We’ve talked about the basics of losing fat, working out, eating well, and all that good stuff. This one’s going to be a little more specific, a little more in-depth, for you bros out there who are already very lean, and just have those last few pounds to lose.
It’s one thing to go from average shape to good shape; while not easy, it’s definitely attainable by most, assuming you have the self control to keep your diet in check and work out on a regular basis. This article is all about that next step, that step that takes someone past good enough, and into the territory of the truly dedicated.
Now, some of the strategies will probably work if you are a little overweight, but I wouldn’t worry stress about utilizing these. These are tips and tricks to go from lean to absolutely shredded, and I’d say that unless you are already around 10% body fat or below, you don’t have to worry about all of these small details, at least not at first. If you can’t already see your abs, just focus on staying in a caloric deficit, eating healthy food choices, and following a good workout program for now.
The following tips and tricks may work for you, or they may not. You might even be one of the genetically blessed who is able to eat anything and stay lean. Everyone’s body is different, and you have to try different things and see what works for you. I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time around physique competitors of all levels early in my personal training career, including some of the world’s top IFBB pro bodybuilders, the masters of fat loss, and these are just a few of their secrets.
1. Cycle Your Carbohydrates
As you get lower and lower into single-digit body fat, your body will try to resist getting this lean. Carb-cycling is a great way to get past sticking points with your diet. There are a few different ways you can set this up, but in general, you want to have a few days per week on low carbs, and one or two days on high carbs, or re-feed days. I like to put the high-carb days on leg days, or other intensive workout days. Be careful not to have an all-out binge day, just raise your carbs by 100-200 and lower your fat on this day.
2. Utilize High-Intensity Cardio Sessions
Cardio is an excellent way to burn more calories. High-intensity cardio, in addition to being brutally challenging, is a very good way to increase your metabolic rate for hours after you’re done. Try sprinting as hard as you can for 10-20 seconds, resting 40, and repeating, for 6-10 sprints to start depending on your conditioning. If the intensity is high enough, you should feel like you are going to puke.
3. Track your food and follow a meal plan
If you aren’t tracking what you eat, you cannot possibly have an idea of what to adjust when you get stuck. Trying to eat a balanced diet, high in protein, and composed mainly of unprocessed foods is a great way to get lean, but to get shredded to the bone, you need to be much more specific. If you have no clue how much food you are taking in, and specific macronutrients, it’s impossible to adjust and lower your intake as you progress.
4. Eat the same thing most days
This follows point three. If you have specific calorie and macronutrient intake goals, it’s much easier to hit them by eating the same foods each day, especially as those numbers get lower and lower. The worst thing you can do is try to wing it as you go through your day, and find yourself out of carbs or fat by lunchtime.
5. Cut down your rest times while lifting
If you can, try to lift faster. Keep your form good, of course, but try to reduce the amount of time you spend messing around with your phone or iPod between sets. Buckle down, work hard, and keep that heart rate up throughout your workout.
6. Some supplements MAY help
Not many legal supplements will make much difference in terms of pounds lost, but those that contain stimulants and appetite suppressants can make dieting easier and give you more energy to get through tough workouts. Don’t expect any miracles or significant difference in fat loss directly caused by said supplements, but if you want something to help curb the appetite, some of the fat burners out there might help you. Just do your research, and consult a doctor before you take anything.
7. Drink more water
This one may be a no-brainer for some, but it really is important. Drinking enough water is a great way to make sure you are getting enough fluid, keeping your cells fully hydrated and optimally functioning, and can reduce water retention, something you don’t want if you are trying to get shredded.
[Image via ShutterStock]
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