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Fast Techniques To Increase Leanness

To get ready to compete in a bodybuilding or fitness show, it’s always smart to start dieting at least 6-8 weeks beforehand to make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to get down to the low body fat levels that are required to get on stage – longer if you are currently carrying a bit more body fat at the moment.

If you aren’t preparing for a show though and just want to increase your leanness for some special event you have coming up such as a weekend at the beach, a high school reunion, or some professional pictures you want to have taken, there are some quick techniques you can use that will really help you lean up quickly, allowing you to look your best in a short period of time.

Here is your guide to what you should be doing in the two weeks prior to the event.

Carbohydrates Move Up To Start

Before you start your transition into the cutting stage, what you should do is start with a brief period of high carbohydrate eating, being sure to eat at least 200 carbohydrates a day (more if you are at a higher body weight). What this is going to do is first make sure your metabolism is running optimally and then second, fully saturated the muscle glycogen stores in the muscles so you can sustain higher intensity exercise as you begin to cut back on carbohydrates as the days progress.

If you go into a diet already half carb depleted, in a few days you’re going to find that you’re really struggling to keep any amount of workout volume up and pretty soon you’ll be losing muscle strength rapidly.  Muscle strength is a great indicator of total muscle tissue maintenance, so when you see the weight on the bar dropping, that’s a signal you’ve started to lose muscle mass.

When doing these few days of high carbohydrate eating, you’ll want to bring your total fat intake lower, as this will prevent excess fat from being gained over the one to three day period of the carbohydrate load. Also be sure you’re consuming plenty of water during this time to help prevent too much bloating and ensure the carbohydrates can effectively form muscle glycogen.

Start Reducing Carbohydrates While Increasing Protein

Once you’ve had your carb-up period, then your next dietary step is to start decreasing your carbohydrates while increasing your protein.  Your goal here is not to start reducing calories dramatically, as that will only cause the metabolism to come to a screeching halt, but to keep them at a similar level to what you have been using, simply shifting the macronutrient percentages around slightly. 

By increasing your protein intake up higher, you will get the benefits of a higher protein diet such as increased hunger control, increased calorie burn due to the process of digestion, as well as a drop in water weight.

It’s the drop in water weight at this point that’s really going to make a significant difference and kick-start your leanness.  You will notice a big decrease in the scale weight as this occurs, which will slow over time as you go.  Initially the water weight decrease can amount to 5-10 pounds in some individuals depending on how large your body is and this rate of loss will slow significantly after the first 2-3 days of moving to a lower carb diet have elapsed.

Keep in mind that you are not trying to dehydrate yourself here, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout this time.  This will help keep you feeling well, as the initial drop in carbohydrates can cause some individuals to feel less than optimal. Drinking extra water while protein is higher is also important so you don’t stress your kidneys too much, further increasing the need for this additional water.

The types of carbohydrates to reduce the most at this point are those higher starch carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, bread, bagels, or any type of processed foods you might currently be eating.  The primary carbohydrates that your diet should consist of instead include vegetables, moderate amounts of fruits, unsweetened oatmeal, and potentially sweet potatoes depending on how low you want to bring your total carbohydrate intake.  These forms will be released slower in the body, so they won’t shoot up blood sugar levels as quickly, helping to prevent rebound hunger and potential overeating. 

Further, vegetables contain so few calories to begin with that they are a really terrific way to help keep your calorie intake lower while on a diet.  Note that you may experience some bloating when increasing your vegetable intake, but this is only temporary and will go down a few hours after eating them. Most fat loss diets will never restrict vegetables because of the fact they are much lower in calories and provide many of the essential vitamins and minerals you need.

Move From Lower Rep To Higher Rep Training

The next step to take to up your leanness levels is going to be with your workouts.  If you’ve been following a more strength-type of protocol, performing lower reps with a much higher weight, now is the time to increase the rep range up to the 10-15 range, while slightly decreasing the weight to make this possible.

This is going to accomplish two main objectives.  First, it will help to burn slightly more calories during each workout and keep the metabolism elevated for a longer period of time afterwards, assuming you are still maintaining a fairly heavy weight load.  Ideally you would decrease the weight by about 5-15 pounds depending on the exercise and your strength levels, which would allow you to move into the higher rep range.  Be careful not to reduce it too much however, thinking doing so with reps up to 20 will be even better, because this is not the case.  In order to preserve muscle mass and strength as best as possible, you only want a slight reduction in weight to accommodate the increased reps.

Secondly, working in the higher rep range is going to help give the muscles a nice ‘pump’, causing them to look fuller.  This is the result of the build-up of by-product’s that are created in the muscle tissue with higher rep training and will engorge the muscles, increasing the blood flow that goes through them. You’ve likely noticed this effect before if you’ve ever finished off a workout with a couple of supersets – bicep curls followed by a tricep exercise for example.

This pump isn’t going to last forever; typically it will reside about an hour or so after the workout is completed, but the calorie burning effects as well as the glycogen depletion effects (which also tend to increase the appearance of leanness) will last, making it worthwhile.  You’d also be smart to perform a very light, short workout similar to this right before whatever event it is you want to look lean for if possible.

Reduce Carbohydrates Further While Bumping Up Protein

The last step to take to really push the edge on your leanness level is to now remove the last bit of carbohydrates apart from a smaller amount of vegetables from your diet.  This should only be done 2-3 days beforehand because it is going to cause your calorie intake to be lower and you will start to notice you feel a great deal more fatigued.  Think of it as the finishing touches on all the efforts you’ve put forth in the last two weeks to really bring out maximum definition.

Don’t try and increase your workouts any further at this point as you simply won’t have the fuel to do so.  Keep everything else the same, just drop any remaining starchy foods you’re eating along with any fruit remaining in the diet.

Keep these steps in mind next time you want to get lean quickly.  Once you resume your normal eating pattern you are going to start gaining back much of the weight that was lost through water reduction and carbohydrate depletion, but this was only meant to be a short-term solution to accomplishing your goal.  If you want to maintain the leanness, then you’re going to be best off getting on a solid, well-planned diet and exercise program, taking a slightly slower approach to fat loss, but one that will last for the long term.

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