What Percentage Of Carbs Should I Eat To Lose Weight Exercise and Low Carb Diet’s Make Poor Partners

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Exercise and Low Carb Diet’s Make Poor Partners

Over the past twenty-five years the most common question I’ve been asked by frustrated athletes has been which exercise routine will get me the body I want? My answer is always the same. They need to start exercising better judgment and learn that exercise alone won’t solve their body composition problem. I believe the number one reason to start an exercise program is weight reduction, even before fitness and health concerns. Exercise by itself is a poor weight manager and increases the need for better nutritional requirements. I believe I would get very little disagreement that a combination of nutrition and exercise is the answer to improved weight loss (fat loss), fitness, and health risks. With obesity reaching epidemic rates and the attrition rate of most health clubs remaining high, the intent of this article is to lay the groundwork for why exercise and low-carb dieting are poor partners.

Over the past three decades, I’ve seen extreme shifts in macronutrient combinations (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) in our quest for the ideal body. Everything from the high-carb, low-fat, high-protein, to the current low-carb craze has bombarded us, even as our weight management failure rates continue to rise. The problem lies in our body’s ability to adapt to change, especially extreme change. If your goal is to lose fat, you need to supply your muscles with enough quality fuel without getting overstocked. This is especially true if your goal to lose fat includes exercise. The secret is not in eliminating macronutrients, but in managing them. Understanding how to fuel muscles before training sessions and replace fuel after workouts is critical or your body will destroy muscle for fuel.

Understanding how our muscles use the calories we eat as fuel for muscle contraction is the first step to knowing what to do and what not to do. A basic nutritional understanding tells us that proteins repair and rebuild cells, carbohydrates give cells energy, and fats provide the hormonal foundation for cells.

When we lack the balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, bodies adapt and can use all three as a fuel source for muscle contraction and cellular energy. While energy is required for all cellular function, the focus of this article is muscle contraction and body composition. All muscle contraction draws energy from adenosine triphosphate or ATP. The primary source of ATP comes from glucose, which is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen (glucose and water). Muscle contraction during anaerobic activity (resistance training) can directly use glycogen to form ATP. The process is anaerobic glycolysis, which means it can use glucose for energy with very little oxygen (90% glucose, 5% oxygen and 5% fatty acids).

Our muscles store enough ATP for only short periods of muscle contraction, when exhaustion leads to muscle failure. The rest period between weight training sets allows you to produce additional ATP. During the early stages of aerobic exercise, ATP is again created primarily from glucose until the heart and lungs deliver enough oxygen to the muscles to allow the fatty acids to be used to create ATP. So there it is during resistance training and the initial stages of aerobic training the primary fuel source is glucose.

This supports my claim that low-carb diets and exercise make partners poor. To find out why, we need to quickly look at the concept behind low-carb diets and how they work. Any diet that provides 100 grams or less of carbohydrates per day. This item classifies as a low carbohydrate diet. This will quickly deplete the glycogen stores in your muscle and liver. This in itself testifies that the main source of fuel for our muscles is glucose. The fatty acids stored in adipose tissue (fat cells) are now released into the blood and processed by the liver and some are transformed into glucose (gluconegenesis) and some remain fatty acids and both provide ATP for muscle contraction. One of the byproducts of this process are ketone bodies which can provide energy to the brain and nervous system. The issue of gluconegenesis (not glucose being converted into glucose) fuels the muscle less efficiently than glycogenesis (glucose). The end result is increased muscle fatigue, a decrease in muscle power, leading to poor athletic performance.

A recent study conducted at the University of Connecticut showed that athletes who switched from a balanced diet (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) to a low-carb diet experience the following decline in athletic performance. There was a 7-9% decline in muscle power and a 6% decline in VO2 max of cardiovascular performance. Another factor to consider is that muscle recovery between workouts is reduced on low-carb diets. So why would anyone go on a low-carb diet, especially when training? Because the initial weight loss that results from glycogen depletion is thought to be fat loss. We have become so focused on weight loss, that any weight loss is seen as good. As identified earlier in this article, glycogen is a mixture of glucose and water and most of it is stored where? You guessed it, the muscle. A large percentage of initial weight loss comes from muscle loss.

I don’t think any athlete’s desire is to have smaller muscles as a result of their exercise. The goal of exercise should be to improve body composition, the percentage or ratio of muscle to body fat. This can only be achieved by losing fat without the loss of muscle tissue. Maintaining muscle mass is vital for sustainable weight control. The following steps will protect your muscles as you lose fat, achieving your ideal weight and ideal body composition.

FAT LOSS COACH The keys to losing FAT without losing MUSCLE

1. Cycle of fat burning days with recovery days.

The secret to losing fat without losing muscle starts with not being too aggressive or extreme with your carb reduction. You need carb management, not carb elimination. Over the past 12 years, with more than 10,000 clients, I have found that reducing carbohydrates by 20% of your daily carbohydrate intake and within 48 hours replenishing glycogen to muscle by eating 100% of your daily carbohydrate intake allows for fat loss, without muscle loss. . Essentially you have two fat burning days, then a recovery day. This way you will have the best of both worlds. You will experience fat loss averaging between 1-2 pounds per week, while your muscles are well nourished. You never drastically deplete muscle glycogen stores, so athletic performance isn’t affected as with a low-carb diet.

2. Exercise on the days you get the most carbs.

Exercise on days when your muscles are getting the most carbohydrates for fuel, and take days off exercise when you’re aggressive about fat loss. One of the hardest thoughts for athletes to accept is that the majority of exercise results are achieved when you are not exercising. They come after we exercise and in direct response to how muscles receive nourishment after exercise.

3. Exercise 1.5 – 2 hours after eating when blood sugar levels and insulin levels are slowly declining.

Because insulin levels rise in response to a rise in blood sugar after a meal, cells are in an anabolic state (receiving nutrients). Insulin is the hormone that nourishes the cells. When blood sugar levels drop, insulin levels drop and the pancreas produces the hormone glucagon, and nutrients stored in fat cells are released into the blood and used for energy. Managing this rise and fall in blood sugar is important. If blood sugar levels reach high levels, insulin fuels muscle cells and deposits the excess into fat cells. If insulin levels drop too low, muscle cells are undernourished. A slow rise in blood sugar provides good nutrition to your muscles, and a slow drop allows glucagon to draw from your fat cells. Timing exercise to this drop in blood sugar allows your muscles to receive from fat cells more effectively. It’s important to never train without leaving at least one meal in the day so that your muscles can recover from the exercise.

Final thoughts

Long-term weight management success starts with the right approach. If you are overweight, the real problem is that you have too much body fat for how much muscle you have. You need a body composition solution, not just a weight loss diet. Your goal should be to lose fat without losing muscle or sacrificing your health in the process. To maintain your results, your eating habits must build a lifelong character. Low-carb diets provide initial weight loss, but at the high cost of losing muscle and lowering your metabolism. They are inadequate sources of fuel to sustain physical activity, which is vital to maintaining good health. The long-term health risks make low-carb diets poor solutions for lifelong weight management.

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