General fat loss ramblings

  1. jtt
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    General fat loss ramblings


    I’m currently finishing up my 4th (annual) cutting cycle and wanted to share with the board what I’ve learned these past four years in no particular order:

    Fat loss is a marathon not a sprint. If you truly want to get to low single digit body fat %, you must think of this as a long term plan. Put another way, slow and steady wins the fat loss race.

    I’ll leave it to experts like Bobo, but I’ve now come to believe that one is better off breaking cutting cycles into two shorter cycles per year rather than one long cycle. This will also mean shorter bulking cycles and as a result will keep one closer to their ideal body weight for longer periods of time. This will be my approach from now on.

    During my first two cutting cycles I greatly underestimated how much weight I needed to lose to meet my targeted goals for waist size and body fat %. Be patient and do not get discouraged. Just keep in mind that losing fat is not a get rich quick scheme.

    Target 1-1.5 lbs of weight loss/week. For me, anything more than 1.5 lbs/week and my strength and recovery times begin to really suffer. Anything less than 1 lb/wk and my frustration level increases. Many times my weight would not change from one week to the next and I would feel like I "wasted the week". You too will have weeks where you will not lose weight or your waist or caliper measurements go in the wrong direction. Accept this as fact and part of the process and STAY POSITIVE and FOCUSED - you will recover!

    I am extremely insulin sensitive. For others like me, low carb diets work wonders. I have had much better success employing low carbs during the work week followed by moderate carbs and workouts over the weekend and one total body workout during midweek. I work upper body on Saturday one exercise per body part and alternate between my two favorite body part exercises every workout. Sunday is legs and stomach. Wednesday is a total body workout including occasional sprint work 6-8 60 yard sprints depending on how I feel. All workouts are never more than 1 hour in duration.

    Weigh and measure (waist, R arm, chest, R thigh, and 9 point caliper) once per week every week at the same time of the day – preferably morning straight out of bed. I weigh and measure every Friday morning (5:30am). The results of the weigh-in and measurements determine the duration of my week-end carb consumption. I workout around 12:00 noon on Saturday followed by a shake with the first significant carbs of the week and then eat 40 grams of carbs w/protein and good fats (40/40/20) every 2 - 2.5 hrs until end of day Sunday. I work out around mid-afternoon on Sunday. If my weigh-in Friday morning is less than a 1 lb decrease, I move my Sunday workout to 10:00 am followed by a shake with 40 grams of carbs and then 2 hrs later an additional 40 grams of carbs and a good protein (chicken breast, egg whites, very lean beef, etc.) source then no/low carbs until next Saturday post workout. If I lost more than 1.5 lbs for the week, I begin eating carbs Saturday morning after my fasted cardio.

    Morning "low impact – 60% targeted heart rate" cardio on an empty stomach is a staple for fat loss. 30 -40 minutes per session. I also add a 20 minute session after Satuday’s workout and Wednesday’s workout if I skip sprint work.

    I feel that 3 grams of Alcar first thing in the morning on an empty stomach 20 minutes prior to fasted cardio is beneficial for me.

    Glucose agents work for me. I like cinnamon and Glucophase xr. Cinnamon goes into every morning cup of coffee and last meal in the evening (1 cup of FF cottage cheese + 10 almonds). Glxr is used during weekend carb feeds - 4 caps/day. Sunday evenings I have one additional cap before bed (15 minutes after cottage cheese) and Monday morning 1 cap first thing in the morning 10 minutes before Alcar and morning cardio. I do not use Glxr again until Saturday’s re-feed.

    Topical fat loss products do not work for me. I’ve tried a few brands with and without Capsaicin and saw no benefit. I say save your money.

    Whole food always wins over shakes. I limit shakes to workout days only and only post work out. 40 grams of low GI carbs (although I have recently tried sizeon with the addition of 1 cup of mixed frozen berries (Trader Joes) 46 grams of carbs in all and 1 ½ scoops of whey - 40 grams.

    I drink 8-10 16 oz cups of green tea per day (during the work week). I throw a good pinch Chinese green tea leaves (I have many types that I purchase in China during business trips) into a 16 oz cup in the morning and continue to refill the cup with hot water throughout the day. I change the tea leaves after lunch. I usually start my day with a strong cup of coffee and then tea the remainder of the day. During the weekends I drink an equivalent amount or more of water.

    I experience benefits when using a cortisol blocker (7-hydroxy) during cutting and PCT. I dose after morning cardio and in post workout shakes while cutting.

    PORTION CONTROL is the key! I have failed in my past three bulking cycles due solely to this issue. It is better to have 8 meals with 50 grams of carbs than 5 meals of 80 grams of carbs. As previously mentioned above, during weekend re-feeds, the same is true – target smaller more frequent meals. I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS POINT.

    Here are some stats from each of my cutting cycles and accompanied comments:

    Date weight waist bf% Il Th Ch Chest R.arm R.thigh
    11/02 187 35.5 17% 24 17 10 45.0 15.5 22.5
    5/03 153 31.25 7% 9 8 4 40.5 14.0 20.5

    11/03 190 35.5 15% 22 15 8 44.75 15.5 22.5
    6/04 149 30.0 5.7% 6 6 4 40.0 13.75 20.25

    10/04 185 33.5 12% 17 12 6 45.0 16.0 23.0
    5/05 145 28.75 5.5% 6 6 3 40.0 13.25 19.75

    12/05 179 33.5 12% 18 12 6 44.5 15.5 21.75
    so far 160 29.5 7% 8 8 4 42.0 14.5 21.5
    goal 150 28.0 4.5% 4 6 2 41.0 14.0 20.5

    Bulk
    goal 170 30.0 7% 8 8 4 44.0 15.5 23.0

    As mentioned, "clean" bulking has been a problem for me however when comparing bulk cycle start dates, my waist is about 2 inches less at the same lean body mass prior to the last two cutting cycles.

    My current cutting cycle has been the best by far with a lean body mass gain of 10 lbs vs. the previous year’s cycle for the same waist size. Each cutting cycle has seen my waist decrease in size relative to lean body mass. Compared to my first cutting cycle, I am 6.5 lean lbs heavier with a 1 ¾ inch smaller waist and larger chest, arms and thighs - for me, the 6.5 lean lbs translates to 1 ½ inches on chest, ½ inch on arms and 1 inch on thighs.

    My goal "before" I began this current cycle is 150 lbs at a 28 inch waist. It appears achievable but I may not go so low - I’ll see what 155 brings (29 inches). I learned a lot last year from my cutting and the following bulking cycle. This year’s bulk will be more controlled and slower. I must control portion sizes AND remember that slow and steady also wins the bulking race!

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences.
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    Good points: Smaller, more frequent meals always win over larger ones. Cutting being a marathon is also good way to put it.

    Seems like a lot of green tea, even with its relatively low caffeine content, in that quantity it must add up to a fair bit.

    I gotta ask though, how did you go about determining that you are extremely insulin sensitive? I think there is a misconception about associating perceived carb sensitivity with insulin sensitivity.
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  4. jtt
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    You're correct, carb sensitive is probably a better descriptor. However, I've practiced the no/low carb diet since I first read about it (Atkins original work) during my Sophomore year in college - over 20 years ago. I have also been mega dosing vitamins since the same time period (Life Extension by Pearson and Shaw). I've been taking Life Extension's multi-vitamin mix at twice the recommended dose for over 20 years. I attribute both to having 110-115 /60-65 BP, LDL/HDL ratio of almost 1 and a total cholesterol of 125-150. These type of test results generally indicate good insulin sensitivity. However you are correct in that short of taking an insulin sensitivity test, I can not be 100% positive I am more sensitive than most.
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    Some good points, the frustration factor is the hardest for me, I can have one cheat meal and gain 5lbs that took me 2-3 weeks to lose! Of course it comes right back off the next few days, but it's hard to see all the hard work come right back at ya. Consistency over the long haul, and staying focused on your goals is key. Get a craving, I'll take a hand under my shirt and feel the blubber that lies beneath and press on.
  6. jtt
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    Basso, I approach cheat meals differently today than in the past. Cheat meals before this current cutting cycle were always too big and too many calories. Now I break down one cheat meal into 2-3 cheat meals in a row but I limit each to 50 grams of carbs max. Example, one of my favorite cheats is penne pasta and red sauce. Instead of a huge plate of 200 grams of carbs, I'll break it down to 3 pasta meals in a row. Also, I will not prepare 150 grams all at once or I am likely to eat it. I'll prepare 50 grams one at a time. Guess what, after the second "cheat", I'm satisfied. Another favorite cheat is Rasin Bran. Again, I could eat half a box in one sitting, but thats like 250 grams of carbs. Instead, I'll measure out 50 grams worth and close up the box and put it away. Add the milk and chow down. If that box is sitting there next to me, I will more than likely start adding to the bowl so I make sure it is out of the way before I start to eat. Then 2 hours later I'll eat another 50grams worth, wait another 2 hrs and more often than not, I'm looking for something different to eat. As previously mentioned Glucophase xr or cinnamon with everyone of these cheats is a must.
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    Yeh, I'm changing the way I approach these also, when I was 25 I could have cheat weekends and be right where I left off on Mon morning, but now I pay dearly, so my cheats are far and few between and it's usually something small, just to stay sane, like some AI's cookies!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basso
    Yeh, I'm changing the way I approach these also, when I was 25 I could have cheat weekends and be right where I left off on Mon morning, but now I pay dearly, so my cheats are far and few between and it's usually something small, just to stay sane, like some AI's cookies!

    I keep some high quality dark chocolate (the stuff that is like $5 a bar) in my refrigerator. If I'm feeling the need to indulge, I'll eat a small piece....and reflect back upon all those studies showing that dark chocolate is good for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahright
    I keep some high quality dark chocolate (the stuff that is like $5 a bar) in my refrigerator. If I'm feeling the need to indulge, I'll eat a small piece....and reflect back upon all those studies showing that dark chocolate is good for you.
    That's more will power than I have, that chocolate would disappear at 2-3am some hungry night. I wake up at night starving, and if there is something like that in my fridge, It'll be gone. I blame BodyOpus for the middle of the night cravings.
  11. jtt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basso
    That's more will power than I have, that chocolate would disappear at 2-3am some hungry night. I wake up at night starving, and if there is something like that in my fridge, It'll be gone. I blame BodyOpus for the middle of the night cravings.
    Dan the man was insane having us wake-up several times a night for refeeds. The day after my first night I was dragging from not getting my typical 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Thank God for Lyle's version.

    However, truth be told, they both made me fat. I could not get into Ketosis most weeks. It wasn't until I limited carbs to less than 40g/meal and all within the first 24 hrs only was I able to get into Ketosis by week's end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtt
    Dan the man was insane having us wake-up several times a night for refeeds. The day after my first night I was dragging from not getting my typical 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Thank God for Lyle's version.

    However, truth be told, they both made me fat. I could not get into Ketosis most weeks. It wasn't until I limited carbs to less than 40g/meal and all within the first 24 hrs only was I able to get into Ketosis by week's end.
    It was definitely an experience, I was doing it while Lyle was doing his log, he was nut's how long he stayed on it (he sure capatalized on the popularity of his log). I think it has it's place but only short term/last stubborn % etc. If I'm totally stuck I may run it for a week or 2.
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