Get fit, burn fat. No cardio?
Unless you are a competitive strongman (like Emil) or a heavyweight olympic/power lifter (that I look like but most definitely am not) having a muscular physique clad in generous layers of lard is not ideal. Not only are there health issues to take into consideration, such as the link to waist circumference and coronary heart disease, but why spend all that time building mighty, impressive, throbbing muscles of vast proportions when you can’t see them? I’m personally not even remotely interested in being ripped, which is getting your body fat down to the point where you can see individual muscle fibres and you resemble a condom stuffed with writhing worms. I can’t be bothered with weighing out individual grains of brown rice and I don’t want to wake up at 5am and spend an hour monotonously plodding away on a treadmill while sipping distilled water. I don’t want to feel exhausted, depleted and cranky due to carb cutting. I want to feel energetic, healthy and to be marginally less fat.
But how do you go about removing fat while, essentially, not dieting or feeling like a hamster on it’s exercise wheel?
First we need to look at diet. I love my grub and eating good food with good company is one of life’s great pleasures. It’s also one that I’m not prepared to deny myself. However, with a bit of sly manipulation and a tiny level of sacrifice I reckon there is a way to have your cake and eat it (providing it’s a meat-cake, served rare with some fava beans.).
Carbs – evil and heavenly.
The first thing you need to understand is that all carbs, whether wholesome brown rice or chocolate fudge cake death, is sugar waiting to happen. The only difference between pasta and table sugar is the amount of time it takes the body to convert it into glucose. Glucose is the body’s sugar that is held, carried and transported by the blood. That glucose is then stored as glycogen in the muscles and the liver. Glycogen is what our muscles use as energy when we exercise, along with a bunch of other stuff that I won’t bore you with on this blog.
Just so we’re clear: Carbs become Glucose becomes Glycogen. It’s a pretty neat system that, providing you don’t eat too many carbs, allows your body to replenish it’s energy reserves and begin the repair of the muscles after a hard workout. The problem with carbs comes when you eat too many of them because, when you do, your tiny little pancreas secretes insulin – the bastard. Insulin is a truly amazing hormone and has the power to make you a titanic God of muscle and gristle or a fat, lardy blob of disgustingness. Having too much sugar in your blood is dangerous and can lead to Hyperglycemia which, without insulin doing it’s thang, can kill you stone dead. What insulin does once it has been unleashed is to mop up all the sugar in your blood and deposit it in the muscles (good), liver (not bad) or turn it into fat (terrible). This is why carbs can make you fat. If you shovel in the pasta then your body has no way of being able to use all that available energy and turns it into your ever increasing belly.
So, how many carbs is too many carbs? Well, it depends on a few factors such as; carb sensitivity, age, weight, activity levels, etc – but I think the most crucial factor is when you eat them. If you think about what you want your carbs to do it’s to power you through your workouts and then replenish your depleted muscles after a workout. It doesn’t take a quantum leap of genius to figure out that when you should be taking carbs on board is immediately before and immediately after a workout. If you were to do that but then for the rest of the day restrict your carbs to vegetables and the occasional bit of fruit then your blood sugar would never get high enough to illicit an insulin release. As for the amount of carbs to pack inside you over the workout period, well, it almost doesn’t matter. Not only are you going to be using them up at an elevated rate but after training is the one time of the day where you want to get your pancreas to squirt out as much insulin as possible.
Good carb choices – oats, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, fast acting carb powder.
In short – don’t eat carbs except for around workout time and then aim for about 200 grams.
Protein – it’s what your muscles are made from so don’t be shy.
When your following a bulking diet (like I seem to have been for nearly a year now) it is almost impossible not to consume enough protein. Most of the bulking staples have a good amount of it contained within them. Pasta has about 10 grams for every 100 grams, bread is similar as is cheese and dairy. Providing you eat a lot of everything while bulking then your protein requirements will be more than catered for.
It is a little trickier when trying to trim down a tad. Protein has the same amount of calories per gram as carbs and, if your eating animal protein, usually a moderate amount of fat to help stack up the calorie count. Protein does not have any effect on your blood sugar but any excess calories will still be converted into fat. The standard take on the amount of protein to take on-board each day used to be 2 grams per kilo of body weight. That has recently been revised to between 3 and 4 grams per kilo of Lean Body Mass (LBM). Your LBM is quite simply how much you would weigh if you stripped all your body fat off. This requires you knowing what your fat percentage is but most chemists have one of those fat scanning devices which, although not particularly accurate, will give you a ball park figure. All you have to do then is a little maths. If you had 17% body fat (I can but dream) and you weighed 112kg then all you need to do is multiply 112 by .17, this will give you 19 which you subtract from 112 to give you a LBD of 93kg – or thereabouts. If you then multiply 93 by 3 it gives you 279. Multiply 93 by 4 and you get 372. With this nugget of information you should now now to keep your protein intake between 279 grams and 372 grams per day. If none of this made any sense at all then see me after class for some extra curricular activities.
Good protein choices – meat, chicken, turkey, panda, tiger, eggs, fish, cottage cheese, good quality protein powders.
In short – eat a lot of protein and if your a vegetarian. . . errr. . . ummm. . . ahbuggerit.
Fat – Boy, fat gets a bad rap. There was a government directive not so long ago that wanted to warn people of foods that had high fat contents. According to their list of evil lardy makers foods like nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut milk, cheese and avocados were up there with crack cocaine and free basing for things that could do you great and unrepairable harm. Fuck me. If that’s what the people in charge are saying then what hope do common sense and empirical fact have.
Here is the truth:
- Fat does not make you fat.
- Fat is not bad for you and eating it does not raise the odds of you suffering from clogged arteries at some point in the future.
- You need fat for the absorption of certain vitamins and the production of various hormones. That includes testosterone chaps, and where would we be without that? Probably picking out curtains from Laura Ashley.
- Fat can be used as energy and doesn’t raise your blood sugar a single jot.
- Fat makes you feel full and for longer.
- Fat slows down the absorption of other nutrients so you get the most from the food you’ve eaten.
- Fat has more then double the amount of calories per gram (9) then carbs and protein (4), so you do have to be careful in the amount you eat.
- You should be aiming to get about 1 gram to 1.5 grams per kg of LBM.
Good fat choices – Extra virgin olive oil, nut oils, peanut butter, almond butter, fish oils, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, darts players.
That’s it for now on the diet front. I will write soon about how to train while following this kind of diet to get the best results.
Eat fat and get thin,