Trying to level-up after a year

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Last summer's personal crisis led me to lose 20lbs+ and get myself to the point where I've got nothing to be ashamed of in my physique. There was an initial 3 month rocket boost where the weight came off and the muscles got toned and added some heft. After that it's been a gradual process, mostly because I was just enjoying the early results and wasn't in a rush to go further. I'd rather my body settle into a new normal and make this more of a lifestyle change than just a blip on the radar. That said, there has been slow and steady progress, and to date I've been happy with that.

Fast-forward to the end of this summer: I had a couple of weeks where my average 2x/wk dropped to just once, and I could start to feel it. So I've recently decided to reinvigorate the regimen: up to 3x a week, plus putting my toe in the water for added protein and some vitamins and supplements.

Wow. Such a small change, but already I'm feeling it.

I was initially concerned as my running average on the scale went up by 3-4lbs. I've added calories/protein to my diet and thought perhaps that was backfiring. But I've also gone up a notch in the weights for the first time in awhile. Just this morning I had that wonderful sensation that I haven't felt in nearly a year: a unique heaviness in my upper body. That's the additional bulk that my frame is not used to carrying. My torso, while not ripped, is starting to tighten up even more. There's now a six-pack hiding under there.

To that last point: anyone have any good tips for cutting? From a visual perspective, it's not a lack of muscle that's preventing me from looking my best, but more the residual layer of fatty tissue that's softening the muscular definition. If that were to magically disappear, my appearance would go up several notches.
 
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John9999

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I would highly recommend you learn about high intensity interval training, HIIT. It’s how you loose fat.
 
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I would highly recommend you learn about high intensity interval training, HIIT. It’s how you loose fat.
In my initial Googling of cutting regimens, HIIT was usually a component. As well as calorie deficits. I've been focused on the latter, settling on a 16:8 Intermittent Fasting pattern, which having some good results even after just about a week.

But I'd forgotten about HIIT, thanks for the reminder. I hit the gym roughly every other day, and doing HIIT at home on those off-days would be a good addition.
 
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Look in to snake diet
Snake diet was a good pointer, but was a little too aggressive for my liking, and it's basically Intermittent Fasting ramped up to 11. The good part being researching it led me to read up on IF, and I have had good luck in the past with my own variations on IF, before it was "a thing".

I could see doing the snake diet if I was in a time crunch to lose weight, and do it for about 3-4 weeks. Any more than that I'd have health concerns. Plus I imagine it would be tough to sustain for longer than that. I know that it's possible to adjust to fasting, but in my experience there's a point where you hit a wall and your body starts to rebel against such an aggressive calorie deficit.

For example, I'm down about two pounds in a little over a week with IF. I fast from 9pm-1pm, longer if possible. But just yesterday morning I felt lightheaded, dizzy, and torqued up. I had a workout planned but clearly I was in no condition to extract a useful session from my body. So I decided I needed to break the pattern and have about 350 calories, heavily weighted towards protein. By the time I got to the gym I felt much better and had one of my more successful workouts.
 
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rjc149

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If you really want to get rid of body fat very quickly, do HIIT swim sprints in a pool. You'll see results almost immediately.

Next best is to do HIIT on the elliptical. Up the resistance on the sprints, lower it on the rests.

If you really want to get shredded, cut carbs. But that will also lower your energy and testosterone levels. Cutting carbs to get a shredded six pack is a form of starvation, which is not healthy. In a wilderness survival scenario, Abercrombie models with six pack abs would be the first to die.

And make sure you're taking days off, completely, from any form of exercise.
 
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