You might be frustrated with your attempts to shave off some lingering body fat. It is a difficult process that involves finding a sweet spot where you burn fat but don’t lose any muscle mass.
The resulting loss of muscle definition will also slow your metabolism. There are a few different tricks that you can use if you’re trying to burn off body fat.
The first thing to assess is whether you are overdoing some part of your routine. There are two ways in particular that too much exercise can bring your metabolism to a halt and make you lose muscle definition.
Training too much is a common mistake made by people preparing for shows. The idea is to bring out as many veins and striations as you can but often it just ends up ensuring you’ll eventually have exactly the opposite.
Pushing yourself too hard stimulates the release of cortisol, a hormone that can slow your progress to a crawl and eventually undo everything you have worked for.
Cortisol stops the release of muscle-building testosterone, makes your body more likely to use your protein and amino acid stores – the ones in your muscles – as an energy source, and weakens your immune system. All this leaves you losing muscle mass, gaining fat and prone to illness. Even though your show is getting closer and you don’t feel ready, rest every four or five days.
You may also be overdoing cardio. It’s great for your lungs and your heart, but if you don’t limit it, you’re less able to hold onto muscle mass. 45 minutes of cardio four times a week is all you should do. Instead of doing too much cardio, focus on your dietary needs. Cutting back on fats and carbs will help you much more than excessive cardio.
Get More Fiber
Increasing your fiber intake is one of the best things you can do for your physique. People with diets high in fiber generally have less body fat than people who have lower-fiber diets. Fiber slows down digestion, which promotes a slower, steadier stream of carbohydrates released into your blood after you eat. You can add fiber to your diet by substituting brown rice for white, including vegetables at every meal, and introducing psyllium husk into your food.
MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) provide energy to your body. The body digests fats before protein, so using MCTs for energy will prevent you from losing muscle.
MCTs are not stored as fat, and encourage your body to burn stored fat as energy as opposed to muscle protein.
Omega-3 fatty acids encourage your body to store excess sugars as glycogen rather than as fat. Omega-3s come from fish such as salmon, or you can use supplements.
It’s easy to neglect vitamins and trace minerals. There are a few that will boost your metabolism and encourage your body to burn fat.
Vitamins C & E and Glutamine
This combination suppresses cortisol production, keeping your metabolism going even during intense training and maintaining stable levels of testosterone. 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 400-800 IU of vitamin E. This is several times beyond what is in most multivitamins, so you will need to purchase vitamin C and E supplements separately. Ten grams of glutamine before and after your workout (twenty grams in total) are good for people under 175 pounds; people who are larger should adjust this dosage.
Selenium and Calcium
People on a fat-burning diet sometimes experience a decrease in thyroid function. The thyroid governs metabolism, so a change in its function could slow your progress. 100 micrograms of selenium, the amount present in most multivitamins, manages thyroid function.
There is some scientific evidence that calcium helps burn fat. 1,000-1,200 milligrams of calcium may help burn fat, and will also maintain proper muscle function. Multivitamins generally do not have this much calcium, so you may need a separate calcium supplement. Since it is a diuretic, caffeine flushes calcium out of your body, so avoiding caffeine can help you retain calcium.