In the first part of this topic, we addressed the problem of diets that are low in carbohydrates. Now in part 2, we want to lay out just how you can utilise carbohydrates to your advantage for a sustainable fat loss phase.
The keys to success lie in 2 main points: the timing of consumption and the amount of carbohydrates you ingest. Let us examine these two points in more detail.
1) Timing of Carbohydrate Consumption
When it comes down to planning meals, the main goal is to strategise by having carbohydrates before and after training. This is related to how our bodies store the majority of carbohydrates in 2 ways. Firstly, it is stored in the form of what you ate the day before & secondly, it is stored as what you ate prior to energy utilisation (such as training).
That is why it is important to consume carbohydrates prior to training so you have enough fuel to last during training. Especially when that training includes the highest of intensities, it likely to not be enough stores from the previous day. Reason being, if you are in a fat-loss phase, the amount of carbohydrates consumed post training will only be enough to replenish muscle glycogen that was used during training. This will be further expanded in the next point.
Carbohydrates consumed post training halts (breakdown) of amino acids, which is crucial as you want to preserve as much muscle mass during a fat loss phase.This is important because metabolic functions will be impaired in a glycogen (carbohydrate) depleted state, as mentioned in the previous article.
2) Amount of Carbohydrates Consumed
Before we dive into the subject of ‘how much carbs should be consumed’, it is important for us to talk about another hormone known as insulin. Insulin is a hormone that tells the body it is well fed so the body should store the nutrients rather than use it. Its function in our body works similarly to the concept of a bank and how we store money in it. If you have excess money we head to the bank to make a deposit into our accounts and when we are in need of money, a withdrawal is made!
Likewise in our bodies, when a larger amount of insulin is secreted, the more resources your body will store. This is definitely not an ideal situation if fat loss is your goal.
It has been researched and observed that it is the total amount of carbohydrates that one has to worry about rather than the glycemic index of the carbohydrate. Just imagine, if a dollar a day is stolen over a period of time, it does not cause as big an alarm as if a thousand dollars were stolen at once. This is the same sort of system that our bodies run on. It is imperative to have just enough carbohydrates to ensure insulin levels do not skyrocket. Remember, you will ultimately burn less fat when insulin levels are high compared to having it at moderate levels.
So, what is this magical number that makes up this concept of ‘just enough’? The key here is to apportion 30-40% of your carbohydrates before your training and 60-70% of your carbohydrates for after. This formula is one of the most effective ways to utilise carbohydrates to actually aid your fat loss progress.
We hope you see how carbohydrates can be your ally rather than a foe when it comes to fat loss. Remember, the key lies in when you consume it and just how much. Have a go at these tips and let us know how you get on.
Or if you need more help, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Higher Performance. It would be our pleasure to help remove the guesswork out of your journey so that you may achieve the most efficient and sustainable fat loss phase!