thing.  When you are able to exercise when glycogen stores (stored carbohydrate) are lower first thing in the morning, and you don’t have any just-absorbed sugar in the bloodstream, you will pull more from your fat stores for energy to power exercise.  If you tend to be someone who gets dizzy or lightheaded on an empty stomach, try 1 scoop whey protein powder mixed with water 30-60 minutes pre-workout.  Protein (especially BCAAs) pre-workout will work just as well. Stay away from heavy carb load pre-workout unless you are an elite athlete.

5] Get supplement savvy.  I am not a huge supplement person in general, but it is time that the lay person stop being scared of supplementation–it is just that–something to supplement nutrients obtained from the diet, not steroids :) Taking 3-4g of fish oil a day is a general recommendation for almost everyone, and will help decrease inflammation and help burn fat.  Consider using a whey protein powder as a convenient option to boost your daily protein intake–here are a couple shake recipes to get you started.  In order to obtain the best fat loss results possible, it is important to customize your supplement stack because if you don’t watch it, you can end up taking everything under the sun.

6] Hydrate adequately. Most bodybuilders are known for carrying around a 1-gallon water jug with them wherever they go. And though this particular accessory might not go with your business casual wear, it is important to remember that getting enough water is essential to obtaining your fat loss results.  And 3-4 liters each day is a good place to start.  This can be tough because without being aware of it, it is easy to go all day without a single drop of water–between coffee, juice and sodas, who has the time for water?  Guess what–water is the most important beverage, ahead of any other beverage in terms of your health and fat loss.  It should be at least 90% of the liquid that you drink each day–plain, old water.  Not flavored, not colored, not Crystal Light, etc.  Maintaining your water intake will help you shed water subcutaneously, helping get rid of that puffy look.  Also, more water will keep you feeling fuller.  Drink 0.5 liters pre meal and you will automatically eat less.  Often we mistake thirst for hunger and eat when we should really be drinking good old-fashioned H2O.

7] Prioritize yourself. Bodybuilders aren’t worried about taking an hour or two a day for themselves.  They realize that daily exercise makes them more productive at work, at home and balances their moods and energy, which permeates all their interactions with others.  They put themselves first many times because in the end, a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing for relationships, for productivity, for quality sleep, for stress management, etc.  They also aren’t worried about offending anyone by bringing their own fat loss meals to parties, dinners or to the movies.  They aren’t worried about whipping out a protein bar during a meeting.  They aren’t worried about missing a social event so they can avoid foods that aren’t in line with their goals, and they don’t worry about offending others by making their own fat loss choices.  This sort of commitment to health and fat loss may not be for everyone, but for many of us, we can learn to be a little more selfish in the name of health.  More on how your choices impact others.

Good luck! Let me know what you guys think! ox Jill

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