If you are health conscious, eating less carbs is pretty standard behaviour nowadays, if you want to shed a few pounds.
We’re being told we must cut back on processed sugars and carbohydrates on TV, online and in the papers, let’s face it – it’s pretty much everywhere.
In my plans and programs, I tend to ask people to follow a more Paleo lifestyle (you can read more about all things Paleo here) where the consumption of processed carbohydrates is pretty nonexistent – you get your carbs from the large qualities of veg you consume, along with lean protein and high quality, good fats and…it works well – but what happens when your lifestyle and exercise regime doesn’t fit with your dietary choices?
If you have chosen to follow a low carb plan or to ‘go Paleo’ does your current exercise regime suit your nutritional needs?
If you are a long distance runner, deciding to go ‘Paleo’ may not suit your exercise needs, although there is evidence to suggest that athletes can train at a higher rate if they consume a lower carbohydrate diet. If you choose running as your dedicated exercise of choice, you will need to keep your carbohydrate level up to a certain extent so that over the time you are running your body will use the converted carbohydrate (glycogen) and fat to fuel you along your long run.
Long distance running is quite an extreme example perhaps..what about if your exercise choice was more steady state cardio e.g. stair master on the same setting for 40-50 minutes? Or 50 minutes on the rowing machine? What about an hour of high impact aerobics?
As long as your exercise of choice is “steady state’ (and by this, I mean you exercise pretty much at the same cadence for the chosen period of time – usually over 40 minutes) you will need to fuel your body with carbohydrates, if you don’t want to be passing out half way through your session or finishing your session either with a banging headache or dizziness.
If you’re not consuming enough carbs and working out for sustained lengths of time, your body will assume starvation and start to use your muscle tissue as fuel, saving the fats for more necessary bodily functions. What’s healthy about that?
Looking back 20 years, I can’t believe I bothered working out for the lengths of time I did, in the name of ‘fitness’ !
Since then, there has been a huge turnaround in health fitness and with the emergence of HIIT training available to us at any gym, health club and plastered on You Tube – this really is the way to go. Also the science of fat loss has changed and we know WAY more about the human body than we did 20 years ago.
HIIT training uses the EPOC theory – Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC, informally called afterburn) and I quote “is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s “oxygen deficit””
HIIT burns FAT, it works and is here to stay plus, it allows us to stay a loyal follower of the Paleo lifestyle (eating less refined carbohydrates) should we choose to – the two actually fit together like hand in glove!
5 reasons to choose HIIT over steady state cardio:
- 20- 30 minutes of HIIT training is enough in one session. (That’s if you’re working out at a high intensity an not just pretending to!!)
- You will burn more fat during the workout.
- You can do HIIT training anywhere with just your bodyweight if you choose.
- You will continue to burn fat for up to 24 hours AFTER your session has finished.
- You will build muscle which helps to burn fat and speed up metabolism.
If you do choose to stay with your steady state exercise, just make sure you fuel up for it – Think about keeping a whole plant based diet, still with lean protein and add more natural carbohydrates such as oats, potatoes and brown rice.
I’d like to leave you with a quick HIIT workout.
(Ooh and just incase you wondered, I teach a HIIT based Metabolic Workout on a Saturday Morning!!!)