When many people begin a fat loss journey, they instantly feel they should avoid or restrict carbohydrates to a minimum. They feel doing so will give them the best chance at fat loss in the long term and embark on a regime which in reality is never set up for success in the beginning.
Now whilst many people’s training may be programmed efficiently, having a lack of knowledge and understanding with regard to nutrition means they are only doing half of the job right. Firstly let’s get into carbohydrates use for the body. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy and are stored in the muscles as glycogen. They should be utilized through the diet around training sessions to ensure the body is primed for performance. This means they should be consumed before, during and after intense sessions. Eliminating carbohydrates from the diet completely will leave you feeling lacklustre, drained and void of energy. When you look to reduce your body fat % you should consider that the response to training is the key in delivering the results you crave.
Therefore it is wise to implement nutrient timing strategies (inclusion of carbohydrates pre, intra, post workout) to improve performance, enhance recovery and therefore help with achieving your physique and performance goals. If we begin to understand carbohydrate metabolism, it is then appreciated that the muscle can store them to fuel the brain and body to create the ideal response to training stimulus. When we adopt the approach of performance=results, we can begin to see that it becomes more about carbohydrate dosage and timing rather than exclusion with regard to achieving fat loss goals. Below is an example of pre, intra and post workout meal options including carbohydrates;
Pre- 1 banana with one scoop whey protein shake made with water.
Intra (during)- half of Lucozade sport (still) with BCAA powder.
Post- 200g chicken breast with sweet potato and green beans.
Now obviously the above is simply an example and the amount in grams and type of carbohydrate sources must be suited to the individual, but this aimed to show how you set up your nutrition around your sessions and workouts. For the remainder of the day each of your meals & snacks should include a mix of protein, healthy fats and greens/fruits to ensure you cover all angles with your personal nutrition.
So remember, DO NOT exclude carbohydrates from your diet and begin to make progress today!