Fat Loss 2001! Pt.II
the Battle Continues
Hopefully if you've been following
the guidelines from part 1, you're already dropping a few digits
in the fat loss department. Fat loss is not as complicated as
many people perceive it to be. In fact, when it comes down to
it, it's really quite simple. Now don't get me wrong, it'll take
some time to learn your way around the ring and master all the
ins and outs of how to train, what to eat, and how your body responds
to a particular protocol, but you don't need me to tell you that
nothing worthwhile can be too easy.
The next segment of this article will
focus on how to design an effective lifting protocol for fat loss,
fat loss supplements and a few other subtleties that will make
you lose weight faster than those cool little tape worm pills
they sold in the late 60's... uhhhh, 'er something like that.
Well, on that note.
One of the most common mistakes trainees
make when trying to prioritize fat loss is not adjusting their
training protocol accordingly. Men and women are both guilty of
this. I can't tell you how many times I've seen guys start to
diet and cut carbs down to lean out, yet their still training
like their getting ready to take on Van Magnusson at the next
Strongman competition. Stop, take a deep breath, and think this
through carefully for a moment. If you're trying to get strong,
you must train like you're trying to get strong. So if you're
trying to minimize bodyfat, why would you still train like you're
trying to get strong? See, doesn't make much sense does it? Many
women tend to do the extreme opposite. When it's time to dump
the bodyfat it becomes Cardiofest 2001, and the lifting becomes
minimal or eighty-sixed altogether. This is also a big mistake.
Throughout the years, different approaches
have come and gone for reducing bodyfat and maintaining muscle.
The old school pre-contest methods usually consisted of increasing
workout frequency (usually to a 3 on-1 off or a 4 on-1 off schedule),
increasing number of reps per set, increasing length of workouts(in
most cases), using two-a-day splits (lifting twice a day, usually
a bigger muscle group in the morning and a small muscle group
at night), and gradually increasing cardio time to anywhere from
45-90 minutes of low intensity cardio a day. There is a name for
this style of training. It's called INSANE. Thank God we've come
a long way since then.
Despite the extreme nature of this
these venerable training methods, they were necessary to get where
we are today in terms of training knowledge, and elements of the
old school will always apply. I know every month some magazine
hits the newsstands with the latest, greatest methods of how to
do this, that and the other thing, but the fact remains, there
were great bodies 20 and 30 years ago. They got there somehow
and there is a lot to be learned from this. They were also doing
it in an era when we didn't have endocrinology update or biochemistry
101 in any of the magazines, cutting-edge supplements that actually
work, and the mass availability of ergogenic drugs. Well, unless
you're talking about the 80's when most gyms practically sold
5mg D-bol tabs out of the vending machine in a cute, little Pez
dispenser, but I digress.
So what then is the best way to train
to get lean? Here we go again with our handy little list of rules.
Rule One- Use supersets
Supersetting is beneficial for
a number of reasons. One, it is very time efficient because while
one muscle group is resting, another one is still being worked.
This makes it possible to accomplish a large volume of work in
a fairly small time frame. The second benefit is cardiovascular.
You are moving almost nonstop for the duration of the workout
so it accomplishes the best of both worlds, muscle stimulation
and fat loss. Charles Poliquin's German Volume Training is centered
around this type of philosophy. Refer to the sample workout to
see one example of how this can be done. This will be covered
in greater detail in a future article.
Full body Workout A
1a Flat bench press
Medium reverse grip
Seated dumbbell shoulder
Seated incline dumbbell
(parallel to floor)
Weighted Swiss ball
Rule Two- Use higher reps
Higher rep training can be beneficial
for a number of reasons when it comes to fat loss. The muscle
fibers (slow twitch) used during high reps hold less glycogen
therefore less glycogen will be depleted from the body during
a workout. This is important for keeping the muscles full and
the metabolism high. There is also evidence that the increased
lactate from high rep training will stimulate greater GH (Growth
Hormone) output which is also a key hormone for losing fat. Slow
twitch fibers also recover faster between sets than fast twitch
fibers. This will make it possible to adhere to using shorter
rest intervals, keeping the heart rate up throughout the workout,
hence burning more bodyfat.
Rule Three- Minimize heavy training
This kind of goes hand in hand
with rule two. Using heavy weights requires longer rest intervals.
Long rest intervals will make it difficult to keep the heart rate
up and lose bodyfat. The other downside to this is that heavy
training will stimulate greater cortisol production in the body.
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that the body releases to reduce
muscle inflammation, but it also likes to chew up muscle tissue
as a little in-between meal snack. Chewing up muscle tissue is
one of the first things that will trigger the thyroid to slow
down ( in an attempt to prevent muscle loss). Unfortunately when
the thyroid slows down you won't be losing much fat either. One
way to combat cortisol is to spike insulin levels in the body
by eating a large serving of high-glycemic carbs after a workout.
Assuming that you're following a low carb diet to get lean you
won't want to eat too many sugars, even after a workout. Therefore
don't elevate cortisol by beating the muscles up with too much
training to failure.
Rule Four- Use cardio as a backup,
not a staple
If you embrace high-rep training
and shorten the rest intervals properly, you shouldn't need much
extra cardio to get lean. The best approach is to get the high
rep workouts down first with little or no cardio. If the body
fat still isn't shedding after using 3-4 high rep, fast paced
workouts a week, then gradually add a little cardio into the mix.
Start by hitting 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning, on
an empty stomach 3-4 times a week. If you need to increase this,
up it by 5 minutes per session and don't exceed 30-40 minutes.
Most people won't ever need that much and if you do, then you
need to stop the late night Dorito-fests!
The Wide, Wide World of Fat Burners
I've heard a lot of media clowns preaching
that fat burning supplements don't work and that they're dangerous.
Well, let me ask you a question. If they don't work, then why
are so many people consistently using them? People use them because
they work. Are they dangerous? Ephedra products can be dangerous
when misused or taken by people who shouldn't be using them, but
so can anything else. Aspirin can be dangerous. Let's take that
off the market. Alcohol can be very dangerous. Don't see that
one coming off the market anytime really soon. It's a matter of
fact, let's all junk our cars because there is a chance that someday
we may experience the misfortune of being involved in an accident.
Supplements and drugs, like anything else have a risk-to-benefit
ratio. Anything that works has a risk-to-benefit ratio. We must
weigh all things out equally, base our decisions on sound knowledge,
and use these products responsibly. On that note, lets look at
a few options that will help speed up the fat loss process a bit,
as well as some products to avoid like the plague.
Ma Huang (Ephedra) and Guarana (caffeine)
These are the herbal versions of ephedrine
and caffeine. They work via stimulation of the beta 1, 2,and 3
receptors. These receptors play a very intimate role in fat loss,
especially the beta 2's. Beta 1's are found primarily in cardiac
muscle and this is what primarily stimulates elevation of the
heart rate. I believe (this is a theory) that adding synephrine
to this type of product will somewhat calm the effect on the heart
rate to an extent (see synephrine).
This was another effective weight loss
agent that has unfortunately bitten the dust. Was it banned because
it was ultimately a high-risk product? Well there were a few studies
indicating that women (but not men) had a higher risk of stroke
when using Norephedrine products. Then on the flipside, I knew
a plethora of female fitness competitors who used MD6 or Adipokinetix
(both Norephedrine-based fat burners) with great success and no
side effects whatsoever. In fact, the consensus was that it was
less stimulatory to the CNS (central nervous system) than regular
'ol ma huang or ephedrine, i.e., no shaking like a human-jackhammer.
You can still find some Adipokinetix floating around here and
there. Syntrax, the company behind Adipokinetix seems to somehow
do a brilliant job of staying below the FDA radar which amazes
me after all the heat they caught from the original Triax (tiratricol)
being banned. MD6 by Biotest is still on the market , but has
since switched the formula up to comply with FDA regulations on
Synephrine is nothing terribly new or
exciting, but it does seem to add to the benefits of the traditional
Ma Huang/Guarana combo. Synephrine is essentially ephedrine's
little brother. It acts very similarly, but it' simply exerts
a weaker effect. What are the benefits of combining this with
ephedrine? This is just a theory (don't all profound discoveries
start as a theory?) but I believe because it is chemically similar,
it acts as a competitive inhibitor to the beta receptors that
impact our heart rate the most (beta 1's), hence, lessening the
impact of the ma Huang on the users heart rate without dulling
the fat burning effects. It also seems to extend the effect of
the product so that the "crash" is not so dramatic as
it is with straight ephedrine/caffeine. I believe tyrosine will
also contribute to this effect since it is a natural amino acid
precursor to the same neurotransmitters that we are running on
when we use ephedrine and caffeine.
This one had everybody excited for a minute
when it first hit the market, that is, until we found out that
it actually suppresses TSH more than it stimulated T3 production.
In plain English, it slowed the thyroid down more than it helped
to speed it up. So what does this mean to the user? You'll be
packing up and moving into Rebound City, USA shortly after discontinuing
use. Of course the post-use weight gain will differ depending
on the individual's resilience to metabolic shutdown, the dose
they were using, and how long they took Triax without a break.
It was actually a prescription drug in Europe by the name of Triacana,
and somehow Derek Cornelius (the owner of Syntrax) slipped it
through the cracks of an FDA loophole.
Now this one had me genuinely stoked.
Actually it still does. Unfortunately it just got yanked from
the market so good luck finding it once the Biotest's supplies
dry up. Was T2 new when Biotest released it? No, not really. It
had actually been on the market for some time before in Syntrax's
Lipokinetix product. For some reason, no one payed any attention
to it though. Not too mention, Lipokinetix contained usnic acid
(a protein uncoupler similar to an herbal DNP, a.k.a., Dinitrophenol)
as well. Probably not the healthiest stuff on the planet. So what
makes T2 so special you ask? It acts similarly to T3 in terms
of boosting the metabolic rate and caloric expenditure, but with
little to no shutdown of TSH when used in reasonable amounts.
It seems to be a dieters dream-come-true. Unfortunately like many
other effective products, all good things must come to pass when
the FDA has something to say about it. The bottom line- it was
just too darn close to being a drug. The pharmaceutical guys don't
really like that too much. Bye bye T2. We'll miss you bud.
7-keto DHEA (3-Acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone)
Will 7-keto win the "mind-blowing,
super fat-shredder of the year award?" I kinda doubt it.
However there is a body of evidence and relative research indicating
that this may be a product worth adding into the mix when trying
to lose fat. It doesn't convert to estrogen like regular DHEA
and it has been shown in studies to appreciably elevate T3 without
stimulating change in TSH or T4. That's enough in and of itself
to make this product worth considering, especially for you older
guys who are experiencing a natural age-related decline of DHEA
Gugglesterone (E and Z)
Gugglesterone, also known as gum guggul
extract, gugulipid, or commiphora mukul, is an Ayurvedic herb
that seems to aid in T4 to T3 conversion. This may be less significant
at the start of a fat loss diet, but as calories are further reduced
and carb intake is lowered the body will slow the conversion of
thyroid hormones, hence slowing the metabolism. Gugglesterone
(Prolab Thyrolean is a reputable source) will help prevent this
from happening. As a little side bonus, it has also been shown
to lower serum triglyceride levels as well as LDL and VLDL (the
Coleus Forskolii (Forskolin)
This just goes to show you never know
what's gonna blow up next in this industry. I mentioned this stuff
as "worth looking at" in a thyroid article I wrote years
ago. In fact, it was the second article I had ever written. A
few years later, lo and behold, Dan "The Guru" Duchaine
is propping it in an Ironman article and as history has proven,
everything he touched, for the most part, seemed to turn to supplemental
gold. Next thing you know, Triax is banned and forskolin hits
the market in the form of Triax 2. Now it's all over the place:
EAS Beta Lean, Twinlab Extreme Ripped Fuel, Biotest T2 Pro, Next
Nutrition Ultimate Orange (also by Duchaine), and several others
as well. What's so good about this stuff? Well so far forskolin
has been shown in studies to help fat loss in a couple of ways.
The first is through a long, complicated sequence of biochemical
reactions that is way beyond the scope of this article. In short,
it helps to mobilize and metabolize fatty acids for fuel. The
second is by stimulating T3 production and if you've been reading
any of these articles then you already know how critical T3 levels
are to fat loss. This, in my opinion, makes forskolin a worthy
So there it is, fat loss in a nutshell.
Have we covered every principle about fat loss known to man? That
would require a book rather than an article (which may be in the
near future... hint, hint). I think we got the important stuff
down though. Are you still here? What are you doing?! Get away
from your brain-sucking, fat-inducing computer and go hit some