This is the latest blog instalment from Mark Cosgrove, Miami Pro Fitness Model Competitor. The second of a two-part article, this article discusses the role of carbohydrates in fat loss.
Weight Loss – Part 2 (for part 1, read here).
Last week I wrote about weight loss and training to help change your body composition. This time around its nutrition and how important a solid nutritional approach is when reaching, surpassing or maintaining a healthy physique.
Nutrition is the most important part to a persons training goals – a good nutritional approach is vital in changing your body composition. It is also overlooked by many, they think that training alone is what it takes, but thats not the case.
Too many people are caught up in fad diets that are not sustainable and simply don’t work. The fact is that some of these diets are just dangerous. “But, if the scale says you have dropped 14 stone in a week surely that’s a good thing??” Afraid not! So many people just don’t understand nutrition when really, it’s not that difficult.
Good nutrition about making the correct food choices and fitting them in with your lifestyle. It’s the same as training. Too many people think there’s a secret formula, believe me there really isn’t. Patience, hard work and making the correct decisions regarding nutrition is really all it takes.
For fat loss, basically, you’re calorie expenditure needs to be greater than your calorie intake. In other words, eat less than you burn and you will lose weight, it’s guaranteed. But, where the weight loss comes from is another matter.
The reason most people are overweight is down to their nutritional habits and the lifestyle they lead. It’s almost certainly strongly linked to the amount of carbohydrates they consume on a daily basis. Low carb, low fat diets aren’t optimal for many people. Somebody who is active and trains at a high level of intensity will certainly require some carbs in their diet. I believe that 100% from experience.
I am not saying that carbs are the devil food group. I’m currently eating 575g of carbs per day, which is a huge amount. I need this amount to fuel my training and help me GAIN weight in the form of lean muscle. The intensity with which I train and the frequency of my training requires this amount. It also helps stop the breakdown of proteins that can be used as energy – they’re needed to help repair damaged muscle tissue caused by training.
Now, for somebody who is training to lose weight, or anyone training at a moderate intensity level, 3-4 times a week, this amount of carbs would not be suitable. Here’s why- carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for ATHLETES or people who train at a really intense level as they are being used. Carbs provide the energy that fuels muscle contractions. These contractions make us move, makes us run, jump, skip, push, pull.
Once eaten, carbohydrates are broken down into simpler sugars. These sugars get absorbed and used as energy. Any glucose not needed right away gets stored in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. Once these glycogen stores are full, any extra gets stored as fat. This is the problem. Excess carbs that are not used are stored as fat.
So, this brings me back to the beginning and my point that most peoples lifestyles do not warrant the amount of carbs consumed. If you are overweight or need to drop a few pounds and change the way you look, then the last thing you need are excess carbohydrates. You have enough stored energy to last a long time, remember!
Replace the majority if not all of your carb sources with lean protein and good healthy fats, both are more filling. Take your carbohydrates from good quality sources – leafy green vegetables, root vegetables and berries.
Do not go low carb low fat, it won’t work in the long run and its not sustainable!