Sunday, December 4, 2011

How carbohydrates affect your body. Part 4- Putting it all together (Losing fat)

Now that you understand a little bit on how carbohydrates affect your body let's put together a loose guideline on what to do when you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle.  It is not impossible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, but it is incredibly inefficient and not very likely.  If you are overweight I suggest building a solid muscle base first and then losing extra fat (this will be easier because muscle burns fat).  It is nearly impossible to do both simultaneously, because burning fat requires caloric deficit while muscle building requires caloric excess, or at minimum a caloric balance.  Through following the principles I have described and will describe in this article, it will become possible to gain very lean muscle and also to lose fat while maintaining your muscle mass. You can read more about weight training here, and here
Know that weight training is incredibly important for body changes and is much more effective than cardio for changing your body composition.

1) Losing fat.  When losing fat is your main concern there are several key things to consider.  The goal here is to keep your glycemic load fairly low.  The best way I can suggest doing this is with a diet called the metabolic diet.  This consists of a low, moderate, and high carbohydrate diet that alternates each day.  For example: Mon.-low carb, Tues.-moderate carb, Wed.- high carb, Thurs.- low carb,  Fri.- moderate carb, Sat.- low carb, Sun.- high carb (with one all out cheat meal).  The basic idea behind this idea is that you keep calorie intake relatively consistent while you switch up the amount of carbs you consume each day.  By keeping the body in a state of confusion you can maintain fat burning hormones while keeping fat storing hormones like insulin low throughout the week.  One day per week you allow yourself one all out cheat meal (this is especially important if you are training intensely in BJJ, doing cardio and weights, or both).  There are other modifications you should make when you are looking to shed fat, but I will save those for a later post.

By using an alternating diet you can confuse your metabolism and keep your sanity at the same time.  It is much easier to keep a diet where you know: you will have two days a week to have some carbs, and you'll get one cheat meal each week.  It is important to make all of your carbs throughout the week quality carbs, which mean low glycemic index.  On low carb days avoid all grains, limit fruit consumption, increase vegetable consumption, avoid tubers (potatoes), and increase your fat intake (omega-3s, poly and monounsaturated fats, and quality saturated fats from organic dairy, eggs, meat, or coconut oil).  On moderate carb days limit grains to one serving (whole grains only), increase fruit consumption slightly, keep vegetable intake the same, one serving of sweet potato is allowable as well.  On high carb days 2+ servings of grains, increase fruit intake, slightly decrease vegetable intake, sweet potatoes are acceptable, and decrease fat intake.  One meal per week is to all out eat what ever you want, eat as much as you can, this will keep you sane and keep your metabolism white hot.

Try to eat 6 meals a day minimum and never eat a carbohydrate by itself.  If you have bread, eat nuts or peanut butter with it, eating carbs with protein and fat slows digestion and lowers the GI, which decreases fat storage (due to decreased insulin response).  A good rule of thumb is to try to consume between 0.5-1 grams of protein per lb of body weight, but this of course varies due to activity level.

I could be much more specific about this, but I would have to create a tailor made program based off your specific needs and metabolism (instead I am giving you a rough guide to follow), just be aware that dietary modifications may need to be made based off: activity level, age, sex, weight, and personal goals.

Please feel free to comment with any questions below.  If you haven't liked Chasing the Dream on facebook yet please do so and help my page to grow!


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