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 Chris Aceto's 50-50 Rotational Plan

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MessageSujet: Chris Aceto's 50-50 Rotational Plan    Dim 1 Mai - 2:28

Chris Aceto's 50-50 Rotational Plan

Ripped to the bone, peeled, cut up and shredded. These are all different labels to describe the ultimate goal in bodybuilding; to discard unwanted body fat while maintaining the most muscle mass possible. The foundation upon which contests are won is the mantra of the caloric deficit. Of course, this deficit is caused by training, cardio and eating less calories. Every bodybuilder has figured that out. However, the caveat that most bodybuilders miss is that just watching calories or following the same diet all the time eventually fails. Plateaus are stubborn roadblocks where body fat seems to cling no matter how hard you train, diet or restrict calories/carbs. It is not if, but when a plateau will occur and this is undoubtedly one of the most frustrating parts of contest prep. Speaking from experience, when people hit a plateau, fat loss stalls and people usually freak out and abandon the plan. This leads to doing everything in excess, whether it be doing too much cardio or overeating. In my book, excess leads to the path of total destruction. The body just gives up and in the end, you'll look like shit. The solution? Use a rotational diet which, unlike chronic dieting, helps create a caloric deficit while maintaining the metabolic rate.

Most diet strategies focus on reducing calories. By eating less fuel than the body requires each day, we cause energy (caloric) deficit and the body responds by calling upon body fat as fuel. On a purely caloric basis, any strategy that decreases calories (eating less carbs or xtreme-fat-loss-diet-2fat) will cause a drop in body fat. The big mistake many bodybuilders make is to cut calories too hard at the start of a diet. This can be a fatal mistake as it can cause the metabolism - the rate at which you burn calories - to slow. One study demonstrated the thyroid gland, the source of thyroid hormones which contributes to the metabolic rate, becomes compromised with starvation diets (1). To simplify, when you starve yourself of calories, the body decreases its thyroid output thereby decreasing metabolic rate. Another unwanted effect of super aggressive dieting; an increase in fat storing enzymes in the body (2). One enzyme, called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), acts as a "gatekeeper" allowing fatty acids to flow in and out of fat cells. While mild reductions in calories can cause a decrease in LPL activity (which gives fatty acids the freedom to flow out of fat cells), overly aggressive calorie reduction actually influences an upswing in LPL activity. As a consequence, increased LPL activity acts in concert with a lowered thyroid, to slow the metabolism. The sliced and diced truth is that any/all diets have the potential to slow the metabolism.

While severe caloric reductions seem to throw a dietary monkey wrench into the fat loss equation, caloric surpluses exert a paradoxical effect. A caloric surplus can increase body fat, but, it is also accompanied by some interesting changes in hormone levels. Specifically, over eating causes a mild increase in thyroid levels and an increase in anabolic hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone and IGF-1. These three hormones are extremely important factors that help support muscle mass (3) (4). Another metabolic morsel of information for you to digest is something called dietary induced thermogenesis (DIT). DIT sheds light on an interesting characteristic of the somewhat misunderstood and notorious carbohydrate. When carbohydrates are consumed, roughly 5% to 30% are burned away as metabolic body heat (5). When you get home after a long day at work and you eat an entire pizza with 100 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams (5%) up to 30 grams (30%) are immediately expelled (or wasted) as body heat. The remaining carbohydrates will either be used as fuel, stored as muscle glycogen or stored as body fat. In general, the determining factor influencing whether 5% or 30% of your carbohydrate intake will be expelled as metabolic body heat is your glycogen reserves. I believe firmly that if your glycogen stores are close to or are full, the DIT effect is closer to 5%. On the other hand, if you are depleted and running a low carbohydrate or lower carbohydrate diet, then DIT rises.

Down N Up

The 50-50 approach to melting away body fat utilizes both dieting and eating phases. The dieting phase requires a reduction in calories by decreasing your daily carbohydrate intake by 50% for 2-4 days. Since dieting can cause the metabolism to slow, the plan requires a single "eating" day to side-step any potential slowdown. The eating phase is a single day requiring you boost your daily carbohydrate intake to 50% higher than normal. In practice, a bodybuilder eating 400 grams of carbohydrates daily and embarking on the 50-50 rotation plan will reduce his daily intake to 200 grams for 2-4 days. Next, the bodybuilder will rotate into the eating phase and increase their carbohydrates to 600 grams (50% more than 400 grams) for a single day. The eating phase gives the bodybuilder an important mental break from dieting, prevents the metabolism from slowing and may boost testosterone, growth hormone and IGF levels to help maintain muscle mass. After a single high carbohydrate day, the bodybuilder will rotate into the dieting phase for 2-4 days. The high carbohydrate levels in the eating phase can quickly reverse muscle loss that is associated with many diets. It does so by increasing insulin levels and replenishing the muscles with their primary source of training fuel; stored glycogen. With chronic dieting, glycogen stores drop and, with a modified carbohydrate intake, insulin levels remain consistently low. A lower caloric intake, modified insulin output and lower glycogen stores are major factors influencing fat loss and can cause you to slip into a catabolic state where the body burns up protein or muscle tissue. Carbohydrates prevent your body from cannibalizing other sources of energy such as the all-star branched chain amino acid, leucine. Leucine is critical for whole protein balance of muscle tissue. If you were to chronically under consume carbohydrates, your body would end up using more leucine as fuel. This would inevitably lead to muscle loss. The eating phase I prescribe requires a large influx of carbohydrates which causes an insulin surge. This quickly reverses and abates protein (muscle) breakdown allowing you to hold the maximum amount of muscle before cycling back to the dieting phase. This plan will not get you as ripped as Ronnie Coleman's glutes but it will get you close within 12 weeks. It should lean you down enough to be within striking distance of the stage.

Carbohydrate Intake (g)

Current Daily Intake Dieting Phase Eating Phase

200 100 300

250 125 375

300 150 450

350 175 525

400 200 600

450 225 675

SIDEBAR - Monitoring Your Fat Loss:

ñ Start with 3 consecutive days in the dieting phase followed by 1 day in the eating phase.
ñ Rotate back to the eating phase to repeat the process.
ñ Weigh yourself after having completed 2 cycles (3 days in the dieting phase and 1 day in the eating phase constitutes 1 cycle).
ñ Aim for ½ to 2 pounds of fat loss. If you are losing more than 2 pounds, decrease the time you spend in the dieting phase to 2 days rather than 3. If you are losing in the ½ to ¾ range and wish to accelerate your progress, extend the dieting phase to 4 consecutive days.

(1) Chomard P, et al. Serum Concentrations of Total and Free Thyroid Hormones in Moderately Obese Women during a 6 week slimming Cure. Eur J Clin Nutr 1988;42:285.

(2) Eckel RH, et al. Weight Reduction Increases Adipose Tissue Lipoprotein Lipase Responsiveness in Obese Women. J Clin Invest 1987;80:992

(3) Danforth R Jr, et al. Dietary Induced alterations in thyroid hormone metabolism during overnutrition. J Clin Invest 1979; 64(5):1336-47

(4) Forbes GB, et al. Hormonal response to overfeeding. Am J Clin Nutr. April 1989, 49 p608-11.

(5) Acheson, KJ, et al. Nutritional influence on lipogenesis and thermogenesis after a carbohydrate meal. Am J Physiol 246:E62-E70, 1984.
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Chris Aceto's 50-50 Rotational Plan

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