It’s the time of year when body-conscious folks are working to look their best for summer. A flat belly is great, and etched abs can really grab attention—but there’s nothing like phenomenal abdominals WITH overall muscularity and rugged rippedness.
The problem is, most people fail to even get to the first level—a flat, no-fat midsection. Why? It usually has something to do with the following 3 fat-burning facts you should be aware of. Knowing these will help you succeed in exiting the Chub Club and joining the Buff Brigade…
1) When your insulin is up, you can’t burn fat.
That’s right, insulin turns off fat burning. Insulin is a storage hormone that shuttles excess energy substrates to fat cells. What causes insulin to surge? A few things: large, stomach-stretching meals; simple carbohydrates (candy, cake, sodas, chips, etc.); and whey protein.
Did you get that last one? Many, many bodybuilders have whey-protein shakes between solid-food meals to feed their muscles; however, it’s a superfast protein that spikes insulin. So every time you chug down a whey shake, there’s an insulin wake, and fat burning stops dead in its tracks. What’s the alternative?
Use a casein-whey array instead as your in-between meals protein. Casein is a slow-digesting protein that trickles into your bloodstream for hours—and it prevents the dreaded insulin spike that turns off fat burning.
But isn’t straight whey a better muscle builder? That’s debatable. Consider this: The most potent human growth substance on earth is mother’s milk—and it’s about half whey and half casein.
(See note at bottom of page about how to get free protein.)
2) You’re not burning as many calories as you think.
According to Dr. Doug McGuff, if you hit the treadmill for an hour and burn 300 calories, that’s not 300 EXTRA calories you burned. You have to subtract the calories you would’ve burned just being awake. That’s your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
For an average 185-pound man that’s 80 to 100 calories an hour. So you really only burned an extra 200 calories during that hour on the treadmill. More bad news. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. That means it would take you about 17 hours on that treadmill (steady-state cardio) to burn ONE measly pound of fat…
That fact is not to discourage you but to make you realize that you need proper diet AND exercise to make a big dent in fat stores. If you cut back portions at your meals to create a 200-calorie deficit each day and you also weight train and do a little extra cardio activity, you can easily lose 3 pounds of fat a week consistently and in a healthy manner. But don’t just do cardio alone because…
3) Weight training is the number-one exercise for burning fat.
There are a number of reasons why that’s true…
- Weight training increases your fat-burning hormones: testosterone, growth hormone, and epinephrine; steady-state cardio does not.
- Weight training builds muscle, and muscle stokes your metabolism. Steady-state cardio does not build muscle. That’s very important: If you add five pounds of muscle, your body burns an extra 250 to 300 calories a day. It’s why inactive older people get fatter and fatter—they gradually lose muscle and their metabolisms slow to a crawl so they pack on bodyfat. They need to lift weights to reverse the process. Remember, build more muscle to burn more fat.
- Weight training uses glycogen for energy, which comes from carbohydrates. So a lot of the carbs you eat replenish muscle glycogen rather than being treated as excess energy and moved to fat cells. People who don’t weight train see most of the carbs they eat go directly to fat because they don’t have a muscle-glycogen deficit.
- Weight training creates muscle microtrauma, which burns bodyfat during the repair process. If you get a little sore from a workout, that’s not a bad thing—your body will work hard to repair it, and that takes excess energy, a lot of which comes directly from bodyfat. (For more on that and how to enhance that process in the gym, see The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout e-book.)
- Weight training removes sugar from your bloodstream, creating an ideal environment for fat burning. That’s why you should do about 20 minutes of low-intensity cardio work immediately AFTER your weight workout—because with no sugar in your system your body will tap into bodyfat instantly. It’s the most efficient time to hit the treadmill.
Forward this to anyone you know who’s interested in losing bodyfat as quickly as possible. For more info, like meal-by-meal eating schedules, see our X-treme Lean diet and nutrition e-book, which also contains complete weight-training programs (of course) designed for increasing fat-burning hormones and building muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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