T Nation

When the going gets tough..

Im working on going from “normal lean”( 8%bf) to “reeeaally lean” (6%bf).

Problem is its getting so damn hard! Even at a generous 2300 ckals a day( lowcarb, 55-60 carbs/day) I get nervous, jumpy and emotional. Im mostly relying on cardio to get me through this diet( 400 cals in the morning jogging+ another 200-300 in afternoon).

Is it even trying to do this if your not on thermos, T3 or roids? What is YOUR best approach for achieving such low bf( 5-6% range)?

Long term or short term? Hitting it nice n easy( dont diet approach), or fast and hard( fat fast etc)?

I have jogged few years ago, but it has not been nearly as effective way to get really low BF levels than speeding up metabolism.

Looking those calories can just make you too nervous about that simple thing you are “playing” with:

survival mechanism.

I would say don’t do aerobics! Train very hard just focusing to add mass or power or strenght. Notice I said train like that. Now, your nutrition scheme must be somewhat different, when going to reduce fat. But not too much - to keep metabolism going.

As long as you workout very hard ANaerobically, your body knows it needs muscle.
Would your body need muscle when it is stressed aerobically? Very little, so muscle is “eaten” if doing aerobics too much. Hell, even breathing, sleeping, watching tv is aerobic, so you don’t need to run to lose fat.

It is about metabolism to use energy, burn fat or build muscle, so maximize the need for muscle by lifting and perhaps sprinting type, lactic acid producing exercise (5 x 100m sprints with 4-5 min rests between, for example is great way to speed up metabolism).


Occasionally, some sort of overfeeding is ok, (to build some muscle) but to burn fat (even while sleeping) it is necessary to be in negative calorie balance.

I have had always pretty low BF, about 8-6% for many years. What happened when I focused on adding mass and increased protein intake?

Because I trained very hard to get muscle, and the big amount of protein I ate just increased the rate of my metabolism. I lost fat very well. Sometimes I managed to eat so much, that I build some muscle too.

Zig-zagging, to build muscle and burn fat is very good way. Eat for what you’re about to do. Eat more on training days than rest days. Eat more when you’re planning to be active, and less or nothing before sleeping.

PS. Keep protein intake high!