Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to a low carb diet and exercise. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when beginning.
Low Carb Diet
- Keep it simple. Start by eating what you normally eat, just reduce carbs. Some examples are: Drinking water or diet soda instead of soda, eating hamburgers without bun, chicken without a side of rice and beans, burrito in a bowl, etc.
- You don’t have to be extreme. You can still eat fruits, pizza, brown rice, french fries, etc. Just not in the same day! Try to stay below 100g a day. When you feel comfortable, you can reduce carbs even more. Take your time!
- Eat plenty of fat. If you’re having a hard time adding fat to your diet, just put butter, shredded cheese or sour cream on everything. The more, the better!
Some simple meal ideas would be something like this.
Bacon & Eggs– Fry the bacon first, then fry the eggs in the bacon fat. A ton of fat and enough protein to start you off to a great day!
Deli Wraps– Buy a deli meat and cheese of your choice. Place the meat first, then the cheese on top. Add whatever you like in the middle (mustard, unsweetened relish, pickles, etc) and roll up.
Sausage and Cheese- Fry some nice sausage in coconut oil. Dice it up and add cheddar cheese to it.
String Cheese- Mozzarella, cheddar, etc.
Nuts- Almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts, etc
Pickles- Dill or any unsweetened variety.
Dark Chocolate- The higher percent, the better. Be careful of the sugar content
Berries- Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Wild Mulberries, blackberries and Kiwifruit(yes, it’s a berry!) . Eat these sparingly. Berries taste awesome topped with whipped cream!
Chicken or Tuna Salad- Start with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber. For the chicken, add olive oil, sea salt and parmesan cheese to top it off. For Tuna, add mayonnaise, salt, and pepper to taste.
Cheeseburger- Buy the ground beef that has the highest percentage of fat. Crack and mix one egg per each patty. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Burrito Bowl- Salsa, jalapenos, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheese(your choosing), guacamole, chopped meat (steak, pulled pork or chicken), and sour cream in a bowl. This one is simple and yummy!
Steak and Veggies- Any steak will do. Fry vegetables in butter until tender and cooked…..yum.
Salmon- Skin salmon. Add desired spices and toss in frying pan. Cover and flip occasionally until salmon begins to flake easily.
Enchilada casserole– Fry or boil chicken breast and shred it with a fork. In a casserole dish, add a small amount enchilada sauce, lots of cheese, enchilada spice, jalapenos and green/red chopped peppers. Toss in oven!
Most people think of “general fitness” as walking, jogging or swimming. It’s often thought weights are only for big muscles. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In reality, steady state cardio like walking, jogging and swimming won’t get you desired results in “general fitness”. Weight lifting is superior to steady state cardio in almost every way, including health. I’ll go more into steady state cardio and weight lifting in another poste, but for now, lets continue with the basics.
- Start with free weights.
- Keep it simple. Start with basic compound exercises that target the largest muscle groups. Our muscles are designed to work together, so it makes sense to train them together.
- Start light and learn the motions. Form and technique are the most important things to get down in the beginning.
- Focus on building strength. Speed, flexibility, endurance will all follow. Strength is the root of all the rest.
- Rest. More isn’t always better. Take your time and make sure you’re recovered before going back into the gym.
The Most Important Exercises
Squats- Squats, along with deadlifts are the staple of a good workout routine. Our legs are the largest and strongest muscle group. It is extremely important to build leg strength, along with core strength to have a firm foundation. Squats work all your legs and core muscles.
Deadlifts- Just like Squats, deadlifts are extremely important. Squats and deadlifts should be the first exercises learned. Deadlifts work all your leg muscles and core muscles in a similar fashion as squats. Since deadlifts are a different motion, different muscles are emphasized in the lift.
Dips- Dips are amazing. You can always do negatives until you are strong enough to do them on your own. Dips work a large muscle group, the chest and include many smaller and secondary muscles like the triceps.
Pull ups- Pull ups are probably the toughest exercise when it comes to strength and the next most important after deadlifts and squats. Most beginners can’t do pull ups. Even experienced gym rats have a hard time with pull ups. Don’t worry if you can’t do them. Just do lat pull downs or negative pull ups to build up your strength until you can do them without assistance. They work the entire back muscles, biceps and grip.
Overhead/Shoulder Press- This is a simple, yet amazing exercise. It puts emphasis on another large muscle group, our shoulders and triceps.
Bent Over Rows- Rows are excellent. They work the back and biceps similarly to
Dumbbell Press/Push ups- Push ups are great. If you can do more than 10, go for dumbbell press. This exercise works the chest and arms (triceps).
Planks- Planks are simple but awesome. They work a wide array of muscles and are great for building up core strength.
Key Exercise Points
- Two days a week is enough to start. Spread the days our far enough to recover.
- Alternate between squats and deadlifts.
- Once you learn the motions and have proper form, you can start with 3 sets of 5 for each exercise.
- Make sure you fail on your last rep of your last set or else the weight is too light.
- Do them slow and focus on the negative motion (Except for squat and deadlifts).
*Note- If you’re going to be reducing carb enough to enter ketosis, please allow your body 2-4 weeks to adapt to using fat for fuel before doing any heavy lifting or strenuous endurance training.