If you think washboard abs alongside a slender hourglass figure and a flawless-looking face that turns heads as she runs to shore in a two-piece bikini only exists in the movies, you might want to sit up and read the next sentence carefully. That person can be you. Yes, you! No fancy pills or crazy diets needed — just incorporate the following strategies into your fitness plan and morph into an irresistible, shredded version of yourself that is hotter than an afternoon in July!
Missed out on part one? Check it out here first.
Without adequate fluids, the body simply cannot convert carbs to energy efficiently. Since 70 per cent of muscle tissue is water, it relies on consistent hydration to keep functioning and when you are depleted of fluid, the muscle cells simply cannot load up with energy nutrients or amino acids. Not only will your training suffer midway through your fat loss plan, but the process of fat breakdown, especially from under the skin, relies on hydrolysis. That is, if you want to lose fat, you have to keep the body well hydrated.
So, avoid becoming dehydrated — if you are thirsty, you have just reached the initial stage of dehydration and have slowed down your fat loss. At the very least, drink fluids immediately. Better still, take sips of water throughout the day to keep yourself well hydrated.
Don’t Miss Your Workouts
Studies show that hard weight training can elevate calorie burning for several hours after you have left the gym. However, for you to achieve this effect, you need to keep rest time between sets brief, that is, one minute or less. If you are doing single or sets that under six reps which require several minutes of rest time, chances are you will not experience the same elevated metabolic rate post-workout.
Eat a Variety of Carbs
Just because you know which low energy-density carbs (squash, cucumber, celery and lettuce, among others) to eat on your shredding plan, do not turn a blind eye with types and amounts. You already know that the body’s response to lack of variety can be stagnation and plateaus. You also know that only changing up your workout, routine, intensity or rest time will result in renewed gains. Well, it is no different from being overly rigid about macronutrient intake, particularly when it comes to carbohydrates.
If you want to continue shedding adipose tissue, you cannot afford to allow the body to get contented with the status quo. Just as you manipulate growth with training adjustment, you should do the same with carb manipulation. Keep the metabolic furnace revved by consuming sweet potatoes and brown rice instead of white rice or baked potatoes. Double up on the salads and water-packed vegetables, which require a lot more digestive energy than they themselves contain. Avoid limiting yourself to the same old carbs every day of the week.
Carb Deplete Occasionally
Most fat loss programs reach homeostasis — that is, the body finds a rhythm and sticks to it. But often, this rhythm means yet another weight loss plateau. To avoid such stagnation, do a low-carb day or two every two or three weeks, lowering carb intake to roughly 125 grams per day, which is equivalent to approximately three-and-a-half medium potatoes. Since carbs are essential for heart and brain function, it may not be safe to eat fewer than the recommended 125 grams per day.
When carb intake is reduced so dramatically, the body will start hunting for alternative energy sources and, in the process, shock the system, which in turn, will pull the body out of its homeostasis state. As soon as you return to your normal carbohydrate intake levels, the glycogen-depleted tissue will quickly absorb the newly arrived glycogen, sucking it into the cells for energy. Your metabolic rate will jump a notch or two and you will be back in a hyped fat loss beast mode.
Having said that, do not try this if you are diabetic or suffer from periods of hypoglycaemia. In addition, low-carb days can lead to irritability, anxiety and other such problems, so pick your low-carb days wisely.
Sequence Your Carb Intake
The last few meals of the day should be high in low energy density carbs. Among all types of high-water content carbs, you can pack in all of the green salads, squash, zucchini, celery, cucumber and asparagus (you are on a fat loss plan, so quit whining about the smell) you want for your last two meals of the day. They fill you up, provide enough fibre to improve transit time of food through the system, push fat out of your system more rapidly and hype the body’s overall metabolic response.
If you want to eat heavier, less water-packed carbs, do so during the first three or four meals of the day. This way, you will load the system with plenty of glycogen early on in the day and your training efforts will not go to waste.