There are a few strategies used by bodybuilders to keep their muscle mass while speeding up the process of fat burning. The cutting phase is the muscular definition period. To completely eliminate the fat layer, you should focus on a hypocaloric diet, aerobic exercises and you should increase your workout volume a little (without exaggerating). Besides that, you can adopt some of these strategies:
1. Increase fiber intake. Fibers delay the carb-digestion process and the speed at which they enter the blood stream. When this process becomes slower, the levels of insulin decrease, giving way to calorie burn. Include little portions of vegetables that are high in fiber with every meal.
2. Take arginine and leucine after working out. Even if you’re on your cutting phase, you should add carbs to your post-workout meal so that your body increases insulin levels and blocks the catabolic action. These aminoacids, arginine and leucine, induce insulin increase. The idea is to keep your muscle mass during this phase. Add 2-4g of arginine and 3-4g of leucine to your post-workout shake.
3. Use a thermogenic (fat burner). During the cutting phase, the consumption of carbs should be highly controlled. However, you can increase the amounts in the days you work out bigger muscle groups, like legs or back. On those days, thermogenics can be great allies. These products include stimulant ingredients to speed up your metabolism and promote fat loss. Pay attention, though; you should cycle them so your body doesn’t adapt and keep you from reaching your goals.
4. Use your MCT (medium chain triglycerides). MCT are healthy fats that are not stored by the body. They prevent the loss of muscle mass and provide high-quality energy (ex: coconut oil, palm oil). By using the MCT, you’ll be giving way to the conversion of fat into energy, because the MCT will be burned instead of muscle tissue or glycogen. The result is fat loss and the development of lean muscle mass in the long term.
CLA is a supplement that gives you the same results. CLA keeps your body from storing fats, by blocking the enzymes that expand fat cells and by promoting the conversion of fat into energy.
5. Moderate your workouts. When you’re in the cutting phase, exaggerating in your workout, performing more sets than necessary hoping to burn more calories is an unnecessary risk that may lead to overtraining and increase cortisol levels, which can keep you from reaching your goals. Also, affecting your immune system is the key to block muscle mass gains. Don’t do more than 45min of aerobic workout. If you need to burn more calories, decrease the amount of carbs and fats in your diet. Attention: decreasing the amount doesn’t mean eliminating.
6. Selenium and calcium may be great allies. Selenium is a mineral that helps with the thyroid’s good functioning. People who are going through a weight loss process may face a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones (they contribute to the regulation of body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, intestinal functioning, weight management, humor, among others). Calcium can also be helpful when it comes to burning fat. A study has showed that women with a diet high in calcium have lost more weight than those who didn’t have an adequate intake of this nutrient.
7. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
N/d, 20 dicas para perder gordura e acelerar o cutting, 5th of February 2012, translation and adaptation of the original version
N/d, 9 truques para perder peso mais rápido, 18th of September 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version
N/d, 9 maneiras para acelerar a fase cutting e perder mais gordura, translation and adaptation of the original version
N/d, Bulking and Cutting – How To Bulk Up & Cut For More Muscle/Less Fat, August 2011, translation and adaptation of the original version