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How to cut weight Optimally

RyuuKyuzo
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4/1/2016 5:14:00 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
How to cut weight optimally:
This is going to be a comprehensive fat-loss strategy, and therefore a very long post.
Summer is coming, so I'd better make this post now and give you guys plenty of time to get beach body ready, if that's something you're looking to do.
I'll likely do a bulking one, too. So if that's what you're looking for, sit tight.
First off, wtf do I know about cutting? A lot of you don't know me, so I'll give you a bit of my fitness background. I'm a powerlifter who competes in the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). I've competed as low as 160lbs and as high as 205lbs. I'm ranked in the top 50 lifters in my country (Canada) by wilks score (meaning, regardless of weightclass) and I'm tied for 7th in the country for my usual weight class (183lbs). I'm not saying this to brag, but just so that you know I'm no amatuer when it comes to making weight >>while retaining performance<<
Because that's the key; anybody can slash calories and emaciate themselves, but that's not what not people want. If you want to actually look leaner, rather than just smaller, you need to know how to cut excess bodyfat without burning off your muscle in the process. I've cut weight tons of times in my life, and this is the best method I've found for doing just that.
DIET::
Diet is the most complicated part of optimal fat loss. Ideally, you want a method that convinces your body to metabolize bodyfat without also metabolizing muscle tissue. Luckily, your body comes with built-in software to do just that; ketosis. In a nutshell, ketosis is what your body does when your blood-glucose levels are too low for your body to remain in glycolysis; meaning if you're not eating enough carbs to fuel your body, your body starts turning its bodyfat stores into ketones and metabolizing those for fuel.
So if you cut out carbs entirely (meaning you only eat fats and proteins), and you limit your daily caloric intake to a moderate deficit (say, 500 kcals below maintenance), your body will make up the difference exclusively through metabolizing bodyfat.
Getting into ketosis doesn't happen overnight. Your body has built-in glucose sores in the form of muscle-glycogen, and it'll take 1-3 days for your body to burn through that, at which point your body will switch over into ketosis.
One of the benefits of ketosis is that your satiety levels don't fluctuate throughout the day like they do when you're in glycolysis, because your blood-glucose levels aren't fluctuating throughout the day. This makes "cravings" much rarer and milder. The downside is, with no carbs at hand for fuel, training becomes harder. We'll get to training in a bit.
There are a number of different ketosis diets out there, but the one I've found to work the best is the Anabolic Diet. Here's what it looks like:
Monday-Friday: No carbs. Macro ratios are as follows -- 60% fats, 40% proteins, 0-25g carbs, max.
Saturday-Sunday: Carbs. Macro ratios -- 60% carbs, 25% fats, 15% proteins
(Note: you don't carb-load on the first weekend of the cut. Meaning, no carbs for the first 12 days)
As you can see, you carb-load on the weekends. Why? 2 reasons; firstly to keep up performance. Secondly; to keep you sane. You ever try not eating carbs for 30+ days straight? I have. It sucks, and it's not necessary. So long as you keep a caloric deficit, 2 days of carb-loading is not sufficient to kick you out of glycolysis. Speaking of which...
Calories -- I don't like using "calorie requirement calculators" for a number of reasons I won't get into here. Here's what I will tell you, though. 1lb of fat has 3,500 calories in it. 3,500/7 = 500. So, if you stick to a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories (say, you eat 1,500 calories per day when you normally need 2,000 to maintain your bodyweight), you should lose about 1lb/week, ceteris paribus. Is that actually how it works in real life? Absolutely not, but in general a 500 calorie deficit is a good starting point, so don't worry about it.
And if have absolutely no idea how many calories you usually eat in a day-to-day basis, fine. Just multiply your weight by 18 and then reduce that number by 500 (eg, 150lbs x 18 = 2,700. 2,700 - 500 = 2,200 calories/day). This will be, more or less, where you need to be to start losing weight.
You stick to roughly that amount of calories per day until you stop losing weight, at which point you drop another 300 or so calories. Rinse and repeat.
"How fast should I be losing weight?"
That depends on your genetics and which point you're at in the cut. During the first 2 weeks, you'll probably lose a full 10lbs. Why? Because you've emptied your glycogen stores, aren't eating as much (meaning you don't constantly have a bunch of half-digested food working through your system), and you're not retaining water-weight. After that's out of the way, you'll want to lose around 4-5lbs/month. This is, for most people, the fastest you can cut fat without also slashing performance (and perhaps even muscle).
Speaking of water...
Drink literally 1 gallon of water per day. Ironically, the more water you drink, the less water your body retains. Why? because when your body responds to a lack of water by storing it in your body for emergencies. When water supplies are abundant, it doesn't bother holding on to so much.
Bodybuilders actually manipulate this via a process called "drying out". They pound down multiple gallons of water a day for a few weeks, then a couple days before a show they cut down water intake to ethiopian-famine levels. This causes their bodies to suck up and flush whatever water it has stored, which gives them that lean, grainy "thin skin" look. Don't worry about looking freakish. If you're not also on drugs + diuretics, you're not actually going to look like an anatomy-chart. You'll just look leaner.
Meal Timing:
You can speed up your metabolism by having multiple small meals throughout the day. I like to have 6. You can split it however is convenient for you, just keep in mind more is generally better.
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.
RyuuKyuzo
Posts: 3,074
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4/1/2016 5:19:12 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
TRAINING::

Finally, FINALLY, we're on to training. The thing about cutting is, the diet is complicated as all hell, but the training is very simple and straight-forward.
Notice I said simple, not easy.
First things first, fasted cardio in the morning. To just-start your metabolism, go for a 20-30 minute walk every morning before you eat anything. Keep in mind I said walk, not jog, not sprint, not bike, not roller-blade. Walk. You go for a walk. Walking. You walk. Capisci?

You aren't doing this to burn calories. Truth be told, cardio is practically worthless for burning calories. You want to know how efficient the human body is at not burning calories? Running a literal mile only burns, on average, 100 calories. That's it. You know how much you burn walking 1 mile? It's still about 100 calories. Crazy, I know. Look it up if you don't believe me.
For perspective, if I laid in bed all day and did nothing, I'd still burn over 2000 calories. This is something that's important to understand; for most people, you will burn more calories just existing than you will doing things, so the goal of training for fat loss isn't to burn calories, it's to rev-up your metabolism. Let your body do the calorie-burning for you.
Walk.
Jogging is murder on your joints, it raises catabolic hormones (meaning you're raising your chances of metabolizing muscle) and it's exhausting. At no point do you ever need to jog to cut weight. Literally never.
"But Tulu, I don't have time in the mornings to go for walks. Can I just skip it?"
Sure, you can skip whatever you want. I'm not getting paid to write this, what do I care if you don't make your goal? If you care about making your goal, then no. You can't skip it. This may seem negligible, but it one of the most important parts of the process.

Strength Training:
For those of you who don't train to build muscle or strength, feel free to take your scrawny butt down to the next section and ignore this. For those of you who really don't want to lose your muscle gains, fear not. If your diet is in-check, holding onto muscle is very, very easy.
All you need to do is stimulate as close to 100% of your muscle fibers as possible roughly 3x per week in order to convince your body it still needs all its muscle mass. If that sounds difficult, it's not. Stimulating 100% of your muscle fibres in a given lift doesn't mean you have to hit a 1-rep max on every lift 3x per week, it means you need to to literally 1 rep at 85% of your max 3x per week. So for example let's say your maxes are 315 squat, 225 bench, 405 deadlift, 155 press:

Monday: Squat 265 for 1 rep. Bench 190 for 1 rep

Done.

Wednesday: Deadlift 345 for 1 rep. Press 130 for 1 rep.

Done.

Friday: Do the same thing you did monday

Done.

This way, you hit every major muscle group every time you're in the gym, and you stimulate 100% of every muscle fibre of every muscle group you've hit.
Why 85%? Because at 85% of your 1-rep max, you are utilizing 100% of the muscle fibres in whatever muscle you're working. the only reason why you can lift <85% of your max is thanks to a process called "rate-coding", which basically means your nervous system stimulates the muscle fibres more often in order to increase force-production. This is a good way to lift more weight, but it also fries your nervous system, which we definitely do not want to do, especially in a caloric deficit. So just stick to 85% throughout the entirety of your cut.

You should be able to maintain that strength from start to finish unless you're either cutting too fast, or if you're cutting below about 10% bodyfat.
If you don't know what 85% of your max is on these lifts, you probably don't have enough muscle mass to worry about maintaining it via heavy compound weight training. I'm not being facetious here, either. If you have a low fat-free mass index and your diet and conditioning is on point, you're body isn't likely to consider metabolizing muscle at all unless you literally start starving yourself.

Conditioning:

This is your prime training-focus whilst cutting. This is also where you have the most freedom, because you can do any number of things for conditioning; boxing lessons, wrestling, HIIT training, tabata training, prowler training, farmer's walks -- you can do whatever you want so long as it's not jogging. I swear to God if I catch you jogging I'll force-feed to spaghetti until you explode.
If you really don't know whether or not what you want to do would be good conditioning or not, you can just ask me and I'll let you know. The general rule of thumb is it should be quick, explosive, and short in duration. 30 second sprints followed by 30 second walking for 10 minutes is great conditioning, for example.
Just be sure to make it harder in some way each week, since you'll be losing weight, and a lighter body = less work done per movement.
And that's it. Nice and simple. How often do you do conditioning work? That depends on what kind of conditioning work you've decided on. In general, 3x/week is also fine.

THINGS TO EXPECT::

- The time between starting the cut and when your body finally switches over to ketosis sucks. Tough it out. It gets better.
- It may take you a few weeks to get acclimated to being in ketosis. Again, tough it out. It gets better.
- You're going to look worse before you look better. Remember, the first couple weeks, most of your weight loss comes from water weight and muscle glycogen, meaning your muscles will flatten out before you really start digging into the fat. So 10 days in when you look in the mirror and see you look smaller, but not leaner, don't freak out. It's all part of the process. Keep the faith and ride it out.
- If you find yourself really hankering for carbs, diet-soda is a god-send. "But isn't diet-soda bad for you?" Probably not, but if you don't want to drink it, don't. Tough through your craving without it.
- Take fish-oil. It helps with fat loss and will keep your joints nice and lubricated, which you're going to need them to be.
- The leaner you get, the slower you'll start to lose weight. DO NOT start slashing calories like crazy when this happens. It's just part of the process. Be patient.
- If your goal is to cut down bodybuilder lean (<8% bodyfat), expect to lose muscle/strength/sexual performance, unless you're on drugs. Pretty much no amount of good dieting and training will stop your body from metabolizing muscle once it thinks it's literally starving to death.

Okay, That's it. If you made it through all that, you're awesome. Congratulations! Now get out there and get lean!

If any of you guys have any questions, feel free to ask.
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.
RyuuKyuzo
Posts: 3,074
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4/1/2016 5:20:17 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
This is an article I wrote for somewhere else, which I basically just copied/pasted as-is, so the formatting probably isn't the greatest, but w/e :)
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.
RyuuKyuzo
Posts: 3,074
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4/2/2016 12:34:31 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 11:56:49 AM, TheFlex wrote:
Great post! Welcome back. I was actually looking for something like this.

Thanks, man
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.