FYI: This post is NOT another “carbs are evil” article.
Your cereal box and bread bags are lying to your face. Neither are part of the alleged healthy, nutritious breakfast designed to help you burn the fats and start your day off right. Bluntly put, unless it’s an abundance of fat and unrelenting problem causing internal inflammation you seek, drop the juice and cereal and reach for meat, nuts, fibrous veggies and berries early in the day.
As dear to your heart and childhood as Tony The Tiger and Toucan Sam may be, they sure as hell don’t have the forming of your dream physique in mind.
Carbohydrates, fats, and protein. The 3 nutrients that form the basis of well, virtually everything.
Lets dive into the carby details this time around.
Simply put, carbohydrates are capable of wreaking absolute and utter havoc upon your physique.
Everyone’s carb tolerance and needs are different. Some need them to function adequately while others hum along on a low-carb diet. Some can tolerate a great deal, while others appear to have the tolerance akin to a 3 year olds patience.
In this aspect, self-experimentation and finding out what works best for you, your goals, and the appearance of your abdominals will go a long ways.
I’m obliged to briefly touch on how this pertains to your goals. If you’re training hard and want to put on muscle your CHO (carb) intake should be higher. If you want to lose fat you should have a lower CHO intake. If you’re sedentary (shame on you) you’re intake should be almost non-existent, at least initially.
The difference between processed, manufactured carbs (chips, cereal, cookies, pasta etc) and whole foods-esque carbs (potatoes, fruits, rice, etc) is HUGE and will impact your figure accordingly. While the manufactured ones are essentially stripped of all negligible nutrients, only leaving starch (aka glucose) behind, the whole foods carbs provide bounties of vitamins & minerals, positive effects on inflammation, and a healthier insulin respond, generally speaking. This is one of the main reasons I think the If It Fits Your Macros(IFFYM) approach to eating is garbage.
Enter the Resistance. The Insulin Resistance.
After years and years of abusing carbs many people become insulin resistant.
Insulin resistance is simply explained below.
- A truck loaded with glucose drives down a one way street to deliver it’s glucose load into the cell.
- It arrives at the cell and the driver “rings the doorbell” to request entry.
- The cell is occupied with the extremely loud party it’s currently throwing for all the trucks and drivers that have arrived early.
- The driver keeps ringing the doorbell but to no avail.
- Other trucks carrying glucose arrive, and get in line.
- This results in an increasing build up of glucose in the blood and which results in insulin resistance.
Sorry for your fats.
Carbs before, during, and after training.
It’s generally considered that carbs before and exercise are a bad idea. Unless you relish the idea of dissolving into a hypoglycaemic, slobbering puddle of drool 20 minutes into your session that is…
I was in the same vein of thought for quite some time.
Then I began studying John Meadows reading & experimenting with his methodologies. Perhaps the most notable of which was including carbs in the pre-workout meal.
What he proposes is that anywhere from 60-120min before you train you ingest enough protein to top up your amino acid pool and stave off catabolism(breakdown) of the muscle, a moderate amount of carbs along with a good amount of fat to allow for a slow, sustained release in energy with no crash.
Lo and behold, it works like a charm. My energy levels were elevated, the ensuing pump was larger than ever as more nutrient loaded blood was rushed to the targeted muscles, and my recovery was vastly quicker & more effective.
I’ve been a believer ever since and certainly won’t be going back.
An example of my nutrition surrounding my training:
Pre: Approximately 120-90min before training I eat 180g of sticky rice or sweet potato with 30g of nut butter and 125g of lean meat. Naturally these amounts vary from person to person depending on how much physical food they can stomach before exercise, when they eat, and their overall caloric intake for the day.
Intra: One-Two scoops(depending on training goal) of Vitargo for 35-70g of highly branched cyclic dextrins, 25g of casein hydrolysates, and some branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) go into my intra-workout shake which allows me to pack my blood with key nutrients when my body is most receptive.
Post: About 45-60min following my workout I’ll eat a large well rounded meal. High in protein, some rice and/or sweet potato, and enough veggies for a “big salad.” However, if
Insulin is a tease to your blood sugar as strippers are a tease to men around the world.
Think back to this morning when you had a stack of pancakes doused in maple syrup, 3 glasses of orange juice, and a bowl of Fruit Loops. How did you feel a 2-3 hours later?
I’d bet you felt like taking a nap around noon. Your solution? Have a lunch of pasta, fruit, and (hopefully) a chicken breast or some steak. Energy prevails until mid-afternoon when you wake up with a start to find an imprint of your keyboard on your face. Might as well run over to Starbucks and grab a vanilla latte, I mean, you that caffeine kick to survive the gym (ideally) and make it to dinner afterwords.
Dinner is often the best meal in terms of nutrient timing and choices simply by default. If it’s freshly made that is. However at this point it’s similar to pissing in the ocean.
Yeah, it’s not going to hinder you but with everything else you’ve got going on it’s not going to be of much help either. After chowing down on steak and potatoes the next few hours are spent becoming one with your couch until you’re enveloped in a deep slumber.
Congrats on being an insulin junkie.
This scenario is a huge player in causing skyrocketing obesity rates, early death, diabetes, and countless other avoidable medical conditions.
Fortunately so much can be improved with relative ease.
Carbs are the macronutirent that cause the largest insulin spikes which lead to this ever accumulating fat gain. Hence we need to make some tweaks and adjustments to mitigate this effect.
1. Eat protein with EVERY meal. Yes, even breakfast. Your kidneys will NOT fail, you WILL feel better, you WILL have more energy, you WILL burn the fats. You WILL build muscle. You WILL be happier. You’re brain WILL function better.
2. Step your fats up. Pastured butter, coconut oil, coconut milk, natural nut butters, avocado, nuts…have a small portion with each meal. Aside from helping to buffer spikes in insulin, your currently out of whack hormones will thank you. So will your soon-to-be luscious hair, long nails, and perfect skin…
3. Eliminate all processed carbohydrates from your diet. These would be more aptly titled “chemical shit-storm.” However, if that was on the labels of said products, the manufacturers wouldn’t be making much money. What a shame that would be…
Side note: I advise you don’t ingest carbs (berries aside) in either of your first two meals of the day. Unless you’re working on putting some serious muscle.
Follow these simple steps for two weeks and I promise that you’ll see enough changes to not ever think about downing a bowl of Count Chocula and toast for breakfast ever again.
Over & out.