How To Lose Fat and Preserve Muscle
Losing bodyfat is not easy so you have to ask yourself why multiple times? It requires a dedicated mindset and to uncover that, find a deeper reasoning rather than ‘I want to look good’, ‘I’ve always wanted to get into gym’. These suffice short term but you will eventually lose the motive to keep at it. You may look at WHY in the format of:
Who would be affected by your change? Family, kids?
How will this affect them? Fit & healthy to live for longer?
Years from now, how would you make them feel?
If the above points are focused on yourself then it still applies, as long as you have asked yourself into a deeper WHY!
You have to plan your lifestyle around wanting to change. Your goal must be clear and precise as to why you want to do it and set a date to start. Your friends/family should know too so they can support and reason with you. It is not easy to achieve a low body fat percentage and you must be 100% committed to your goal
Write down the reasons as to why you want to achieve this goal, i.e., “I want my body fat to be ...X...” ‘’I want to show my partner my dedication and to have a brand new body’’ ‘’I want to walk down the aisle looking my best ever’’
Write these down and have it visible. The more you see your goal the more you imbed it into your head! No Goal is too big!
Understanding the Food Groups
We have covered many articles previously on calculating macronutrients and also the Fat loss Pyramid. It’s all good knowing what to eat but understanding why the food groups are necessary for the human body will further give you a reason to think about your food choices towards fat loss.
Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6)
"Essential" means we absolutely have to have them to live and be healthy. Our bodies cannot produce fatty acids so we must obtain them via food or supplements. Deficiency of these essential nutrients has a bearing on deterioration of health.
About 20 fatty acids are common in human food, and two are essential to human health - the essential fatty acids - EFAs. Many of the degenerative conditions (cardiovascular disease, some cancers, diabetes, MS, arthritis, PMS, osteoporosis, sterility and miscarriage, schizophrenia, depression) are fat-based and have a proven link with nutritional deficiency. EFAs stimulate metabolism, increase metabolic rate, increase oxygen uptake, and increase energy production.
The Omega 3s are known to play a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system and protection. Omegas 3s are also required for normal brain development, visual, brain and nerve, adrenal function.
The Omega 3 essential fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in fish oils such as cod liver oil which we highly recommend supplementing on a daily basis.
The Omega 6 essential fatty acid itself is called linoleic acid (LA) and it is found in most seed oils. The body converts this to gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). GLA is responsible for the production of two other prostaglandin series - PG1 and PG2 which are essential in the production of reproductive hormones, maintenance of healthy skin and regulation of blood pressure.
Essential Fat health benefits:
- Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and other tissues
- Improved aerobic metabolism because of enhanced delivery of oxygen to the cells
- Improved release of growth hormone in response to normal stimuli, such as exercise, sleep, and hunger, which may have an anabolic effect to improve the post exercise recovery time
- Reduction of inflammation
- Possible prevention of tissue inflammation
Bodybuilders strive for a high level of muscle mass, a goal that mandates a higher need for energy, Bodybuilders should consume between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, assuming that adequate energy is consumed from carbohydrates. Any excess protein that we take in is simply burned as fuel or could be stored as fat. Consumed proteins are digested into amino acids, and these amino acids join other amino acids produced by the body to constitute the amino acid pool. The tissues take the amino acids from this pool to synthesise the specific proteins the body needs (muscle, hair, nails, hormones, enzymes, and so on). Protein plays a very important role in the body, i.e., protein based enzymes, optimising blood pH, forming antibodies, are components of body tissue including heart, liver, pancreas, muscles and bones.
The main nutrients provided by this group of foods are iron, protein, B vitamins (especially vitamin B12), zinc and magnesium.
Protein must be provided in the diet for growth and repair of the body, any excess is used to provide energy. B vitamins are principally involved in energy metabolism. Vitamin B12 is needed for the formation of blood cells and nerve fibres. Zinc is needed for growth of tissues, immune function, and wound healing. Magnesium is needed for bone development and nerve and muscle function.
Protein foods Choices: All fish, lean meats, nuts, poultry without skin, beans, shellfish, sushi (raw fish component) and vegetable protein. (E.g. Soya)
- Eat moderate amounts of foods from the choices and choose lower fat versions where possible.
- Choose lean meats and remove visible fat.
- Avoid poultry and fish cooked in batter or breadcrumb coatings. Cook these foods without adding fat.
- Aim to eat at least two to three portions of fish per week, of which should be oil-rich
There are different types of carbohydrate, and each type is treated differently by our bodies. Glucose and bran are both carbohydrates, but they are on different ends of the energy spectrum. Glucose enters the blood stream quickly and initiates a fast and high insulin response, while the energy in bran never makes it into the blood stream because of its indigestibility, slowing the rate at which other energy sources enter the blood stream. High GI Carbohydrates are better suited around training times and Low GI Carbohydrates are defo suited in other parts of the day or preferably at dinner/pre bed to also help with sleep.
- Carbohydrates give you energy
- Can aid in proper digestion – If fibre rich
- Provide many vitamins and minerals, fruit and veg; for example, contain vitamin A, several B-vitamins, vitamin C, iron and potassium.
- Help you manage the amount of fat and calories in your overall diet because they tend to be low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
Starches: (complex carbohydrates) Cereal, potatoes, pasta, macaroni, rice, bread
Dietary fibre: Whole grain cereals and breads, dried beans and peas, fruits and vegetables
Sugars: (simple carbohydrates) Fruit juices, fruits, milk, sweetened cereals and baked goods, jam and syrup
You have the food groups above covered yet people forget about the importance of water! Muscle is comprised of around 70% water, it is an essential transport mechanism for nutrients and plays a role in all cellular activity. You may be eating very well but with little to no water, you risk poor passing of the food to be digested. Mild dehydration can have significantly negative impact on athletic performance so if you are training hard to gain the most muscle possible, it is smart to think about your fluid consumption. The major sweater? Than you are required to drink more water during exercise to prevent dehydration.
We recommend you drink 2-3L a day but this can vary based on the amount of calories you consume. If going by calories, the recommended intake is 150ml per 100 calories. Someone who is consuming 3000 calories should expect to drink 4500ml. You can eat as well as you want but without water, you are not helping the much-needed nutrients to be absorbed by the body.
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