CUTTING EDGES

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Controlling caloric intake — eating less — is the backbone of building a chiseled midsection, shredded pecs and sliced quads. Cutting back on daily caloric consumption is the first step. Step two in the leaning-out scenario is utilizing fat-burning supplements and clever tricks of the getting-ripped-in-a-hurry trade. Let's explore five ways to pursue quality conditioning in a pinch.

#1 FENUGREEK

This is an herb that wages war on fat. Fenugreek may prevent sugar levels from rising after a meal, which will preclude skyrocketing insulin levels. Keep in mind that insulin is classified as a fat-storing hormone. Go for one 500 mg capsule before each meal.

#2 FIBER

Here's another standby that you might not have thought of as a fat-burning supplement. Despite its good rep as a fat-burner, many bodybuilders still avoid fiber like the plague. Scientific investigations show that fiber tablets help accelerate weight loss. Further research reveals that 1.5 grams of glucomannan (a type of fiber) taken twice daily before meals can help overweight individuals lose fat — even if they're not dieting.

#3 WATER

Let's take a hydration test: Drink 24 ounces of water. If you don't need to use the restroom within 45 minutes, the bottom line is that you are dehydrated. Dehydration hinders workouts and significantly influences metabolism. Research proves that a dehydrated individual tends to have a slightly lower metabolism. Another good thing about water is that it lowers aldosterone levels in the body to liberate excess water trapped beneath the skin. Drinking very cold water can cause a mild increase in calorie burning, as the body has to "warm" the water to its core temperature, and that process actually burns calories.

#4 CASEIN

Milk-derived protein is another option for fat loss. In one controlled study, overweight police officers were put on a 12-week weight-training regimen coupled with restricted calorie intake. Some of the subjects consumed a commercial milk protein formula composed primarily of casein; some consumed whey protein. Total daily protein intake was the same for both groups. The officers who had a daily dose of 1.5 grams of casein per kilogram of bodyweight added more muscle than the other test group. These results indicate that including casein-based protein in your diet can increase your muscle mass and boost your metabolism.

#5 OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

These fats, found in fish and in supplement form, just might be the missing link in the get-ripped equation. This was demonstrated by a study of 63 overweight men and women who, every day for four months, ate fish high in omega-3s. They lost more weight than a comparable group who ate fish only once per week. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and other cold-water fish, are used in the formation of muscle glycogen — and the more carbs you store as glycogen, the less carbs you store as fat.

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