In recent years there has been a persistent trend towards fitness competitions, where an extraordinarily high muscle to fat ratio is a necessity to achieving competitiveness. Although most of us have no desire to layer up with 5 coats of spray tan and get on stage competitively, academic research using these contest participants as research subjects has returned some insightful recommendations which may help people just like you and I to improve aesthetic appearance, and maximize general health, fitness and wellbeing through nutritional control.
In a research journal released by Helms, Aragon and Fitschen, correlating over 200 separate scientific literature pieces, they have come to some very clear and concise evidence based recommendations for contest preparation nutrition and supplementation that can be used by any person with body altering goals to reduce body fat percentage and to do so while holding onto as much lean muscle as possible.
There were 3 main findings from the study. They were:
1) Calorie intake should be set at a level that results in body weight losses of approximately 0.5% to 1% per week to maximize muscle retention. This means being in a deficit state, or in other words, eating less calories than is required to meet daily calorie expenditure.
Now, this poses a problem for some of us who do not actually know what our daily intake is or what our body’s daily expenditure requirements are. If so, you should be able to locate a number of different calculators online and these should give you a lose starting point.
At FCF, we prefer to use the InBody Composition Analyser as it not only provides an accurate assessment of your body but also determines a person’s basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body burns in a day before exercise.
Once you know this figure, you can then start to restrict your calorie intake gradually to ensure you achieve your weekly weight loss target.
2) When using this calorie intake total, people respond best to consuming 2.3 – 3.1g per kilo of lean body mass per day from protein, 15-30% of calories from fat, and the remainder from carbohydrate. For me personally, and with my successful experience with hundreds of F1rst Class Fitness members, I find that consuming a diet higher in fats, provides best results because this means less calories from carbohydrates meaning lower blood glucose levels and consequently less energy reaching the muscle cell, resulting in greater stored fat being burned for energy.
3) Finally, the third finding relevant was that we should eat six times per day. Again, I personally like to consume the majority of my carbohydrates in the first ¾ of the day as this is when my body most needs the fuel to sustain all the activity I undertake in a day.
Keeping these recommendations in mind, including decreased calorie intake, careful consideration of macro nutrient combinations over six meals per day, combined with intense strength training and increased cardiovascular activity, drastic reduction in body fat is most certainly possible provided consistency is adhered to.
– FCF Team