Boost Your Metabolic Rate

Three tips for staying lean while bulking up
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Your metabolic rate -- the speed at which you burn calories -- has a major effect on whether you make great gains or just pretty good gains without adding much bodyfat. If your metabolism tends to be on the slow side, you'’ll likely struggle to build mass without putting on bodyfat. On the other hand, those with superfast metabolic rates can find adding muscle mass extremely difficult. These three nutrition tips can put a mild boost in your calorie-burning engine. If you'’re trying to bulk up yet remain lean, these recommendations are a sure bet for a more muscular physique.

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#1 Try "Three/One"” Carb Rotation

You can throw a curve ball into your nutritional approach by reducing your total daily carb intake for three days. Cut back to 100-150 grams (g) of carbs per day, emphasizing low-glycemic carbs such as oats, rye cereal, rye bread, red potatoes, yams and yogurt. Trimming your carb intake facilitates a small metabolic shift, coaxing your body to rely on bodyfat as fuel.Lower glycemic carbs also contribute to a smaller insulin surge than other carbs might generate. Although insulin is anabolic, it can increase the storage of fat. Three days of consuming fewer carbs can help prevent fat storage without forcing the body into nutrient deprivation. On the fourth day, carb up! Eat 200-250 g more carbs than you regularly ate before the three-day cutback -- in other words, if you consumed 300 g daily, take in 500-550 g on the fourth day.The high-carb day following three days of lower carbs helps fill the muscles and liver with glycogen (stored carbs). Bodybuilders have learned that this leads to greater growth. Such glycogen loading can also support growth factor (IGF) and thyroid hormones that contribute to a leaner physique. Also, rotating from a mild reduction in carbs to a single-day boost in intake can improve your body’s ability to manufacture glycogen so that you have fewer carbs available to store as bodyfat. Examine your physique after trying this form of carb rotation; use it periodically if it works for you.

#2 Include Protein Cycling

Although some bodybuilders tend to fiddle with their carb intake to maintain a lean appearance while trying to add mass, most keep their daily protein intake consistent at one to one and a half grams per pound of bodyweight. But, for those trying to boost their metabolisms or offset the accumulation of bodyfat, decreasing protein intake a couple of times per week can help.Here's how it works: When you drop your protein intake slightly for a day or two, the body scrambles to maintain an anabolic state. It does so by "fighting"” and becoming efficient at holding onto nitrogen, the component of protein that influences muscle growth. When you go back to your normal protein intake, the body is more apt to hold, trap and retain nitrogen, leading to an increase in growth potential that influences the metabolism.Try eating 0.8 g of protein per pound of bodyweight for one or two days a week, then return to your regular protein intake. Be sure to keep up your intake of healthy fats and add more low-glycemic carbs, such as brown rice and oatmeal, on lower-protein days. Regarding how often to take this approach, again, let your physique be your guide.

#3 Take Glutamine and BCAAs

When it comes to boosting your metabolism, a major issue is supporting metabolic recovery and tissue repair. When you provide for these with proper nutrition, your body not only adds muscle, resulting in a boosted metabolic rate, but it also calls on stored bodyfat as a source of energy to help build this new muscle. On the flip side, a poor diet can cause a loss in muscle, a drop in metabolism and an increase in bodyfat. A combination of glutamine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) taken after training can promote protein synthesis and prevent muscle protein breakdown. Again, the methodology is pretty simple: Adding to your muscle mass will, in turn, keep your metabolic rate elevated or boost it higher. Taking 10 g of glutamine and 4-6 g of BCAAs can help keep you lean while enhancing your muscle building.

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