Back to the Future. I wrote this tip article back in 2008/2009 right after my first and only bodybuilding show. It has some really good information and somethings that I would not repeat knowing what I know now. Before that 10 month assault on my body, I had torn my quad tendon and rotator cuff trying to squat 1205lb at 303lb bodyweight in August 2007. After being immobile for a month and then around 8 weeks with crutches and working just being able to walk and use the leg I began to drop the weight. Long story a bit shorter, I really dropped the majority of the 110 lbs. weight loss over an 8 month period.
These fat loss tips are both good and evil. I did a lot of things much harder then they needed to be, but at the time but I was past obsessed. The wife around this time had to struggle just to deal with me on a daily basis. Damn the Torpedos and anything that comes with it was my mind set at the time. I can’t say how much I would have changed as the time line was probably about half what it normally takes to lose 100lb plus of fat. Well I will be honest, I sacrificed a lot of muscle in the process just to get to the single digit fat percentage. I UNDER caloried and OVERWORKED myself. I don’t recommend compressing it into an 8 month period. In retrospect, I should have worked slower over a year to year and half but again, I was manic and completely consumed with getting the fat off for at least one time in my life and the cumulation of the body building show was the end game
Whatever your goals, have an END GAME in mind where the diet will end and most importantly what you want to accomplish. With out a statement, you will NOT succeed. If it is drop 20lb, weigh such and such and get off blood pressure medications in six months, that is your statement to yourself. Where ever you want your road to go, the statement out loud is the start point.
I have added my 2018 plus or minus to each of these tips. Enjoy them.
Fat Loss Tips
The following are things I learned from other people and things I tried on my own along my 109 lb weight loss journey.
- Intervals. This one I got from Lyle MacDonald’s book Stubborn Fat Loss. Basically, you have to do the intervals to stir up the fat cells. The intervals can vary on intensity from extreme exertion of 15 to 30 seconds where an all-out effort is required or 1-minute intervals where effort is ¾ or so of your max output. You do five rounds total with 30 seconds to 1-minute rest between each interval. For example, 15 seconds all out run with a sled, then 30 seconds rest. If you need the minute rest, then take it. Upon completion of the interval, you are supposed to rest 5 minutes. I rested about 3. This will maximize the use of fat for energy. Then you do 20-45 minutes of steady state cardio. Not hard, just steady.
- In the early stages of my cardio madness, I used Nitric Oxide Boosters to carry me through and amp up my cardio sessions. I would use NO-BS’s Dirty (which is back on the market) and mix it with whatever brand I had on hand like Super Pump or No-Xplode. I would use a full dose of the NO-BS Dirty and only a half of the other brands. This increased my intensity of the cardio and the time/distance I could do. This is very important at 3 and 4 am cardio sessions. (I got a little bit insane during this period of my life.) I would not recommend that much if your cardio is at night.
- Another great supplement for increasing cardio output and endurance is CoQ10. My chiropractor turned me on to this. This enzyme has shown to pull more blood to the heart increasing its efficiency. The milligram dosage I used was 300 mg to 600 mg per cardio session. I noticed a dramatic increase in my endurance with both the stepmill and the sled dragging. My best guess would be a 5-10% increase in output/endurance levels. Cycle in and out. Save it for your hardest days or longest ones.
- Another great supplement combination I got from Lyle MacDonald’s book Stubborn Fat was Yohimbine (4-8grams)/L-Tyrosine (1-3 grams)/Caffeine (200mg-250mg) on an empty stomach 30 minutes before your cardio session. The combination of the three facilitates a higher use of stubborn fat cells that do not get enough blood flow and thus are much harder to break down. It affects other systems, but that is a very complicated explanation that even I have a hard time understanding.
- As we age and large amounts of bodyfat secure themselves and essentially lock themselves up in their own compounds (and I don’t mean chemical compunds), the only way to break them out is with extreme amounts of cardio. Start with 30/30 (30 mins am/30mins pm) sessions until that slows. Then 45/30 until that slows. Then 60/30. this should be done in 3-4 week waves. You may have to do what I did in the end which was 60/50 six days a week to really get the last bit off. Pack your clothes the night before and shower at your gym. Don’t say you don’t have time. That is an excuse. Granted I am a stubborn bastard but I got up at 3 am to make sure my cardio was done.
- Break it up. If you have to endure the long sessions as I did, you will have to break it up. For example, I would do 35 minutes stepmill, 35 min stair master and then I did 50 mins in the evening of sled dragging, rower or sometimes the bike on low carb day. This will help with your sanity. You will not go as crazy as fast breaking it up. Use the harder sources as much as possible.
- Always try to do your cardio on an empty stomach. I know there is a ton of contradictory studies and opinions on this, but you want your body in an energy deprived state to maximize use of fat for energy. I found for me that the empty stomach worked best.
- Set goals and timelines for your fat loss. If you simply say I want to lose 10 lbs and don’t attach a time or deadline to it, you will lose interest in it within a very short period of time. Deadlines and specific goals set along the way will get you to work harder, stick to your plan, both eating and cardio wise. Additionally, you will be more inclined to evaluate your progress and change your plans if you are not reaching your goal under the deadlines you put on yourself.
- Invest in a coach. This is one that bothers people. Most people say “I don’t need one” but if that were the case you would not be reading this because you would have reached your goals already. Just like dudes who are afraid to ask questions because of their egos and not wanting to look dumb, so are all people who do not get a coach to help them. I had several for 10 months. I needed everyone of them to finish my goal. They were there to evaluate my progress, critique my food intake, make changes that I could not see and basically hold me accountable. I still had to do my job everyday but knowing the coaches would ask me questions it made me work even harder to reach my goals. This is also a support base. We all need a hand in our darkest hours.
- Prohormones and muscle stability and maintenance. Severe caloric restrictions wreak havoc on the body’s ability to hold muscle. Muscle burns calories. You have to hold it. The prohormones and SARM’s out now when cycled correctly will help guys hold their mass. There are numerous types so ask questions of knowledgeable people. We stock a large variety of the best ones out there.
- Try to get your carbs in the early meals throughout the day. I did this in the first 2 to 4 meals. The remaining meals were protein shakes with little or no carbs and the final meal being a salad with lean protein and light (I mean light dressing). If you are starving at bed time, have a half casein/half whey protein drink. You need the carbs early in the day. If you train at night switch one of your early meals with carbs for your post workout meal. You have to have carbs after training. This is one of the most optimal times for the body to take in nutrients and repair itself. The body wants the carbs first, but it will pull a lot more protein, mineral, vitamins, etc, in its quest for the carbs to replace glycogen stores.
- What are clean carbs? I get asked this a lot. Clean carbs are the fuel the body can break down the fastest and use the most of. I tell people, the cleaner the fuel, the faster the burn. If you give the body lots of processed food like pasta, chips, candy, bread all have to be broken down and separate the chemicals and other additives, preservatives and if any suitable fuel is left then it can be used. The best sources are sweet potatoes, plain oatmeal, rice cakes and small red potatoes. Even dry pancake with no egg or butter are okay. They were boring but easy to fix use and transport. You can use waxie maize for a carb source. It is a finely broken-down carb that the body can absorb easily. I tried a lot of different carbs but these worked well for me. Understand the sources and life will be much easier for you as well. If say you don’t have time, I will shoot you. I baked my potatoes and meat on Sunday while I watched TV, washed clothes, etc. Don’t tell me you don’t have time.
- Electrolyte shooters, BCAAs, creatine, glutamine. These are all beneficial in any training program but even more so during weight loss and diet. Electrolyte products like the Nuun tabs are a great way to stay hydrated and prevent cramping during your long bouts of cardio or if you can’t get all your water in everyday. They taste bad but do a great job. BCAA’s are essential amino acids your body need but can’t make on its own. These are vital for boosting your training energy, volume and helping the body to repair itself and get you ready for your next weight training session. They are also great for endurance training. Creatine and glutamine also fall in the same category. Even though you get both of these from adequate protein sources additional supplementation will make a huge difference in recovery from hard weight training and cardio. Must haves in my book. A way to do this is combine them all with some protein and carbs like waxie maize or another carb drink and sip some before, during and after your training.
- High rep training/circuit work. This one is a simple one. Sometimes, if you run out of time, you can make your weight training session both cardio and a lifting session. This is a no brainer but sometimes people do not understand that high rep work done in a circuit with little or no rest in between sets is more effective then plain cardio. You can vary the intensity and do 20-30 minute sessions or decrease the intensity and increase recovery time for a slightly longer training session. I have done a light upper body session in 45 minutes consisting of bench, triceps, abs, shoulders back and biceps, taken a 30 minute break and down a lower body session taking my time and increasing the load. There are a ton of ways to do it, just keep it as fast as you can and light.
- Carb Cycle as we get older. I was not a fan of this in the beginning because I associated it with the Atkins type no carb diets. When I was 30, I did a more balanced approach of 50% carbs, 25-30% protein, 20-25% fats. This worked well but nearing age 40 and above, the body does not respond as well. I was introduced to carb cycling at this time which essentially is rotating carb amounts on a daily basis to trick the body into using fat stores. This is the easiest way to describe it. Some days it is low days which may be 60g-125g, medium days 150g-300g and high days which can be 600-1000g. Protein and fat are based off carb levels to maintain metabolic response. Each person is different, so evaluation is necessary for gender, body type, bodyfat percentages, etc. This explanation is oversimplified but it would take a entire article just to get the basics down.
- Zero carb and other tricks. Towards the end of my 10 months of diet, the fat stopped moving off me period. The show was approaching fast, and I had a lot to get off. Still. the first zero carb days involved high protein levels and the good fats were up to compensate for the total loss of regular carbs. I only recommend this in the very last stages of your weight loss as it is very hard on you mentally. You still eat the same number of meals 5-8 usually. Don’t plan on anything other then cardio and make sure you knock that out early in the day. You will run out of gas towards the end of the day and you may experience some dizziness or hallucinating. I managed 5-6 straight days of this, but I would only recommend 1-2 for the average person. The final week of the show, I dropped the extra fat and ate only protein to finish it off. This put me around 1000-1250 calories barely enough to feed your dog or cat. I do not recommend this but if you handle the other zero carb days with extra good fats and do okay then 1 or 2 days tops of this is the max. Be careful here and only use this if all else has stopped weight loss.