Friday, November 28, 2008

Fat shifting tips from bodybuilders

I've been doing some research into making sure it's fat that moves - body builders have this all figured out because after they "bulk up" they have to diet to within a millimetre of all those muscles, veins and curves. They look really shocking but they really know how to diet!

So after a few hours of reading I've found and will add to the following tips:

  • When exercising your body burns fat from reserves and sugar from the blood. If it thinks it needs to and can get away with it your body will also try to break down muscles which you kind of need to move gracefully.
  • The body will burn fat more easily when blood sugar is low however it will continue to burn fat and sugar at any time of the day and you don't necessarily want to exercise when your blood sugar is low because you will get dizzy or stuff yourself afterwards. You can have some carbohydrate before the gym
  • Just my own thought but I really think the low-GI diet is the way to go. Your blood sugar never really gets low enough that you need to stuff yourself and never spikes so that you stop burning fat! You get plenty of the benefits of the Atkins concept (which was itself based on low-GI originially) but don't poison your kidneys.
  • So have low-GI carbohydrates when exercising and according to research you get a synergistic effect by combining carboydrates and caffeine when exercising. So to clarify, your ideal morning routine is a small bowl of porridge, a black coffee, a trip to the gym and then the rest of your porridge if you want some more.
  • Yeah... they do say have something to eat after exercising. Just something with protein and some carbs in it. It helps your muscles to recover if you eat something at around the time you exercise and if you go for longer than 1.5 hours then you definitely need a proper meal afterwards. Like some marinated tofu. Just repeating what I've read.
  • The "fat burning zone" on treadmills and other equipment is a low intensity workout where you burn more fat as a proportion of energy burnt. This is a real effect, you don't burn a lot of sugar at low intensity... however you don't stop burning fat or burn less overall fat by doing a high intensity workout, you just get to a point where you're going to burn a heap of sugar too (and lots of calories) and so the proportion of fat burnt to sugar is a bit lower. So yeah they say just do high intensity exercise.
  • A recent study showed that the adrenaline rush in very very short bursts of super high intensity exercise shifted even more fat - adrenaline is a "catecholine" and these break down fat! The study had people doing 8 seconds of sprint followed by 12 seconds of low intensity exercise.
  • Yes I saw that too - adrenaline breaks down fat! No wonder stressful people lose weight. But cortizol, that famous stress hormone lays down fat big time - so if you are going to be anxious make sure it's in short sharp bursts of adrenaline, not long worry sessions! And make sure you're sleeping.
  • OK now weight training is a great way of ensuring that your muscles are built up or at least maintained if you're dieting. By toning your muscles you ensure that your primary source of weight loss is fat. Body builders who are trying to lose weight freak out about keeping their muscles trained! Why? Because the body will take the weight loss from whatever it's got more of unless you convince it you need those muscles for some reason and it should take the fat instead. I've a bodybuilder friend who ...well he's skinny. But he has had the lowest body fat ratio on campus at one time, just from all that weight training.
  • It is apparently not true however that a lot of muscle burns a lot of energy. Any extra mass you carry burns more energy than skin, organs and bones, but the difference between a few pounds of fat and a few pounds of muscle is apparently a couple jelly beans' worth. But if you have to be a few pounds heavier than your target then I'd personally rather it be muscle than flab. Just my opinion.
  • OK speaking of those "X burns a lot of energy or shifts fat" rumours - where supplements are concerned it's apparently rubbish unless you're taking those really strong illegal drugs. Which I don't and assume my readers aren't. A cup of green tea won't hurt you (I'd reccomend matcha) but apparently doesn't do a big deal to shift fat or decrease your appetite. Hoodia has been debunked as an appetite suppressant. I like to burn lemongrass oil or suck a mint cos I know from experience it decreases my appetite. Same with mustard or chilli - it flavours your food and doesn't really cost you any calories, may even save you some if you were thinking of using a creamy dressing, but it's not a get out of jail card for binging.
  • In case you're not convinced about the exercise or are just lazy like me, there's another scientific experiment where the group who did regular exercise didn't really yo-yo at the end of their diet. The control group did what dieters usually do and put all the weight back on.
  • In the gym they recommend swapping your exercise around a bit because then you combine the fat-burning effect of cardio with the strength training to ensure that weight really is shifted from the flabby bits. Do the cardio first because weights will wear down your ability to run but running won't really impact much on your benefit from lifting weights - even if you miss a rep because your muscle was already tired, you've still challenged your muscle so... yay! Mission accomplished!
Got an exercise tip? It's an inclusive blog and I always add the ideas people tell me!

Other people's ideas:
  • Spider mentioned in a comment on this blog a study in which singing is a great way to lose weight, presumably because it de-stresses and less cortizol lays down fat. When properly done (karaoke doesn't count) singing is also a great targeted abdominal/core exercise because you have to exercise all the support muscles that hold your stomach in tightly. If you can't sing try a woodwind instrument (flute is a great one for controlling your breathing) and set aside a half hour to an hour each day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Also, when you're singing, you can't put food in your mouth. -- Spider