WRITTEN BY: SHIN OHTAKE, FITNESS & FAT-LOSS EXPERT
AUTHOR OF MAX WORKOUTS, THE ULTIMATE LEAN BODY FITNESS PROGRAM
I’ve always been an advocate of low carb eating for fat loss and when I mean low carb, I’m essentially talking about cutting out refined carbs like bread, pasta and other refined starchy foods. Occasional rice an/or sweet potatoes is completely fine, but by in large, the majority of carbs come from vegetables and fruits…about 80% Vegetables and 20 % fruits. And although this type of eating works 80% of the time, there are instances where your body stagnates. It’s a little like working out, if you end up doing the same exercise/workout routine over and over again, your body eventually gets so efficient at doing it, that it stops working as well. Similarly if you’ve been eating the same diet with the same calorie intake for a prolonged period of time, your body’s metabolism may start to slow down and your progress may come to a halt.
This is why changing up your diet once in a while is a good thing. For instance, increasing your daily calories once a week by increasing your carb intake (while keeping your protein and fat volume the same) to stimulate the leptin hormone is one way to boost your metabolism and get your body to start burning fat again.
Which leads me to this week’s article. I have another dietary trick you can use to kick start your metabolism, if you’ve found that your weight loss has stagnated as of late. Keep in mind though, that these methods (much like the “carb re-feed for leptin”) are only effective if you’ve been following a healthy “low carb = no refined carbs” diet for sometime. I’m also assuming that you’ve gotten your daily macronutrient ratio figured out as well. That means you’re aware of how much protein, carbs and fat you eat a day. It doesn’t have to be exact, but you should at least you have a ball park figure.
Ok…so the next dietary trick I want to show you is known as macronutrient partitioning. I know…it sounds technical, but the concept is actually really simple. It’s about manipulating how much of each macronutrient you eat per meal, through out the day. For instance, instead of eating the same ratio of protein, carbs and fat at every meal, you change the ratio depending on the time of the day. The idea is to feed your body the right foods to optimize your hormonal function to maximize fat burn and muscle gain while minimizing fat gain.
What you eat and when will be determined by your activity through out the day and what time you workout.
In general, when you’re least active (usually during work for most people) you want to minimize your carb intake the most. You can even cut out carbs all together during this time. On the other hand, fat is your friend during times of inactivity. I know it seems like an oxymoron, but fat is completely inert to insulin, which makes it the macronutrient of choice. During times of inactivity you want insulin levels to be low.
Of course you can’t be expected eat pure fat, but a combination of fat and protein is your best bet. Eggs and bacon anyone? The protein and fat combo is also great to since it keeps you full longer and makes the day go by much easier.
Restricting your carb intake to extremely low levels is beneficial in mobilizing your fat. It lowers your insulin level and it increases your catecholamines, both of which is essential in fat mobilization.
Which brings us to the next phase…working out.
Once you have your fat mobilized, you have to burn it off or else the fat gets stored back into your body! After all the work you did to get your stubborn fat mobilized, the last thing you want is for the fat to get store back into your stubborn fat region! (aka. lower stomach, love handles, butt and thighs…)
Working out during a carb depleted state can take a little extra dose of motivation…but it’s worth it. I recommend doing short high intensity workouts (such as in my MAX Workouts). If you absolutely lacking energy, you can consume a little sugar just prior to the workout, just enough to get a boost of energy needed to crank out a good workout. Remember, keep the workouts short, 20 – 30 minutes is plenty!
After your workout, is when you should consume majority (if not all) of your carbohydrates for the day. Keep in mind though that you’re still on a low carb diet, so I wouldn’t recommend exceeding beyond your normal carb quantity. If you’re consuming on an average 100 – 150 g of carbohydrates a day, stick to the same amount. But here’s the good news – after a long carb depleted period, your muscle glycogen levels are low, making it an ideal time to eat starchy carb dense foods like sweet potatoes and rice, since glucose ends up getting stored as glycogen in your muscles and not as fat.
It’s also best to minimize fat in your post workout meal as well. Although a little fat is completely fine, too much fat interferes with both glycogen and protein uptake. It’s best to keep majority of your fat consumption during your low activity phase prior to your workout.
Your post workout meal should be comprised mostly of carbohydrates and protein. This also makes your post workout meal the biggest in terms of volume and calories. In many cases you may be eating 60 – 80% of your total daily calories in this one meal.
After your main post workout meal, you may have time to eat another small meal or snack before you go to bed. In this meal, I recommend a high protein meal or snack. Perhaps a whey protein shake or some of the left over protein from your post workout meal is a good way to finish off the day.
So there you have it. Another way to change up your diet and re-stimulate your metabolism for progressive fat burning!
P.S. When you’re on a low carb diet, you need to make sure that the fitness program seamlessly works with the diet. Most fitness programs will have you do too much and your body simply can’t sustain the necessary energy needed to finish the program when you’re restricting your carbohydrates. If you’re looking for a fitness program that’s designed to work with a low carb diet, than the MAX Workout program is for you. It’s specifically designed to maximize fat burning while maintaining your lean muscles so you can get stronger and more fit…all while being on a low carbohydrate eating plan. And although it’s not easy…in fact it’s quite challenging…the rewards are well worth it. If you’re ready to put in the work and reap the rewards of getting lean and fit, this program is for you.