So in order to obtain the kind of results that result in a leaner body you’ve to make the adjustments to your diet, the easiest adjustment you could probably make is to insure that you create a fat burning environment. Now, insuring this creation, one of the basics of which is very, very simple is of critical importance and that is blood sugar.
You’ve got to be able to stabilize your blood sugar. And the easiest way to do this is to have regular bouts of feeding. It’s what I call them. Regular meals. Regular intervals in which you take food in and the shorter the interval the better to a degree, it should probably be every three to three and a half hours.
Extreme body builders, guys who spend all day in the gym and do it for a living they’re probably going to eat every two hours. You might be able to get away with eating every four hours, but ideally you want to have food coming into your body every three hours that you’re awake from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. And I’ve seen conflicting issues about this.
Some people say you can’t eat before you go to bed and lay down and they cite some sort of magic “lying down property” where your body stores more fat if you’re lying down. I haven’t seen any evidence that indicates that this is true. It has to do more with how many calories you take in throughout the day and how much activity you’ve done and whether or not you’ve actually gotten a caloric balance or created a caloric deficit. If you’re interested in losing fat yes, you will have to eat less than your body needs, but the trick to eating less than your body needs is to maintain stable blood sugar by keeping regular intervals of feeding times. Regular meals insures that you have a stable blood sugar level. So you’ve got to account for that. You can’t get up in the morning have a cup of coffee, work for six hours, eat a snack, come home and eat a chicken salad and expect to obtain a fat loss result in a long term.
Yes, it might work short term if you’re not used to that, but your body is an adaptive mechanism and will rapidly acclimate to that type of feeding system and make an adjustment to your metabolism in order to compensate for that. This is going to freeze up your body’s ability to release stored fat.
That’s not what you want to do. Too long of a period in between meals creates an unstable blood sugar environment. You know what a sure sign of an unstable blood sugar environment is? Fantasies, about muffins, brownies, candy and ice cream. If you’re sitting around thinking ‘an ice cream cone would be fantastic right now’, chances are good that you haven’t eaten enough food.
Your body is sending you signals: ‘go get ice cream, get ice cream!’ It’s a request for blood sugar. Your blood sugar has dropped precipitously low for your body to handle and it’s demanding sugar. ‘I need ice cream!’
That’s how you know if you’re eating regular meals. It reduces your cravings. It’s very simple, the more often you eat an appropriately divided meal, the less likely it is you’ll have cravings for sugary foods because your blood sugar will be stable. The even meals are outlined in my book The Rhythm System and the Rhythm System is available to members of sttrengthnation.com. It’s an E-book and I’ve recently made a couple revisions to it. Not many, just in the carbohydrate step down program. I’ve made it easier, but by and large the language and the basics are still the same. It describes how you can choose protein, carbohydrate and vegetables and eat them in a rhythmic manner in order to obtain fat loss results.
It’s very, very simple and I’m giving away the whole system just by talking about it here because it’s this system. In fact, the entirety of The Rhythm System is condensed into one idea. It’s as simple as this…eat every three to three and a half hours.
If you’re hungry you should eat. When you eat, eat a lean protein, a green vegetable and a complex carbohydrate. Now, we can get into a little bit of a funny area with the complex carbohydrate so let’s clarify. The less processed your complex carbohydrate the better. Pasta is a processed carbohydrate. So is bread. So are corn chips. So are potato chips. So the more whole it is the better, sweet potato, whole sweet potato better, brown rice are better.
And the trick that I use within the Rhythm System is to insure that the carbohydrate portion is less than the protein portion on your plate. This will insure, that you’re not overeating carbohydrates, which is really the easiest way to sabotage your fat loss program. It is just too easy to eat too many carbohydrates.
Mostly we underestimate how many carbs we actually need in order function at our best. Call up your favorite nutritionist and ask to be shown a full day’s supply of carbohydrates for someone who is trying to lose fat. The small size of that portion will surprise you. In fact it will remind you of your last meal not to mention a day’s worth of food.
Eating too many carbohydrates or even large meals in general…if you listen to the interview that I did with Dr. Keith Berkowitz he’ll tell you that a large meal in and of itself can produce an insulin response and that is somehting you want to avoid. You want to avoid spikes in pancreatic production of insulin. And the reason why you want to avoid that is because of the relationship insulin has with glucagon.
Too much insulin in your body ultimately prevents the use of fat as a fuel. And that usually has to do with too much simple carbohydrate (sugar) in your diet. So the easy way out is to keep the sugar low by consuming unprocessed complex carbohydrates that are smaller than your lean protein portion.
So and I just said it before, but I want to say it again, if you’re hungry you should eat. When you eat, eat a Rhythm System meal. As I’ve just described it.
This way you should be thinking about your feedings as meals and they should all be roughly the same size as each other. This helps insure stable blood sugar. So don’t think of it so much as a snack. Breakfast snack, lunch snack, dinner snack, think of it more as I’m hungry I should eat. And when you eat find a protein, a lean protein and build around it. Does that make sense?
It really is an excellent system and the key to utilizing this system is determining first of all what foods work for you and what foods don’t. And if you just use this as a base of operations, as a template, then it will reveal itself throughout the course of time which ones are working better than others in terms of whether it’s: ‘I like pork better or beef better, I’m not a beef person I’m a chicken person, oh I can’t eat fish or I can’t eat shellfish’
Whatever it is for you, you just start on a base and you work from there and then build around that. Once you’ve gotten your Rhythm System meals in place you have an interesting option in terms of your exercise. Exercise comes in two forms; anaerobic and aerobic, weight lifting and cardio. Those are your two forms of exercise. And a lot of exercise is actually a combination of both things.
In essence and ultimately the subect of future articles; The main ingredients of your exercise program must include weight lifting and they must include cardiovascular activity. You can separate them by day if you chose or separate them within your workout. One of the questions I am frequently asked is: Should I do my cardio first or weight lifting first?
I always have my clients warm up before we start weight lifting by doing a general five to ten minutes on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer or machine of choice, then we do oour movement preparation program and then we begin our weight lifting.
But one of the key components of getting your body functioning at an optimal level has to do with obviously, with circulation. So one of the things that you have to remember is that if you want your muscles to rebuild you need to fuel them adequately, which means you need to be eating consistently and providing your body with as much protein as it needs in addition to the aforementioned carbohydrates and vegetables, etcetera.
In order to get the protein to the muscle tissue where the muscles will use it to rebuild, your body has got to find those nutrients and deposit them at the muscle cell and it’s going to do this obviously, by circulation of blood. So you can produce an added advantage by favoring cardiovascular activity after your weight training workout. So this means that if you’ve got the time, I know not all of us do, but if you’ve got the time, after you do your weight lifting get your cardio in.
And you don’t want to go crazy on the cardio, but you do want to circulate some blood. This will help insure that as your blood circulates it pulls out waste material and pushes in rebuilding material. This will help you recover faster and recover better. Many people talk about this as a cool down. You could think of it as a cool down. And if you just added ten, twenty minutes of elliptical trainer or treadmill after your weight lifting workouts I guarantee you, you would see an immediate, noticeable difference in your body’s ability to recuperate, your body’s ability to restore damaged muscle tissue and ultimately, your body fat percentage.
So there’s a quick little tip for you. Get on the treadmill, take a bike ride, do a light jog, do a little elliptical trainer after your weight training workout to help insure that the blood circulates and circulating blood helps deposit nutrients and pull away waste material.
The way I would do it is I would take a protein shake, maybe not the whole thing, but I would take some protein drink after my weight training workout, wait a few minutes and then circulate the blood. I wouldn’t try and get a five hundred calorie protein shake in and then try and go for a jog. I’m talking about some light whey protein. I’m talking about a recovery drink. Accelerade is another one, Muscle Milk, Lean Protein by Labrada, Myoplex etc…
If you log on to strengthnation.com you can get How to Hack Your Gatorade, which will tell you how to create a pre-workout drink and a post-workout drink using Gatorade and whey protein. I would take a post-workout drink, about half of it maybe right after my weight training, wait a few minutes and then do a light jog on the treadmill to insure that I’m circulating blood and circulating new, rebuilding nutrients to the muscle cells.