Obesity levels in Australia are reaching epidemic proportions. The number of obese people in Australia has doubled in the last 10 years and the extra bodyfat increases the risk of degenerative diseases including, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Each year Australians are putting on around 6,000 tonnes of fat! This means the activities we are engaging in on a daily basis are promoting fat storage rather than fat burning in our bodies.
In this article we will examine the ultimate fat-burning day- everything you need to do to burn off the maximum amount of bodyfat in 24 hours. As we cover each of the ‘daily disciplines’, decide whether or not it suits you and if you can incorporate it into your lifestyle. The most important point to remember is any fat-loss principle you decide to incorporate into your lifestyle must be sustainable. It must become a habit that you can perform for the rest of your life. If not, the results you achieve by using it will be short-lived as well.
The first strategy to employ is the ‘Maximum Fat-loss Protocol’. This is a jealously guarded secret of fitness experts around the world simply because it is so effective at getting amazing results. This one strategy alone can burn off a massive amount of fat in a few short weeks if it is performed every day. It is a very simple 4-step process, which is as follows:
- Wake up in the morning and take a thermogenic.
- Exercise for 30-60 minutes.
- Wait 30 minutes.
- Have breakfast.
This strategy uses a number of physiological mechanisms in the body in order maximise the utilisation of fat for fuel.
Start your day by waking up in the morning at 6:00am and taking a thermogenic. At this time your blood sugar (blood glucose) tends to be low because you were fasting for the last 6-8 hours (assuming you didn’t have a midnight snack!). Your metabolism is relatively low too. Taking a thermogenic (fat burner) like, BCN’s XLR8, gives your metabolism a ‘kick start’ and also forces your fat cells to release stored fat and send it into the bloodstream. Now you have created an environment in your bloodstream where your blood sugar is low and your blood fat is high.
Then, when you start exercising, your working muscles will use fat almost exclusively as a fuel source. Plus, as a result of taking the thermogenic and doing the exercise, your metabolism stays elevated for quite some time after the exercise session is completed. This is why it is important to wait 30 minutes before having breakfast. You will keep burning fat during this post-exercise window. If you have breakfast straight after the exercise session, your blood sugar will rise, inducing insulin secretion. Insulin will then stop the fat-burning process in its tracks.
In saying this though, you don’t want to wait longer than about 30 minutes because as a result of having a low blood sugar level for an extended period of time, the level of cortisol in your bloodstream will start to rise. Cortisol has the effect of breaking down lean tissue in the body including muscle, which results in a depression of your metabolic rate.
It is best to use this 30 minute window to have a shower, get changed and perhaps get the kids ready for school. Then at around 7 or 7:30am have breakfast.
Your breakfast meal, as with all your meals, should contain a small portion of all three macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein and fat. Breakfast might be an egg on toast (wholemeal or multigrain without butter or margarine) and a cup of white coffee or tea (one sugar is allowed). Perhaps you would prefer a 30g serve of natural muesli with 150mls of HiLo or skim milk or lite soy milk, rice milk or oat milk. Add 1 level tablespoon of LSA mix (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds) and 2 teaspoons of psyllium husks to the cereal. You can also have a cup of tea or coffee with this meal.
If you’re not a breakfast person but still want to lose fat fast, then consider having a meal replacement shake like, Tone & Firm (for ladies) or Whey Fusion (for men). Simply pour a glass of milk, add a scoop of the powder, stir vigorously and drink- it’s that simple!
Next, it’s off to work or it’s time to start your daily chores. During the day carry around a water bottle with you. Make an effort to constantly sip it all day long. Even though your body may not require all the water you consume (because you do get water from food), the extra water will flush toxins from your body, keep your body cells well hydrated and reduced your appetite. It is best to use filtered water rather than tap water to limit the impurities that go into your body from the water you consume.
At 10am it’s time for your mid-morning meal/ snack. Again, this includes a small portion of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Of course many people are busy during the day so they want options that are quick and easy. A piece of fruit with some nuts or a small tin of flavoured tuna on 1-2 corn thins are good ‘whole-food’ options. If you’re really busy though, and these days, who isn’t? Then the ‘whole-food’ options may not suit your daily schedule. If so, consider using a meal replacement powder or bar.
It is so important not to skip this meal because it helps you avoid the ‘Starvation Mechanism’ that the body kicks in when you miss meals. If the body goes without food for greater than about 3 or 4 hours during the day, your body thinks it is entering a famine so it invokes a number of mechanisms to protect itself. These include: reducing thyroid hormone output, increasing cortisol production, increasing the activity of the fat-storing enzymes and increasing your appetite. They are all designed to slow the metabolism down, limit fat burning and promote fat storage. So in order to avoid the ‘Starvation Mechanism’, make sure you have 5 or even 6 small meals a day. It may seem ironic that by eating more often you can actually burn more fat but you would be amazed at the number of overweight people who eat only once or twice a day!
Lunch is around 1:00pm and is always a ‘whole-food’ meal. For maximum fat loss you must control your intake of high-density carbohydrates like, bread, pasta and rice without cutting them out altogether. Unfortunately this means the traditional sandwich for lunch has to go! Two slices of bread or a medium-sized roll have 30 grams of carbohydrates or more and if you want to keep your blood sugar stable and therefore insulin low, having around 20 grams of carbohydrates per meal is ideal. This equates to approximately 1 slice of bread, ½ a cup of cooked rice or pasta or 1 small potato.
The lunch meal should also have a small portion of protein and fat and this can easily be achieved by having around 100 grams (cooked weight) of lean meat either, fish, chicken or red meat. This will provide you with 25-30 grams of protein and 4-7 grams of fat. Some low-density carbohydrates should also be added to the meal because they have very little impact on your carbohydrate intake but they do help fill you up as well as providing your body with many valuable nutrients including, vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients (nutrients from plants). 1-2 cups of a mixture of broccoli, carrots, green beans, tomatoes and lettuce is a good option.
Your mid-afternoon meal/ snack at around 4:00pm has the same options as your mid-morning meal/ snack. Often people skip this meal because they are so busy during the day and as a result, when it’s time for dinner, they tend to over-eat- the worst time of the day to be having a big meal. Furthermore, if they do have something for their mid-afternoon meal, it is usually a piece of fruit, a small tub of yoghurt or a low-fat muffin ; not a complete meal because it lacks protein and good fat. As was covered earlier, it is essential that all meals have a portion of carbohydrate, protein and fat, rather than just carbs because they’re the most convenient. Protein is particularly important because it is used for many vital functions in the body including, supporting the immune system, making enzymes, and building body tissue. Since the body is a dynamic structure, meaning body tissues are constantly being built up and broken down, without enough building blocks (protein) being supplied in the diet every few hours, more breaking down than building up occurs. This slows the metabolism down and makes fat loss difficult.
Take another serve of your thermogenic (fat burner) with your mid-afternoon meal. It can help prevent the afternoon slump some people fall into as well as giving you an energy boost prior to your afternoon workout.
After work or late in the afternoon perform a resistance-training workout. This may involve lifting weights, using rubber bands or performing bodyweight exercises. Resistance exercise is the most under-estimated way to burn fat fast. A 20-30 minute session 2-3 times a week is all that is needed to provide your body with the benefits. Resistance exercise forces your body to maintain or even slightly increase your muscle mass. Since muscle is the most metabolically-active tissue in the body, the greater your muscle mass, the faster you burn fat. If resistance exercise is not a part of your fat-loss plan, then you will always lose muscle as you lose weight, which slows your metabolism down. And ladies, by performing regular resistance exercise you won’t end up looking like a man! The fat-burning process in your body can be magnified even more by doing 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, boxing, etc.) after your resistance exercise session.
Resistance exercise is a high-intensity form of exercise and as such the body uses more carbohydrates (muscle glycogen and blood sugar) as a fuel source. Therefore, performing some aerobic exercise after the resistance exercise session when the blood sugar is low means your body will use more fat as fuel, especially if you’ve taken the XLR8 capsules with your mid-afternoon meal.
The other major benefit of performing an afternoon exercise session is that any carbohydrates eaten for dinner will simply be used to replenish the glycogen (stored carbohydrate) in the muscles and liver rather than being converted into bodyfat.
Dinner is around 6:30-7:00pm and consists of a substantial portion of protein (150 grams of fish, chicken, turkey or red meat), a reduced portion of starchy carbohydrates (high or medium density carbohydrates) like, potato, pasta, rice or pumpkin and a substantial amount of fibrous carbohydrates like, broccoli, carrots, green beans, peas, cauliflower, etc.). The protein portion is important because it provides the building blocks for the body during sleep ; the time when the body goes through the processes of repairing, replenishing and rebuilding cells. Protein also helps stimulate Growth Hormone (GH) release, which is a powerful anabolic (muscle-building) and lipolytic (fat-burning) hormone.
The reduced portion of starchy carbohydrates is necessary because the body doesn’t need much fuel in the evening since activity is low. It is still good to have some though because it replenishes the muscle glycogen stores that were depleted during the afternoon exercise session. Having a small portion also makes it easier to follow this style of eating long term. Many fitness experts recommend avoiding starchy carbs in the evening altogether and whilst this is justified because of the reduced activity and a slowing of the metabolism towards the end of the day, it is hard to stick to long term if you’ve had starchy carbs with dinner every evening for the last 10 or 20 years! Plus, you don’t want to have to eat differently to the rest of the family.
After dinner take a multivitamin/ mineral supplement and 3-4 fish oil capsules. These two supplements ensure that any nutrients you may be lacking in the diet are supplied to the body, especially at the time when they can be used most- during sleep (repairing, replenishing and rebuilding). Also, by providing all the required nutrients to the body through the diet and supplements, all the body cells’ functioning improves, including their metabolic efficiency, which results in greater fat burning.
For people with a ‘sweet tooth’, allow yourself half a punnet of strawberries. They are a low- density carbohydrate so they won’t affect your blood sugar much at all. They are also a good source of vitamin C, fibre and phytonutrients.
At around 8:00pm , prepare your meals for the following day (mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon) so you can have them ready to take with you. If you don’t have your meals pre-prepared, your ability to get high quality, fat-burning meals during the day is very difficult and it is easier to skip meals or select options that are the best for helping you achieve your goals.
One hour before bed ( 9:00pm ) have a protein shake for supper. It should consist of protein powder mixed in water not milk. Having it mixed in water and not milk reduces your carbohydrate and calorie intake. The protein should also be a combination of whey (high quality) and casein (slow release). Tone & Firm is a good option. This meal provides the body with a constant flow of amino acids into the bloodstream during sleep, which prevents muscle breakdown (anti-catabolic effect) and promotes Growth Hormone release. Also, being in a liquid form means it doesn’t require much digestion by the body and this is important especially when the body is going through the other processes of repairing, replenishing and rebuilding.
If you follow this daily plan exactly as outlined, you will burn more fat off your body in a 24-hour period than ever before. Keep in mind though, one day isn’t going to transform your body. In order to see dramatic changes in your body you need to string many days together and make these strategies daily habits. If you do, you will be amazed at how much your energy level will increase and how great your body will look. Go for it!
By Stephen Smith BSc
Steve is the Author of “Look Good Feel Great” at Quick Weight Loss Principles and part owner of BodyConcepts in Western Australia.