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      Fat Loss Diets Part 3: Carb Cycling

      Fat Loss Diets Part 3: Carb Cycling

      What is Carb Cycling?  

      Carb cycling is a diet plan that switches between a period of low and high carbohydrates.  During the low carb phase, the body depletes its stores of muscle glycogen – which is the storage form of carbs.  After the body depletes its glycogen, it has no choice but to switch to alternate forms of energy – such as fat.  On the high carb phase, you refill lost muscle glycogen, which helps stimulate the insulin response, and delivers lost nutrients to the muscles where they can be stored and utilized once again. This constant switch between low and high carb phases helps to up-regulate the metabolism keeping both fat burning and muscle building hormones responding.   

       

      How Do You Use Carb Cycling? 

      The first step to carb cycling is to determine how many calories you should be eating, and then determine the amount of each macronutrient you need to eat during the low and high carb phase.  Generally speaking, to lose weight use a caloric intake that is 10 to 12 times your current weight.  

      For low carb days set your protein intake to 40 to 50% of your calories, carbs should be set to 20% or less, and fats will make up the remaining.  On high carb days your macronutrients will change.  Protein intake can be set to 30 to 40%, while carbs should take up at least 50% and fat will be set to less than 20%. This shift can create a super compensation of glycogen causes an increase in muscle anabolism.  

      These macronutrient ratios and the number of days in your cycle can shift based on your metabolism, how active you are and how your body responds to carbs.  Start by performing a one high carb day every 4 to 7 days for the first 4 to 8 weeks, then shift to performing one high carb day every 3 to 5 days.    

       

      What Can You Expect? 

      Traditional low carb diets do work for fat burning, but can often cause severe cravings, depleted energy levels and strength.  Not to mention, long periods on a low carbohydrate diet plan can result in metabolic slow down, a decrease in thyroid activity and a decrease in anabolic hormones that can stimulate muscle protein synthesis and growth.   

      Cycling between a low and high carb diet helps to stimulate the metabolism, decrease cravings and keep energy levels where they need to be.  While low carb days promote fat metabolism, encouraging fat utilization, high carb days promote the anabolic response, encouraging muscle building.  High carb days can also make you feel more energetic, and psychologically give you the stamina to keep on going until your high carb day.   

       

      What Supplements Should I Use While Carb Cycling?  

      Keto supplements are a great option when you are going through the low cycle of your carb diet. These supplements can help your body reach a state of ketosis, in other words, fat-burning, faster.  

      Visit this page to find out more about our ketogenic supplements! 

       

      Don’t like being limited to the foods you eat? Then a flexible diet (also known as if “if it fits your macros”) may be the diet for you – and that’s Part 4 of the Fat Loss Diets series!

      The ‘I Don’t Have Time’ Workout

      The ‘I Don’t Have Time’ Workout

      NO TIME TO TRAIN? NO PROBLEM! THESE SIX WORKOUTS — ONE FOR EACH MAJOR BODY PART — CAN BE DONE IN MINUTES. 

      By Alex Savva, PharmaFreak Co-founder 

      I admit it — trying to knock out this article this month was tough. The deadline looming, I was furiously trying to unpack from my recent move and keep up with an endless “to-do” list at the helm of PharmaFreak. Frankly, I was flush out of time, and my editor at Bodybuilding.com wasn’t interested in hearing any more of my excuses. The thing is, I know all of you can relate. Unless you’re a trust-funder leading the life of leisure, you know how life gets in the way of the best-laid plans. There’s always something that needs to get done, demanding more precious moments of your day. Suddenly, the sun has set, it’s 9 p.m. — and you haven’t even squeezed in your workout yet. 

      Been there, done that. And I’ve found an incredible solution, one that ensures I don’t skip my training and stay on track toward my fitness goals. How? I got creative, and combined the tenets of the Tabata cardio method with weights for fast, challenging, effective workouts that get the job done in a fraction of the time of a traditional session. 

        

      Got Four Minutes to Spare? 

      If you’ve read my previous articles, you’ve heard me talk about Tabata before. In May, I mentioned it in “The 4 Most Effective Ways to Burn Fat.” To recap: Tabata was born out of a 1996 study performed by Japanese researcher Dr. Izumi Tabata on a group of highly trained Olympic speed skaters.1  

      The research subjects performed 7-8 rounds of 20 seconds of cycling at 170 percent of VO2 max, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This short-duration workout — about four minutes, all told — was shown to be more effective for improving aerobic and anaerobic capacity compared to lengthier moderate-intensity cardio performed the same number of times in a week. 

      Another study published in 2013 examined repeating the basic Tabata protocol for 4 rounds with a 1-minute rest between rounds.2 During this 20-minute workout, the subjects burned 240-360 calories —not counting the boost in energy expenditure experienced for days after. 

      Thing is, Tabata’s benefits aren’t just limited to fat burning. The 20-second bursts are well-suited for lifting, engaging your muscles to near-maximal levels when you choose an appropriate weight — in the following workouts, I suggest you start with 50 percent of what you’d normally use to elicit momentary muscular failure in a regular 10-rep set. As you get more experience with these Tabata workouts, you can increase your loads from there. 

      As for your rep cadence, you’ll want an explosive (yet controlled) positive contraction, followed by a controlled negative, with no extended pauses. Your goal is as many clean, high-quality reps as possible within those 20-second segments. 

       

      Six Sample Tabata Workouts 

      To get the most out of your Tabata workouts, make sure you warm up well and mix in some exercises that will engage more than one muscle group at a time.  

      For each of the workout ideas below, you’ll do eight 20-second rounds — in other words, you’d do each exercise listed for 20 seconds, switching between each exercise with minimal delay — and take only 10 seconds of rest to catch your breath between each round. You must complete 2 circuits of the 4 exercises listed in each workout below to finish the 4-minute Tabata workout. 

        

      CHEST WORKOUT 

      1 Barbell Bench Press 

      2 Dumbbell Flye 

      3 Push-Up 

      4 Dumbbell Flye 

        

      BACK WORKOUT 

      1 Chin-up 

      2 One-Arm Row (right arm) 

      3 Chin-up 

      4 One-Arm Row (left arm) 

        

      SHOULDER WORKOUT 

      1 Seated Barbell Press 

      2 Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise 

      3 Dumbbell Lateral Raise 

      4 Barbell Front Raise 

        

      LEG WORKOUT 

      1 Jump Squat 

      2 Stationary Lunge (left leg) 

      3 Jump Squat 

      4 Stationary Lunge (right leg) 

        

      ARM WORKOUT 

      1 Standing Barbell Curl 

      2 Parallel-Bar Dip 

      3 Dumbbell Hammer Curl 

      4 Cable Pressdown 

        

      CORE WORKOUT 

      1 Bicycle Crunch 

      2 Right-side Plank 

      3 Hanging Knee Raise 

      4 Left-side Plank 

        

      The Fast Lane to Gains

      The exercises above aren’t set in stone, by the way. Feel free to switch out like-for-like movements to freshen them up if you’ve used them a few times.  

      For instance, the barbell bench press could be replaced with an incline press, a dumbbell press, or a Smith-machine or Hammer-Strength press; the free-weight flyes could be traded for the pec-deck or cable crossover stations; and the push-up could be replaced by a dip. The key in these workouts is the Tabata protocol, and not dependent on exact exercise selection. (For alternatives on the other exercises, see “Quick Change.”) 

      You can use these workouts whenever you find yourself short on time — either just do one, or combine a couple if you prefer. And if you do have more than a few moments on your hands, you could get diabolical and do a full-body slam, running through each of these workouts. In that case, I’d suggest doing legs and back on the front end, arms and core on the back end. 

      With that said, I’ve gotta go — back to the grind #neversettle #freakmode 

       

      Source: 

      1. Tabata, I., Nishimura, K.,Kouzaki, M., Hirai, Y.,Ogita, F., Miyachi, M., & Yamamoto, K. (1996). Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 28(10), 1327-1330. 
      2. Emberts, T.,Porcari, J., Dobers-tein, S., Steffen, J., & Foster, C. (2013). Exercise Intensity and Energy Expenditure of a Tabata Workout. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 12(3), 612.

      Quick Change 

      Here are some alternatives for each of the exercises in these workouts: 

      Chin-up: Pulldown to Front, Pulldown to Rear, Assisted Pull-Up 

      One-Arm Row: Bent-Over Barbell Row, T-Bar Row, Seated Cable Row, Hammer-Strength Iso Row 

      Seated Barbell Press: Standing Barbell Press, Seated Dumbbell Press, Arnold Press, Upright Row 

      Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise: One-Arm Cable Bent-over Raise, Seated Bent-over Dumbbell Raise, Reverse Pec-Deck Flye 

      Dumbbell Lateral Raise: Cable Lateral Raise (one or both arms), Machine Lateral Raise, Kettlebell Raise 

      Barbell Front Raise: Dumbbell Alternating Front Raise, Cable Front Raise, Lying Cable Front Raise 

      Jump Squat: Step-up, Jump Up to Box, Dumbbell Squat, Barbell Squat 

      Stationary Lunge: Walking Lunge, Side-to-Side Lunge, Around-the-Clock Lunge 

      Standing Barbell Curl: Standing EZ-Bar Curl, Barbell or EZ-Bar Preacher Curl, One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl, Preacher-Machine Curl 

      Parallel-Bar Dip: Bench Dip, Lying French Press, Close-Grip Bench Press 

      Dumbbell Hammer Curl: Dumbbell Preacher Hammer Curl, Dumbbell Spider Curl, Incline Dumbbell Hammer Curl, Palms-Down EZ-Bar Curl 

      Cable Pressdown: Rope Pressdown, V-bar Pressdown, Overhead Rope Extension, Seated Two-Hand Dumbbell Overhead Extension, Triceps Machine Extension 

      Bicycle Crunch: V-Up, Double Crunch, Cable Crunch, Machine Crunch 

      Side Plank: Standard Plank, Oblique Crunch, Decline Twisting Crunch 

      Hanging Knee Raise: Hanging Leg Raise, Hanging Knee Raise (holding medicine ball between knees), Lying Leg Raise (off bench or floor) 

      Morning or Evening: When Should You Schedule Your Workout?

      Morning or Evening: When Should You Schedule Your Workout?

      The struggle is real: should you work out in the morning or evening? The choice is yours, but which will help you to achieve your fitness goals?

      Here, we will evaluate the benefits to working out in the morning and evening to help you establish regularity in the timing of your workouts.

      Benefits of Morning

      Strengthening Hormones:

      Crucial, muscle-building hormones are at their highest levels in the morning. Testosterone, which helps to fuel energy – in addition to building muscle mass – is at its peak first thing in the morning. Testosterone levels are approximately one-third higher in the morning than during the rest of the day.

      Better Sleep:

      Studies have shown that individuals who work out in the morning power down faster in the evening. Increased sleep leads to the production of more growth hormones, resulting in higher metabolism and fat-burning qualities.

      Higher Metabolism:

      Morning workouts lead to higher metabolic rates. The process of increased metabolism during post-workout stems from Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (“EPOC”). As the body uses more oxygen and energy to recover from a workout, you are more likely to burn calories at a faster rate throughout the day.

       

      Benefits of Evening

      Impactful Workouts:

      The body is more physically prepared for a workout in the evening. As your muscles and joints have been active all day, less warm up time is required for pre-workout and overall flexibility is heightened. With increased flexibility, you’re also less prone to injury.

      Reduced Negative Hormones:

      The stress hormone, cortisol, is catabolic, which means it works against testosterone by breaking down proteins in your muscles. Evening workouts are beneficial for capitalizing on reduced cortisol, as this “muscle-eating” hormone is 75% higher in the morning but normalizes itself at night.

       

      Results

      Our analysis leans on the side of morning workouts due to the higher levels of testosterone and the ability to produce natural GH with induced sleep.

      However, whether you choose to work out in the morning or evening, we offer TEST FREAK 2.0 and GH FREAK 2.0 to boost natural hormones and help you maximize your workout routines.

      Plus, even if you choose to partake in morning workouts (for the purpose of heightened testosterone), our clinically-proven dosage of LJ100 tongkat ali in TEST FREAK 2.0 helps to counter the excessive cortisol your body produces in the morning.

      Fat Loss Diets Part 4: Flexible Dieting

      Fat Loss Diets Part 4: Flexible Dieting

      What is Flexible Dieting?

      Flexible Dieting, also known as IIFYM or if it fits your macros, is a diet that focuses more on the macronutrient number and less on the nutritional value of a food. You still need to eat less to create a caloric deficit, but the focus is on what kind of food you are eating. The majority of the food in your diet needs to come from clean sources including whole natural fresh foods, and should be high in fiber, while about 20% can come from your favourite treats. Basically, the idea is that you can have your cake and eat it too! Research shows that those who follow more flexible diets eat less, lose more weight, are generally in a better mood and can sustain their diet for longer than those who attempt more rigid diets.

      How Do You Use Flexible Dieting?

      After you have determined how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, which is generally 10 to 12 times your body weight, the next step is to figure out your macronutrients. Use a ratio aimed at fat loss: 40-50% of calories from protein, 30-20% from carbs and 20-30% from fats. Divide these calories up over four to six meals per day.

      The next step, and perhaps the most exciting part of the diet, is choosing your macros. Stick to about 80-90% of your food choices from whole sources including fresh fruit, vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, good for you fats and lean sources of protein. Flexible dieting is also about maintaining a high dietary fiber intake which can help stabilize blood glucose levels and the remaining 10-20% can be from not so good choices like your favourite sweet treats or greasy indulgences!

      What Can You Expect?

      The best part of flexible dieting is that it is sustainable in the long run. Allowing for small provisions of ‘treats’ or bad foods supports not only psychological satisfaction, but also prevents you from suffering severe energy crashes, or craving foods that you would normally abstain from on a diet. On the flip side, this means you need to exercise some restraint when indulging in your favourites — which can be quite difficult for some!

      What Supplements Should I Use While on an IIFYM Diet?

      On any diet, your energy levels will feel lower than normal, as you are restricting your calories. To give you the extra boost you need to make it to the gym, we recommend VEGAN FREAK. This all-natural pre-workout provides a superfood support blend and comes in two delicious flavours: Natural Vanilla and Natural Dark Chocolate.

      To learn more about our vegan supplements and how they can support weight loss, click here.  

       

      A paleo diet can help combat the risk of a host of health problems, such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes by removing high sugar foods in the diet. Learn more about that and its other benefits in Part 5 of the Fat Loss Diets series!