Burning Fat To Achieve That Ripped Muscle Shape
Whether you’re a serious bodybuilder or just want to achieve a bit more of a toned appearance, the only way to look more ripped is to get rid of body fat.
The majority of fat is stored under the skin and above the muscle tissue, essentially masking the true shape of the muscle. The problem is that the leaner you become through reduced BMI, the more difficult it becomes to get rid of some more fat.
Over the years, I have gone through countless cutting phases, and I have found some reliable tips that I follow every time.
First, let’s look at what actually happens in your body.
Your Metabolisms Relationship With Fat
During a weight-loss period or cutting phase in bodybuilding, there are two things that you end up battling. First of all, your body will naturally try to store energy as fat.
And secondly, your body can be a bit more reluctant to let go of that fat.
Here is some more info to help you understand why this happens.
In evolutionary terms, we are only a few generations away from a time where humans had to eat a lot during the summer and autumn to fatten up for the winter. The fatter you could get in the times with plentiful food, the better your chances of surviving the winter.
As a result, the human metabolism became very effective at storing excess energy, especially from carbs, in the form of body fat.
Ever wonder why it’s so easy to gain weight, but difficult to get rid of it? Essentially, it’s a safety mechanism to protect against starvation.
During the winter months, our ancestors would have been reliant on some stored food reserves and mainly hunted animals. This meant that there was less food and more reliance on body fat.
Only when there is a threat of starvation, through low-calorie intake, would metabolic processes target body fat for energy.
This entire process is an ideal protection mechanism, but with food being plentiful all year round in western countries, fat burning needs to be actively triggered.
Why Burn Fat In The First Place?
There are generally two reasons why you’d want to get rid of fat.
Firstly, for health reasons when you may have managed to pile on a few pounds too many. The weight you lose is from fat, and this can be a very critical health issue.
Secondly, if you’re working on your appearance and bulking up some more muscle, then some of that gain can remain hidden under some excess fat. Even very fit bodybuilders will sometimes struggle with fat reserves.
And that’s why they go through cutting phases on a regular basis, which will be the main focus for the remainder of this post.
How Does Your Body Burn Fat?
The majority of your body functions will rely on energy from carbs and fat. Your metabolism is more efficient at extracting energy from carbs, so this will always be the first place it to go.
Carbs are also the main source when it comes to high-intensity training, i.e., the times where your heart is pumping fast for sustained periods of time.
Fat burning can be triggered at lower levels of intensity, but the fat will only stay off if you burn more calories than you eat.
The Net Negative Calorie Goal
No matter how much you exercise at the precise intensity levels needed, your body will simply replenish any lost fat with new fat cells if you don’t consume less energy than you’re using.
This is the case for performance athletes as well as an average person with a few too many pounds.
For a bodybuilder, this can become a bit of a problem because a net negative calorie intake can gradually reduce muscle size as well as BMI. That’s why, in most cases, cutting phases are very short.
Mix Up The Exercises You Do
While reducing your food intake can help a lot with losing some fat, your exercise routines can be just as effective.
By mixing high and low-intensity exercises within one workout session, you can burn maximum calories and trigger specific fat-burning intensity levels.
You can achieve this with a longer warm up routine, or by adding some machine work on a treadmill, exercise bike, or rower.
Burn Fat Through Your Diet
Some people think the simplest thing is to not eat fats, but that’s a completely wrong approach. Your body needs the right balance of fats, carbs, and protein, but it’s generally carbs that are responsible for increased fat storage.
This goes back to the above-mentioned evolutionary reason where, as humans, we are programmed to store as much easily available energy as possible. And carbs are the easiest form we have available.
Planning Your Food Intake
The first thing you will need to do is use an online optimum calorie intake calculator to work out how much energy your body needs on a daily basis. Another option is to use an app like Noom, along with a fitness tracking device like Fitbit.
Basically, you’ll be able to see on a daily basis whether you burned more calories than you consume.
If you’re consistently failing to get this to a negative value, then the first thing you should do is check for carbs in your meals, especially the refined ones.
If you want to speed up the process or you’re struggling with those last couple of BMI percentages, then one option is to use fat burning supplements.
No, not those dodgy pills you see advertised on social media. I’m talking about fat burners that are based on natural ingredients to trigger metabolic effects to naturally target more fat.
These usually contain certain proteins, caffeine, turmeric, and pepper extracts, which have scientifically proven effects on fat burning capabilities.
You’ll be surprised how effective some of these products actually are.
No matter which way you approach it, the only way to burn away fat on a consistent basis is to get the balance of diet and exercise right. Only when you consistently burn more energy than you take in, will you have any chance of getting to your BMI goals.