Why Lifting Weights Lets You Eat More Carbs and All About Metabolism

Let’s get on with talking about carbs, muscles and metabolism.

Metabolism is such a cool word. It implies all kinds of sciency things. “I don’t want to slow down my metabolism”. “You have such a fast metabolism”. It’s like the mystery mechanism that is responsible for some people being lean-fucking-mean machines, and the rest stuck in fat-opia of The Land of the Last 10 Pounds. What is our Metabolism? What is the Metabolism? What can we do to “get a better one”?

What do muscles and carbs (ARE THOSE DIRTY WORDS TO YOU LADIES?) have to do with my metabolism?

All the chemical reactions in the body are collectively called metabolism.  Anything going on in your body is using energy of SOME sort (with the exception of certain cell processes that don’t require it, but they don’t concern this discussion).  Metabolism is the word we use in a casual sense, when we are describing how well a body can use the food provided; break it down and put it to use. But really what we are referring to are ongoing reactions and processes caused by how we go about our days and what we eat. Everyone wants a “faster” metabolism, but what we really mean is that we want our body to be proficient at using the energy we provide for it in the form of food. We want our “metabolism” to burn our fat, build our muscles and keep us in this ideal we envision. If it is not (for a variety of reasons), we store fat, get fat, and blame “our metabolism”. Well the good news, is that you are sort of right about it being your metabolim’s “fault”. The news you don’t want to hear is that YOU control your “metabolism”. Its largely not your hormones, rogue fat cells out to get you, the secret ingredients big bad companies use to make you a food addict, or the dangers lurking in your small intestine that green tea attacks. Diet and exercise are the biggest regulators of metabolism we are concerned with, and we have a fuck-ton of control over that.

Disclaimer: There are legitimate concerns about fat retention or hormonal issues that seem to be beyond the scope of diet and training, but from MY experience haunting many threads, forums, and talking with average women, it is not those things that perhaps are the biggest culprit in not getting what they want out of their bodies. It is the basics they are missing and refuse to pinpoint and fix once and for all. It’s much easier to blame something that seems out of our hands, mysterious or complicated rather than saying “Maybe its my drinking 4x a week” or “I just don’t make sure I eat proper meals.” or “No I don’t really get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night”. I see long discussions about herbal supplments, thyroid testing, T-levels, birth control, etc and I’m not saying those factors don’t have an impact. I just think that for the most part a lot of answers are pretty damn simple  when approached honestly. Simple, but maybe not easy.

Think of your body and its processes as a loop. There is no ONE part or ONE result. Everything affects everything else. Matt Perryman in his book Squat Everyday, says:

“Combing abstracts for biochemical information or the hormonal responses of athletes or some such trivia removes you from the realities of actually lifting a weight (or finding the “diet” for you). It strips away all the context and creates mock-quote “facts” in a vacuum. In the absence of any grounding, it’s easy to construct a whole reality out of those “facts”, one which has little to do with the world we live in.

Everything affects everything else. The result of a process influences the process itself in a constant attempt to maintain balance. But why do we fall down in the implementation so much? Why can we have the information at our finger tips, yet not be able to translate that into results? Why the disconnect with what we KNOW and what WE DO?

Let’s do some grounding.

Several clients of mine come from very low-carb backgrounds. They hire me to help get them the progress they are looking for, but also are pretty carb-phobic even when having a high level of activity. They are for the most part not obese or significantly overweight. They have fat they want to lose, or muscle they want to gain, or want to perform better in their workouts….yet are convinced that eating carbs are NOT part of reaching their goals or will in fact mean the opposite of reaching their goals aka they will put on fat. Yet at the same time, they want to get leaner and lose some fat (or LOOSE the fat, as JC Deen likes to say. Let it run wildly away from the body!). They attach eating carbs to gaining fat. And I don’t blame them.

Many diets have made a splash by giving you “one or the other” approaches or sticking carbs in the bad camp. You can’t just throw an entire food group in the trash and ignore physiology.

What I want to outline here is what is behind how the body fuels workouts through the food we eat, the energy pathways used, and also reinforce WHY no one food or macro (or micro for that matter), can be responsible for fat gain, obesity or THE all-around bad guy. It just doesn’t work when remembering the bigger picture. If you are someone who has had success on a Paleo style diet, or low carb diet, and now wants increased muscle tone, strength and to lose the “last 10-15″ while training anaerobically (strength, Oly lifting etc), staying low carb might be exactly what is holding you back.

I wrote most of this blogpost before The Fitness Summit, where Mike T. Nelson and Alan Aragon presented and touched on this topic, so it was great to see the excellent way they support their arguments against classic nutrition dogma, while still making generous allowance for individual preference. They also readily acknowledge the limitations of some research and the ”we just don’t know exactly why it works sometimes” side of things. I am grateful that I can turn to the likes of Alan, James Krieger, Bret Contreras and Chris Beardsley, who compile and review the current research for those of us who are not as embedded in the research side of this industry.

*Extra reading at the end of the blog for those interested in understanding the whole “low carb, no carb” discussion or just how to sort out which diet approach is more useful for you.

Mike T. Nelson graciously sent me the slides for his presentation, which I will quote as well. He presented on the idea of metabolic flexibility. Essentially your body being able to easily switch between burning fat for fuel, or carbs for fuel. But let’s get the basics over with first.

Disclaimer: This post has NOTHING to do with saying why ketogenic or low carb diets won’t work, or why restricting carbs is bad, or why everyone should eat carbs, or why eliminating carbs is a horrible idea etc, etc. To the contrary, I just want to clarify what’s behind all this, and why. Then you can do whatever the fuck you want because you understand what matters and what doesn’t and have the proper framework to approach choices from. 

SEPARATE THE IDEA THAT CARBS = AUTOMATIC FAT STORAGE 

The law of thermodynamics is important, dare I say, mandatory, to understand dieting and nutrition on any level.

“All the energy associated with a system must be accounted for as heat, work, chemical energy.”

(Excerpt of wiki definition)

All the processes of the body, including “burning” fat, adding muscle, keeping your organs working, blood pumping etc, require energy. We provide our body energy through food. Your body cannot store excess energy without you eating MORE than you spend.

There is no way around this rule. Let’s get that straight. Before someone inserts a “but…”, the combinations of burn vs spend are where we get individual variations, recommendations, and sometimes seeming contradictions. I say seeming, because our body has ways of adaptation that involve a myriad of possible variables. Anything from grandma dying and you are still traumatized, to the fact that you started having more sex.

When faced with a diet and body composition contradiction; check your premises about what is really going on with your day-to-day habits and lifestyle. Start simple. 

To continue, but what about carbs specifically? Do they of themselves make you fat?

No. A surplus of calories does.

De novo lipogenesis is the process by which carbs are turned into body fat, or adipose tissue (fancy name for your rolls). This is the process we all fear. I eat carbs, I get fat. Certain popular diet books have made great believer’s out of a lot of people that sugar and carbs are THE reason for obesity, food addictions, and health crises we are facing. For some objective reading on that topic and how the research cited was manipulated, incorrectly used and downright sensationalized, check out;

Gary Taubes: Bad Calories or Bad Research? - James Krieger

A Retrospective Look at the Fructose Alarmism Debate - Alan Aragon

Low Carb Talibans – Martin Berkhan

Converting carbohydrates to fat is not a simple process for the body to complete. Its expensive energy wise. But if you are eating way above your needs, of course your body will have to do something with the excess. Store it as fat. Below is a quote from research by Mark Hellerstein specifically about how the body turns carbs into fat (or not) (1).

“Eucaloric replacement of dietary fat by CHO does not induce hepatic DNL to any substantial degree. Similarly, addition of CHO to a mixed diet does not increase hepatic DNL to quantitatively important levels, as long as CHO energy intake remains less than total energy expenditure (TEE).”

Layman’s terms: Eucaloric means maintenance calories. You are not eating more or less than what you need to stay the same weight. So take my same calories and instead eat more carbs than fat. Increasing carbs did not mean de novo lipogenesis increased. The body did not go on a fat storing craze because of carbohydrates. That comes from eating in excess of what you need. 

“Thus, the addition of excess carbohydrate energy to a mixed diet so that total energy intake exceeded total energy expenditure (TEE) increased body fat stores, but not by conversion of the carbohydrate to fat. Instead, the oxidation of dietary fat was suppressed and fat storage thereby increased.” (2)

Layman’s terms: Too much eating increased fat stores, but not because of the carbs. The body stopped burning up the dietary fat in the food eaten, shoveled it off to be stored so it could deal with the carbs. 

“The few exceptions to the rule that de novo lipogenesis is quantitatively minor have been when carbohydrate energy intake massively exceeds TEE (total energy expenditure aka what you burn daily). Thus, de novo lipogenesis does become a quantitatively major pathway when carbohydrate energy intake exceeds TEE, but this circumstance is unusual in daily life.” (2)

Layman’s terms: Your body *likes* to store fat and burn carbs. It doesn’t like to store carbs AS FAT unless it has too because you are being a piggy. 

Picture 2

Carbohydrates as an energy source are subject to the same rules of thermodynamics as any other food. You cannot get fat if you are consuming less than you burn. The exception to this could seem to be when someone is experiencing metabolic down-regulation (through extreme dieting, starvation, disordered eating, excessive exercise, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, disease, basically extremes) so much that their body is doing a circus act to get around it and keep you alive with your vital organs functioning as much as possible. Then it can seem that the energy equation is false. This is not so. Your body will find a way around such extremes, and that is when everything can go wonky or seem to be working against you. “The cellular stress response (chronic under-eating or over-eating is stress fyi) is a universal mechanism of extraordinary physiological/pathophysiological significance. It represents a defense reaction of cells to damage that environmental forces inflict on macromolecules.” (3)

Your body finds ways to “defend” itself against extremes. Your body and it’s processes are striving for balance at all times. But, the domino effect (that loop) of continuous bad choices or even the tilting of the scale in little ways built up over time, often exhibits in seemingly un-fixable or complex “problems” that may have had a very simple root.

So we know that carbohydates of themselves have no power to make you fat or gain weight (which can be a desirable thing when we want to gain muscle). That *power* comes from consuming more calories than you burn.  You must continue to consume more than expended long enough for your body to store the excess as both adipose tissue and lean mass after it has taken what it needs for bodily processes, functions, and additional energy needs (like exercise). Your body does not switch “on and off” for fat gain, or muscle gain, or vice versa. That’s why one “cheat day” may not be a big deal, but small consistent habits are a big deal.

You are the result of what you do the most. 

*Below is a link to more in-depth reading about carbs,  low carb dieting, and the actual science behind all this confusion of low carb vs carbs are ok. Check it out.

http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/ 

WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN USING CARBS AS FUEL AND WEIGHT/STRENGTH TRAINING SPECIFICALLY? 

This comes down to how your body fuels different types of exercise and the physiology of muscle. Again, this discussion is NOT to say that this exercise or that exercise is good or bad. I will just explain HOW the body fuels exercise and muscle contraction and how this will determine the results you GET from that type of exercise. First let’s categorize the types of exercise according to how much “time” they take. This is probably something you have heard before, but a lot us seem to continue to make a disconnect between what is “known” about exercise, what you do in the gym, and then how surprised you are at how your body changes (or does not change).

Your body uses different metabolic processes depending on what demand you are placing on it. “Oh she’s lifting weights now” vs “Oh she’s running for a long time”. The body will break down energy provided (food or fat stores) in different ways depending on the kind of activity you are doing. The two biggest distinctions between exercise and how it must be fueled are anaerobic exercise and aerobic exercise. Anaerobic is “without oxygen” and aerobic is “with oxygen”. What does that actually mean?

On the one hand is endurance based exercise that uses oxygen as fuel to break down fats, carbs and occasionally proteins (rarely) and anaerobic exercise like weightlifting that can ONLY use carbs as fuel because it doesn’t last long enough for the body to start burning fat for energy. The MAIN energy sources the body will kick in for activity can be categorized simply for our purposes by looking at how long that activity takes.

Non-oxidative/anaerobic activities are those that last from 1 second to 120 seconds. “During intense, short-duration muscular effort, more carbohydrate is used, with less reliance on fat to generate ATP (ATP = adenosine triphosphate aka energy bank for all kinds of activity shit). Longer, less intense exercise utilizes carbohydrate and fat for sustained energy production.” (4) But for aerobic or oxidative activities that last longer , ”Endurance training substantially enhances fatty acid oxidative capacity (aka burning fat) in skeletal muscle and increases the proportion of energy derived from fatty acid oxidation during exercise.” (5)

Examples of anaerobic exercise:

- Weight Training (think how long the REPS and SETS actually last. Each exertion is the “activity” being fueled, NOT that you spent 2 hours in the gym fucking around between sets. That doesn’t count as cardio either).

- Olympic Lifting/Powerlifting (again, think of how long the rep ACTUALLY takes).

- Sprinting or other high intensity exertions (muscle-ups for instance) that fit the time frame above (HIIT, Tabata, TRUE short very intense bursts of energy)

These activities, because of their duration and intensity (no, you cannot have true intensity for long periods of time), require our body to use ATP stores (energy stored inside the muscle cells itself) and glycolysis; the breaking down of glucose (think carbs) to produce more ATP to be used for more muscle contraction.

Can you get a hint about why lifting weights or training anaerobically and increasing muscular function and mass could allow you to eat more carbs or why eating carbs might be a good idea?

Glucose stored in the muscle or liver as glycogen is more quickly accessible as an energy source than either fat or protein. Fast exercise = fast fuel please.

Here is a confusing diagram that actually makes a lot of sense if you can decipher it. Good luck.

Hint: See the word metabolism down there on the left?

metabolism

But then we ask, what about burning the body fat we are carrying already?

WHY IS THERE A “FAT BURNING ZONE” RECOMMENDATION FOR CARDIO? ISN’T CARDIO PROVEN TO BE BETTER FOR FAT BURNING SPECIFICALLY? IT IS SO CONFUSING WHEN LOOKING AT EXERCISE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FAT LOSS FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO SAY TO LIFT WEIGHTS TO BURN FAT? DOESN’T CARDIO BURN MORE FAT?

Money question! Simple answer is; OF COURSE cardio burns fat. But wait, we still need to outline the bigger picture. Getting a hot body is not just about how many calories we manage to burn.  Why is muscle important for fat loss? And why is cardio not the end-all-be-all?

So how does exercise beyond 120 seconds (2 minutes) fuel itself?

When your body “senses” (simplified way to say it) that the activity you are putting it through is going on a long time, it says “Hold up, I gotta fuel this stuff she wants to do, I need more than just ATP and glycolysis. I am using up my available carbs that were floating around. This shit is lasting a long time, and the muscular contractions and intensity is not the same. I need to use oxygen to fuel this and I have enough time (fat breakdown for fuel is much slower).”

Fat oxidation increases from low to moderate exercise intensities and decreases from moderate to high exercise intensities. (6) And again we see that during whole-body exercise, peak fat oxidation occurs at a moderate intensity. (7)

Now you are switching energy pathways, or what the body chooses to use for energy. The MAIN way oxidative work (anything 2 minutes or longer) is fueled is by using oxygen (oxidative or aerobic) to break down fat for fuel. Because of the nature of the exercise being done, endurance “cardio” will break down fats for fuel, especially at a certain intensity of heart rate , which is where we get THE FAT BURNING ZONE that is plastered on all respectable cardio machines. Working within this “rate” is when the body is fueling the work done by breaking down fats. An exerciser can be reasonably confident that maximum fat oxidation lies between 60.2% and 80.0% of the maximal heart rate. (8) So moderate cardio stuff.

Note: I can’t give cardio recommendations across the board. It all depends on goals (MAINLY), training level, body composition and what  you LIKE to do for exercise, unless you are an athlete with specific performance needs. So I will not really cover that side of the discussion in this post. 

So anaerobic/non-oxidative (weight training, oly lifting, sprinting) work = breaks down carbs for fuel.

Aerobic/oxidative (endurance, long cardio, any consistent work over 3 minutes) work breaks down = carbs, fats and sometimes proteins (rarely, but imagine how little muscle mass real endurance athletes have).

Hooray you think! That means that “enduranceish cardio” style exercise burns fat more than weight training. Ideally we are thinking, well that’s great. Thats what I want to do. I want my FAT to be used as fuel cause I want to LOSE fat!! And since oxidative work (aka longer cardio) breaks down fats for fuel, than that’s what I should be doing to lose fat!

But unfortunately if we hang on to that thought alone, we will miss the bigger AND MORE IMPORTANT picture to long term bro/atacular success. Alwyn Cosgrove explained this so well, that instead of rephrasing him, I will just quote him:

“So we are trying to burn as many calories as possible. This occurs in two ways: directly and indirectly. Direct energy expenditure is obvious; that’s the calories you burn running on the treadmill, for instance (think of the hour you spend directly in that “fat burning zone”). Perform X amount of exercise to burn X amount of calories. Indirect energy expenditure, on the other hand, isn’t quite as obvious – but for simplicity’s sake – it’s governed by your lean muscle mass (WEIGHT TRAINING AND INCREASING PROTEIN ARE THE TWO BIGGEST FACTORS FOR INCREASING LEAN MASS) and is commonly referred to as “resting metabolism” and includes EPOC – the recovery of metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levelsThe important thing to consider is that your indirect expenditure is the bigger contributor overall – getting the “metabolism up” is the key. (9)

What is indirect expenditure??? All the stuff going on OUTSIDE OF intentional exercise. Your muscle mass living its happy little life eating energy so you can look lean = big factor here. Bigger than the hours you slave away appeasing the cardio gods. And this is the point not brought up in your average “exercise” recommendations.

For example – aerobic training can burn a lot of calories – but it doesn’t really create much in the way of EPOC or raising your metabolism outside of the exercise session.

Alwyn continues:

“Resistance training and interval training may not burn many more calories while you are doing it – but they both create that metabolic disturbance that burns more calories the “other 23 hours” of the day. Every study that ever compares interval training to steady state training shows an enhanced effect in terms of fat loss with the higher intensity group – even when they actually burn less calories during the session.  It’s that powerful a tool.” (9)

You can’t look at what the body burns to fuel exercise ONLY when the exercising happens. If you do, you will come to the wrong conclusions and potentially screw over the magic word that is METABOLISM (and become one of those people who wonder why more and more cardio isn’t getting them “more toned” or “leaner looking”). And that has a lot to do with muscle mass, and building it. Muscle is fascinating in the way it “acts” in our body and how much our levels of it affect everything else that results in what we look like in the mirror or how we can perform certain activities. Training anerobically primarily is the best way to influence our muscles because, as Alwyn said, it affects how we burn fat the other 23 hours of the day.

So, you have read that weight training is a good way to get more toned, and even though you have been comfortable doing cardio based exercise to try and look “fitter” or lose some fat, you are willing to jump on weight training because everyone who’s “a good trainer” seems to be telling you to. This is what happens when you are weight training,

>>>>> your body really isn’t using your body fat for fuel, its using carbs. But then,

>>>>> training anerobically is the best exercise for influencing the muscles

>>>>> and muscles are very important to the metabolism, and metabolism (a healthy “fast” one) is what

>>>>> determines long term success in fat loss, muscle gain etc.

>>>>> you can eat more, you can train more

>>>>> everything changes

>>>>> OMIGOD I’m getting results

A lot of cardio, endurance based exercise will burn more fat for the time you do it, but it doesn’t cause metabolic adaptions in the way that training anerobically does.

And those adaptations are what we should be after. So would you rather have 1-2 hours of “fat-burning” or 24 hours of “fat-burning”. Thats aerobic vs anaerobic work on a very simple level. Affecting your muscles and nervous system with anerobic training, might not use fat for fuel immediately, but it does ramp up the metabolism which results in greater fat loss effects OVER ALL. Do you want a quickie or a long thorough session? Do you want to greatly affect your body’s ability to burn fat ALL THE TIME, or just for an hour a day? The best analogy for this that someone told me ages ago was:

Would you rather have 10% of 1 million dollars or 50% of 10 dollars? 

Anerobic training is that 10% of a million bucks for how it will affect you metabolic capacity in the long-term. Seems like a smaller “fat burning percentage” at the time, but is greater when looked at in the bigger picture of the metabolism as a whole, especially when you include progressive strength training in some form, not just interval type exercise. Excessive aerobic training is the 50% you think is  “a lot” because of the immediate high percentage of fat being burned at the moment of exercise, but it fails to affect your metabolism on a larger level.

Alan Aragon’s research review of Sept of 2012,  looked at studies using diabetic populations on this topic and how resistance training improves how well your body uses carbs aka glucose. ”It’s often overlooked that resistance training is the trump card for improving insulin/glucose metabolism (and other measures). Aerobic training covers only part of what’s optimal. For example, Bweir et al found that resistance training improved pre- and post-exercise HbA1c readings to a greater degree than aerobic training in type 2 diabetics. Similarly, Arora et al found that progressive resistance training improved blood lipids and measures of glucose control and general well being to a greater extent than aerobic training in type 2 diabetics. Of course, it never hurts to do both types of exercise. To illustrate this, Sigal et al reported that both resistance and aerobic training are effective at improving glycemic control in type 2 diabetics, but combining the two types of training was more effective than either type on its own (note that this could have been due to a greater training volume overall).”

SO WHY DO PHYSIQUE COMPETITORS DO CARDIO? WHY DO YOU HEAR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SOME CARDIO LIKE WALKS OR HITT INTERVALS OR SPRINTS?

Cardio is exercise and a tool either way you spin it. But without a base of muscle and strength, aerobic exercise is often a two-edged sword. While it can help you create a deficit and burn calories and fat, it does not affect your muscles and metabolism the same way that anaerobic exercise does. For those who have muscle to “strip” fat off of and train weights regularly, cardio is an excellent tool for getting leaner (if that is the goal). They can benefit from that fat burning zone MORE (in MY opinion, I am not citing research supporting this, this is anecdotal from following bodybuilders and their training) . Given this fact, you can see why bodybuilders, or those with a good level of muscle mass can easily use moderate cardio more effectively to “strip fat”.

As a tool, any kind of longer duration cardio can have its place in the right context. But for the best body composition in the long run, and to positively affect your metabolic capacity over time (eat more food, tolerate intense training, recover faster), anaerobic training especially progressive strength/weight training is essential and will contribute greater to giving you the effects you are looking for for your average exerciser. If you are an endurance athlete, affecting your muscles directly in strength ways is very complementary to enhancing your performance for endurance.

HOW CAN YOU GO FROM EATING LESS THAN 50 GRAMS OF CARBS PER DAY TO 200-300 GRAMS WITHOUT NEGATIVELY AFFECTING YOUR BODY AND INCREASING MUSCLE MASS? SHOW ME! 

Remember the energy equation?

As you increase your activity level (both during exercise, and “the rest of the 23 hours”)/strength, and increase lean muscle mass, the carbs you eat are being put to use both for muscle protein synthesis (aka growth) and to fuel your exercise because of higher demand (you gained strength, your power output is greater, you train harder).  Imagine fueling your exercise with carbs, and then having your muscles continue to demand “energy” post-exercise that your body has to take from fat tissue. Doesn’t that seem ideal? Use carbs to perform well. Burn body fat the rest of the time. Win = Win!

Mike T Nelson called this “Using the right fuel at the right time.”  You want your body to burn fat efficiently, and you still want to be able to lift weights like a mofo. Below are some of his slides from his presentation on Metabolic Flexibility. I got to say for a Ph.D candidate, and the classic “stuffy scientist” look (don’t kill me Mike!), he was hilarious, entertaining, and sciency all at the same time.

Picture 2Picture 4

Picture 6

 

This last slide is important: the fat loss benefits from anaerobic training OUTWEIGH the immediate fat burn from aerobic exercise.

As an example, here is a 6 month comparison from Mar 2012 – August 2012 between me eating 1100 calories (first pic, could only maintain that intake briefly once I dropped that to that weight because of the “newness” of IF’ing and big meals for the first time. Weight 123 lbs) with 100-150 grams of carbs on training days only (3-4/week), coming from trying to stay under 50 grams EVERYDAY to the second pic right next to it where I started eating 1500-1800 calories with 150-200 grams of carbs on training days. Weight 132-133. Third picture is last summer, same timeframe as the second, same intake. The last picture is me now eating 2000-2500 calories a day with 250-300 grams of carbs almost every day (I am training almost everyday). My weight has stayed at an average of 132, going as low as 127 and as high as 138, but never maintained at either extreme. But I stay steady at an average of 130-132, and have for the past year and a half. Back pic and leg pic are from a couple days ago. The deadlifting and squat pictures is from The Fitness Summit about two weeks ago. I aim to do one more photoshoot before I move to Toronto (HUGE thanks to Matthew Payeur of Empire Imaging in Danville, who has been my photographer) as I continue to gain strength and look leaner, so I can provide some objective body examples.

Picture 3

photopool

jv5

 

deadlifts2

squatmuscle 

A NOTE ABOUT INTENSITY, CARB AMOUNTS AND LOOKING LIKE ME

A little disclaimer to put out there before I wrap this up. Intensity in training is built, just like strength. Muscle mass is built. The ability to train HARD takes time. “Hard” is also pretty relative. You have to give yourself enough time, with enough progression and enough work to train intensely, and do the stuff you see people who have put a couple years into it do. Don’t go stuffing your face with carbs because “Joy said I can because I squat”. Build on your base, to build up your metabolism, to build up what you are capable of. Time is a big factor, and one which I will touch on more from my personal journey.

How many carbs someone eats varies greatly, as we discussed, on their needs and individual body. Not much more to say about that! A little experimentation and a healthy relationship with food does the trick. Some people do well on less, some people NEED less, some people need to pull their head out of their ass about what food “does”.

Some girls don’t want to be “as muscular” as I am. Fair enough. All this STILL applies to you. I lift a lot, frequently and HEAVIER than even what is considered “heavy” for girls. Also, my shape is mine. You will not turn out “just like me” if you don’t want to, but I guarantee you can get MUCH better results from implementing strength training, HITT style cardio and hitting better basic nutrition. If you do want muscles like me, than there are ways to get them ;)

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Crap that was long eh?

References:

1. Hellerstein, M. (1999). De novo lipogenesis in humans: metabolic and regulatory aspects. Eur J Clin Nutr., (53), S53-65. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10365981

2. Hellerstein, M. (2001). No common energy currency: de novo lipogenesis as the road less traveled .American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/74/6/707.full

3. Kultz, D. (2005). Molecular and evolutionary basis of the cellular stress response. Annual Review of Physiology, 67, 225-57. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15709958

4. Kenney, Wilmore, Costil (2011). Physiology of sport and exercise . (5 ed.). Human Kinetics Publisher.

5. Martin, W. 3. (1996). Effects of acute and chronic exercise on fat metabolism. Exercise Sport Science Review, 24, 203-31. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8744251

6. Achten, Jeukendrup. (2003). Maximal fat oxidation during exercise in trained men. . International Journal of Sports Medicine, 24(8), 603-8. Retrieved from  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14598198

7. Nordby, Saltin, Helge. (2006). Whole-body fat oxidation by graded exercise and indirect calorimetry: a role for muscle oxidative capacity? . Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports , 16(3), 209-14. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16643200

8. Carey, D. (2009). Quantifying differences in the “fat burning” zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(7), 2090-5. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=fat burning zone and heart rate

9. Cressey, E. (2008, January 8). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.ericcressey.com/newsletter51html

For additional reading:

http://alanaragon.com/myths-under-the-microscope-the-fat-burning-zone-fasted-cardio.html

 http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2013/05/do-carbohydrates-turn-into-fat.html#disqus_thread

 http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/why-big-caloric-deficits-and-lots-of-activity-can-hurt-fat-loss.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Little spoon says:

    Loved this!
    I have recently started to upp my carb intake due to the fact that I am weightlifting 4 times a week preparing for a powerlifting meet coming up. I am only able to do two metcons a week and nothing is to exceed a 10min cap. In regards to you upping your carbs on training days, do you increase your carbs and just intake a low amount of fat? What about rest days, do you increase your fat intake and lower your carb intake on rest days? Or on do you keep it all pretty equal? Protein wise, do you have a pretty high protein diet everyday? Lately for me, I have been eating alot more protein everyday then usual.

    • Hi Little spoon,

      I keep fat and protein pretty much the same. I used to cycle fats more, but for me personally, changing carbs around is easier. If you only train 2-3x week, that might be a better approach. Since I train almost everyday, there is no reason for me to cycle. I eat high protein 150-170 grams/day, and moderate fat 40-50 grams/day. If your fat is a lot higher than that, and you train the way you do, drop it a bit and add carbs instead. I find keeping it all equal works better for those that are active most days, but for those that only exercise 2-4x a week, cycling carbs AND fat can be useful. What really matters though is what you can stick to best. Some people get too caught up with the numbers, so pick the simplest approach for you.

      • Little spoon says:

        Joy,
        Thanks! Does majority of your carb intake happen post workout? I keep hearing that its not “ideal” to eat grains in the morning. Do you eat your carbs throughout the day or do you wait a certain time of the day to load on carbs? Kind of like carb back loading in some way.

        • Yes, it does, because I IF and eat most of my food in the evening. But what is ideal is 1.) What is convenient for consistency 2.) What allows me to perform well in the gym. Because the meal timing research consistently points to the fact that the OVERALL calorie intake for the day is the biggest factor, not particularly when it is consumed, BUT I like to keep my carbs surrounding my workouts basically. So I recommend carb back loading style for those who train super early in the mornings (5-7 am). Anecdotally, many find that they function better on fats/proteins during the day, and carbs more in the evening.

  2. LOVE THIS. seriously, this was such a thorough, descriptive way of explaining it. it makes perfect sense.

    i’ve been following you since joining a gym in september (KDR Fitness with Ben Dearman). i’ve been lifting, following his nutrition guidelines (low-no carb), and i’ve been getting results. slowly, but surely. i’ve never questioned ben’s instruction, but your insight into the details of fitness/nutrition/etc. has been very interesting and helpful to read. thanks! =)

  3. Shawn Fears says:

    Well first things first….I can’t believe I read a blog post that LONG lol. Great read and I really enjoy your voice in this post. As somebody who can’t write at all its interesting for me to be able to see a voice in writing.

    I am surprised you didn’t touch on the protein sparing effect of carbs, that is how I get my athletes/clients to listen about more carbs.

    So did I read this right? You are following an Intermittent Fasting protocol? I have yet to look very hard at that, as I am sure you can relate to, my time is limited and I find myself studying Verkhoshansky or Siff before I read anything about nutrition. Maybe its time I made time to look deeper at it.

    Nice results over the last year!! I like the way your hammys filled out looks like your deads made a jump up this last year…good job! (i”m going to guess at least a 50 to 100 lbs deadlift improvement)

    I will definitely be sharing this post…keep up the good work!

    • Shawn, actually that is a great point about the protein-sparing effects of carbs. Hahahaha, now that I think about it, I may have to edit and include that! I do follow an IF protocol, yes. I usually skip breakfast, and either train fasted with BCAA’s or have a small meal first, and then eat big after if I train later in the day.
      My current numbers are (I PR’ED A COUPLE DAYS AGO EEEEEK!)

      Squat – 250
      Dead – 264 (haven’t maxed out since last year tho)
      Bench – 130
      Pullups – 10 strict
      OH Press – 95

  4. Joyce m. says:

    Hi joy I like your site! I had a question, when I look at your photos it looks like you have put on muscle and fat from eating more (not that you are fat AT ALL so please don’t take this wrong! I love your look). But it looks in the first picture that you are a lot leaner even though there is a little less muscle. If I wanted that leanness rather than getting bigger more muscular legs and torso etc. would I eat 1,200 cal a day? As it seems that you eating the 2000 is what gave you more size? Also so you not do any long distance cardio? Do you think maybe adding some of that like once or twice a week plays a part in staying petite and lean with tone versus bulking with muscle?

    • Joyce,
      For sure eating more gave me more size. I also lift a lot and heavy, which some girls are not keen on doing. Totally fine with me, you just need to tweak the training to suit your goals (strength, and weights are STILL an important factor). A little context about the first pic, it was not sustainable for me. As mentioned, the newness of IF allowed me to eat much less quickly because of eating larger meals in a short time frame. After a few months, my body adapted and I started being super hungry all the time, and experiencing cravings. I said F that. My main diet journey has always been to get rid of this feeling that food somehow “controled me”. Maybe others can relate. I said forget trying to get “lean”, I hate bingeing, I hate feeling hungry, and I hate cravings. I jumped to 1500-1800 and most certainly gained muscle! I also gained my sanity back. SO, what about you who does NOT want to gain as much muscle like I did.
      1.) It’s very hard to say “do this” without knowing your personal situation.
      2.) If bigger muscles are not the goal, no need to chase lifting a lot of weight ALL the time. You can include more anaerobic style cardio more and build up a basic strength base. Your body can’t grow anything without the right environment for it.
      3.) Staying lean without stressing about it, means eating enough to keep your body humming along nicely in one direction or another. While I am a big advocate of all women including strength training in SOME form, really your level of activity can dictate your diet. If you only exercise a couple times a week, with moderate intensity and eat balanced your body will not put on weight, and grow large muscles. Remember total caloric intake combined with individual experimentation.
      4. I train hard, and have continued to up my training capacity for awhile. So to answer your question of “should I eat 1200 a day”. My initial answer is NO, but its impossible to say without knowing height, weight, goals, training, and history. 1200 in my opinion is too low for anyone unless they are very small. If fat loss is your goal, get in both weights, HITT, and nail diet!

  5. Lorraine says:

    Awesome post Joy! It really explains something I never TOTALLY understood before, what the body uses for each type of exercise. Thank you!!!

  6. Belinda says:

    Joy how do so many of these CrossFit chicks stay so lean and thin (non bulky). Is it because they include more cardio and do a bit of everything including lots of gymnastic movements? Their legs, abs, butts and arms are AHHHMAZING without being fattish-bulky and their legs aren’t too big which I particularly want. People like Andrea Ager, Christmas Abbot…. So hot right now! Do I need to mimic their training to look more like them? My boyfriend is big in CrossFit girls’ look (lol) and I kind of am. Please get Back to me. I would love a little advise.

    • Belinda, they train hard. My advice would be build up a good strength base (learn all your basic lifts), eat properly (lots of protein, carbs appropiately), and then start training Crossfit. Of course what YOU look like, is determined by how you train, eat and your genetics. While its great to hold someone up as an example, use THAT to fuel your own journey. Just hammer away at the work. I do highly recommend you focus on strength progressions before jumping head on into Crossfit only.

  7. Belinda says:

    Big on* not big in (lol)

  8. You definitely look the best in the 2nd pic. 1st 1 is cute but not as many curves. The other ones look less firm, but bigger with more muscle. Are you bulking?

  9. Wow! Another eye opener for me! I’m a carbophobe :-) out of curiosity how do you structure your training to work out most days?

    • Hi Casey,
      Right now I am using a rather “rare” (by conventional standards) structure of lifting. I basically squat to a max everyday, and do a push (a bench or press) and a pull (deadlift or pullup) everyday.

  10. Neftali says:

    Hello from Spain. Great post Joy.
    I lifting weights for many years and IF for 3 months (41 years old, two sons and policeman).
    I try to explain the same concepts to some men and women and after read your post is very simple for my.
    The change in your body is clearly very good, and show to my wife the reason for stop cardio and begin lifting weights. The IF is very soon for her and first she have to learn eat clean.
    I following your post whit attention. Bye.

  11. Lorraine says:

    Question on timing of carbs…if carbs are the fuel for weight training how does it work for someone who trains 6AM following a rest day that is low carb (so not much there to fuel the AM lift). All the workout day carbs are taken in post workout not pre, maybe it’s not ideal but assume this still helps with muscle growth?

    • Lorraine says:

      just to clarify my ? above, are the carbs from a Monday WOD (taken in PWO) still stored in me for the next lifting day on Wed to fuel my lift? Trying to understand timing better. Thanks.

      • Lorraine, as a average exerciser, you will be fine, as long as carbs are a regular enough part of your diet. “The muscle glycogen concentration can vary greatly depending on training status, exercise routines and diet. The pattern of muscle glycogen resynthesis following exercise-induced depletion is biphasic. Following the cessation of exercise and with adequate carbohydrate consumption, muscle glycogen is rapidly resynthesised to near pre-exercise levels within 24 hours. Muscle glycogen then increases very gradually to above-normal levels over the next few days.” This reference was in context to endurance athletes and carb consumption, but is applicable to your question.
        http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165%2F00007256-199111010-00002

    • Lorraine, your muscles store glycogen (from when you eat carbs) and that will be used to fuel exercise if training after a low carb rest day, but actual muscle growth is not happening AS you exercise, that is a response FROM the exercise after. “After exercise, the rate of glycogen synthesis is increased to replete (get back) glycogen stores, and blood glucose is the substrate (your post workout meal). Indeed insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis is elevated after exercise (what Martin Berkhan uses as part of his argument for fasted training. Bigger stress = bigger response), which, from an evolutional point of view, will favor glycogen repletion and preparation for new “fight or flight” events (which is us sprinting or lifting weights). In the modern society, the reduced glycogen stores in skeletal muscles after exercise allows carbohydrates to be stored as muscle glycogen (good reason to eat carbs post-workout THOUGH research still points to 24 hour overall intake as the trump card NOT specific “anabolic window” strategies) and prevents that glucose is channeled to de novo lipid synthesis (fat storage), which over time will causes ectopic fat accumulation and insulin resistance. The reduction of skeletal muscle glycogen after exercise allows a healthy storage (goes to muscles instead of fat stores) of carbohydrates after meals and prevents development of type 2 diabetes.” So therefore, no, it would not impair muscle growth because muscle growth is not really happening AS YOU WORKOUT, BUT if you notice that performance becomes an issue (can’t train as hard, bad trends in energy, strength etc) per se, then changing your carb timing might be applicable because the training stress is what will dictate the muscle response in growth/strength etc.
      So, as long as you are eating carbs and refilling glycogen, carb timing becomes more a question of 1.) What allows me to perform well 2.) What is convenient for my schedule. It is also why I recommend that if you train very early in the morning, and eat minimal carbs the day before, eat THOSE carbs mostly in the evening. Remember there is also continual overlap of meal digestion and nutrient absorption, so unless you are in a severe deficit, meal timing just doesn’t seem to make much of a physiological difference though the individual PRACTICAL considerations hold a lot of importance.

      Did that explain it? This is the link from which the quote was taken: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3248697/

  12. anonymous says:

    You look amazing in those first two pics!! So feminine yet lean and toned at the same time. Just beautiful.

  13. Joy, this post has been the most intelligent and articulate post I’ve read. Keep up the great work. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience

  14. Gretchen says:

    You know what’s awesome? When you’re studying, trying to wrap your head around a concept but it just isn’t clicking, and then somebody writes a rad blog post that explains it perfectly. I’m currently studying for my PT certification and trying to lean down myself, and was struggling to understand the relationships between macros and training and so on, but I get it now!! THANK YOU FOR THIS!!

  15. Best. Article. Ever!
    I found this on Twitter at just the right time. I’ve been working my ass off with P90X, following the macros outlined in their Fitness Guide and just not satisfied with the changes I not seeing. I am stronger, my arms look great, but the scale hasn’t moved as much as I was hoping.

    I’m starting another round mixing in Insanity (HIIT training) and I going to bump up my carbs and decrease my protein, see what happens. It’s all about finding that sweet spot, especially when it comes to those last few pounds.

    Thank you again for putting this together! I’m going to refer a few people here!

  16. So much yummy info!! Thank you!!

  17. jaysond says:

    joy, your site a long with a few others is the only one i follow. i listen to you, andy morgan, martin berkhan, alan aragon and lyle mcdonald and it has kept me very lean so thanks for all your work and articles. this post has caught my attention, daily training? what kind of results can one expect by training daily until fail? i want to change my program a little, i maintain low level BF (6-7%) and i am always looking for new ways to train but i have always been told rest is mandatory.

    • Hi Jaysond,

      I am preparing a full post outlining my experiences, but first off its not “training to failure”. To the contrary I trained to a daily “max”, but that max was determined by the quality of my reps according to certain guidelines, and was anywhere from 155-250 over the course of the 3 months I did it. In the meantime, you can pick up the book Squat Everyday by Matt Perryman if you are interested (good read regardless of whether you squat or lift or not).

  18. You had replied to Casey that You are using “rare (…)structure of lifting”
    Any details about Your training? What is the rep range? (if you train to max single every day) Do You do any sets with more than 3 repetitions in 50-70% area?
    I’m asking because- inspired by Bulgarians- I did couple variations of everyday maxing (including 3 times a day sessions of the same exercise) and always had to skip sets with more than 3 reps to maintain my ability to recuperate between sessions.
    That lead me to fastest gains in dynamic strength*. But some time later my Strength (in terms of ability to move mass) was still increasing but my ability to maintain effort (keep that mass moving) was decreasing. Then two curves crossed- I couldn’t end single rep.
    Some may find it strange to call it ‘endurance lost’ when I say about efforts lasting around 2-6 seconds- so maybe its better to call it problems with ‘fosfagen’ utility (producing ATP from PCr)… doesn’t matter. I had also problem with third rep with 80% of my max.
    It wouldn’t be so bad but after a while also my singles stopped growing.
    I had also some nasty feeling in my joint which sometimes stopped me from making perfect rep (and near 100% that leads to failed rep). Do You have similar problems (how many weeks/ months You use your everyday max training) do You do anything specific to prevent it from happening**?

    As You can see I’m asking not only about Your current program but also about it’s role in longer perspective- what is Your periodization plan?
    Or maybe You plan to keep with Your current plan till…. If Your body weight is constant (?) When would You know that’s all You can get from your training? What You’d do- I suppose You are still far from Your potential so would You try eccentrics, isometrics, pliometric?

    How do You plan to convince your body to give more (stronger muscle contractions, cheat with Your ‘Golgi bodies’ ) by not using extreme methods and how do You plan to incorporate them in everyday training (or mabey You would stop training every day)?
    I’m not telling you cannot improve constantly for a long time when training every day to max (Bulgarians did). But it is very hard to maintain that day after day, week after week, month after month…. if (at some level) You don’t see big (if any) progress. Body adopts for what You do and it also adopts for Your methods for forcing it to change in desired way.
    I was there and its pretty…. overwhelming

    * To be completely honest I made faster gains while using polish “heavy-athletic” in whichyou do eccentric 4-1 reps with 90-125% of your max at the end of session- instead of ‘classic’ singles of 90-100%)
    ** I did isometrics 3-9s with 120-300s rest between it’s fantastic way to gain that sort of ‘endurance’, static strength, and (its not so common to use it for that) power- work for static hold on pull up bar on one arm (bent 120-150deg) with body mass plus 25-30% (depending on ones physiological construction) and You will knock one arm pull ups easily.

  19. And one more (unusual) thing:
    - only one third part of comments/ questions are (circa) about how to look good.
    When text is about metabolism, training, diet, feeling good and powerfull etc… usually most of people are mainly interested in the way how to (make training and diet to adjust metabolism to) achieve their esthetic goal (power, strength, health are on the second position).

    Congrats…

    I also find one comment (under text about carbs ) in which some monothematic maniac is asking about training programing and periodization (wait that’s me…)

    Still I felt kind a strange when I read that some people are considering 1200kcal per day…

  20. anonymous says:

    Joy do you do any conditioning or cardio? You didn’t mention it, and I was wondering if this is important. Wouldn’t it be utilizing a different energy system and give your body different results? If you squat to a max every day, wouldn’t that take away from muscular endurance and capacity (being able to lift that very heavy weight vs being able to lift heavy weights for a longer time, over a longer distance)? And I second the question above, what does your long-term training/periodization plan involve? Very curious for more training/exercise programming posts from you.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      Endurance is most certainly not a goal of mine. I don’t have any endurance goals. My goals are centered around 1.) Looks 2.) Strength feats. Something “taking away from muscular endurance and capacity” depends on how you want your muscles to look and what you want them to do. I do some conditioning, usually in the form of lifting weights faster (10 sets of 10 for instance, with minute rest), some form of sprinting or weighted sled pulls/pushes.

      • anonymous says:

        Is it not possible to have good endurance and good looks + strength feats? Do they not go together well? Or is it just that you don’t enjoy endurance related exercises or doing a lot of “cardio”?

        • Anything is possible. But what you are asking is “can you do it all?”. Well, yes and no. That depends on a lot of factors. Personally I don’t enjoy endurance activities at all. I also don’t like “how they make me look”, but anecdotally I find that you can get better results from any form of exercise with a strength base. Also cardio is not mandatory for losing fat etc like many people are led to believe.

  21. Great article Joy,

    It’s also helpful for people to understand that above a certain intensity, in both endurance and strength training, the body only uses carbs . There’s no “fat adaptation” — you just get slow and feel like crap.

    Way to simplify this stuff :)

    - Armi

  22. SquatMaster says:

    Great article! Perfect mixture of science and down to earth advice.

    Do you have any advice on someone similar to you (Female, eating about 1850 on training days) who is looking to up their calories? I’d love to be able to eat around 2200 a day (I weigh 150 ATM and am about 22% BF.Thanks again and I will continue to follow this site!

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  25. Lizzbadiz says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I have been intense strength training 6 days a week, 2 of them being boxing and 1 being day of HIIT cardio. I had been eating a low carb diet all the time (<100) grams of carbs a day. And despite putting on some muscle, I lost a lot of weight, and more than it "looked" like a did. So it probably wasn't far weight. This article really helped me feel comfortable about eating more, especially with the added progress pics. So again, thank you for sharing this wonderful knowledge

  26. I just found your site today – LOVE LOVE LOVE! I am sorta new to fitness… just 3 yrs in — was large and sick feeling to now being small and feeling the BEST I have felt in my entire life… and yeah, there IS so much information out there.

    I started out with Primal diet… and I remember when I was larger wishing I could somehow convince myself food was poison. I’d read this book where the female character envisioned the food on her plate as rotting or molding and she was able to stop eating so much and lose weight… and I remember wishing I could do that somehow. I was just so hungry all the time and could never stop eating… but I was eating all the “low-fat” “diet” food… no wonder.

    Several years go by…. I’m “ok” with my weight – I lost some thru weight watchers, some thru making meals at home with Cooking Light… thinking – well, I’m middle aged, married.. this is what happens… you are just pudgy and tired and it’s normal. It will all be downhill from here. (I was 39…)

    Tried Primal/Paleo due to some friends who were doing it and everyone talking about how GREAT it was. I got sick of hearing how great it was and I convinced my husband to try it with me for 30 days. You can do about anything for 30 days…

    But thru this we DID lose weight and we DID feel shit tons better. However the proportion of vegetables and protiens we ate went up astronomically…. and the high calorie, nutrient deficient foods went way way way down. I didn’t realize the cause exactly then.

    I totally bought the thing about certain foods being poison…. hook line and sinker. I sorta got my wish from that fictional book I’d read! But I kept reading and wanting to learn. I saw posts by other fitness people I really liked and who made sense to me challenging this dietary dogma….. and it sort of frightened me. Would I go back to being overwieght? sluggish? not feeling good? Fist to mouth in horror – would I become… a graineater?

    We started up Crossfit for a year cuz Crossfit and Paleo sort of go hand in hand it seems… after a year, we quit Crossfit… and when I hung out with some Crossfit friends I felt such incredible amounts of guilt if I indulged in sugar… or fries…. or whatever that didnt’ fit with the dietary dogma… and I had some of them lecture me about food choices… and I felt so much shame… but I KNEW it didn’t have to be that way… and suprise, I didn’t want it to be that way it turns out.

    I kept reading and reading and looking… and I am still working on it but I am not nearly as freaked out about sugar, grains, carbs as I used to be. I still exercise and I am progressing toward goals I have. When I indulge, it’s but a blip on the radar. My body has enough muscle and I move enough that it is just not a big deal and I go on.

    We went to Italy in the spring and we ate pizza, pasta and gelato for 9 days…went to a gelato freakin festival and had NINE gelatos in one day. guess what? I did not change drastically in size or shape… yes, I would if I ate that way consistantly, but I don’t any more. I ate many more veggies when I got home and lean protiens for 30 days and yeah, not a giant difference. No, I didn’t turn back into the person I was before who didn’t exercise and didn’t eat nutrient rich foods.

    It was a little eye-opening! I eat in a way that supports my size as it is right now and I am super happy with that size. I don’t need to be completely strict all the time. And when I allowed myself to relax? I totally did not WANT the entire cake or 5lbs of jelly beans… when I allowed myself a little here and there, my pupils did not dilate and I did turn into the great white shark consuming everything in it’s path. Imagine that.

    I am so thankful to read posts like yours to really answer some of the thoughts I had floating around in my head but couldn’t even really put them together to ask a question in a logical way…. thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Awesome information and these concepts completely ring true to my experiences thus far with experiencing fitness personally!

    Sorry to be so long winded, it’s just so refreshing to see things detailed out and in a way I could follow and that fit so perfectly into what I was discovering…. it’s very exciting! :) Thanks again – keep up the fabulous work!!!!

  27. I wonder what kind of carb allotment you think is good for someone who does crossfit metcons 3x a week along with weight training 4x a week. I would love to train weights everyday but I don’t physically seem to be able to do that. My body doesn’t recover well I guess. I would love to look like you but with what my body is capable of and seem to have a hard time getting over this whole eating less food thing. I recently started eating 2600+ cals with 230-300 carbs a day. I’m 5’4 160 female.

    • Michelle,

      That sounds like a good amount to try out. It really just depends on your needs.

    • Michelle, what you might need is a bit of restructuring of your training, along with upping calories. Getting up to a fitness level where your body can accept and be metabolically happy with, high volume/intensity almost daily takes time… Just something to think about. Food definitely helps with recovery, as does sleep, but sometimes you just need more time to build up your fitness qualities.

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      This is an amazing article and I thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.

      I do have a question that I’m hoping you can help me with. You mention that anaerobic exercises will be the best for getting the metabolism going and burning fat over the long run. At the same time, weight will only fluctuate depending on calories surplus/deficit. So would it be true that anaerobic vs. aerobic exercises has nothing to do with weight but does effect body composition because the anaerobic exercises would help lower body fat %?

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] Link: Why Lifting Weights Lets You Eat More Carbs and All About … [...]

  2. [...] Why Lifting Weights Lets You Eat More Carbs and All About … http://www.fitnessbaddies.com/“Combing abstracts for biochemical information or the hormonal responses of athletes or some such trivia removes you from the realities of actually lifting a weight (or finding the “diet” for you). It strips away all the context and creates ….. “Resistance training and interval training may not burn many more calories while you are doing it – but they both create that metabolic disturbance that burns more calories the “other 23 hours” of the day. Every study that ever compares … [...]

  3. [...] Why Lifting Weights Lets You Eat More Carbs & All About Your Metabolism by Joy Victoria [...]

  4. [...] And one more, by JoyVictoria (A good read for you ladies who are carbaphobes especially!): Why lifting weights allows you to eat more carbs, and all about metabolism [...]

  5. [...] in that spirit, I want to talk about sugar. Then, as with my carb article, you are free to frolic through the myriad of choices that fit your needs and pick the approach for [...]

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    Why Lifting Weights Lets You Eat More Carbs and All About Metabolism

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