If your goal is fat loss, nutrition is absolutely vital for success. No amount of training and hard work will get you the fat loss results you want if your nutrition isn’t up to par.
Your total energy intake and macronutrient ratios will dictate what changes occur with your body, so it’s important to know exactly how much you need to be consuming in order to effect the body positively.
In this article we will outline the things you need to know about carbohydrates to achieve optimal fat loss.
There are 3 main things to consider when it comes to carbohydrates:
- Total Daily Intake
TOTAL DAILY INTAKE
This is the first step when looking at carbohydrate consumption.
How much is too much? How little is too little?
Total daily carbohydrate intake for fat loss will vary heavily from person to person. Someone may be consuming 400-500g of carbs per day and still losing fat, where someone else may gain fat at just 80g.
Why is this the case?
The main factors that dictate an individual’s carbohydrate intake for fat loss are:
- Somatic Body Type
- Body Fat % + Lean Mass
- Insulin Sensitivity
- Daily Activity / Training Program
The goal for our personal training clients isn’t too completely eliminate carbohydrates from their diet to get them to drop body fat, but instead to specifically tailor an amount of carbs that accounts for the 4 listed factors above so that the maximal amount of carbohydrates can be consumed without jeopardising fat loss. Once their body fat % begins to drop, their insulin sensitivity improves, and their daily activity levels and training increases, carbohydrate intake can be increased making the fat loss process easier for the client.
The types of carbohydrates being consumed will also have either a positive or negative effect on body composition. When looking at types of carbohydrates for fat loss, the G.I and quality are of extreme importance. If your total daily intake is only 80g, then consuming 80g of sugar and processed foods can still negatively affect your fat loss even if you’re not over eating your amount.
The same factors for determining total carbohydrate intake can also be used to determining the G.I and quality of carbohydrates for a person’s fat loss. For most people, low G.I fibrous carbohydrates from whole food sources is the best way to go, especially if total intake is reduced.
For people with low body fat %, high lean mass, and good insulin sensitivity, the use of higher G.I carbs can be included post workout, but the key thing with the types and amounts of carbohydrates comes down to individual specificity.
For fat loss, there are 3 key times for carbohydrate consumption throughout the day. They are:
Post-Workout is the number one time of the day for carbohydrate consumption when it comes to fat loss. After a workout, muscle glycogen will be depleted and insulin sensitivity will be high, so consuming carbohydrates at this time will more than likely lead to improved muscle recovery and growth and the chances of the carbohydrate being stored as body fat will be lower than other times of the day.
Depending on total daily amount, a second serve of carbs could be had pre-workout to stabilise blood sugar and provide energy throughout the workout. It will also help prevent the chances of muscle tissue being broken and down and burnt for energy.
The third best time may surprise you, as it is often said that you should avoid carbohydrates in the afternoon or at night. In fact, consuming carbohydrates at night will actually help improve your ability to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest, especially for highly stressed individuals, which will result in improved fat loss from the positive effects of sleep on the endocrine and nervous system.
As with all macronutrients, carbohydrate guidelines should be specific to each individual rather than a blanket statement saying everyone should cut them out completely. We pride our personal training systems on the principle that everybody is different and will require a different approach. If you need help with structuring your nutrition or training for fat loss, feel free to contact us for help.