Aaaand we’re back. Another Workout Nutrition DIY post, this time on the only supplement you’ll need for fat loss. If you haven’t checked out the last blog post about how to get massive forearms with just 1 exercise, go ahead and do that now.
You know I’m all about supplements that don’t waste time – I won’t promote or sell you bunk. So in saying that, when it comes to fat loss, the same thing holds true.
Only thing is, the title may have been a bit of a trick line – I’ll explain why.
Let’s get started.
When expenditure exceeds consumption, that’s when fat loss occurs…that’s what you’ve always heard. And yeah – that’s correct – but that’s the quick and dirty, 30 second elevator pitch answer.
If you’ve ever read either of my nutrition guides, you’ll know there’s always nuances when it comes to general advice like that.
There’s simple answers, like when you wind up losing fat and muscle, or gain fat around your abdominal region when you’re eating too little and you’re working out.
But what about when you’re eating right, working out, and you’re still getting those kind of poor results? If you’ve been in this game long enough, you’ll know what I’m getting at – if you haven’t, well, consider this your lesson – and it starts with a study.
The Methodology and The Results
In the quest for all things knowledge and curiosity, researchers got a group of chunky women and men, split them up, and put both groups on the exact same low-calorie nutrition plan, having them rest up in a sleep lab for 2 weeks straight.
One group was allowed to sleep max 8.5 hours a night, with the other group only getting 5.5 hours.
As you can imagine, not enough food or sleep made for an intense experience, but regardless, research papers can be boring for the vast majority of people so I’ll skip to the important parts to make it more exciting.
Both groups lost roughly the same amount of weight if you were to just look at the scale. Both groups also lost a bit of fat, and a bit of muscle, which considering they were on a low calorie nutrition plan that had them consuming a nearly 700 calories under maintenance levels a day is understandable.
But here’s the kicker – if we look at the group that only got 5.5 hours a night, we see something interesting:
- The YOLO low sleep group lost less body fat and more muscle and…
- stated they had more hunger than the group that got decent sleep
On the other hand, the group that slept like new born babies:
- Retained more muscle and lost a larger percentage of fat, without experiencing as much hunger
- Had libido spikes and got way better at sex…like, way better.
- Became master chefs because they gained more focus.
…alright so the last two points were bullshit but you can see the clear difference in the other results here.
Researchers came to the conclusion that consistent sleep loss paired with a reduced calorie nutrition plan can cause unfavorable results – and that sleep deprivation alone can have significant catabolic effects that mimic those of malnutrition.
Why is This Important?
Being the short and sweet version of the study I should probably mention that the research participants would have done better if they’d been doing resistance training and hitting their protein marks for the day – only 18% of their daily calories came from protein. So that’s partially to blame for both groups losing muscle.
Additionally, 700 calories below your daily maintenance uptake is pretty damn brutal. A more conservative number, say 300 would’ve been better, but this was an experiment and these people had lives to go live, so they sped things up by making the caloric intake much lower.
Clearly, the group that didn’t get enough sleep lost less fat but more muscle while using the exact same nutrition plan as the group that got plenty of sleep.
The big learning point here is that you can have the best nutrition plan in the world – but it’s not going to work as effectively if you’re shirking getting enough quality sleep.
The easiest answer is to just get more sleep…but some people have difficulty falling and staying asleep. This can stem from a range of factors, including stress, anxiety, and too much work – something that’s pretty damn common with a large amount of people these days.
If you’ve been a long time reader of my blog by now, you’ll know that when it comes to getting better quality sleep, I always recommend SNAC approved ZMA. It’s not like taking melatonin or prescription sleep aids because those do jack crap for things like stress and anxiety, they can make you feel groggy, and you can wind up developing a tolerance for them which means you’ll want to take more (like caffeine, that’s never a good idea).
Just pop 2-3 capsules a half hour to an hour before bed and make sure you don’t take anything with calcium before that (so get your protein shake in early) and watch how easy it is to get rested, quality sleep. Combine that with getting more hours and let your body do the rest – so it turns out, even the nuances are pretty simple, once you understand them.
That’s all kids…school’s out.
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Nedeltcheva, A.V., Kilkus, J.M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D.A., Peney, P.D. 2010. Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of Internal Medicine. 153(7), pp. 435-441. Available from: https://dx.doi.org/10.1059%2F0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006
Nedeltcheva, A.V., Kilkus, J.M., Imperial, J., Kasza, K., Schoeller, D.A., Penev, P.D. 2009. Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. Am J Clin Nutr. 89(1):126–133. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2008.26574
Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P., Van Cauter, E. 2004. Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(11), pp. 846–850. Available from: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-141-11-200412070-00008
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