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Hi Loseit - I went from 215 19% at bodyfat to 187 at 7% bodyfat in 9 months. Pictures, Video, and DETAILED guide on how to do this yourself in this post.Fri, 08 Mar 2013 05:49:57 -0800
I originally made a successful thread on /r/fitness here about my transformation. It was suggested that I post the transformation here. Rather than just reposting that story I created a comprehensive in-depth guide to help you with your fat-loss goals. Good luck in your journey!
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” - Bruce Lee
Pictures These pics are from when I was 21 to 22. I am now 26.
- Transformation video(going from skinny to rotund to lean)
- 30 day transformation I did in 2012, showing a loss of 2-3% bodyfat in one month
Comprehensive Fat Loss Guide
Stay with me here, this is going to be a long one. If you'd rather read it on a website this same guide is up here on my site, and it contains all the relevant links out to sources- for times sake I won't be linking out to all the sources here on reddit.
Understand Hormone Signaling to Understand Why You’re Packing on the Fat
- Insulin – Insulin is a hormone. It signals to your body that glucose needs to be stored. Insulin is released in response to glucose entering the blood stream. ALL carbohydrates(sugar, whole grain, complex, and simple) are broken down into glucose. Your body releases insulin in direct proportion to the volume of glucose in your blood. Glucose needs to be either burned as fuel, stored in the liver and muscles, or stored as fat. High levels of glucose in the bloodstream is toxic to the body.
Insulin stops the use of fat as an energy source by inhibiting the release of glucagon. With the exception of the metabolic disorder diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome, insulin is provided within the body in a constant proportion to remove excess glucose from the blood, which otherwise would be toxic. – Wiki
Low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet are the gold-standard for losing fat. Low-carb diets by definition limit the amount of glucose entering your bloodstream thereby eliminate blood sugar(glucose) spikes. This mediation of blood glucose then eliminates large insulin spikes.
With our new understanding of insulin it is easy to see why the average person eating a standard Western diet has weight issues. Most of their meals consist at least 100g of fast-digesting carbohydrates made up of breads, pastas, and flours: pizza, burger buns, sandwiches(subway is a terrible choice for weight loss), pasta sides, sugary cereal, and sugary soft-drinks.
These processed carbohydrates are easier for our digestive system to break down and thus introduce glucose into our bloodstream faster and at higher volumes than carbohydrate rich vegetables and fruits. It requires nine cups of strawberries to equal the sugar content of one 20 oz soda. As we learned earlier, high levels of glucose is toxic to the body, so our bodies must do something with it. Glucose stored in the liver and muscles are used during exercise. If these stores are depleted then blood glucose is shuttled to these stores(muscle and liver) before it is stored in fat- this is good. This explains why nutrition and fitness experts recommend eating your large portions of carbohydrates only after exercise.
The problem for most Westerners is that their carbohydrate consumption is completely out of balance with their physical activity level. I am a very active man and I only need an average of 150g of carbohydrates per day to keep my muscle and liver glycogen levels full. The average westerner consumes on average 300g of carbohydrates per day. And they don’t exercise. With every meal they are storing glucose as fat. With every meal they are releasing a hormone into their body that inhibits their body’s ability to use fat as energy. And then you get to listen to them whine about how hard it is to lose weight.
Type 2 Diabetes is a direct result of our standard Western diet’s effect on insulin.
When you have type 2 diabetes, your fat, liver, and muscle cells do not respond correctly to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. As a result, blood sugar does not get into these cells to be stored for energy. – PubMed
If you have eaten a high carbohydrate diet for all of your life it is likely that you are insulin resistant to some degree. Insulin resistance causes lethargy, fat gain, and will eventually lead to type two diabetes. I’ll show you how you can easily reverse all of this with a few simple steps later in this article.
The final piece of the insulin puzzle are its effects on your hunger and energy levels. Think “sugar crash.” You eat something high in sugar, feel manic and are filled with frenetic energy for half an hour, and then your energy levels plummet. You’re left feeling lethargic and moody. Your brain personified would look like a foggy night in London. This is because the high carbohydrate meal you just ate flooded your blood with glucose. Your body responded accordingly by releasing high levels of insulin. While the glucose was still in your blood-stream you had high levels of energy but insulin is a very efficient hormone and quickly transports the glucose to your liver, muscles, and fat cells. Insulin is so efficient infact that large insulin responses will leave you with too-little glucose in your bloodstream. This then signals to your body that you need immediate energy and you will feel sharp cravings for more high carbohydrate foods. A vicious cycle.
- Leptin – Leptin a hormone that tells your body that you are full. It counteracts other hormones which tell your body to feed. Leptin is released in large quantities when you eat fats and proteins and in lesser quantities when you eat carbohydrates.
Leptin acts on receptors in the hypothalamus of the brain, where it inhibits appetite
counteracting the effects of neuropeptide Y (a potent feeding
stimulant secreted by cells in the gut and in the hypothalamus)
counteracting the effects of anandamide (another potent feeding stimulant that binds to the same receptors as THC)
promoting the synthesis of α-MSH, an appetite suppressant. – Wiki
Fats and proteins cause significantly more leptin to be released than carbohydrates. Just think about a typical standard breakfast. You can eat pancakes all day. But how many plates of bacon and sausage could you eat before you started to feel sick?
The added satiety afforded by fats and proteins because of leptin is an essential weapon in your war against fat. You can “diet” without feeling starved all day. You can shed fat effortlessly while eating your favorite foods- like bacon!
When we don’t have blood sugar crashes that are caused by insulin spikes we won’t crave sugars and carbohydrates. When we eat meals that are high in fat and protein we stay satiated all day.
- Cortisol – Cortisol is a hormone that tells your body to release energy(stored in fat cells). Cortisol is naturally highest in the morning, but is also release when the body is under stress- mental or physical.
Cortisol is very beneficial when it is in balance. However, most of us do not have healthy levels of cortisol due to our high-stress modern lifestyle. Elevated cortisol, like insulin, can wreak havoc in your body. Elevated levels of cortisol actually leads to weight gain and a resistance to fat-loss(especially visceral and belly fat).
If you have a layer of belly fat that you just can’t seem to lose no matter what you try then it is almost certain that you have chronically elevated cortisol.
Sustained high cortisol levels are dangerous because they:
- Slow down healing and normal cell regeneration.
- Co-opt parent molecules needed to make other vital hormones
- Impair digestion, metabolism and mental function
- Interfere with healthy endocrine function
- Weaken your immune system – Source
Cortisol also counteracts the effects of insulin and conversely insulin counteracts the effects of cortisol. Therefore we want to minimize our insulin levels in the morning to take full advantage of the enhanced fat metabolism caused by our naturally high cortisol levels.
When we eat we want our cortisol to be at a low point so our bodies can efficiently store our nutrients in our muscles(because some insulin is good, without it we could never put on any mass, and bodybuilders have for years been injecting themselves with insulin before meals in order to gain weight faster).
So then it makes sense to eat our big meals later in the day when our cortisol have dropped off naturally. In following this regime we take advantage of the high fat burning power of cortisol in the mornings and let our bodies repair and replenish in the afternoon/evenings.
- HGH – HGH or human growth hormone is vital to the repair of our bodies. Studies show that fasting greatly enhances our body’s natural production of HGH.
“Fasting causes hunger or stress. In response, the body releases more cholesterol, allowing it to utilize fat as a source of fuel, instead of glucose. This decreases the number of fat cells in the body,” says Dr. Horne. “This is important because the fewer fat cells a body has, the less likely it will experience insulin resistance, or diabetes.”
This recent study also confirmed earlier findings about the effects of fasting on human growth hormone (HGH), a metabolic protein. HGH works to protect lean muscle and metabolic balance, a response triggered and accelerated by fasting. During the 24-hour fasting periods, HGH increased an average of 1,300 percent in women, and nearly 2,000 percent in men. - ScienceDaily
Increasing our body’s natural output of growth hormone will help you shed fat AND gain muscle. You’ll even wake up feeling more refreshed after a night’s sleep.
A side-note about growth hormone and alcohol: Never go to bed with alcohol in your system. Alcohol deprives your body of the restorative properties of HGH. Alcohol can decrease the secretion of HGH during sleep by as much as 70%.
To Recap the Hormones
- Insulin – Released when you eat carbohydrates. Too much insulin causes fat gain.
- Leptin – Tells your brain that you’re full. Proteins and fats release more leptin than carbohydrates.
- Cortisol – Your body’s “stress hormone.” Naturally highest in the morning. Excessive cortisol causes metabolic problems and stubborn belly and visceral fat.
- HGH – Repairs the body. Fasting causes increased HGH production. Alcohol inhibits HGH production.
Now We Understand the Science but How do we Take Advantage of it?
- Intermittent Fasting - Popularized by Martin Berkhan on his website www.leangains.com. Martin has a very clear and concise guide written here. I will cover only the main points in this post.
The main idea is that by fasting for 12 to 16 hours a day we create beneficial hormonal changes within our body(remember that fasting for 24 hours caused a rise in growth hormone of 2,000%). Not flooding your body with insulin throughout the day is the greatest benefit for fat loss that comes with intermittent fasting. The average Westerner rides a rollercoaster of high blood sugar followed by high insulin. Which then drops them into a catatonic state of low blood sugar until their next meal- which sends them right back up to the crest of their glucose/insulin high. Compare this to someone following an intermittent fasting style of eating: they will have steady blood sugar and almost no insulin response for 16 hours out of the day. Even if they choose to eat large portions of processed carbohydrates they are still subjecting their body to only 4 to 8 hours of an insulin roller coaster as compared to the all-day insulin rush caused by “normal” diets.
Insulin resistance is currently a major health problem. This may be because of a marked decrease in daily physical activity during recent decades combined with constant food abundance. This lifestyle collides with our genome, which was most likely selected in the late Paleolithic era (50,000–10,000 BC) by criteria that favored survival in an environment characterized by fluctuations between periods of feast and famine. The theory of thrifty genes states that these fluctuations are required for optimal metabolic function. We mimicked the fluctuations in eight healthy young men [25.0 ± 0.1 yr (mean ± SE); body mass index: 25.7 ± 0.4 kg/m2] by subjecting them to intermittent fasting every second day for 20 h for 15 days. Euglycemic hyperinsulinemic (40 mU·min−1·m−2) clamps were performed before and after the intervention period. Subjects maintained body weight (86.4 ± 2.3 kg; coefficient of variation: 0.8 ± 0.1%). Plasma free fatty acid and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations were 347 ± 18 and 0.06 ± 0.02 mM, respectively, after overnight fast but increased (P < 0.05) to 423 ± 86 and 0.10 ± 0.04 mM after 20-h fasting, confirming that the subjects were fasting. Insulin-mediated whole body glucose uptake rates increased from 6.3 ± 0.6 to 7.3 ± 0.3 mg·kg−1·min−1 (P = 0.03), and insulin-induced inhibition of adipose tissue lipolysis was more prominent after than before the intervention (P = 0.05). After the 20-h fasting periods, plasma adiponectin was increased compared with the basal levels before and after the intervention (5,922 ± 991 vs. 3,860 ± 784 ng/ml,P = 0.02). This experiment is the first in humans to show that intermittent fasting increases insulin-mediated glucose uptake rates, and the findings are compatible with the thrifty gene concept. – Journal of Applied Physiology
To put all that science talk in simple terms: fasting reduces insulin resistance. This is good.
Intermittent fasting is much easier to follow psychologically than other calorie restricting diets. Eating six small-meals consisting of 400 calories each will leave you feeling unsatiated and craving more . Compare the small frequent meals to the psychological effect of taking a post workout shake of 400 calories and then eating a meal that consists of 2,000 calories. You’ll be physically AND psychologically satiated with the latter and not feel at all deprived even though with both protocols you ate only 2400 calories in the day.
It is also difficult to overeat when in a 4-8 hour feeding period- especially if those meals are high in fat and protein. Meals high in fat and protein will cause large quantities of leptin to be released and thus leave you feeling full and satisfied. IF really is a “diet” protocol where you can reach your body composition goals by eating massive and satisfying meals.
When you are following an intermittent fasting protocol the best time to eat is after your workout. Remember that our body will prioritize glucose for the liver and muscles before the glucose is stored as fat. Therefore by eating your carbohydrate dense meals after your workouts the glucose you consume will first be prioritized by the body to repair and replenish your muscles.
It is best to break your fast past noon. This lets your body take advantage of the natural rise in cortisol in the morning which will allow you to mobilize fat for energy. Working out in this fasted state promotes high fat loss. It takes a few weeks to get used to working out in a fasted state but you will experience no detrimental effects on performance once you do get used to working out in a fasted state.
- 0500 – Wakeup
- 0530 – Cup of green tea – With no honey, we don’t want any insulin response from glucose interfering with our natural cortisol.
- 1600 – Fasted workout – I sometimes snack on almonds and small pieces of fruit during the day, but nothing more than 100 calories per serving. Ideally I would workout around noon and eat my first meal around 1300. But this is not feasible because of my full-time job.
- 1730 – Post Workout shake – 700 to 1000 calories, 50% fat, 30% protein, 20% carbohydrates from fruit
- 1930 – Meal – 1500-2000 calories, large portion of meat(around 16ozs) with veggies and fruits as sides. Generally macros break down into 40-60% fat, 20-40% protein, and 10-30% carbohydrates.
- 2300 – Bed – Arnold says we only need six hours of sleep. Listen to Arnold.
Nutritional Strategies to Maximize Fat Loss
We’ve talked about how the foods you eat effect your hormones and when the optimal time for eating is. In this section we’ll cover different nutritional strategies that can help you achieve maximal fat loss.
- The Ketogenic Diet
If your goal is to lose as much fat as quickly as you can then The Ketogenic Diet is your answer.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acid sand ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.
The keto diet is perfectly safe for those without epilepsy. When your caloric intake is less than your expenditure on a “normal” diet- one which is balanced in fats, proteins, and carbohydrates(40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% fats) your body goes into a state of gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is a process where your liver converts proteins into glucose. If you are cutting on a “normal, balanced” diet your body will actively convert your precious muscle tissue into glucose in order to fuel the body’s vital functions. This is bad.
When you follow the ketogenic diet your macro breakdown looks like this: 55-65% fat, 25-35% protein, less than 5% carbohydrates. Eating in this manner consistently will cause your body to shift from burning glucose as its primary fuel source to burning fat as its primary fuel source. A person on a ketogenic diet will not experience gluconeogenesis. Rather than converting protein to glucose the body will directly tap fat cells to fuel its energy requirements.
This is exactly what we’re going for. Now instead of burning our precious muscle tissue our body directly burns our fat stores when we eat a caloric deficit.
I’ve cut with every diet out there. For me I lost 50% muscle and 50% fat when cutting on a traditional 40/40/20 diet. My strength in the gym dropped 5% each month. When I switched over to a keto diet my strength actually increased week over week and my weight loss was almost 100% fat. Not only did I preserve muscle, but I lost bodyfat 25% faster on the keto diet as compared to the 40/40/20 diet. AND it was easier to follow. The high fat and protein intake left me feeling full and satiated.
Where your calories should come from:
- Fat – Avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, fish, grass-fed animals, almonds, macadamia nuts, almond butter, coconut butter, grass-fed butter, free-range eggs. Avoid - Too much farm-raised animal fat, peanuts, vegetable oils, trans fats. 50-60% of your calories should come from fat on the ketogetnic diet. I understand that budgets often won’t allow for purely grass-fed animals. I am in the same boat and still eat a mainly farm-raised animal meat. In the big picture it’s not terribly bad for you as long as you actively seek out healthy fats from avocados, coconut oil, fish oil, and nuts. Your goal is to balance your omega-3 fatty acid intake(good, anti-inflammatory fat) with your omega-6 intake(bad, pro-inflammatory fat) in a 1:1 ratio.
- Protein – Grass-fed beef, pork, poultry. If you can’t find grass fed eat lean cuts of these same meats and get your fats from the good fat list above. Wild fish are also a fantastic source of protein. Also eggs, almonds, and macadamia nuts. Whey protein powder is great for supplementing your protein intake. 30-40% of your calories should come from protein on the ketogenic diet.
- Carbohydrates – Avoid six days a week. Refeed on Sundays. Refeed days should consist of 1.5g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. If you weigh 200lbs you will eat 300g of carbohydrates on your refeed day. Get your carbohydrates from fruits and veggies – bananas, apples, pears, strawberries, sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, yucca root, are a few options. Avoid processed carbohydrates(breads, pastas, flours). Your goal is to avoid eating ANY carbohydrates Monday through Saturday.
Benefits of Keto:
- When your body has no fuel from food it burns stored bodyfat instead of converting protein into glucose.
- The most effective fat burning diet in existence.
- You can eat awesome and satisfying meals- like bacon-wrapped steaks! On keto you can eat until you’re full and still lose 2-3 pounds of fat per month.
- Maintains muscle mass on a cut better than traditional 40/40/20 diets
- Keto increases your body’s insulin sensitivity and gives you steady energy levels throughout the day because you avoid insulin induced blood sugar crashes.
Negatives of Keto:
- It can be difficult to avoid all carbs and stay in ketosis.
- You are missing out on vital nutrients by avoiding fruits and vegetables. You should always supplement with a high quality multivitamin but this is especially important while on keto. Link to my favorite cost-effective multi.
- Your gym performance will suffer because your muscles will be glycogen depleted. This will lead to lower strength and endurance in your workouts. However this is temporary. As soon as you refill your muscle glycogen your performance comes back. Thus you should do your heavy lifting on Mondays after your carb refeeds.
Carb cycling is a nice middle-of-the road approach for people who want to lose fat but don’t want their gym performance to suffer. Depending on the amounts of carbs and calories you take in carb cycling is a very effective recomp eating strategy. Recomp is when you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time(albeit not as much fat as you could lose on a purely cutting diet, or as much muscle as you could gain on a purely bulking diet).
The idea behind carb cycling is that we want our muscle glycogen stores to be full when we perform our maximal effort lifts. We also want to keep our insulin as low as possible during the week in order to mobilize the greatest amount of fat and avoid all of the aforementioned problems that can come with excess insulin. We can achieve this by timing our carbohydrate intake.
When you carb cycle you should pick three days a week where you want to have the best performance in the gym. When I carb cycle I follow a 5×5 program and do full-body lifts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So then my diet and exercise would look like this:
- Sunday – Perform 10 minutes of HIIT. This can be sprints, full-body cardio circuits, anything. I have a post detailing good interval circuits here. After you perform the HIIT eat a meal containing 100g of carbohydrates. Then I will eat another meal two to three hours later containing 50g of carbohydrates. I prefer bananas, plantains, and sweet potatoes for my carb sources. You perform HIIT prior to eating the carbs because the exercise will ensure that the glucose you consume is shuttled to muscle glycogen stores and not stored as fat.
- Monday – Full-body heavy lifting session in the gym. 15 minutes of HIIT after the session. Eat less than 50g of carbs post workout and no other carbs for the day.
- Tuesday – 10 minutes of HIIT followed by 100g of carbs with another 50g in a follow up meal.
- Wednesday – Full-body heavy lifting session in the gym with 10 minutes of HIIT after the session. Less than 50g of carbs post workout.
- Thursday – 10 minutes of HIIT followed by 100g of carbs with another 50g in a follow up meal.
- Friday – Full-body heavy lifting session in the gym with 15-20 minutes of HIIT after the session. Less than 50g of carbs post workout.
- Saturday – Depending on how I feel I will either perform another session of HIIT, take a walk/hike, or just rest.
This schedule can be modified to fit your lifestyle. The important thing to note is that your carb intake should always come after your workout. And you should lower the carb intake on your workout days to less than 10g if you want to achieve maximal fat loss. You will not reach ketosis with carb cycling. Carb cycling is great for keeping your insulin under control while giving you maximum strength and endurance in the gym.
Where your calories should come from:
Fat – Avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, fish, grass-fed animals, almonds, macadamia nuts, almond butter, coconut butter, grass-fed butter, free-range eggs. Avoid - Too much farm-raised animal fat, peanuts, vegetable oils, trans fats. 30-45% of your calories should come from fat while carb cycling. I understand that budgets often won’t allow for purely grass-fed animals. I am in the same boat and still eat a mainly farm-raised animal meat. In the big picture it’s not terribly bad for you as long as you actively seek out healthy fats from avocados, coconut oil, fish oil, and nuts. Your goal is to balance your omega-3 fatty acid intake(good, anti-inflammatory fat) with your omega-6 intake(bad, pro-inflammatory fat) in a 1:1 ratio.
Protein – Grass-fed beef, pork, poultry. If you can’t find grass fed eat lean cuts of these same meats and get your fats from the good fat list above. Wild fish are also a fantastic source of protein. Also eggs, almonds, and macadamia nuts. Whey protein powder is great for supplementing your protein intake. 20-30% of your calories should come from protein on the ketogenic diet.
Carbohydrates – Get your carbohydrates from fruits and veggies – bananas, apples, pears, strawberries, sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, yucca root, are a few options. Avoid processed carbohydrates(breads, pastas, flours). 15-25% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.
- Your muscles will feel refreshed for your heavy lifting workouts.
- You can still gain strength and muscle while simultaneously losing fat. Or if you’re focusing more on cutting weight you can maintain muscle and strength while cutting a good amount of fat per week(.25-.5% bf per week).
- Easier to stick to than a strict keto or low-carb diet.
- You won’t lose fat as quickly as a pure cutting diet, and you won’t gain weight as quickly as a pure bulking diet. Every decision in life has its trade-offs.
What Sorts of Workouts Should I do?
Progression. Consistency. Efficiency. These shall be your watchwords.
To know the best workout routine for you, you must first have a goal. I will outline the three most common goals below: to look good naked, to be healthy, and to be jacked.
I want to look good naked!
I wish more people would follow through with this goal. To look good naked you only need to perform three to five interval cardio circuits lasting 15 to 25 minutes each week.
Throw out the old notion that “more is better.”
SPRINT training for 60 minutes a week burns the same amount of body fat in men as jogging for seven hours a week, Sydney scientists report.
High intensity interval circuits(HIIT) are exercises where you bring your heart rate above 85% of your maximal rate for 30-90 seconds and then rest for 30-60 seconds before performing another set. These circuits have several benefits for those wanting to look good naked:
- HIIT promotes optimal hormone signaling – causing your body to release more testosterone and growth hormone.
- HIIT increases insulin sensitivity.
- HIIT burns calories at a much higher rate than traditional “steady-state” cardio. The study linked above shows that performing four sprint workouts for 15 minutes each burns as much visceral fat in men as those who ran for six to seven hours at a steady pace.
- HIIT promotes much greater muscular hypertrophy than steady-state cardio- you’ll gain more muscle, everywhere.
There is really no reason for you to do steady-state cardio unless you’re training for a specific endurance event. Even if you are an endurance athlete HIIT workouts combined with long-distance endurance workouts create the optimal endurance athlete.
Steady-state cardio also has drawbacks that you won’t see with HIIT:
- Long periods of steady-state training promotes high levels of cortisol in the body- this leads to muscle catabolism, suppressed immune function, and adrenal fatigue and burnout.
- Steady-state training depletes glucose stores – leaving you hungry and craving sugar, which will then spike your insulin and cause all of the problems we talked about earlier.
- TIME. Why spend seven hours working out each week when you can get BETTER results in only one hour?
My recommended workout regime for someone who wants to look good naked:
- Two full-body strength training workouts in the gym each week- focusing on heavy compound lifts: squat, deadlift, bench-press, pullups, rows, dips, military press. These workouts should be short and intense. Work in the 4-6 rep range for 3-6 working sets(warmups don’t count as a working set) per exercise and finish your workout in 45 minutes or less.
- Two to four HIIT training sessions per week. A simple HIIT workout is to sprint for 30 seconds, walk for 15 to 45 seconds depending on your level of fitness, and repeat for ten minutes. I have a list of great high intensity interval circuits here.
- Perform two HIIT sessions per week on days that you aren’t lifting. Keep it short and simple. 25 minutes max.
- Don’t perform a HIIT session the day before a lifting session.
- Each HIIT session should all be less than 15 minutes long if you perform more than two HIIT sessions per week.
The key is progression in the gym. You can add progression by decreasing your rest times, increasing your weight/reps performed, and working opposing muscle groups back to back- for example doing five reps of deadlifts and then immediately performing five reps of bench press and repeating that process until you puke, cry, or die.
I just want to be healthy
You don't need a sixpack. You don't need 18" biceps. You just want to feel good and have life-long health.
Many of the same concepts that apply to those who want to look good naked still apply to you. You will still benefit greatly from HIIT workouts. You won't need any gym-based strength training workouts(unless you want to hit the gym). And you can get away with 1-2 hours of total exercise per week and still reach your goals.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates
Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. Health is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise. All the exercise in the world won't save you from a diet of trans fats, processed carbohydrates, and toxic chemicals. There are people living today whose only form of exercise is a leisurely walk in the morning- yet they are more healthy and more vital than many "gym rats" who kill themselves with hours of intense exercise. Because the former eat a nourishing and revitalizing diet while the latter punish their bodies with processed poison.
I'm going to assume that you have no desire to perform intense exercise. If you don't mind doing some sprints and hitting the gym you'll be better served by following the "I want to look good naked" advice. As someone who has a relatively lower level of physical activity you will need to limit your carbohydrate intake. Remember that any excess glucose that can't be stored in the liver or muscles is stored as fat. Since you have a low activity level your liver and muscle glycogen levels will remain full throughout the week- thus your dietary carbohydrate intake must be consciously reduced. The reason more than one third of Americans are obese is because they live a sedentary lifestyle yet consume more carbohydrates than even a triathlete can use. What a crazy world.
- Walk for at least half an hour four times a week. If you can walk for half an hour every-day, that's great! If you have the time to go even longer, fantastic. There really isn't a point where you can walk "too much."
- Incorporating bodyweight exercises is still recommended. You won't need to ramp up the intensity but three sets of pushups, situps, pullups, and squats two times a week will build a base of strength that will keep you strong and limber as you age. These also promote beneficial hormone releases in the form of testosterone and growth hormone, both of which help slow the aging process and keep you vital.
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with strength training or HIIT circuits for your healthy life goals. I recommend them to everyone. But you don't need to do them if your goal is to simply lose weight and be healthy.
I want to be JACKED
Strength training in the gym is the most efficient way to "get jacked." Bodyweight exercises are great and can give you a fantastic base of muscle, but from a pure efficiency standpoint nothing beats barbell strength-training.
Imagine that your max pushups is 50 without stopping. To increase the stress load on your muscles in future workouts you must either- do more than 50 pushups without stopping, do pushups faster, or do more sets of pushups. Once you reach a certain level of fitness it becomes very time-consuming and mentally demanding to increase your progression. Who has the time to do 500+ pushups in a workout?
This problem is very easily solved with barbell weights. Once you've progressed with a certain weight just throw on five more pounds and you have progressed.
Cardio should not be avoided on your quest to get huge. Cardio is too often demonized by the lifting community as being harmful to your gains. Uninformed individuals throw around the idea that cardio will burn your precious muscle. False. With proper nutrition cardio(and especially high intensity interval cardio) works synergistically with your strength-training workouts to promote the most muscle growth while keeping your fat gain to a minimum.
Your workout routine:
- I recommend beginners and intermediate lifters follow 5x5. If you're an advanced lifter you don't need me to tell you what to do, but I like switching between 5x5 and 5x3x1 every few months for advanced lifters.
- Supplement your lifts with two to three high intensity circuit cardio workouts each week. The circuits should focus on hypertrophy of muscle groups as well as pure cardio. I really like incorporating sets of pullups, pushups, and bodyweight squats into my circuit training to get that extra hypertrophy for my back, biceps, chest, triceps, shoulders, glutes, hams, and quads. Keep the interval training under 20 minutes per session.
- Remember, more is not always better. You should strive to work your muscles as hard as you can- as recovered as you can. I follow a very simple rule when I go to the gym. If after three warmup sets I feel tired/lethargic/unmotivated I will cut my workout short. If my program calls for me to squat 350x5 that day maybe I'll only squat 275 for a few sets and call it good- skipping cardio and auxiliary work completely. Pushing past plateaus should be a sporadic endeavor attempted only when you feel refreshed and energized. Here's a video of me doing 102 reps of squats with 225lbs. I felt fresh and motivated that day. For the next two weeks I did ZERO leg work because I was drained by the squats. Trying to push past that exhaustion would have lead to injuries and burnout.
- Pace yourself. Rest. Relax. The gym will still be there tomorrow. You really will make more gains if you take a moderate approach to the gym. Please take this advice if you take nothing else from this post.
THANK YOU REDDIT
- I really hope you found all of this to be useful. Thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck on your journey. I'll be creating more comprehensive guides like this on the topics of fitness, nutrition, productivity, and motivation.
- If you want to stay updated you can subscribe to my youtube channel here, my intent with the channel is to motivate and inspire you to reach your highest potential.
Please feel free to ask questions, I'll check this thread regularly and reply, also PMs are fine, and if you just want to connect with me the best way to do that is through my facebook page here.
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Here is the full index
PART I: ANABOLIC OVERVIEW
An Introduction to Testosterone
Direct and Indirect Anabolic Effects
Free vs. Bound Testosterone Estrogen Aromatization
Brief History of Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids
Synthetic AAS Development
Synthetic AAS Chemistry
Acute Steroid Safety: Studies with Real-World Dosages
The Endocrinology of Muscle Growth
PART II: PRACTICAL APPLICATION Steroid Cycles
Sample Steroid Cycles PCT: Post Cycle Therapy
OCT: Off Cycle Therapy
Steroid Frequently Asked Questions
Understanding Blood Tests
Harm Reduction/Safer Use Guidelines
Sterilizing Injectable AAS
Counterfeit Steroid Identification
Anabolic Steroid Possesion and the Law
Acquiring AAS (Best Practices)
PART III: DRUG PROFILES
ANABOLIC/ANDROGENIC STEROIDS (Listed by Common Brand)
Agovirin Depot (testosterone isobutyrate)
Anadrol® - 50 (oxymetholone)
Anadur® (nandrolone hexyloxyphenylpropionate)
Andriol® (testosterone undecanoate)
Andronaq (testosterone suspension)
Cheque Drops® (mibolerone)
Deca-Durabolin® (nandrolone decanoate)
Depo®-Testosterone (testosterone cypionate)
Deposterona (testosterone blend)
Drive® (boldenone/methylandrostenediol blend)
Durabolin® (nandrolone phenylpropionate)
Dynabol® (nandrolone cypionate)
Equipoise® (boldenone undecylenate)
Finajet (trenbolone acetate)
Laurabolin® (nandrolone laurate)
Masteron® (drostanolone propionate)
Megagrisevit-Mono® (clostebol acetate)
Nebido (testosterone undecanoate)
Omnadren® 250 (testosterone blend)
Oral Turinabol (4-chlorodehydromethyltestosterone)
Oreton (testosterone propionate)
Parabolan® (trenbolone hexahydrobenzylcarbonate)
Primobolan® (methenolone acetate)
Primobolan® Depot (methenolone enanthate)
Sten (testosterone cypionate & propionate)
Sustanon® 100 (testosterone blend)
Sustanon® 250 (testosterone blend)
Synovex® (testosterone propionate & estradiol)
Testolent (testosterone phenylpropionate)
Testoviron® (testosterone propionate/enanthate blend)
Trenabol® (trenbolone enanthate)
ANABOLIC AGENTS (NON-STEROID)
Arachidonic Acid (eicosa-5,8,11,14-enoic acid)
Clomid® (clomiphene citrate)
Fareston® (toremifene citrate)
Nolvadex® (tamoxifen citrate)
Parlodel® (bromocriptine mesylate)
Periactin (cyproheptadine hydrochloride)
Lovaza® (omega-3 ethyl esters)
Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa)
Epogen® (epoetin alfa)
FAT LOSS AGENTS – SYMPATHOMIMETICS
Adipex-P (phentermine hydrochloride)
Albuterol (albuterol sulfate)
Clenasma (clenbuterol hydrochloride)
Ephedrine (ephedrine hydrochloride)
Meridia® (sibutramine hydrochloride monohydrate)
Zaditen® (ketotifen fumarate)
FAT LOSS AGENTS – THYROID
Cytomel® (liothyronine sodium)
Synthroid® (levothyroxine sodium)
FAT LOSS AGENTS – OTHER
GROWTH HORMONES & RELATED
Human Growth Hormone (somatropin)
Essentiale forte N
TESTOSTERONE STIMULATING DRUGS
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)
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