In the run up to summer, guys and girls alike start manipulating carbs in some way in an attempt to lose fat and achieve their goals. Some cycle carbs, having a few low carb days followed by a carb up day. Some carb backload, having carbs only after their workout and some eradicate carbs all together! A lot of the fad diets that seem to come in and out of fashion involve some sort of carb manipulation as well. But what if I said I know 5 rules you can abide by all year round that mean you'll be in great shape all year round and won't need to worry about flaffing around with carbs 6 weeks before your holiday to Ibiza or Marbella. You'd probably want in right? Well here you go....
Skip carbs at breakfast
I've touched on this point in a previous post. When you eat carbs they release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you sleep. Not a great way to start your day I'm sure you'll agree. The phrase "carb coma" ring any bells? A combination of protein and healthy fats for breakfast will allow for a gradual rise in blood sugar levels right up till lunch. You'll also feel more alert all morning.
Carbs at night are ok
Leading on from my last point a small portion of carbs at night is perfectly ok. The media will have you believe this is a cardinal sin! However, they will help you sleep. A better nights sleep means you'll recover faster from exercise, lose fat faster, gain muscle quicker and feel better.
Choose the right carbs for the right situation
Throughout the day you want to stick to low GI carbs. These will ensure a constant blood sugar level. However after your workout opt for a higher GI carb. The sharp rise in in blood sugar levels post work out will deliver a big insulin spike which will shuttle nutrients and glycogen back into your tired muscles, helping you recover faster.
Earn your carbs
If you live by this simple rule you'll never need to 'diet' ever again. It would be quite possible to keep a lean body all year round. The rule means exactly what it says, if you train hard you've earnt those carbs so eat them!
For weight loss avoid inflammatory grains
If your main goal is fat loss, avoiding carbs all together probably isn't the best tactic. Avoiding inflammortary grains, however is a good way forward. These include white rice, pasta, white breads and white flour. These grains are acidic (read my last post on the importance of balancing ph within the body). These refined grains also cause a rise in blood sugar and insulin. Imagine this happening every time you eat! Excess insulin in your body not only promotes the storage of inflammatory body fat, but it also activates enzymes that promote the production of inflammatory messengers. This is bad news for not only your fitness goals but also your health!