Archive for June, 2012

People seeking flat stomach should adapt the concepts of bodybuilders


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Let’s be honest here, the leanest people on the planet are found in the bodybuilding community. We can factor their heavy drug usage or even good genetics but it doesn’t change the fact that over the years or even several decades, they are the ones who have mastered the art of physique manipulation. Am I saying that one needs to become an aspiring bodybuilder to become lean? Absolutely not! That’s why I titled this blog post using the word adapt. When we first hear the word “bodybuilder,” most of us would automatically think muscles but many of us neglect the lean part. Take note that I used the word lean, not skinny.

Personally, I also use some of the sound principles of bodybuilding to achieve my ultimate fitness goal which is to stay lean(low body fat) for the rest of my life. If you’re a woman reading this post, I will assure you now that lifting heavy weights won’t make you big and I will use myself as an example that as long as you are keeping your calorie intake under control as well as your body fat % low enough, you’re not going to be big and bulky.

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Staying lean and toned was simply my goal ever since childhood especially when I watched the movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt’s physique in that movie inspired me to aim for at least something close someday back in 1995.

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The only reason why some people gets big especially women once they start lifting weights is because they often neglect to control their input part of the energy balance equation. They typically assume that just because they trained hard in the gym, it will be an enough excuse to indulge on too many calories. I explained here why it’s very important to do a resistance training of some sort during fat loss. You probably heard the myth that a pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat. This misconception is a total batcrap because a pound of anything is equal to a pound of err something. It just happened that a lean body mass(muscle) is more compact than fat mass. This is the reason why some lean people weighs more than they look. The next time you go to a supermarket, look for a lean cut of meat such as a pork tenderloin and also grab some pork belly and try weighing a pound of each cuts on a scale. The pork belly will definitely take more mass than the tenderloin at the same weight. The logic that I was trying to imply here is that people should not fear building muscles because they are much more compact than fat. People who gets big upon lifting weights are simply carrying a lot of fat; they probably build some muscles underneath those fat but the fat will still be covering the muscles. Once you strip these body fats off, that is when you can achieve the lean and toned look which is what many people truly desires.

The funny thing is that I was once even accused of photoshopping my pictures on Facebook because with my clothes on, I don’t even look like that I’ve ever picked up some weights before. I will take this as a compliment of course rather than an insult because just like what I have mentioned earlier, my goal is not to look like a bodybuilder but I’ve always strived for the GQesque look.If you’re familiar with these GQ models, they’re not as big as the typical bodybuilders but they are carrying enough muscle mass to show the muscle tone while staying lean enough for their abs to show. I even wrote this blog why maintaining a low body fat will even improve the way you look both in person and on camera.

The bodybuilding principles

Backpedalling to the original topic, the concepts that I was talking about composed of two components: the basic and the details. Depending on how lean you wanted to become, you may or may not need to use the latter as long as you are complying with the former.

Basics

-track your calorie intake

take advantage of technology

-track your macronutrient intake

and consider using IIFYM

-Lift heavy weights and be consistent

-Aim for adequate amount of sleep

-rinse and repeat

Heck, I just came back from my vacation and I even kept both my diet and training

Details

-manipulate nutrient timing

-consider cyclical dieting technique

-incorporate diet breaks and/ or refeeds once you’re already lean enough

-learn how to freaking read and research various fitness resources on your own rather than relying on being spoon-fed

Why? Because knowing and understanding will set us free from confusion nor information overload. This is the method that I use for filtering the information that I need and I don’t need.

Again, the key is to adapt, not mimic. Just like what I’ve said, just because you are adapting some of the principles of the bodybuilders automatically makes you a bodybuilder. If you are reading this post, some may argue that running or doing whatever cardio is better than lifting weights for fat loss. Let me tell you, the best tool to chisel your physique is the iron period! I have nothing against running at all but most people’s goal is fat loss and not just weight loss. Some people even joins marathons hoping that joining one will give them the body they desire, no it does not. Again, it’s all about adapting what applies to you based on your own context rather than mimicking.

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Balikbayan diet


I wrote this blog last month regarding my two-week vacation in the Philippines and as I have planned, I actually got even leaner while preserving both my lean body mass and strength levels.

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As I have said in my last blog, many people in fact gains weight or fat when they go to their vacation. How did I do it? As I have laid out in my plan, I trained three times a week in a local gym near the place we stayed. I also used my IIFYM diet which allowed me to eat whatever I wanted to eat as long as I have been meeting my protein requirements. I gotta be honest though that I brought a tub of Optimum Nutrition whey powder with me in my trip just for the insurance that I will be hitting my protein numbers while I was in my vacation. I also brought some fish oil capsules with me to get my daily EFAs. The offline calorie counter app in my phone also aided me to ensure that I will not be eating too many calories; I think the hot, humid weather in the Philippines also suppressed my appetite because all I wanted to do there was to drink a lot of water because I also sweated a lot when I was over there.

The other factors that has gotten me leaner in my opinion are low stress levels, adequate rest/ sleep, consumption of adequate fluids, my regular weight training session that benefited me in terms of partitioning the nutrients(or calories) that I ate, I kept my NEAT high, I monitored my calorie intake and my morale has been boosted significantly which I think also affects good hormonal status.

I have also noticed that the typical serving of foods in the Philippines are much much smaller compared here in the states. In ratio, I think that the typical serving size of meals here in the US is about 300% or 3:1 which means that the risk of eating more foods and calories are much higher.

I had a lot of fun in my vacation that I am already planning my next visit. Overall, vacation should be enjoyed while dieting smartly, not hard.