If you have a little more fat than you would like and you’ve got an event coming up real soon – a vacation, a photoshoot, a hot date – this article has you covered.
But first the details
The truth is in the details. And the truth is that cortisol has a lot to do with getting ripped. When you take extreme steps to lose weight, like huge caloric restriction or cutting all carbs and training like the hulk, you will quickly give yourself cortisol elevation.
While cortisol is needed for many key functions, such as mobilizing energy and maintaining stable blood sugar… it also increases your adrenaline. That is a stress hormone that puts you in the best state to fight or flee.
When you workout, you create cortisol, which increases your adrenaline, which then increases your drive and motivation. So you cannot train hard without having cortisol.
But too much cortisol can impact how your body looks: by breaking down your muscles and by causing you to retain water.
The water makes you look “fatter” and the cortisol will make it harder to rebuild your muscle glycogen, causing your muscles to look smaller and flatter.
So, if a lifter had four weeks, how could they change their appearance without overdoing it and causing chronic cortisol elevation?
Bill Campbell, Ph.D answers:
My plan would be to diet for 20 of the 28 days. Including four cycles of seven-days. Each phase would work in this way:
- Five days with a caloric deficit of 40%. Only eating 60% of the calories you normally eat.
- Two days at maintenance level (100%). Increasing your calories using carbohydrates – this will maintain your muscle.
- On all of these days, your protein would be one gram per pound of your weight. This will help maintain your muscle.
The workout program would be:
- Six days of lifting per week with the plan of not lowering the weight even though calories are restricted.
- Low-level aerobic work six days per week.
This plan is a lot like the fat loss research study that I published in 2020. Using this plan (two-day carb refeeds) lets you keep your metabolic rate and muscle mass better than not utilizing refeeds. – Bill Campbell, PhD