Every year, for every bodybuilder, it's a quest to shed fat to achieve a state referred to as "shredded," "peeled," or "cut." Off-season photos of the professional bodybuilders show that many binge and dine their way to obesity, yet within a matter of months, even weeks, they are once again posing in peak condition. Certainly diet, training and experience play a part in their ability to recover from dietary excess, but as many other athletes discover, discipline and willpower are not sufficient to account for the dramatic changes seen in the pros.
The following discussion addresses 3 of the more common and most effective
Cardio : is the bane of most bodybuilders, as they commonly do not care for the activities, nor expend the time needed for benefit. There are multiple opinions regarding when and how to do cardio: Low-intensity versus high, one session versus multiple, daily versus rarely, etc. There really is little practical difference between the various programs, none if the cardio is not done at all.
The effect of cardio, for fat loss, is to increase the activity-related calorie burning experienced by the bodybuilder.42 Resting metabolic rate is thought to rise with high-intensity exercise, though this remains to be proven for long-term conditioning.43,44 Considering that a greater muscle mass elevates the resting metabolic rate, as do stimulants (ephedrine/caffeine, green tea) that argument is marginal. Bodybuilders need to find an activity that will be maintained regularly, preferably every other day. The percentage of fat burned is higher for low-intensity exercise and best in the morning, before eating, with plenty of water and the use of caffeine.45 However, if that is not a possibility, other forms still provide a benefit. Cardio can add to the caloric deficit, but it must be approached with care to avoid injury or muscle catabolism.
Ketogenic Diets. This type of diet has been popularized by Dr. Atkins, but represents the carb depletion phase used by bodybuilders for decades. Ketogenic diets require a great deal of willpower, as it severely restricts the amount of carbohydrates, foods commonly preferred in the American diet. Carb restriction will initially lead to irritability, loss of concentration and strength as a person adapts to it, but eventually behavior and training return to normal.
The purpose and intent of a ketogenic diet is to decrease the amount of insulin released into the body.46 Insulin is a major anabolic hormone, but unfortunately, it is the primary driver of calories into the fat cell and prevents the breakdown and release of stored fat, leading to a build up of body fat.47,48 When carbs are restricted, there is a large initial loss of weight, representing the water associated with glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. This can be as much as ten pounds in the first week. However, the fat loss from ketogenic dieting occurs more slowly and over a longer period.
Without insulin to block fat release, fat cells are much more sensitive and will respond more aggressively to stimulants and other hormones. By properly monitoring the calories and amount of dietary fat, ketogenic diets can lead to dramatic losses of body fat. Muscle can be negatively affected by ketogenic dieting, as insulin also drives nutrients (sugar, amino acids, creatine) into the muscle cell and prevents the breakdown of muscle protein. But, it appears ketogenic dieting preserves and may increase lean mass.46 Ketogenic diets can be followed for long periods, with many of the Atkins advocates adopting ketogenic diets as a permanent lifestyle.
Hormones of the body are involved in energy balance; altering the levels of these hormones can directly affect metabolism, increasing fat loss. Additionally, other effects of these hormones can alter either the rate of fat gain or where it's deposited. Use of hormones for fat loss is particularly dangerous, as an excess of any hormone can cause serious, even fatal consequences.
Testosterone and Other Steroids: These hormones are best known for the anabolic effect of the androgens upon the skeletal muscle, causing muscular growth and strength gains.18 By increasing the relative amount of muscle, steroids decrease the percentage of body fat. However, a number of studies have determined that either testosterone, esters or some of the other anabolic steroids can also directly impact fat loss.19,20 The oral drug oxandrolone seems to have a more pronounced effect on subcutaneous fat loss, though the exact cause for this has not been determined.21
Growth Hormone: This hormone affects nearly every cell in the body and excess use can cause permanent and disfiguring changes in appearance and health.22 However, GH has gained a great deal of notoriety as a repartitioning agent, meaning it moves nutrients from fat storage to the functioning muscles and organs.20 GH influences growth through a second hormone called IGF-1, but its effects as a fat loss agent seem to be more direct. GH excess interferes with insulin signaling,23 the main driver for fat storage, and also seems to accelerate fat release from fat cells.24-26 GH has been investigated for use in the morbidly obese28,29 and bodybuilders believe doses of four to six IU/day provide the benefits of GH use.22 GH should never be used, or even considered, without considering the serious and long-term consequences, physical and legal.
Thyroid Hormone: The thyroid gland is the main regulator of the body's metabolic rate, adjusting the release of T4, a hormone with limited activity. T4 is converted into T3 within the liver and other tissues, with most of the cellular effects of thyroid hormone due to this form of the hormone. T3 is extremely potent and acts upon fat loss primarily by making the body more sensitive to the signal of NE, the stimulant neurotransmitter.38,39 Unfortunately, thyroid hormone, much like GH, is non-specific, meaning it affects nearly every tissue.
By : musculardevelopment.com