Its been quite a while since I last checked in. I’ve been off experimenting with different techniques, both in training and in diet. I’ll blog about all of my findings in due time, but I figured I’d check in with a subject that’s on everyone’s mind: quick tweaks to lean out in a relatively short time. If you have any questions about any of these, feel free to leave a question in the comments section.
As I said above, I’ve been experimenting with a few approaches to fitness and have been eating a lot to ensure my recovery is at its peak. I never let myself get too over-fat, but I decided at a certain point it was time to switch gears and diet off the extra fat. Take a look at the pictures below and judge for yourself.
Obviously this isn’t a night and day change, however keep in mind as lean as I started out its much more difficult to see dramatic change. Furthermore, I never weighed/measured or counted calories for the entire month. Here is what I did:
1. 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
This is the much vaunted Leangains protocol. For me, I’ve found this to be the easiest, most straightforward approach for losing bodyfat. I made sure never to be weird about this. In other words, I occasionally ate breakfast, and I generally stopped eating at 9 PM and began again at 12 noon. But I occasionally ate later and broke my fast sooner, or vice versa. There has been a lot of talk on the interwebz about Intermittent Fasting being dangerous for women. I have no doubt that dieting of any sort has different effects on women versus men, after all we are different. I also think that anyone, male or female, with any history or tendency toward disordered eating needs to stay far away from IF as well as any sort of weighed or measured calorie counting. However, women should look at IF as a tool in the toolbox. As always, implement this strategy, objectively analyze its effectiveness for you, then accept or reject it. Also, it has been suggested that women should use a 10 hour eating window with a 14 hour fast. For example, stop eating at 9 PM and break your fast at 10 AM.
2. Place The Majority of Carbohydrates In The Evening
This step might seem counter-intuitive to some, based on the fact we tend to be the most insulin sensitive in the morning, and gradually become less insulin sensitive as the day progresses. Further, people worry about eating carbs right before bed, under the assumption that we aren’t going to use them while laying in bed. However, its important to keep in mind that our bodies are not simple machines and there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than simply burning calories like coal in a furnace.
We want to go very low carb for as long as possible to maximize the amount of time the body is relying on fat metabolism for energy. Further, since we’re in an overall calorie deficit, further fat deposition is extremely unlikely barring extreme metabolic derangement. As to why we include dense carbs at all, the carbs can help us recover from intense bouts of exercise, maintain muscle mass throughout our cut, and are a psychologically satisfying reward.
3. Carb and Calorie Cycle
On days when I worked out, I ate a lot. I wish I had a better, more objective measurement of what “a lot” means, but as I said earlier, I did no weighing or measuring. After my workout, I simply stuffed my face. Lots of food, lots of carbohydrates. On rest days, alternatively, I simply used satiety as a guide, generally eating two large meals per day. Generally, when eating Paleo, individuals spontaneously calorie restrict. If you have an issue with using satiety as a limiter, you may need to do more calorie counting on rest days to ensure you wind up hypocaloric.
Although I did no calorie counting, if I had to guess I would say on rest days I likely ate between 50-100 grams of carbohydrates, again mostly in the evening. On workout days, along with general wanton carnivory, I likely ate roughly 150-200 grams of carbohydrates, after my workout. If you’re worried about getting fat due to the post workout feast, don’t be. After a hard workout, those calories will be put to good use rebuilding your muscle mass. It should also be noted that I worked out three times per week. There were only three high calorie days per week, making it extremely unlikely my weekly calorie intake was hypercaloric. Again, your results may vary and require more calorie counting. This approach can be largely considered a Cyclic Ketogenic Diet.
That’s it. I followed the three tips above, lifted heavy weights three times per week, and did no cardio at all. And it goes without saying, I was largely Paleo throughout this process. Give this a shot, and let me know how you do!