There is a very vocal crowd of health experts and fitness enthusiasts on the web who trumpet the message that ‘a calorie is a calorie’. They will tell you in no uncertain terms (whether or not you ask) that all that matters is reducing your caloric intake, regardless of what you end up eating as a result.
Those of us who have actually taken the time to research and experiment with our diets though know that this isn’t true. In fact, what you eat is much more important than how you eat for any number of reasons.
In theory, if you take the ‘calorie is a calorie’ stance, you could lose weight by eating just ice cream. Of course, you’d also possibly die (see ‘IIFYM‘ to see more on this idea).
Moreover though, weight gain isn’t just about how many calories go into your body. It’s more important to think about how many calories your body actually uses and how many make it into your bloodstream. Case in point: protein has thermogenic properties which means you burn calories simply by eating.
Ever wondered why some people eat a super-strict diet and are still in awful shape? While others eat whatever they want and remain thin and healthy? It’s all to do with hormones. And the best way to speed up weight loss is to manipulate said hormones.
Try Fasting at the Right Times
Did you know that fasting can be used to help speed up your metabolism? You’ve likely heard this as the ‘IF’ scene gathers momentum (intermittent fasting). And those guys aren’t wrong – used correctly, fasting can make your body more energy efficient and increase cortisol to help you burn more fat (cortisol isn’t all bad).
Fasting also works because it keeps your blood sugar low. In turn, this encourages your body to produce less insulin, which means less fat gets stored. The longer you do this, the more you can lose weight – of course, though you still need to eat or your body will go into a ‘fat storing mode’ which is why strategic periods of not eating provide the best strategy.
We also have more cortisol first thing in the morning and have effectively been fasting through the night, so if you don’t fancy fasting in the afternoon, you could always try a little ‘fasted cardio’ instead which has been shown in studies to burn a lot more fat. 20% more in fact! You can instead eat protein in the morning and try following Tim Ferriss’ advice of 30g in 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can try carb backloading, which involves eating carbs only after you’ve worked out in order to
Another way to burn more fat is to exercise generally. This encourages the body to produce more testosterone and growth hormone, both of which lead to increased fat burning and muscle building. Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench press all stimulate these hormones more than isolation exercises.
Best of all though is to use high-intensity interval training which has been shown to encourage more fat burning throughout the day compared with steady state cardio.
So stop starving yourself and killing it in the gym. Be smart and manipulate your hormones and you can hack your way to that flat stomach!
Source: Fit And Healthy 24