Fast Fat Loss Part I – Eating
Wow, what a crazy week! My sister had a baby and I am now an uncle. I met the little guy yesterday and it was so cool. It’s such a surreal feeling to hold such a tiny human being. It’s also crazy to think about how the girl I grew up with actually made that little guy inside of her.
I figured a great way to celebrate this special occasion would be to give you guys some really cool info on some of my favourite methods for melting fat off of your body, and why it works so well. AKA I will teach you how to lose fat.
When it comes to eating for losing fat, we want to use science to our advantage. Without getting all geeky on you, I want to introduce you to two hormones: insulin and growth hormone.
Insulin – Think of this guy as a storage hormone. When there is glucose in the blood, insulin is released to store this glucose as glycogen in either fat, muscle, or the liver.
Growth Hormone – Think of this Badass as a lean hormone. It promotes muscle, bone, and organ growth. It also frees fat from fat cells for the muscle and heart to use, and helps muscle cells use ingested protein. This is why it is bad freakin’ ass.
We will manipulate our body to produce insulin and growth hormone at specific times during the day to lose more fat, and possibly gain some muscle in the process (this subject is a little more complicated and deserves its own article).
When it comes to controlling insulin, nothing is more effective than reducing carb intake. When carb intake is low (or non-existent), the body will convert fat to usable energy. As soon as you ingest carbs, your body will release insulin, and the carbs will be converted into energy. Any excess glucose in the blood will then be stored as fat.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Above, you said that the glycogen will be stored in the muscle as well”. Here’s the thing: this only happens if you eat carbs after lifting weights, or sprinting, or if your muscle glycogen levels are depleted. This is why I always recommend eating carbs after a workout.
Daily fasting is a really sneaky way to keep insulin lower, and to keep your body using stored fat as fuel. Think about it this way: when you’re not eating anything at all, your body isn’t ingesting carbs, and your insulin isn’t spiking like crazy.
A lot of people think that your muscle will break down and be used as fuel during fasting. This doesn’t occur until fasts as long as 48-72 hours. Think about it this way: our ancestors often had to fast in the morning, as they were gathering (and sometimes hunting) for the feast that evening, not to mention eating nothing at all in times of famine. Over millions of years, our bodies have become very efficient at using stored fat as energy and preserving muscle.
Controlling Growth Hormone
There are many things we can do to control growth hormone, but I’m specifically going to talk about a few things: fasting, BCAA’s, and sleeping.
Fasting increases growth hormone. There, I said it.
Also, when you fall into deep sleep, the combination of fasting and the restorative sleep will spike your growth hormone like crazy. This leads to you looking better naked (and reducing your rate of aging).
Research shows that ingesting BCAA’s will slightly spike growth hormone levels. The problem is, they also slightly spike insulin levels (due to the leucine). What can we do about this? Ingest BCAA’s before we end our fast, and during our workouts. Piece of cake. Another cool thing about BCAA’s is that they are mainly only used in the muscle. This makes them awesome at preserving (or even building) muscle.
Sacrificing Insulin for Growth Hormone
Here’s where things get a little tricky. If you eat a huge meal (even if there are no carbs present) your insulin levels will probably spike. This may not necessarily be a bad thing. Let me explain. A large meal is still a large amount of energy to be broken down into glucose in the blood. The levels will rise, and insulin will spike. This spike will first fill up glycogen in the liver. If glycogen stores in the muscle are depleted (which they most likely will be from the fasting period), then stores in the muscle may be partially replenished. The rest will be stored as fat.
HOLD YOUR HORSES! If you break your fast in the afternoon with an average sized meal, then continue to increase the size of your meals throughout your 8 hour eating period, then your insulin will only spike in the evening. This leads to you feeling tired. Take advantage of being tired and go to bed. Not only will you fall asleep faster, but your growth hormone levels will be even higher than normal. This small daily spike in insulin will result in increased growth hormone levels, thus keeping you leaner. (Having great sleeps every night is also very awesome too).
A Note on Full Day Fasts (FDF)
Full day fasts are great because they promote higher growth hormone levels, keep insulin levels in check, and decrease our weekly caloric average. This means that if you are looking to lose more fat, and like to have larger meals throughout the rest of the week, then a weekly FDF will make it feel like you aren’t even dieting at all (the other 6 days throughout the week). I’ve found that a weekly FDF is worth the investment because it makes the other 6 days feel like a normal day of eating your heart out (you know: meals of 1lb steaks, tons of veggies, and delicious nut butters).
Part II Coming Soon to a JMaxFitness Near You…
In Part II of this series, I talk about exercising for fat loss, how steady state cardio is bullocks, and some of the most effective ways to combine exercise with fasting. Believe me, you don’t want to miss this.
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