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By Jim Smith, CSCS
Quick Fat Loss - How Important is Your Diet?
Many people are looking for the best exercise program to shed fat and get ripped. However, the most over looked aspect of fat loss is diet. No matter what your goals are getting the body you want is largely dependent on what you put in your body. Think of it like a high performance sports car; if it calls for hi-test but you are putting in regular, there is no way you are going to get the results you seek.
One of the biggest mistakes many people make when trying to cut fat, is that they drop calories super low and drop fat super low as well. While you need to create a calorie deficit in order to elicit fat loss, dropping calories too low will result in a lowered metabolic output and will cause your body to horde nutrients and calories. When this happens your body prefers to horde the calories as fat or adipose tissue. Why is this? Because through years of evolving, our bodies operate on a “feast or famine” system. What this means is that your body does not want to give up nutrients as easily as it is willing to store them.
OK, enough science. On to what you need to do diet wise to get the desired results from your fat loss program.
1. Increase protein consumption - Protein will give your muscles the needed amino acids in order to preserve muscle mass and perhaps even build some. You do not want to lose muscle when dieting. Muscle is metabolically active 24 hours a day. This means that the more muscle you have the more calories you are going to be burning. Shoot for 1.5 grams to 1.75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Also, select lean cuts of red meat such as top round and eye of round. Salmon is also a great protein source as well.
2. Limit carbohydrate consumption - Carbohydrates increase insulin production in the body. Essentially, insulin is a storage hormone and thus increasing insulin too much will result in the possibility of nutrients to be stored as fat. Also, carbohydrates are also the bodies preferred fuel source. SO if you limit the amount of carbs in your diet, you force the body to find another means of getting fuel. If your protein intake is large enough that leaves fat and fat only as the source of fuel for the body. When choosing carb sources complex carbs are the best way to go. Brown rice, oatmeal, and veggies are the best choices here. Shoot for .25 g~.5gs of carbs per pound of bodyweight and make sure to divide them up equally between breakfast and your post workout meal.
3. Increase healthy fat consumption - Yes, that is right. Increase healthy fat consumption. When our body senses that we have a lot of fat coming in via our diet, it is more willing to release fatty acids into the blood stream for use as fuel. All natural peanut butter, fish oils, avocados, nuts and such are all great sources of healthy fats that you should consume when trying to lose fat. Shoot for .25 to .35 grams per pound of bodyweight divided evenly over 5-6 meals.
So what did we take away from all of this? Increase protein, decrease carbs and increase healthy fats. It sounds very easy, but it takes a lot of hard work and discipline in order to pull it off. If you follow these guidelines, you will be putting yourself on the right track toward making the progress you always wanted in your fat loss program.
Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. He speaks regularly at clinics, conferences and seminars about the Diesel Method. His distinctive and comprehensive training approach has helped athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels attain their goals and "Achieve Beyond Potential". Jim is an active student of strength athletics and is always seeking new ways to innovate and provide a unique perspective for gaining muscle, rehabbing injuries, improving performance and building better athletics.