There must be a calorie deficit in order to lose belly fat. However, significant reduction in calories for long period of time is not recommended. Initially, you may lose significant weight while on a low calorie diet. Then your progress slows down and hits a plateau where you can’t seem to lose any more weight. Your body, being a smart machine, catches on and realises the deficit. It thinks you’re starving, so reacts by burning fewer calories, increasing appetite and storing more body fat. The end result is a drop in metabolism.
How do you outsmart your body?
Calorie cycling is a way to trick your body into keeping its metabolism up while in a calorie deficit. You don’t want to be following a low calorie diet for extended period of time. Calorie cycling involves being in deficit for short period of 3 days, followed by an increase in your calorie intake to maintenance level for 1 day. You’ll notice your body getting leaner with every 4-day cycle. Repeat this cycle until you reach your desired body fat level.
By keeping the deficit for no more than 3 days, your body has no chance to go into starvation mode and shut down its metabolism. On the 4th day of higher calories, your energy levels go up and metabolic rate is fired up. You burn more fat and yet not lose muscle.
Remember, you do not want to reduce your calories drastically. On low calorie day, aim to drop 15-20% below your maintenance level while your high calorie day is at maintenance level. If your maintenance level is at 2000 calories, your body is used to burning about that amount of energy. When you drop 300-400 calories from your diet, your body will continue to burn about 2000 calories per day for 24-48 hours. Since your body burns about 2000 calories and you are only feeding it 1600-1700 calories, it must find additional calories in your body (or belly) fat. You only maintain this low calorie intake for at most 3 days, where you must raise your calories up to your maintenance level on the 4th day.
Calorie cycling is an effective method for speeding up belly fat loss, breaking plateaus, maintaining body mass and increasing metabolism.
Calorie cycling is recommended for endomorph body type who tends toslowly and with great difficulty.
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By Rena Wong
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