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Do not let the cool mornings and the ability to hide your winter bulk inside a jumper fool you. Summer bodies are made in the winter, and while comfort food is comforting there will be nowhere to hide, and no comfort found when those 30 degree days roll around and the shirts come off. What you do right now is going to determine how you look on the beach, or at the pool this summer. So get your head in the game and start making the diet, exercise and supplement decisions that are going to get you turning heads.
This brief series will look at how to choose the right fat burning stack for you, provide a basic overview of counting calories and what kind of exercise should you do to optimise body composition. But before we go into the nitty gritty it’s important to understand what kind of conditions our body needs to burn body fat.
Calories are a way we measure the stored energy of a food Item. Our bodies need energy to function, kind of like fuel in your car. Our body will “burn” calories for all of our bodily processes. We even use calories while we are asleep. It’s important to understand that calories are our best friends, they let us function but you can always have too much of a good thing. Our body utilises a certain number of calories for the day to perform all of its processes. Let’s keep the maths simple and say that my body utilises 2000 calories on a particular day including all my exercise. This is referred to as my “calorie expenditure”. Now let’s say I consume 2000 calories from my food, this is referred to as my “calorie intake.” If these two figures equal one another then my body composition (how much fat and Muscle) will stay the same. I have eaten enough “fuel” to replenish what my body burned or in other words I have filled my fuel tank back up to full. In this circumstance I would neither gain nor lose weight. Now let’s say I ate 2500 calories on that same day. My body would burn 2000 of it as fuel but I would have 500 left over. I have then taken in more fuel than my body has burned and it will store the excess 500 calories as body fat, muscle tissue or muscle glycogen to use later. This is called “calorie surplus” and is great when we are trying to build muscle but not suitable when trying to lose body fat. That’s all fat is – stored calories that we have eaten over our “calorie expenditure” that it’s saving for days where we don’t eat enough calories to fill our fuel tank back up. Therefore, to lose fat we have to give our bodies a reason to utilise that stored fuel source.
Now if I ate 1500 calories on that same day (instead of 2000, or 2500) my body would be short 500 calories of fuel, meaning that it will have to tap into my stored energy to make up the shortfall. My body is still moving, still exercising and still using calories, so to fill the fuel tank back up it has to dip into those energy stores. Remember your body stores energy in three ways; fat, muscle glycogen and muscle tissue. How it decides which of these fuels to use we will go over in part 3 of this series but for now it’s important to understand that to lose body fat you have to be accessing this stored energy source by consuming less calories than your expending. We call this metabolic state “calorie deficit.” This series will focus on the diet, training and supplements you can utilise to get you into an effective calorie deficit to help you burn fat, maintain muscle mass and achieve a great body composition.
The supplements you want to use for this body re-composition will all be designed towards promoting calorie deficit and making sure the stored energy you are metabolising is primarily body fat while at the same time protecting and maintaining muscle mass.
Fat Burners are your number one supplement to aid in getting your body into calorie deficit. Individual fat burners all have a unique blend of ingredients but they are all geared toward producing the same effects; increased metabolism, decreased appetite and increased energy. It’s helping both sides of the calorie deficit equation, the thermogenic profile increases your metabolic rate and your calorie expenditure. At the same time they help to limit your appetite making it easier to stick to your calorie intake goal. On top of that they will provide you with an energy hit to pick you back up when you might otherwise be feeling flat from your lower calorie diet. Fat burners will differ in their energy profile, appetite suppressing effects and thermogenic properties and it’s important to choose the one that will best suit you.
Top three Fat burners on the market IMO (Follow the links for an in depth review too!)
Xenevar is the best all round fat burner on the market. It has some unique ingredients that set it apart from the crowd. It uses Oxygold to increase the absorption rate and bioavailability of the whole profile, meaning that you get the most from all the included ingredients. The Oxygold means the energy hit is very consistent and suitable for people chasing a moderate but clean energy hit. It also has ampiberry that takes the thermogenic profile to another level, raising your metabolic rate effectively. Throw in the fact that it tastes amazing and it is good value for money and you have an all-round winner.
The Rush is more pared back than Xenevar. It only has three ingredients but all three have been included in big dosages to give you a very good energy kick and decent thermogenesis. It uses the new ingredient DMHA to give you a very long lasing, very good energy hit. The energy is so good it can even double as a pre workout. Choose Rush if you’re looking for the best energy hit from your fat burner.
A very well rounded fat burner with an extensive ingredient list to supress your appetite and give you a good kick. The heroes of the profile are the Eria Jarenis (a powerful stimulant) and the Bitter Orange Peel (a very good thermogenic).
Protein makes up every single cell in our body. It’s very important that while we are trying to lose body fat and maintain muscle, that we are giving our body enough protein to repair, recover and keep muscle tissue (we will cover this in further detail in part 2 so you’ll have to be patient). It is important to eat a protein rich diet and a whey protein isolate is a convenient, low carb and low fat way of getting our protein intake up. It also has the added advantage of being incredibly quick absorbing and therefore getting protein into our blood stream very quickly after training and minimising muscle breakdown.
Hydro Complete is a 100% hydrolysed whey protein isolate, meaning that it absorbs very easily, it’s very bioavailable and is low carb and low fat. Hydro Complete is a premium protein and your best form of protein after training to ensure you are getting the best repair and recovery. It utilises a unique filtration system that keeps its micro nutrient profile (immunoglobulin’s, lactoferrins and IGF factors) intact and available to promote better recovery and general health. It mixes up well, tastes amazing and is an all-round, very good protein.
Raw’s whey protein isolate utilises the best value protein for money possible without sacrificing on quality. It has an incredibly high protein percentage and is very low in carbs and fat. Raw Whey Protein Isolate is very bio-available and digests very quickly, making it good post workout or any time throughout the day that you require protein. It mixes up and tastes very good with the chocolate being a stand out.
Cyborg WPI is a very popular product among Muscle Coach customers. This WPI has added amino acids to increase its repair and recovery benefits and you get a much bigger flavour range (the choc honeycomb is out of this world). It’s the lowest carb and lowest fat WPI available for purchase and is a great choice both after training and throughout the day.
L-Carnitine is the amino acid in our body responsible for metabolising body fat as an energy source. This means that once you are in calorie deficit it’s vital to have adequate carnitine in your system so that your body draws from your fat stores to replenish its energy stores. Without adequate l-carnitine in our system, our body will metabolise more muscle mass and utilise less body fat. They have a great synergistic effect with fat burners as well, meaning that you’re losing more weight, and that weight is primarily coming from body fat.
L-Carnitine comes in many different forms but the acetyl l-carnitine is generally considered the best for weight loss. Go for either the Raw Acetyl L-Carnitine (best value) or the Growth Factor Acetyl L-Carnitine (easily stored package). Acetyl l-carnitine has a sour taste so it’s best mixed with your thermogenic to disguise the taste. Use the acetyl l-carnitine twice a day, 2.5g in the morning with your fat burner then another 2.5 with your lunch time fat burner.
Branched chain amino acids (aka BCAA) refers to a group of amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) that play a particularly important role in our body for repair, recovery and to stop muscle breakdown. As I mentioned previously our body stores and utilises energy in a few different forms. L-carnitine is used to metabolise fat, but during times of intense physical activity (like lifting weights at the gym) our body utilises stored carbohydrates in our muscle called glycogen. Our body utilises a number of key nutrients to breakdown and utilise glycogen and among them are the three BCAAs. At the start of any training session we have these BCAAs in our blood stream waiting to be used to breakdown and utilise glycogen. The issue arises when we have been training for a longer amount of time, and performing more of these explosive, powerful movements than our body is comfortable doing. The demands we put on our body exceed the BCAAs we have in our blood. With our brain telling our body that we still have to perform these powerful movements it breaks down muscle tissue to access more BCAAs so it can keep using glycogen. This is the last thing in the world we want to do. We want to preserve as much muscle mass as possible so that when we lose weight we aren’t also losing our hard earned gains. When we supplement with BCAAs it reduces our bodies need to break down muscle mass and as a result we keep more muscle while we are losing fat, leading to a better body composition. All three of the recommended BCAAs have a clinical dose of BCAAs. Add a serve to your shaker at the start of the session and drink throughout for the best repair recovery and to protect that precious, precious muscle mass.
Xtend has been around for many years and was the pioneer in BCAA supplementation. It uses a proven 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine and valine. It tastes amazing (mango is my pick and its exclusive to Australia, Aussie Aussie Aussie) and has a whole heap of extra performance enhancing ingredients like glutamine, citrulline and electrolytes.
A great Australian brand, it squeezes everything possible from each serve delivering 7g of BCAAs (in the scientifically proven 2:1:1 ratio) per 10.6g scoop. It has a less sweet flavour than the Xtend and is good for people looking for a milder flavour. You still get your glutamine to enhance recovery as well as l-carnitine l-tartrate to increase energy output.
A really good BCAA for people who like the sweet stuff. It uses a unique ingredient called Alpha HICA to increase BCAA utilisation and muscle protein synthesis. It also uses the 2:1:1 ratio and you get a big serve of citrulline (to increase blood flow). A very good BCAA for people to try something with a bit of a difference.
That’s it for your summer body supplement stack. Feel free to email us if you have any more questions to do with any of these products (firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook!). Check back next week when we will have an in depth look at some dieting protocols that will get you lean and help you maintain muscle mass for the summer of 2016 that is just on the horizon!
By Alexander Jeffs, Muscle Coach Supplements National Sales Manager