It’s the question on everyone’s mind. Especially those who gain fat easily and don’t see results from training designed for skinny ectomorphs. And you’ll find a lot of opinions in the fitness community. But there’s one piece of advice that’s going to be universal. You’ve got to know your body and get your body’s metabolism working for you to be able to lose fat while you build muscle. Here’s what you need to know.
Insulin sensitivity can make or break your weight training success. If you gain fat quickly, it’s because the insulin your body produces doesn’t sweep up blood glucose coming in from your digested carbs fast enough. The excess glucose gets stored as fat or triacylglycerol, when you really want to direct most of it into your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. Some fat is good (it’s called brown fat, the stuff that burns energy and produces heat). More about that below. But the white fat needs to be kept in check, and the way to do that is to make sure your workouts are built to improve your insulin sensitivity.
Meanwhile, make sure to sleep well, keep stress at a minimum, eat a lot of veggies and fruit, herbs and spices to aid your body’s insulin action.
Endomorphs need to keep their heart rate up for as long as possible, to keep their insulin sensitivity at a peak. High volume training is simply about lifting heavier weights, often, so that the cells in your muscles are screaming for carbs to recover at the end of your workout.
Resistance training is good for you, where you lift heavier weights for fewer reps as opposed to lighter weights for more reps. This will help you build muscle strength, and not just muscle size. Only trial and error will help you figure out how heavy and how often will give you the best results.
Try to increase your workout volumes through the week, as far as your recovery allows. Combine with metabolic workouts like drop sets (progressively lowering weights and carrying on reps to failure), interval training (alternating high and low intensity sets), back-to-back supersets and complexes.
You don’t want to stop taking carbs entirely, since you need energy for your muscle-building. Insulin helps to send energy from carbs into your muscles and liver. But it can also convert excess carbs to fat tissues.
What you need is to limit carbs when you’re not working out. So, no carbs at breakfast. Take the most carbs of the day just before your workout or during it in the form of a pure-carb workout drink. Take some afterwards, for muscle recovery.
Limit carbs during the rest of the day. Keep your protein intake constant. Don’t skip the good fats.
There’s a reason the sauna is often recommended in slimming programmes. A sauna or hot bath will raise your body’s core temperature. In a relatively little-understood process, your cells will go into Jedi Master mode and produce proteins that work to suppress inflammation. This in turn lowers insulin resistance. In other words, when you’re not working out, you could keep insulin action high by hitting the sauna or taking a hot soak.
Along with maintaining a good diet, you could make some Glucose Disposal Agents (GDA) like cinnamon, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G) improve insulin action. C3G and ALA should be taken just before workout or a carb-rich meal. ALA is usually recommended at daily doses of 600 to 900 mg.
Lean people tend to store more brown fat (good fat) cells than white. These fat cells are full of iron-rich mitochondria, the cellular kitchens of your body. Brown fat is what keeps babies warm. But adults have some too, near the neck and spinal region. When the body is exposed to cold, the brown fat cells get into action and burn calories. This naturally leads to the conclusion that brown fat cells may help with weight loss.
Some studies suggest you can make more brown fat cells. Working out produces a certain protein that makes more brown fat. Green tea, spicy capsaicin and sunlight also seem to turn on brown fat activity. Essential fatty acids (in good stuff like olive oil, nuts and fish oils) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) also have a similar thermogenic effect.
All good reasons to work out more and fix your diet. Didn’t think it was easy, did you?
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