Posts Tagged ‘carbohydrates’

Thank you Eat To Perform for this great info!

A balanced diet is your best bet when it comes to achieving your fat loss goals; carbohydrates, fat, and protein are all important for different reasons and things don’t work quite as well when you remove, restrict, or eat too much of either one. When I suggest that you “keep the carbs in”, I don’t mean that you should go to extremes and base your diet on cookies and soda. If you have been following ETP for a while, you already know that. When I mention “carbs”, I mean “starches”. Starches are essentially a plant’s gift to human athletes.

Let me explain why this is important, especially for folks that are trying to lose those last few pounds.

Why Starches Are an Important Part of Your Diet

What it basically comes down to is cell health. When you reduce the amount of food you eat, whether you’re tracking calories, carbs, fat, or protein, you are damaging yourself at a cellular level.

Specifically, starches are important because they’re a great source of glucose (the preferred energy source of most tissues of the body). Glucose is hydrophillic i.e. it carries water into the cells of your body. When you drastically cut carbs, the cellular machines that runs your body (the organelles) become dehydrated and brittle. As the fluid within the cell turns to goop, all of a sudden it’s hard to get anything done – it’s difficult to transport nutrients into the cell, difficult to make ATP (cellular energy currency), difficult to repair and dispose of damaged organelles…Heck, it’s hard to even maintain the structure of the cell wall! A dehydrated cell is literally being crushed from the outside by the ectoplasm surrounding it.

A well-hydrated cell is a healthy cell. Going on a small tangent, this is one of the reasons creatine is such a useful supplement. It’s hydrophilic too, and it helps your cells absorb and hold onto glucose and water.

Inflammation Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

Inflammation is basically your body’s response to heal itself. It’s an immune response and it’s pretty useful and healthy on an acute, day-to-day basis. When inflammation sets in and never turns off, however, it becomes a problem. Chronic inflammation is where your body is asked to heal itself so often it becomes resistant. As an example, this is where obesity becomes pretty dangerous because it can lead to other degenerative diseases as the body’s immune system becomes overused. Many of these people would in fact benefit from a more conscious approach to carbs, fats, proteins, and the quality of their food sources.

For people who eat in a mostly balanced way, a dramatic reduction of carbohydrates will result in a substantial amount of fluid weight loss (water weight). Now, some of that fluid is in fact fat, but it’s basically like using a machine gun to kill a spider. Not only is it not necessary, but it can become destructive. Once again I feel like always have to qualify when I say things like this, but the majority of your foods should in fact be meats and veggies with a low emphasis on process foods.

What Happens When You Drastically Reduce Carbs and Sodium

Gatorade as an example is a carb drink, but as most people know, it’s salty. This isn’t by accident – carbs basically provide some level of hydration to your cells and sodium aids the electrochemical bond that helps this process along. When you take a conscious approach to eating carbohydrates, you strategically use carbs and sodium for a specific response – namely, you feed your cells for the times you work out. Does this mean you shouldn’t enjoy starches and salt outside of your workouts? No it does not, but do realize that if you can keep your intake of carbs and sodium at manageable levels throughout the day, that is favorable. Which begs the question: why is it favorable? It’s favorable because your body (cells) absorb nutrients best around the times you are asking it to do stuff. The basic principle of our book Met Flex for Fat Loss is that you use carbs to fuel workouts and fats the rest of the time keeping protein at adequate levels.

When a healthy person tries to lose those “last few pounds” by dramatically reducing carbs and sodium in, effect what they are doing is drawing the water out of their cells. No, it’s not just their fat cells, which is why the response is often so dramatic. If you keep carbs and sodium IN, you get a more true response related to fat loss, a less skewed number on the scale, and you keep your cells relatively healthy. (Frankly your body would rather have a healthy fat layer.)

The Four Truths of Food

1. Quality of food: The majority of your diet should come from meats and veggies.

2. Quantity of food: When the majority of your diet comes from meats and veggies, it’s much easier to manage calories and contrary to popular belief, how much you eat (energy balance) does in fact matter as it relates to fat storage and fat loss.

3. Variety: Whether we are talking about carbs, fats, or proteins, a good assortment of each does a good job of filling in the gaps that your body needs for micronutrients (vitamins).

4. Timing: This is always the ironic part because we sell a book that is essentially about timing macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins). The reality however is that the timing of macronutrients is not ALL that important. It is helpful for optimization as far as healthy people are concerned, but for people looking to achieve health, the first three truths are much more important.

How this looks in real life is that you should be mostly fed, most of the time. Even in the case of people with a lot of fat to lose, a much more gradual approach is almost always the best way to go. You strategically move towards a better way of both eating and moving (moving is also pretty important as it relates to cell health). For people that aren’t obese or are lean, the goal should be to diet very sparingly, if at all. This serves two purposes: it keeps your cells healthy and happy, so when you decide to go after a little fat loss, the math of a caloric deficit works in your favor. Taking your carbs down from say 300g to 250g on workout days, or even 200g or 150g than pays big dividends.

The same goes with fat. 100 grams of carbs is 400 calories and 20 grams of fat is 180 calories. That’s a HUGE deficit for active folks. If you can pull this off for shorter periods of time only occasionally, your fat layer will become more manageable. For relatively lean people, the story gets even better; no dieting may be required. For many of them that fat “below the navel” exists because they aren’t feeding their muscle appropriately. Muscles want to be hydrated, so for lean folks restricting carbs in an extreme manner, hydrating your cells actually can lead to better aesthetics.


Something to keep in mind.. Found this on Posted By Talayna Fortunato

Top 10 Mistakes CrossFitters Make

1. Not Warming Up Properly
Everyday it takes me around 30 minutes to warm-up. I start with easy cardio for 5-10 min. then do some light foam rolling and stretching, leg swings, lunges, rotator cuff exercises, and finally movements specific to the workout I’m about to do. My warm-up has gotten more extensive (and longer) with each year I do CrossFit®. Almost to the point that it started to annoy me, and then I remembered back to my gymnastics days. Ever since I was on team at age 8, I remember our warm-ups taking us at least 30 minutes with all of the stretching and other calisthenics we did. Even though we were young and healthy I believe the gymnastics coaches knew what they were doing to keep us that way. With the intensity of competitive CrossFit® it’s imperative to put in the time for an adequate warm-up and mobility work. If you don’t put in the time now you’ll put it in later when you have an injury.

2. Eating too Strict of a Paleo Diet
If you are a recreational CrossFitter following a Paleo lifestyle is probably nutritionally adequate and a good way of maintaining longevity and health. However, if you are a competitive level athlete and training intensely more than an hour a day your main source of energy is carbohydrates and strict paleo simply does not provide enough sources of them. Now I’m not saying to go out and carb load on pasta, bread, or sugar. That’s just an inflammatory insulin bomb. I am saying look for complex sources of carbohydrates from plants and low glycemic grains to add into your diet, especially when training is at its peak. During an interview at the Games every individual athlete was asked who follows a paleo diet, and not a single one raised their hand.

3. Sacrificing Technique and Movement Efficiency for Intensity and Eventual Technical Breakdown.
CrossFit gets results due to the intensity of the workouts, but that doesn’t mean throw all good form out the window. For example if your back starts rounding when you’re pulling from the ground or you’re chasing wildly after snatches, it’s time to put the bar down until you can regain efficiency. Your back and other body parts will thank you later! Also if you’re compromising range of motion enough to miss consecutive reps, take a quick rest before you go again. Otherwise you’re ingraining poor habits and when you reach that place of pain and fatigue again in competition guess what’ll happen… No Rep!

4. Doing Volume for Volume’s Sake without Intent.
CrossFitters are notorious for thinking that when they’re getting ready to compete more is better. This mindset leads to the performance of multiple hero WoDs in a day with the intent of “loading”, when what it really does is break the athlete down with laborious repetition and impede lasting gains. More is not better, better is better. Having a purpose, i.e. knowing the energy system and muscular groups you’re trying to tax during a workout allows you to work smart and hard, not just hard. Again, your body will also thank you later!

5. Cherry Picking Workouts and/or Jumping Around Programs
This is for the CrossFitter that walks into the gym and decides when they get there what workout they’re going to do based on what their gym posts and which one of the blogs they follow appears best that day. Blogs are written for a reason, with progressive intent to allow your workouts to build upon themselves for measurable improvements in your numbers. If you jump from program to program, weekly or even daily, that progress is completely short-circuited. Not to mention you’re probably doing mostly what you’re good at and not working your weaknesses enough.

6. Following a Strength Progression that Doesn’t Makes Sense or One Without Any Progression at All.
The body adapts to load by responding to meet the load in the form of muscular hypertrophy. There have been many studies showing the best percentages of max load, sets, reps, and frequency to produce optimal gains without under or overloading the athlete. These studies have produced named strength progression tables, squat cycles, and the like. You can reinvent the wheel and use yourself as a guinea pig to do your own research, or you can find a viable progression and just follow it. I’ll give you one guess what most long-term successful athletes do. One other thought to keep in mind is how much loading your conditioning work is providing. An example would be making your conditioning heavy on the weights during the heaviest week of a strength loading cycle (no bueno).

7. Forgetting to Supplement Your Program with Basics, Strict Strength, and Supplemental Work.
Just because you can kip almost any movement in CrossFit, doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest to do so all of the time. Working strict strength with things like dumbbell press or tempo bench press can do wonders for the strength of your jerk or stamina of kipping handstand push-ups. Sometimes to get better at a complex movement you need better strength with the basics as well. Think along the lines how important the hollow position is during kipping in general and you’ll see why doing hollow rocks would have carry over into almost all gymnastics movements. Basic skills and strict strength also overlap with supplemental work, which can be a great way to address muscular imbalances and push past plateaus. Supplemental work is also a staple in the work of some of the strongest people on the planet who employ Loui Simmon’s conjugate method.

8. Waiting >90min. to Replenish After a Hard Training Session or Only Replenishing Protein.
The fact is the majority of CrossFitters do not need a liquid protein shake post-workout. If you are just doing CrossFit as part of a healthy lifestyle or you are trying to decrease body fat, then a meal consisting of lean protein, nutrient-dense carbs (vegetables) and healthy fat is best post-workout. However, if you are participating in CrossFit as a competitive athlete and are completing multiple grueling and taxing workouts several days per week (and many times twice per day), your post-workout nutrition becomes vital to your success. Although this is a very individualized thing, there are some constants; the first being that you need more than just protein after each session. Protein combined with carbohydrates is essential immediately following a workout – it’s just a matter of how much of each based on the individual. The ideal ratio of carbs:protein can typically run anywhere from 2:1 to 4:1 depending on the athlete’s body composition and type of training session just completed. The source of carbohydrates should be something that will work quickly with minimal interference. Some examples would be maltodextrin or sugar. The priority is timing and you want to make sure this liquid shake is taken immediately after the session is completed in order to replenish your glycogen stores decreased from training and spark muscle protein synthesis. Approximately one hour after drinking this shake, you should then consume a whole foods meal consisting of lean protein and carbohydrates. A great example of that would be some grilled chicken and a sweet potato. Again, the amounts of protein and carbs are extremely individualized. It doesn’t have to be the size of a traditional dinner, and each athlete must find their ideal ratio, but the constant is timing and the combining of the two macronutrients.

9. Skimping on Sleep and Skipping Rest Days
Nearly as important as what you’re doing in the gym is what you’re doing outside of the gym. The ability to recover is instrumental to seeing consistent gains in athletic performance. Growth Hormone (GH) is an essential part of that recovery. It allows the body’s ability to repair itself after intense exercise through muscular hypertrophy and plays a significant role in the maintenance of lean body mass. Nearly 50% of GH secretion occurs during the third and fourth NREM sleep stages. If you are regularly skimping on sleep by 2 or more hours you are missing the body’s prime production time of GH, and thereby not recovering as you could or should be. Basically all the effort you put into your squat cycle was just thwarted by a significant percentage if you were sleep deprived during it. Another important aspect of recovery is taking needed rest days. Continuing to workout through a certain level of fatigue or soreness can actually be counterproductive long term.

10. Asking for Advice and Then Not Implementing it.