Carb heaven

Carb heaven

This week I got my new eating plan, and it seems I have literally bitten off more than I can chew. I was concerned that while I was eating what seemed like a lot on the surface during my last plan, it wouldn’t be enough to build the muscle I need. This doubt was based on what I had read in training magazines, but at the end of the day I trusted my trainer and his decision on what was best for me 100 per cent.

Because I managed to gain a bit of muscle without actually putting on weight over the past 8 weeks, I’ve increased my carb intake and rearranged the order of my meals for my next training program.

The carb content of my first three meals of the day have increased by at least double. Within the space of three hours, I eat 106 grams of carbs, which is more than two-thirds of my entire day’s intake (for people who aren’t familiar with nutritional info, that might not sound like a lot, but consider this: I’m eating two serves of oatmeal and a serve of rice plus all the other proteins and fats I need).

Today was my second day into the program and so far it’s left me feeling so stuffed that I’m having to physically choke my third meal down. Given that I don’t eat any carbs other than vegetables past 12pm, my first thought was that I would be starving by the end of the day but I’ve been so full I haven’t missed my rice at all!

I’ve been told to expect that in a week or so I will feel hungry as my body comes to expect a large amount of carbs. By surviving on only protein and fat for the afternoon and evening, my body will essentially become a fat-burning machine! I’m still getting a lot of carbs when I need it most – pre- and post-workout.

While my “diet” is more about eating specific food at carefully-planned times and not so much about hitting nutrient targets, I have roughly calculated the breakdown of macronutrients for anyone interested.

Daily Intake
Protein: 204g
Carbohydrates: 151g
Fat: 55g
Total calories: 1950

There you go: I’m eating almost 2000 calories daily and expecting to drop fat. If you’re trying to build muscle it’s really important you don’t do what many people – mostly women – do and drop your calories down to the 1200 area. Unless you’re going about low calorie intake in a carefully-monitored way, your body will simply use all of its energy to hold on to its own fat. So don’t be afraid to eat!!

Conversely, eating too much can obviously have a negative effect. Something a lot of people might not realise (I certainly didn’t!) is that you can’t just jump straight into a muscle-building/fat-burning diet recommended by a fitness magazine like Oxygen if you’re a beginner. Those sample diets usually have high amounts of protein and carbs for all meals; however, if your body isn’t used to to those levels, the only thing you will be gaining is fat. According to my trainer, my body will gradually adapt to an increasing amount of carbs and I will eventually be able to eat pasta – woohoo!

Knowing all this gives me more reason to laugh when people tell me they can’t go without carbs in their evening meal because they will starve. I’m talking about people who sit on their butts in front of computers all day long, do limited physical activity and are highly likely to already be eating more than they need. I’m still doing low-intensity cardio and yoga classes at night, and I have been surviving for months now with no carbs in the evening.

Because I was sick this week, I missed a workout and got to work out with Rob again yesterday. This time was much more enjoyable, as I better took advantage of him being there. I felt rather proud of myself afterwards at some of the weights I shifted (hello, 20 kilo single arm rows!). We were focusing on really isolating the back without engaging surrounding muscles too much.

Seated row – 1×20 @ 20kg, 2×8 @ 40kg, 1×4 @ 60kg (the last set was more of a static hold than an actual row!)
Wide seated row – 1×20 @ 20kg, 3×6-8 @ 40kg
Single arm dumbbell row – 2×10 @ 12kg, 1×8 @ 14kg, 1×5 @ 20kg
Dumbbell pullovers – 10 reps each of: 10kg, 12kg, 14kg, 16kg
Close pull downs – 4×10 @ 33kg
Assisted pull ups – 4 sets to failure

If you haven’t worked out with someone spotting you, I would highly recommend it. It gives you so much confidence to lift heavier knowing that someone is there to help you if necessary, and I guarantee you will discover you can lift heavier than you previously thought! I’m getting my new training program this week, so expect an update soon.

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