Fab Fit Over 40 with some commentary on low carb diets and why they lower physical and mental performance.
There is absolutely no doubt one can reduce bodyfat to single digit levels by reducing carbohydrate intake while increasing protein and healthy fat consumption. But there can also be a distinct trade off when it comes to maintaining optimal performance.
Your body needs full muscle glycogen stores to power through its weight lifting workouts. The only way you can ensure your muscle cells are full of glycogen is by getting enough clean carbohydrates in your diet. If your goal is to gain and or maintain muscle, you must consume enough clean burning carbs to support your training intensity.
If you consistently eat a low carb diet, your peak performance will suffer!
Many people (including Fabulously Fit Over 40) have used low carb diets including Ketogenic Diets and Cyclical Ketogenic Diets to maximize fat burning and attain a ripped six pack. Unfortunately, a hard training bodybuilder, fitness athlete or anyone looking to tone up/look better naked CAN NOT use a low carb diet over the long term.(Atkins etc)
Why? They would grow tired of never having enough energy for their training performance. What can be worse than trying to perform your workout on super low muscle glycogen stores? If that isn’t bad enough already, low carb dieting can also significantly reduce your brain’s performance.
Why do low carb diets alter mental focus and or mental performance? Our brains and central nervous systems prefer to run on glucose(carbohydrates). The brain is thought to use close to 100 grams of carbs daily in its normal functions. Not giving it enough carbs is akin to putting cheap gas in your car. This is the noticeable feeling people have of brain fatigue or lack of focus when in ketosis when on either a Ketogenic or Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. This effect is also felt when the body is running on very low glycogen stores from severely restricted carb diets not fully Ketogenic in nature.
There is no doubt the brain can run on Ketones for fuel. This is a subject of much debate and proponents of Ketogenic diets continue to maintain the brain becomes more efficient moving into Ketosis and burning ketones for fuel.(especially as the body becomes more efficient emptying it’s liver glycogen stores.) But most people we know- including Mike from Danger & Play suffer cognitively when using severely low carb and or Ketogenic Diets. It is also well understood, after long periods of low carb dieting, the body becomes sensitive to the reintroduction of carbs and often retains water providing a puffy or bloated appearance. This is a normal but very unwanted side effect from the body trying to regulate it’s insulin sensitivity.
In our experience (already mentioned above) training intensity MASSIVELY SUFFERS on low carb and Ketogenic diets. Two to three days with minimal or no carbs and the body is sluggish and laggard when training compared to when muscle glycogen stores are topped off. Training on free fatty acids as a primary fuel source isn’t the same as full muscle glycogen stores.
To summarize why LOW CARB DIETS LOWER PHYSICAL and MENTAL PERFORMANCE in the long term.
- People suffer cognitive decline when on low carb and/or ketogenic diets due to the brain not getting enough glucose from their diet.
- Re-introducing carbs after long periods of low carb dieting wreaks havoc on insulin metabolism causing unwanted water retention and a bloated appearance aka Carbface. (this can and often does normalize over time)
- In order to maintain intensity in the gym and for specific sports performance the body has to have ample muscle glycogen stores to fuel the activity. This can only be provided by adequate and/or ample carb consumption.
Fab Fit Over 40’s bottom line:
In order to optimize fat loss and maintain training intensity, a MILDLY REDUCED carb diet, high in protein and EFA’s with targeted CLEAN CARB consumption (Carb Cycling) around training sessions works best.
Stay tuned for a highly detailed and informative article and podcast on how to use Carb Cycling to dramatically transform your body this summer .
Be the BEST YOU at Any Age!