The secret is out of the bag; getting the body you want comes as much (if not more) from what you put in your mouth, as it does hours in the gym. Diet modification is recognized as a key component of building a better you and the Internet is teeming with advice on what you should be eating to achieve your goals. Often when I see people change diet they first thing they do is make drastic alterations to carb consumption levels. “No carb”, “low carb”, it seems cutting carbs is all the rage these days when it comes to dropping fat. It’s no wonder since the exclusion of carbs can lead to rapid weight and fat loss. The only question is just how much is too much or too little?
Here are some guidelines to follow when planning your carb intake
A super low carb diet (>100g of carbs per day) might be necessary for the severely obese, sedentary or those with insulin resistance (and the occasional hard dieting physique competitor) but for athletes that isn’t necessarily the best approach. Carb intake isn’t a one-size fit all where a magical number will lead to fat loss and washboard abdominal heaven. Instead it is a constant adjustment depending on activity levels and body fat percentage.
Bodybuilders, competitive athletes and martial artists can tolerate carbs better than the masses. Generally you want your consumption to fall between the ranges of 1-3g of carbs per pound of bodyweight. For example a 70kg(154 pound) athlete would need 154g-462g of carbs per day, depending on the frequency, duration and intensity of training. The higher the training volume and the leaner you are the higher the carb intake you can tolerate. If your training volume varies from day to day consider varying your carb intake in accordance.
If you’re looking to drop fat whilst still maintaining performance, start carb intake as high as possible then slowly reduce your carb consumption to elicit fat loss. Determine how much performance degradation is acceptable as the harder you diet the more likely performance will be impacted. In some cases an increase in activity instead of a drop in carbs would elicit a better fat loss response whilst still maintaining performance levels.
Till next time – AJ