Diet and Exercise Low Carb Style!!
Well. I bet you guys are wondering what low carb has to do with exercise, right? Well, depending on one’s goal, exercise isn’t going to change, but eating low carb might make it.
Hypoglycemia and Ketosis are a big part of low carb diets. Most people experience hypoglycemia when first starting a low carb diet. Hypoglycemia occurs when one’s blood sugar plummets and the body is struggling for energy. This usually happens when going into ketosis. The Symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and a massive fuckin headache!
Obviously when hypoglycemia happens, it wont be very wise to go around squatting 315lbs. It isn’t a secret that exercise and diet go together. The more energy one uses, the more one’s body asks for energy (not the other way around like calorie-counting bullshi’t explains it) in the way of food. To make it short and sweet, there are two ways to go about an intense workout on a low carb diet.
First, knowing about CCLL (Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing) is important. Your CCLL is basically how many grams of net carbs you can eat before you stop losing or maintain weight. Finding the EXACT grams shouldn’t be the goal, that becomes too much of an obsession and can can drive you crazy. Your CCLL doesn’t always stay the same either, so aiming for an average is best. This is very important when it comes to working out. Most people have a higher CCLL when working out and athletes in general do as well. Genetic predisposition and chronic metabolic damage (a’la eating a shi’t load of carbs in the past) may also effect your CCLL.
- The first way is Ketosis. If you decide to go into ketosis and keep your carb count low enough to use fat for energy instead of sugar, then you may have to take a break from the gym for a while. Give it about two weeks to a month if it’s your first time getting into ketosis to allow your body to get past the metabolic shift and adjust to it’s newly found source of energy. This is called the keto-adaptation period.
The advantages of Ketosis is that you never have to worry about monitoring your carbs to have enough energy for the gym and keeping below your CCLL. The downside is that you must give your body time to adjust to it and even when you get back into training, it might take time for your body to get use to.
You must eat more fat to fuel your body during ketosis though. About 70% of your diet should come from fat 25% from protein and 5% from carbs. That may look like a ton of fat, but it really isn’t. Keep in mind that fat is more dense per calorie than the other nutrients. Fat is 9 grams per calorie while carbohydrates and protein is 6 grams. So eating a thick steak cooked in butter or coconut oil is a lot….
- The second method is to stay below your CCLL and increase your carb intake on gym days. The advantage of this is that your body uses sugar more readily for fuel so there is no waiting around or breaking into it. The only thing is that you need to make sure you’re eating enough carbohydrates to keep you from getting hypoglycemic or having very low energy. Eat fiber dense, slow digesting complex carbs through out the day, then eat some fast digesting ones (fruit, white rice, pasta, rice, etc) right before and after an intense workout.
The downside to this method is that those who have a hard time keeping weight off will find it difficult to keep under their CCLL (even though it will go up when exercising) and maintain a good energy level through out their workout. Also, I find that while the body will use carbohydrates very well for energy, to me personally, it feels like there is a lot of up and down time by how much I’m eating. In ketosis, I feel like I have a more consistent flow of energy since fat burns slower and isn’t used instantly like sugar. One big advantage that ketosis does have is that its hard to have an energy crash simply because it takes so much longer for your body to deplete fat stores than it does for glycogen stores. Keep that in mind.
Personally, I prefer the first method because I really don’t like fruit that much and I have an incredibly high CCLL, so I find myself in ketosis more often than not. I am also involved in boxing, so I have to maintain a weight class and keep energy levels high. Personally, I have tried both methods. The first one is what gets me down to my lowest body fat percentage and I feel gives me more consistent energy that gets the most out of my body.
Not all Exercise is Created Equal!!
Simply put, everyone goes to the gym for a reason. Some people want to look good, some want to get stronger, many want to lose weight (or reduce body fat I should say), while others might be exercising for athletic performance. Unfortunately, most people don’t do their research before they go into the gym.
Lots of times, people go to the gym and pick up weights, listen to the guy next to them for advice not knowing that he did the same when he first started going to the gym. Even worse, some people go to the gym, pick up weights and just “guess” as to what they’re suppose to do and they don’t even know why.
There is so much that can be said about the myths and retarded gym drones that I won’t even go into it. You can look at my Habits of Change website for more on myths, critical thinking and general motivation. You can walk into any gym and see people working out just for the sake of working out, with no goal in mind. The problem with that is how are you going to see results when you don’t have a goal? What the FUCK are you looking for?! I’m going to break down the most common reasons people go to the gym and maybe this can help give people a better understanding of what they want to do.
Going to the gym to lose weight is as good as putting on a band aid before you get cut. Basically, weight loss has more to do with metabolic corruption, hormones and CARBOHYDRATES. Eat lots of carbs (especially them tasty simple carbs!) and your body’s blood sugar sky rockets. Your pancreas releases insulin to drive excess glucose into adipose tissue (fat cells). Insulin is a direct response to elevated blood sugar.
What this means is that in order to lower your blood sugar and prevent DEATH, your body chose the less of two evils and stored energy in your fat cells. As long as their is insulin flowing around in your body, that energy won’t be released so you get hungrier and eat more. This results in the same deadly spiral. Elevated blood sugar is also lined to inflammation which contributes to much of our beloved hypertensive conditions (heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, etc).
You can check many of my credible references on my “references” page. I have too much links and resources to put at the bottom of each post. Its simple. Carbs -> Insulin -> FAT Knowing that, we can dismiss all the load of shi’t about calorie counting.
Over eating is eating more calories than we burn, sure. But why do we end up eating more calories than we burn? Calories are a unit of energy and the law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transferred. Because of the insulin released, our body stores more energy than we use. That is why after we eat lots of sugar, we get tired and crash. Our body stores it all and we wake up hungry again only to eat more crap that releases more insulin and gets stored.
Our body is starving for energy, but most of what we’re eating is getting stored due to the insulin in our blood stream! Now, we are eating more calories than we are burning. It isn’t because of genetics, eating too much food (only too much carbs), not exercising or the fuckin tooth fairy. Avoid insulin inducing foods and your body won’t store energy. Simple! Now going to the gym does raise one’s sensitivity to carbs due your body using more energy. I consider that patch work. You can raise your CCLL and make your body more tolerable of carbs with exercise, but why not just get rid of the main culprit and avoid bad (simple/fast digesting) carbs all together?
- Power Lifting – Usually those who power lift aren’t doing it for looks or athletic performance. Their routine often consists of compound exercises targeting large groups of muscles. Power lifters usually do extremely heavy or max weight, between 1-5 repetitions most and no more than two sets. This method is great for building strength, but it isn’t effective for athletic performance (sports training) or bodybuilding. Do they care? No! They are training with a specific goal in mind!
- Bodybuilding – Bodybuilders are usually in the gym all the time. Unlike power lifters, body builders do both compound and isolation exercises. Bodybuilders target all their muscles and need to pump out as much reps as possible until failure. They start with compound exercises and then end it with isolation exercises to really make sure their muscles get exhausted. Body builders try to push out as many as 12-15 reps per exercise or even more. The upside is that they have muscles showing that athletes or power lifts don’t. They have great looking bodies!
The downside is that their training method isn’t really suitable for athletic performance. It is more systematic and not very functional. Bodybuilders also aren’t as strong as power lifters on average. Do they care? No! They are training with a specific goal in mind!
- Functional Strength and Endurance Training – Athletes usually avoid weights and go for more endurance or body weight exercises (plyometrics, circuit training, etc). Since this is under weight training and more athletes are starting to incorporate weights into their training, we will go ahead and put them under this category.
Functional training is using free weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, etc) to mimic the natural compound movements and motions of the body. Our bodies were designed to use muscle groups, not a single muscle for a task. Some of the muscles are primary and some secondary to the movement, but more than one is used when we lift something, bend over, run, etc. Most sports athletes train under this category. For the longest time, there has been this stigma put on weight lifting as being bad for athletic performance. I would agree in the case of bodybuilding and power lifting, but there are other ways to use weights to benefit athletes.
Functional strength and endurance. Aiming for 8-12 rep max (to failure) and 3 sets per workout. Compound and explosive movements are used to enhance an athlete’s speed and power as well as endurance. Super sets and circuit training is also popular and can be considered part of functional/athletic training.
Knowing your goal is very important. Most people go to the gym for “general” fitness. What the Hell is “general fitness”? Please do your research. If you’re fixated purely on strength and aren’t concerned so much about your appearance or performance, power lifting might be better suited for you. If your priorities are to look extra good with huge sexy muscles, then bodybuilding is a better option for you. If you want to be in good shape, build some strength, have great conditioning and look like an athlete, functional strength and conditioning is the most practical option to get you there. If you want to look like a chiseled up model or lift truck tires, functional training isn’t your best choice.
- Sport Specific Training – Okay. This one is strictly for sports athletes looking to enhance sport specific skills instead of overall strength and speed. The closer the training is to their actual motions of the sport, the more applicable it is to training. I’ll give examples. Sometimes boxers wear weighted gloves when hitting the punching bag. The added resistance will help with endurance (holding your hands up), effect speed and strength. Tennis players might want to play a round of tennis with a weighted vest and a heavier tennis racket to aim for the same thing. Get the point? It’s simple and practical.
So think about it. What is your goal and what are you going to the gym for?