Preserve Muscle During Your Summer Slim-Down
Follow these tips and this summer you'll be on your way to getting a rock-solid physique ready to hit the beach.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting any diet and exercise plan.
How many times have you heard the question: How do I lose fat while preserving muscle at the same time? With summer about to hit full swing, there's no question that you want to get ripped fast! For many people, getting shredded can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, by dieting, you'll reveal a killer six-pack, tons of deep cuts and ultra-fine striations. But if you're not careful, you'll probably lose a ton of your hard-earned muscle in the process. Follow these tips and this summer you'll be more shredded… and bigger… than ever!
1. Carb Timing Is Everything
The biggest mistake that dieters make is drastically cutting their carbs or going on the infamous “zero carb” diet for long stretches at a time. Without carbs, your body seeks other sources of energy and one of the first places it turns is your muscles! Eating the right kind of carbohydrates and knowing when to eat them is key to ensuring positive metabolic activity and replenishing muscle glycogen stores for greater energy.
For starters, you need a good source of slow-digesting carbohydrates to fuel and sustain your muscles. Slow-acting carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes are perfect for dieters as they provide a slow, steady release of nutrients. It's also critical that you break up your carbs evenly over 6-7 meals per day to regulate your blood sugar levels. The only time that you should be consuming fast-digesting carbs is immediately post-workout when your glycogen levels are depleted and your body needs to quickly re-charge for maximum recovery and growth.
2. Cycle Your Carbs
Another popular and effective carb manipulation method that will melt fat fast and maintain muscle is carb cycling. Typically, carb cycling involves maintaining a low to zero carbohydrate diet for anywhere between 3-4 days followed by a high carbohydrate diet for 1-2 days and then repeating the cycle. The premise behind carb cycling is that you deplete your carbohydrate stores, allowing your body to exhaust muscle glycogen and burn bodyfat. Then, to prevent excessive lean muscle loss or catabolism, replenish glycogen stores by eating starchy carbohydrates.
3. Fat Isn't Your Enemy
The biggest misconception is that fat consumption should be avoided at all costs while dieting. Of course, you want to stay away from sources of saturated and trans fats as they tend to lead to high cholesterol, but your body still needs essential fatty acids. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats in particular support a number of important physiological processes. Essential fatty acids also aid in increasing immune system support. Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and sardines, as well as extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil and almonds are excellent sources of healthy fats.
4. Protein Is Paramount
When on a low-carb diet, nothing is more important for maintaining lean muscle and promoting an anabolic state than protein. Your protein intake should be approximately 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. So, for example, if you weigh 185 pounds, you need to consume between 185 to 278 grams of protein per day. While trying to hit that amount, be sure to include the highest biological value protein source on the planet, whey protein. A whey protein supplement is an excellent way to increase your protein intake throughout the day. But beware, not all protein supplements are created equal. Choose a protein supplement that has an advanced nitrogen delivery system designed to maximize amino acid peptide delivery and sensitize muscles for maximum protein uptake.
Putting It All Together
Nothing is harder than getting shredded while maintaining your hard-earned muscle. It's the dream sought by many, but attained by few. Now that you're armed with a little knowledge on how to get a rock-solid, peeled-to-the-bone physique, go ahead and grab the swimming trunks and get ready to hit the beach!