Thursday, November 11, 2010

10 Commandments of Getting Cut Part 1 of 3

I read this a while back and enjoyed it so I wanted to share it with you. Chris approaches fat loss with humor and solid, good information. Follow his advise and you will not go wrong, I guarantee it!
The article is long, so I am spacing it over the span of three days.

The 10 Commandments of Getting Cut
Losing Fat, Not Just Weight by Chris McClinch

Everywhere I go, people seem to be trying to lose weight. They're hitting the exercise bike, cutting fat out of their diets, and doing hundreds of sit-ups. Unfortunately, an awful lot of what they're doing isn't terribly productive, and some of it may actually be holding them back from reaching their goals. Losing fat isn't tough, but there's a lot of bad information out there. What follows isn't technologically advanced, and I don't have an infomercial or a 1-800 number for you to call and send me just $149.95, but it's solid information that will help you lose weight.

1. Thou shalt create a caloric deficit. Just like you need to take in more calories than you burn if you want to gain weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in if you want to lose it. You can adjust your caloric balance from both ends, of course: by eating fewer calories and by burning more. If you're not burning more calories than you're taking in, you're not losing weight. Period.

So far, so good, right? Wrong. Ever see what happens when people go on crash diets? They lose plenty of weight, but at least half of it is muscle. At best, they weigh less and have the exact same shape. At worst, their body fat percentage actually goes up. Because you're reading this, I'm positive you don't want to be one of those people. You want to lose as much fat as possible while holding onto the muscle.

2. Thou shalt not try to lose the weight too quickly.

The first thing you can do to make sure you hold on to your muscle mass is to make sure you're not losing more than two pounds a week. Unless you're obese, a loss of more than two pounds a week virtually guarantees that you're losing muscle as well as fat. Remember, you want to create a caloric deficit, but you don't want to create a deficit so large that your body mistakes it for starvation. If you're within 20 pounds of your ideal weight, shoot for a deficit of about 500 calories a day, which should mean a loss of a pound a week. If you're more than 20 pounds overweight, shoot for a deficit closer to 1000 calories a day, which will have you losing more like two pounds a week. As a rule of thumb, the more you have to lose, the quicker you can afford to lose it.

3. Thou shalt eat six meals a day. All too often, people try to lose weight by skipping breakfast, having a salad for lunch, and having a normal dinner. These people rarely look better after their diets, though. Don't become one of them. Every time you eat, your metabolism spikes for the next two hours or so while you digest the food. Given the exact same intake, split into two meals or six meals, you'll burn significantly more calories in digestion if you eat them as six smaller meals.

4. Thou shalt eat according to a plan.

Even when eating the right foods, eating at random is no good. You're less certain of creating a caloric deficit, you're less likely to get the right number of meals, and you'll frequently overdo it on the carbs, underdo it on the protein, or find that there's no real consistency from day to day. I can't recommend highly enough that you follow an eating plan.

Chris McClinch is an Arlington, VA-based bodybuilder and personal trainer. He won the middleweight title at the 2001 International Natural Bodybuilding Federation's collegiate national championships. As a trainer, he specializes in physique transformation and sport-specific strength training preparation, and is an active member of the IronOnline bulletin board.
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