6 WEEKS TO GET LEAN
With this six-week, 10-point program, you'll blast off pounds of bodyfat and
reveal a six-pack just in time for spring
No one who benches 405 pounds for reps started at 405 pounds. It just doesn't
work that way. They had to go through hundreds of hours in the gym and dozens of
other mini-milestones before hitting that bar-bending mark. They had to work up
to it ' 5 pounds more this week, 10 more the next. Building on the previous
workout is what eventually amounts to four plates on each side of the bar. What
if a rookie lifter tried to press 405 without that kind of calculated
progression? Well, it wouldn't be pretty.
The same approach applies to plowing through stores of unwanted bodyfat, which
we're sure is on your mind after your standard winter of gluttony. Take a look
at your sugar-cookied, holiday-wrecked midsection. You can't pick just one
slim-quick method and hope to get rid of that doughy gut by beach time. You have
to work toward it. As with weight training, consistently adding new variables
into your program ' especially when they build on what you've done previously '
will not only accelerate your fat-burning but also keep your body from getting
used to one particular approach.
While making a whole-hearted commitment to fitness as a lifestyle is really the
only way to keep those love handles in check for good, we can help you build
some serious blubber-melting momentum with our six-week program. If you
incorporate one or two new fat-burning strategies each week, by the end of Week
6, you'll be firing on 10 strategic cylinders. There's no question about it '
this year, your six-pack is sure to make an unseasonably early cameo.
STRATEGY 1: CUT CARBS IN HALF
When carbohydrate intake is lowered, the body turns to fat for energy. So to
start shedding some fat, cut your carbs drastically ' in this case, by half '
for four straight days while maintaining your regular workout plan. Not only
does this reduce calories, but it also helps control insulin, the hormone
released with carb consumption that can increase the appetite.
The easiest way to implement this step is to halve your carbohydrate portion
size at meals. Instead of a full bagel, for example, eat half. In lieu of a
medium plate of pasta, have a small plate. Eat only three-quarters of a cup of
rice compared to the rounded cup you may typically consume. You'll burn fat and
your desire to eat should also subside.
Following a lower-carb diet for too long can backfire for some, decreasing
leptin levels and slowing the metabolism, so return to your regular portions
after four days. Introducing carbs back into your diet after this kind of
drastic reduction kicks up leptin levels and, therefore, your metabolism. In
addition, when the body comes out of a brief, modified lower-carb diet, it
becomes more efficient at storing carbohydrate as muscle glycogen, key for
pushing through your workouts with the type of intensity you need to elicit
growth. Glycogen not only powers your training but acts as an anabolic stimulus,
allowing the body to retain muscle even as you attempt to whittle away a few
extra pounds. And because it pulls Water into the muscles with it, it makes them
fuller and larger.
STRATEGY 2: ELEVATE YOUR (GH) STATUS
Yes, getting lean is about calories, but it's also about hormones, so we'll go
ahead and cover all your bases just to be safe. Happily, this will be a bedtime
chore and, over the next six weeks, should become as routine as brushing yout
teeth. To make it a bit simpler and to get your hormones working in your favor,
drop all carbohydrates from your final meal of the day ' every day ' to slash
calories. When you go to bed with a lower blood-sugar level as a result of
avoiding carbs in your last meal, the body is more apt to increase its
production of growth hormone (GH), which accelerates fat loss by mildly
increasing the metabolism and boosting muscle growth.
Also, try adding arginine to your list of supplements to increase GH levels.
Arginine, which converts to nitric oxide in the body and increases blood flow,
has also been shown to boost the release of GH and support metabolism. In
addition to supplementing with 3'6 grams in the morning on an empty stomach,
take 3'6 grams of arginine before going to bed.
STRATEGY 3: CASUAL cardio
Many cut-up plans use the shock-and-awe method: They require not only drastic
diet alterations but long, heavy bouts of cardio. Truth is, you don't need a lot
of cardio to trim the fat if your diet is solid. Losing fat is the cumulative
result of what you eat, how you eat and how much you eat, coupled with Hardcore
weight training. Yet cardio certainly has its place as a stimulus.
Used in moderation, cardio allows you to get over fat-loss plateaus without
altering your diet too much. This week, do two moderate sessions (yes, just two)
of 30'40 minutes apiece. That's enough to facilitate fat loss. Remember, the
body isn't a machine. If you try to force fat off, it can backfire, with the
body downgrading its metabolism and the amount of calories it burns in response
to exercise and diet.
STRATEGY 4: GET LEAN WITH PROTEIN & LEUCINE
By the second week, after you've cut carbs and increased your cardio, the body
will start to look for alternatives to bodyfat for fuel. Unfortunately, muscle
tissue is often its first source. You can reduce that effect by increasing your
regular protein intake by 50 grams per day. Either add a protein shake or two or
increase your protein intake at the meals you eat before and after training '
another 25 grams pre- and postworkout should do the trick. That's a second scoop
of whey protein or about 3'4 ounces of chicken, fish or lean meat.
You can also add a leucine supplement before and after training. Leucine can
halt muscle breakdown, aka catabolism. The unfortunate part of attempting to get
leaner is that the body often tears down protein, including muscle tissue, at a
far greater clip than when calories and carbs are much higher. So to prevent the
loss of protein and muscle tissue and the dropoff in metabolism that comes with
it, add 5'8 grams of leucine pre- and postworkout.
STRATEGY 5: BURN, BABY, BURN
Unfortunately, most folks stumble out of the gate by pinning their hopes to a
fat-burning supplement without ever getting their diets in order.
But if you've done your homework and gotten your body into a fat-burning mode
with the previous steps, a decent fat-burner can go a long way. Look for
something that includes ingredients such as green tea, caffeine and evodiamine,
which boost fat-burning and make the body less efficient at storing calories as
bodyfat. The biggest advantage to putting off the fat-burners until Week 3 is
that you've already moved your body in the right direction with your diet.
Adding some help should result in more noticeable progress.
STRATEGY 6: GET LOW . . . REALLY LOW
Getting lean is about calorie reduction, hormonal Manipulation and exercise. But
it's also about perception. When you make a drastic drop in calories, the body
perceives this as a threat and begins to tap into other fuel sources, fat being
chief among them.
So for one of your four low-carb days during the week, slash carbs even further
' to nearly a quarter of your normal intake ' to increase fat-burning. Anyone
can diet really hard for a day in the name of getting shredded, right?
STRATEGY 7: CRAZY cardio
You're already working up a small sweat twice a week. Now it's time to trick
your body by taking your cardio into another universe. Starting this week, add
40 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity cardio to the end of your regular
weight workouts or first thing in the morning, before you eat. Because your body
is carb-depleted at both of these times, an aggressive cardio session will help
you tap into your fat stores more quickly. Plus, the duration and intensity of
the sessions will challenge your body and spur your metabolism. Do this for only
the final weeks of your program. Too much high-intensity cardio can kill
testosterone levels, which could halt muscle growth and slow metabolism.
STRATEGY 8: BE A CHEATER
Eating foods that are way outside of the dieting realm, or cheating, has gained
a lot of attention in the fitness mainstream in recent years. One notion holds
that eating whatever you want for an entire day each week keeps the metabolism
humming. Sorry, folks, but it's not that easy. Cramming down Krispy Kremes and
buffalo wings all day Sunday isn't the best way to go.
Cheating definitely has its place any time you're trying to get lean, but the
type of cheating we're referring to won't wreck your momentum. This week, on
your first higher-carb day, have a burger, a couple of slices of pizza or a
single slice of cake. In the grand scheme of things, the extra 500'700 calories
won't put a dent in your progress. By this time you'll have already peeled away
5'9 pounds of bodyfat and your metabolism will be working at a roadrunner's
STRATEGY 9: VOLUMIZE YOUR training
Volume training, or using more sets than usual in your typical training regimen,
can accelerate fat loss, especially if your body is already in a strong
fat-burning mode. It does this by putting additional stress on glycogen stores,
depleting muscles of this valuable asset. When glycogen temporarily runs lower '
as it would during a volume-training phase ' fat-burning is given a healthy
boost. This week, simply add 50% more sets to your typical training plan. Doing
12 sets per bodypart? Go up to 18. You can add sets to your current exercises or
tack an additional 1'2 exercises onto your plan. Keep reps higher, in the 10'15
range. But make this just a one-week fix in your leaning-out cycle. Sticking to
a greater-volume mind-set could eventually erode training intensity by lowering
STRATEGY 10: TAKE A BREAK
Ever take a break from training for 3-4 days, only to swear you look bigger and
leaner? You're not imagining things. That's the beauty of rest. When you push
the body all the time, it gets stubborn and does the exact opposite of what
you're trying to accomplish. Take a break for three full days this week, then
get right back on the plan listed above your body will respond with even
greater progress and gains. M&F
To order Chris Aceto's training and nutrition books Championship bodybuilding
and Everything You Need to Know About fat Loss, visit nutramedia.com
SIX-WEEK fat-BURN plan
Follow these steps over the next six weeks to increase your body's ability to
1 >> Reduce carbs by half for four days
>> Eliminate carbs from your last meal of the day
2 >> Add two 30'40-minute cardio sessions per week
>> Add 50 g protein and 5'8 g leucine per day
3 >> Add a fat-burner
>> Cut carbs further on one of your low-carb days
4 >> Schedule 40 minutes of medium- to high-intensity cardio postworkout or
first thing in the morning
5 >> Have a 500'700-calorie cheat meal on one of your regular-carb days
>> Add 50% more sets to your weight workouts
6 >> Take a three-day break from the entire plan, then start again if needed
by: Chris Aceto and Eric Velazquez
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