A number of bodybuilders have e-mailed me requesting the same thing: “Can you check out my pre-contest diet?” Time and again, their approach to dieting is the same: no carbs. A no-carb or very-low-carb plan can be effective — it almost always means fewer calories, so that’s a plus. It also means insulin, a potentially fat-storing hormone, is controlled. But it doesn’t guarantee a ripped fat-free physique. Getting ripped is about controlling calories while simultaneously keeping hormones in balance. That’s what this article is about — providing the guidelines for a hormonal profile that will keep your metabolic rate humming to burn bodyfat. Here’s the data on six main hormones you need to know about.
ACTION | Insulin encourages bodyfat storage, but it also helps create an anabolic environment for muscle growth.
WHAT YOU WANT TO DO | Keep your insulin levels as low as possible during rest periods (when you’re inactive) and elevated after training.
WHY YOU WANT TO DO THIS | Low insulin levels at rest help burn fat as long as calories are controlled. Elevated levels around training time prevent muscle loss and support anabolism — muscle growth.
HOW YOU DO THIS | Keep carbs low most of the day — stress low-carb vegetables and lean protein sources, such as egg whites, fowl, fish, lean beef and protein powders. Before and after training, make sure you eat carbs along with proteins. A rule of thumb while dieting is to eat .2 grams (g) of carbs just prior to training and .3 g afterward per pound of bodyweight. For a 200-pound bodybuilder, that would be 40 g before and 60 g after training. This creates an anabolic state during times when the body is most open to shedding mass — during and after training.
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