Monday, September 23, 2013

Tue w/ Thomas #3 - ARE CARBS REALLY EVIL?

The thing about carbs is that they cause a change in your body's chemistry.

A spike in blood sugar levels from fast digesting carbs will normally cause in increase in insulin release. I say normally because with repetitions of these spikes, your body will become insulin resistant and not react as quickly. These releases of insulin cause your body to stop burning fat. 
If your goal is fat loss this becomes a problem.

Now here's the other thing about carbs...
If you cut them out completely you're brain won't be able to function right and you'll feel lethargic and pretty out of it.
Your body will also adjust to being in a calorie deficit if you keep your calories too low for too long and your metabolism will drop. This is why you can't just starve yourself thin. I mean, you can if you want to do it the long, hard, unhealthy way, but a better strategy would be to employ something known as carb cycling.
This is a technique in which your carbs are kept very low for a 3 days to a week or 2 before allowing your body to have a day of higher carbs to refeed your glycogen stores. This allows you to burn fat much more effeciently without letting your body go into starvation mode, essentially tricking your body into keeping your metabolism reving.

There are a few popular strategies for this that depend on how disciplined you are.
I have found 3 days low / 1 day high and then repeating to be the easiest to follow.
Some are able to go a week or 2 before raising the carbs back up. This takes dedication, and for some like myself, impractical due to the nature of my workouts.

The bottom line is NO, carbs are not evil!

The key is to eat good whole food sources of low glycemic value carbs. Look for things such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole oats, and quinoa. These are the type that our body will burn slow and not cause a sudden spike in insulin release.

Here is a list I have personally compiled of carbs I deemed to be ok. You will notice some are actually faster digesting carbs, but they do have a place in my client programs. The list can give you a good guideline to bring to the grocery store.

Body Type / Macro Ratios - Some people are more sensitive to carbs (Endomorphs) and need to watch them more closely and some people need lots of carbs to function well (Ectomorphs). If you are an Endomorph, or someone who gain fat easily, your macro nutrient ratios will differ from that of an Ectomorph who will have a high carb tolerance.
Mesomorphs, or people who classify themselves as someone who have a naturally muscular build will typically find a ZONE based macro most beneficial (30% Protein , 30% Fat, 40% Carbs).
Endomorph - (35% Protein , 40% Fat, 25% Carbs)
Ectomorph - (30% Protein , 15% Fat , 55% Carbs)

These are guidelines that obviously would need to be adjusted based on the individual's goals and workout intensity/frequency)

Timing when you eat carbs is an important topic to address. The optimal time to eat your carb meals is after or around your workout. Your body is much better situated to use those carbs in the best way during that time.
If you are sensitive to carbs, (Endomorph) you are going to want to make sure your starchy carbs are limited to only around the time of your workout. The rest of the day you should only be eating veggies and lean proteins.

Mesomorphs can eat starchy carbs at breakfast and also around their workout, and Ectomorphs can get away with more carbs at every meal.

Also be aware that the higher your carb content for the day or meal, the lower your fat intake should be and vice versa. This is important to keep your body from storing fat.


Some of my fav low carb secret weapons!

Here is a great outline of the carb cycling strategy:

To get a complete program designed for you, go to the link on my homepage of this blog and click on the paypal link on the left hand side.
Provide me with your stats, and for $50 I'll give you a stellar program to follow that will produce RESULTS!!

Thomas Murphy, CSCS

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tuesdays with Thomas #2

Q -Thomas,
I'm at a 38 waist and would like to get back down to a 36.
What advice would you give for someone trying to drop to a lower waist size?
I've worked on changing my diet but don't always push myself to exercise each day.

A - Well, this can be answered many different ways! I guess I could say get it in gear and PUSH! lol...
The first thing I would mention is that the first place you gain your weight is going to be the last place you lose it. 

You are going to want to build muscle to help bring your fat stores down more permanently. If you are scared of bulking up, I would say to TRY to get jacked! It's much harder than you might think. 

As a physique competitor, one of my goals is to keep my waist as small as possible to give the illusion of a V Taper as much as possible. Coming from a power lifting/body building background has made this difficult for me as I have always lifted very heavy on exercises just as dead lifts and squats and even weighted ab exercises. While I do want to maintain as strong a core as possible, I have had to adjust my training to more endurance and less strength to keep my waist in control at least a little more. With that being said, generally its hard to gain muscle but easy to lose it! If you do get to the point that you think you are getting too bulky, its easy to just tone it down and adjust your training like I have.

Another tip I can offer is to do more plank type of exercises which work the transverse abdominals. These will help to hold your stomach in more and with practice keep your gut sucked in at all times without having to be as conscious about it! :)

You should look to lose 0.5 - 1% Body Fat a month to be on track. If you find that this is not occurring, then something has to give. Either crank those workouts up or get more strict on your diet. I have always found it easier to burn my calories off rather than to restrict myself too drastically. Thats just me though. You may find that if you are unable to make it into the gym a minimum of 3-4 days a week, then you may have to focus more on your diet out of necessity. I hope that helps a little. If you had a more specific question, maybe I could steer you better. I'm always ready for new questions in the comments section below :)

Thomas Murphy, CSCS