Most of you probably already know the secret to getting a flat belly. Some strict training regime and dieting are bound to do the trick. But, if you want to truly dice your midsection and make those hard earned abs to start showing, you need to drastically reduce your body fat percentage, which takes a much more rigorous approach.
According to John Alvino, a nutrition expert who works with body builders, you can aim to reduce your body fat to 7%. However, in achieving this goal you must to approach your dieting plan more seriously, tailoring your nutrition intake with outmost precision. In other words, you need to see food purely as energy source. To help you in this effort, we provide you with these four steps.
Balancing Your Macros
Gaining lean muscle mass and reducing the body fat to 7% is not an easy task, unless you’re a genetic freak. To achieve this goal you need to constantly monitor your proteins, carbs, and fats intake, making sure that each micronutrient participates with the right amounts in your diet.
The first step is to determine how much calories you should consume on a daily basis. The easiest way to calculate your recommended calorie intake is by multiplying you current weight by 15 (if you are moderately active). In other words, the recommended daily intake for a 180 pounds guy is 2,700 calories to maintain his bodyweight.
However, you should have in mind that this applies only when you are in the normal weight range. If you are overweight and need to reduce belly fat, you calculate your daily calorie intake using the targeted bodyweight. In other words, although your recommended daily intake is 3300 calories when you weigh 220 pounds, if you want to weigh 180 pounds, your daily intake should be 2,700 calories.
The next step is determining how much protein you should eat. The recommended daily dose is around 1.1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Apply the above described principle in calculating your daily intake. If you want to weigh 180 pounds, but you weigh 220 pounds, consume just 200 grams of protein per each pound of bodyweight. Having in mind that one gram of protein contains 4 calories, you’ll be consuming 800 calories from protein based foods. Thirty percent of your daily calories should come from fats. For a moderately active 180 pounds guy that would be 900 calories every day. One gram of fat contains nine calories. So, if your projected weight is 180 pounds, you should consume 100 grams of fat.
Now, it only remains to determine how much calories you should consume from carbs. This is calculated by subtracting the amount of fats and protein calories from the total number of calories. As we already know the other figures for a 180 pounds guy, the equation would look like this: 2,700 (total daily calories) – 900 (fats calories) – 800 (protein calories) = 1000 (carbs calories). Having in mind that 1 gram of carbs contains 4 calories, the daily intake of carbs should be 250 grams.
Find Healthy Food Sources
Consume only lean protein mostly from animal sources like chicken breast, fish and beef. Restrain your carbs intake to starchy foods like potatoes and rice. You can also include some fruits in your diet, but not too much. Two pieces a day should be enough. Although fruits provide many health benefits, if you want to reduce your body fat to less than 10%, Alvino recommends eating “only enough fruit to fill your liver with glycogen. Any extra fructose can slow fat burning or encourage fat storage.” You can also consume non-starchy vegetables, like salads and greens.
You should aim at consuming most of your fats from the protein-based foods in your diet. If you need to find additional sources of fats to satisfy the macro requirements, you can go for avocados or coconut and olive oil.
Improve Your Lifestyle
The next item on Alvino’s list is the lifestyle. Most of the guys with ripped bodies have centered their lives around rigorous training and dieting. If you want to look like them, you should try and follow their lead. No more partying and alcohol. Instead, you should aim for at least seven hours of night sleep, and drink lots of water – at least one gallon a day. According to some studies, drinking 30 ounces of water can lead to a 24% increase of energy expenditure in resistance training individuals.
It’s also essential that you reduce stress to minimum. Find some time to relax by meditating or practicing yoga. Of course, you can’t get far without proper workout. Aim for at least three weekly training sessions, that provide you with total body workout. Your protocol should mainly consist of compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, presses and rows.
Cycle Your Carbs
It’s not unusual for your progress to slow down once you start seeing some definition in your midsection. In times like this you need to rev up your metabolism so that you can continue shedding fat. This can be done by reconstructing your carbs intake and alternating through days with reduced carbs intake and days with increased intake.
Alvino recommends reducing your total calorie intake to 10 calories per each pound of body weight for three days. During these three days consume one gram of protein and 0.5 grams of carbs per each pound of bodyweight, while the rest of the calories should come from fats. On the fourth day you should increase the calorie intake to 15 calories per pound of body weight, and your carbs intake to two grams per pound.
According to Alvino, this increases the metabolic rate as a result of the work that your digestive system has to perform. Another benefit of boosting the carbs intake is that it will make your muscles look bigger and leaner by filling them up with water.