Nutrient Timing: Part 1

Most people know that what you eat is critical to fat loss or muscle gain, but do you know that the timing of when you intake some nutrients can make all the difference in your training goals? The few who have been introduced to this information have seen drastic changes in their physique as well as their performance in the gym. In part one of this 3 part series we will discuss ways in which how you time your food can give you drastic training benefits.

Part 1: The Role of Carbohydrates in Training 

Contrary to popular culture, carbs are not the enemy when you are trying to lose fat. If you are trying to gain muscle, you know that carbs are your best bud. However when you intake your carbs can make all the difference in your training. Whether your goal is to drop fat or gain muscle, the objective of carbs when it comes to training is to

  • provide you with energy

and

  • replenish glycogen stores in your muscles.

You want to use carbs as a barrier to fuel you through your workout. By ingesting the majority of your carbs around your training (pre and post workout) you can ensure that you do not use lean body mass as an energy source while you are training hard. Even if your goal is to lose fat, the reduction in calories throughout the day will be the number one factor of that fat loss. Carbohydrates on the other hand will give you the energy that you need to push through your training and burn those calories you need to aid in your fat loss efforts.

For those looking to build muscle, the practice of eating your carbs around your training is paramount. Most likely you will be lifting heavier with more taxing lifts around this time. Those carbs are going to surely help you accomplish your training goals. However, you should have a huge uptake (35-50%) of your carbs directly after training. This timing of carbs will help to replenish glycogen in your muscles.  By timing your intake of carbs in this way you will ensure that the majority of your carb allotment for that day is used effectively and not stored as fat.

Let those carbs work for you!

Four Ways to Stay Lean Year Round

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For anyone that has worked to achieve a low body fat percentage, one knows that the process is tedious yet a wonderful feeling. However so many people use outdated techniques that call for extreme low calorie diets that are restricted of many foods that cause enormous cravings that spur almost uncontrollable cheat meals that sometimes turn into cheat days or even weeks. What few know that there’s are a couple of small “hacks” that serve to keep people lean all year. The days of staying lean by eating like a bird are over. We have found 4 simple steps to keep your palate satisfied, allow you to go out with your friends and not be weird around lunch time, and see those abs that you have worked so hard for.

1.The 90/10 Rule

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  • Let’s get real here: You nor anyone else had the will power to avoid junk food YEAR ROUND and that is perfectly fine. Just as one meal won’t make you lean, one meal won’t make you fat either. The key however is to reserve these fatty junk type of foods to ten percent of your food intake. In other words save the doughnuts and cheese sticks for RARE OCCASIONS. Now this doesn’t meal you can’t enjoy some of your old favorite pastimes, but 90% of your food sources must continue to be from rich nutrient dense foods. Keep the majority of your carbs complex, eat loads of veggies and keep your proteins lean. Earn that double double with animal sauce, you will thank us later.

2.  Choose Your Condiments Wisely

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Many of us LOVE FLAVOR which is freaking awesome. However many of our favorite spices, sauces and condiments are loaded with empty calories which can add up quickly. Although slightly more expensive brands such as Walden Farms carry a vast variety of dressings, syrups, condiments and even jelly that are calorie, carb, and fat free! These brands will usually be in the diabetic section of your large grocery chains and make all the difference. Give them a try and you will be surprised that such witchcraft actually exists.

3. HIIT

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No matter what you have heard in the past, all cardio is not created equal. In regards to any training program consistency is the goal. Now during someone’s leaning out phase of training one might be more inclined to spend 30 minutes to an hour each day. But what about all year? The reason why high intensity interval training (HIIT) is so effective is that it is QUICK. About 15 to 20 minutes of a 1:2 to 1:3 ratio of short bursts of maximal cardio activity followed by a less intensity rest period not only burns more fat due to EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption), but mentally you are more inclined to spend 15 minutes doing cardio than 45. An example of this would be a 30 second incline sprint at a 10.0 incline and 11mph speed for 20 seconds followed by a 1 minute light jog at 4.5mph on the treadmill. The beauty of HIIT is that it can be used with about any form of cardio which means you have unlimited variety! Use HIIT training 3-4x per week right after your weight training session to rev up your metabolism, preserve muscle and drop some serious body fat.

4.  Integrate Carb Cycling with IIFIYM

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At Swxller we don’t believe in DIETS, because simply they don’t work. What you need is a system to stay on track with the 90/10 rule AND fit in some of your favorite foods to not feel “deprived”. Carb cycling is a technique that helps to continually increase your metabolism by manipulating your carb intake to continuously drop your body fat percentage. You will rotate from 3 low carb days to deplete your muscles of muscle glycogen , followed by 1 high carb day to aid in recovery and cause your body to only use carbs for energy rather than storing it. The storage of unwanted carbs is a main contributor of fat retention. There are many calculators from a variety of websites, but an easy way to employ  the carb cycle is to multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 to find out your  high carb day, then divide that number by .75 to find your low carb day.  Always keep your protein to 1g per pound of bodyweight and keep your fats to 0.5 to 0.75 per pound of bodyweight . The process is tough but very rewarding if you stay consistent with it.

Now when it comes to IIFIYM there is a lot of literature out there that says if a food fits in your macros then it is fine NO MATTER WAHT TYPE OF FOOD IT IS. This implies  that you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits. But we are smarter than that right?? Remember you still need NUTRIENTS. However by using the 90/10 rule there will be times in which you can have went treats and still stay on track.

During a carb cycle, in order to not feel the effects of near ketosis, which is lethargy, irritability, fatigue, and a reduced motivation to train, you should eat your carbs in the morning and around your training. Right after training you have a window in which your body will absorb SIMPLE CARBS as muscle glycogen and will not store it as fat. This is your A HA moment and window of opportunity! By using the methods of IIIYM, you have the opportunity to ad in a SMALL sweet treat in the place of dextrose right after training to satisfy some cravings and keep you on track of eating rich nutrient dense foods 90% PERCENT OF THE TIME.  To make is process easier use applications like myfitnesspal to track your meals and your macronutrient intake.

REFERNCES

Trapp, E. G., Chisholm, D. J., Freund, J., & Boutcher, S. H. (2008). The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International Journal of Obesity, 32(4), 684-691.
King, J. W. (2001). A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women (Doctoral dissertation, East Tennessee State University).

Paplinskie, S. A. (2013). An Autoethnographical Tapestry of Feminist Reflection on My Journey of a Fitness Model Physique.

Ahima RS, et al. Leptin regulation of neuroendocrine systems. Front Neuroendocrinolgy 2000;21:263-307.

Kozusko FP. Body weight setpoint, metabolic adaption and human starvation. Bull Math Biol 2001;63:393-403.

The “Actual” Crossfitter’s Diet

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If you haven’t been under a rock, then you have heard about or even seen the sport of Crossfit. This fitness phenomenon has swept the nation giving regular everyday people the chance to train in a performance driven environment while preparing them for the unknown and unknowable. Many people have taken the gospel of crossfit as law and there have been marketing schemes that have made tons of money from crossfit enthusiasts due to lack of knowledge. While injury in crossfit is prevalent and can be due to a number of factors, the nutrition program sponsored by crossfit has been detrimental to athletes and there is a disconnect in how the competitors of the sport fuel themselves compared to crossfit enthusiasts.

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The Paleo diet has been popularized by crossfit and the premise of the diet is to adopt the fueling patterns of ancient people. Rob Wolff states that “The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility”.

While some of his claims hold validity, Wolff forgets that Crossfit is a PERFORMANCE based training program and sport. In order to perform you have to have energy, and the paleo diet is lacking the number one source you need to perform your best. This source my friend is CARBS. YES……….. YES carbohydrates. “The roles of carbohydrate in the body includes providing energy for working muscles, providing fuel for the central nervous system, enabling fat metabolism, and preventing protein from being used as energy. Carbohydrate is the preferred source of energy or fuel for muscle contraction and biologic work.” The RIGHT carbs, which are complex and take time to digest such as rice, sweet potatoes, and various grains, is the coal to your steam engine of a body.

Without the presence of carbs you will begin to feel sluggish, be at risk for ketosis (which is an abnormal amount of ketones in the bloodstream) and most importantly you will be less alert. Since Crossfit is nothing more than taking very good attributes from various sports, it would seem that the nutrition patterns of top athletes in these sports should have been adopted too right?

So What REALLY Happens Then?

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If you are confused as to why the top athletes in crossfit look starkly different compared to the thousands of enthused participants of the sport, I have an idea and NO it is not steroids. (Although everyone wants to go straight to the “juice”). What happens is that while crossfit supports the paleo diet but the competitors for the most part have a completely different diet that consists of a ton of carbs, which are not bad, but help these athletes have the energy to perform at a high level. You will see athletes although the names consume large amounts of peanut  butter sandwiches, rice, and even bad carbs such as donuts, sweet cereal and even fries to ensure that they are fueled for their competition. Now this doesn’t mean to scrap your diet and head to the nearest burger king, cut it shows that carbs play a huge role in how you perform and gives you the energy to perform.

Side Note- When you are in a constant fatigued state, as the sport of crossfire perpetuates, there is a technique breakdown in performance. This can and has lead to serious injury within the sport. Understand that what you put in your body is vitally important to your performance and health!!

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While protein and fats are extremely good for the human body, their primary role is to aid in recovery from training- not to fuel training. Only when you have a surplus of carbs will you begin to gain unwanted weight, and as a crossfitter that will be difficult given that you train frequently. If you have been on the paleo diet, add a few sweet potatoes in the mix and watch how better you improve. Just a little food for thought.

-Swxller

References
Costill, D.L., Miller, J.M. Nutrition for endurance sport: Carbohydrate and fluid balance. Int. J. Sports. Med. 1980;1:2-14.
Coyle, E.F., and Coyle, E.L Carbohydrates that speed recovery from training. Phys. Sportsmed., 1993;21:111.
Esbjornsson-Liljedahl, M. Sundberg, C.J., Norman , B., and Jansson, E. Metabolic response in type I and type II muscle fibers during a 30-s cycle sprint in men and women. J Appl Physiol 1999;87:1326-1332.