Like many people, I’ve decided to lose weight in 2019. But I wanted to be really focused and precise in the way I went about it. I didn’t want to just haphazardly claim to do something and never come up with a concrete plan. I wanted to lose fat as quickly as possible, so I started investigating and studying so-called “fat burners.” I wondered if any of them really worked.
That’s when I started looking into bodybuilding. I wanted to find out what those guys did to get so ripped. Here’s some of what I learned.
The meatheads have all told me that getting lean (“ripped”) is primarily a result of the kind of diet you stick to—not your training regimen. This kind of surprised me because I assumed there was some special kind of workout you could do to burn more fat. But all of them go through really strict diets starting weeks before their competitions. Keep in mind that these are guys that work out all the time, so diet must be really important.
Most of them eat more protein than the average person: about a gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. They increase it, even more, when they are preparing for a competition. Why? Because they are cutting way back on other macronutrients—especially their carbohydrates. Increasing your protein is necessary when you are cutting back on carbs. This helps you to keep your muscle mass while in a calorie deficit. You tend to lose some muscle when you diet, but increased protein helps to offset this.
There are other methods that are important for losing fat. In addition to their resistance training, they usually increase their cardiovascular training. Resistance training is the primary exercise they use, but cardiovascular training helps burn a few extra calories. Some of them even train in the morning on an empty stomach (fasted training), but the effectiveness of this is disputed.
There’s one more trick I learned about that kind of surprised me: the ECA stack. I had never heard about this before, so it intrigued me. ECA stands for ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin. Apparently, this is something that bodybuilders have taken for a long time. It is one of those “trade secrets” that the general public is unaware of. You take 200 milligrams of caffeine, 20 milligrams of ephedrine, and 80 milligrams of aspirin to create this stack. The aspirin isn’t as important as the other two ingredients. This stack, taken two to three times a day, does three things:
- First and foremost, it drastically decreases your appetite. This will help you stick to your diet since you don’t feel like eating. This appetite suppression seems to be the most important feature of this stack since (as I mentioned) diet is the single most important factor in whether or not you lose fat.
- The stack also gives you a small boost to your metabolism, which helps you burn fat in a calorie deficit. In other words, it helps to counteract the body’s natural tendency to slow down its metabolism.
- The third way the ECA helps is to keep your muscle mass. These components are anti-catabolic and will help prevent the loss of muscle while you are in a calorie deficit.
These are just a few things I learned about diet, exercise and “secret strategies” of bodybuilders. I plan to use these tricks to get lean this year.