This article will give you 5 more tips to turn your body into a lean muscle-building, fat-burning machine. In case you didn’t read the last 5 tips, the basic overview was to increase fiber intake, frequently drink water, eat a complex and healthy breakfast, increase calcium intake, and eat several small meals per day (as high as 8-10). Ready for more? Good! Keep reading…
#6: Eat carbs early in the day
Meals that contain larger amounts of carbohydrates should be eaten earlier in the day. This means that much of your whole grain and fruit consumption should occur before noon. The body’s metabolism is highest earlier in the day, so this is a great time to be supplying your muscles with energy in the form of glycogen (carbohydrates), while also ensuring that many of the carbohydrates you consume will be burned for fuel, rather than deposited as fat stores. Many families tend to have the biggest meal of the day in the evening, ironically at the time when the body is least in need of energy and the metabolism is lowest. The practical application would be to make breakfast bigger and dinner smaller. So try it out – prioritize eating carbohydrates early in the day, and focus on decreasing carbohydrate portion size as afternoon and evening approaches.
#7: Eat the right kind of carbs
While carbohydrates are important for providing energy and giving your body the ability to burn fat, you must choose the right carbs. Simple carbs like sugar and processed flour tend to be rapidly absorbed by the digestive system, which causes a release of the hormone that encourages fat deposit – insulin. Furthermore, the quick energy release that is followed by a rapid decrease in sugar levels will cause you to crave more food, which is why many people on a typical American diet are *always* hungry! So no matter what percentage of your diet is made up of carbohydrates, you must choose complex carbs that are slowly absorbed and digested, thus producing a long term source of energy that keeps you fuller for a longer period of time. Whole grain flours, vegetables, oats, and unprocessed grains, such as brown or wild rice are great choices, and also include many other compounds important in maintaining a high metabolism and proper digestive function.
#8 Eat fat
For the past several decades, mainstream Americans have been shifting to low or no fat diets, with the general result being an *increase* in obesity and chronic disease, and a decrease in health and fitness. In the meantime, world populations such as Eskimos, that consume as much as 70% of their diet from fat calories in whale blubber and fish, have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. While this may seem ironic, there are some very good reasons. Typically, to replace calories that are not provided by dietary fat, carbohydrate consumption increases. Increased carb consumption leads to a faster burning energy source, which tends to contribute to cycling blood sugar levels, use of muscle tissue as fuel, low energy, and decreased metabolism and hormone production. In addition, many Americans will replace saturated fat, such as butter, with a trans fat, such as margarine. Trans fats are *much* worse for the body than saturated fat. So it is important to choose the right kinds of fat. Most animal fats, and many vegetable oils, are high in cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease. However, mono-unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, nuts, fish oil, and various seed oils, can help lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease, and enhance your body’s ability to burn fat as a fuel source. So try to eat fish several times a week (or supplement with fish oil), cook with olive oil, and try to eat at least a handful of a healthy nut (like almonds or walnuts) once per day.
#9 Avoid sugar substitutes
Artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame, still taste sweet (that’s why they’re sugar replacements!). When the taste receptors on your tongue taste this sweet substance, your digestive systems begins to produce compounds that prepare your body to use the “food” that your brain thinks you are consuming. The hormones produced in the digestive process are still present once this fake food enters your small intestine, but no actual energy release or satiety occurs, which leaves you with a gut full of digestive hormones that need food to break down and make the brain crave even more food, this time the real stuff. This is why studies have shown that consumption of diet soda products are associated with obesity! If you’re really serious about burning fat, ditch any sugar substitute foods or diet drinks that you currently consume. I guarantee that once you overcome the initial addiction withdrawal, you’ll feel a hundred times better.
#10 Eat like a car
Your body runs on fuel. If you put too much fuel into the gas tank, an overflow occurs, and in the body’s case, this means fat deposition. I realize that the idea of limiting calories is very simple, but sometimes the approach is wrong. Never give yourself a certain “number” of calories per day. You’d never take your car to the gas station and fill up if you didn’t plan on driving it, and the same goes for your body. If you have a light day of activity (“low mileage”) or a sedentary day (sitting in the garage), you should sometimes not even be consuming 50% of the calories you’d normally consume, because your body doesn’t need them. For instance, on a typical day, I consume 5000-6000 calories (based on my metabolism and amount of activity), but on a weekend of travel, where I am either sitting in a car or airplane, I often consume as little as 1000 calories per day! If your body doesn’t need the fuel, there’s not a necessity to put it in your mouth. On the other hand, there will be some days where I consume up to 8000 calories, simply because that is how many I actually burn through with my activities! So if you’re on a set diet of, say, 2000 calories per day, don’t be afraid to vary as needed.
I’d like to finish by encouraging you to keep at it. Switching to a healthy diet can be unbearable at times, but the longer you stick with it, the easier it gets. It’s just like exercise – you can bring yourself to a maintenance phase where moderate to high physical activity becomes easier, but the initial work is pretty difficult. If you’d like to more information about diet and nutrition, or exercise, you can e-mail me atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions.
When you sign-up for personal training with Greenfield Fitness Systems at WWW.PACIFICFIT.NET, you can receive a complete dietary analysis, complete with grocery list and food substitution suggestions, and monthly tools to track your progress, caloric intake, and macronutrient percentage. AtÂ WWW.PACIFICFIT.NET you have access to your own personal fitness coach to guide you through your workout routine, using the latest fitness research and breakthrough techniques. You are guaranteed to get fitter faster on a Greenfield Fitness Systems program.
Until next time, train smart,
M.S. PE, NSCA-CPT, CSCS