Fitness and Nutrition; carbs vs proteins

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by viceroy, Nov 30, 2011.

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  1. I have a pretty balanced diet and five workouts a week of about an hour to 90 minutes each, a lively mix of cardio, weights, resistance etc. I am quite happy with the Men's Health Fitness App and find it gives me a way track progress and suggest new workouts, not bad all in all. I have a desk job and not much other physical activity, sometimes go for a run, though less so in winter months.

    I have a pretty balanced diet, drink very little alcohol but lots of water and don't smoke. My 'problem' if I can call it that, is that I lack protein (frequent cravings for yoghurt and the likes at night), and I overdo my carbs (simply because I love 'em).

    I really don't want to go and see a nutritionist, as I think I got the basics right and just need to fine tune. I do take multivitamins and quite a bit of extra magnesium (600-1000 mg daily, otherwise muscle cramps). Additionally I take about 40-50g in Protein (powder, mixed with milk and frozen berries in shake form), but I am tired of chicken, fish and eggs, just to keep my protein levels up and I find it difficult to forgo bread and rice for dinner.

    - Any tips on good, tasty carb substitutes including snacks?
    - What is your protein /carb intake daily in grams or percentage approx. (someone with a similiar level of activity)?
    - When substituting carbs with protein foods for dinner, will I have the energy for decent workout in the mornings before work?

    cheers muckers!
  2. What is your training goal? To stay fit? Improve your fitness? Lose weight? build muscle? Each goal will require a different balance of nutrients and style of training. By the training you are doing you are looking for an all round gain in fitness and weight loss!?

    Top tips are; Take your carbs early in the day. This will give your body chance to burn them throughout the day and prevent storage in the form of fat tissue when you sleep. CV training should be done early in the day to boots your metabolism for the rest of the day. Weight training should be done after work or as near tyo 4pm as possible, this is when you are at your strongest. Take as much protein as you can stand. Your body will not store protein, it will only be used for repair or growth. Ive read you should aim to take in 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for endurance exercisers and 1.7 to 1.8 grams per kg per day for heavy strength training.

    Protein shakes, bars, flapjacks are all good substitues for chicken and eggs. Look at the amino acids in these products as they are what help your body to absorb and use the protein.

    I dont know of any carb substitues, i would try and keep away from bread as these carbs are heavily refined and carry a lot of sugar, concentrate more on pastas, rices, pulses and beans etc. Porridge, oats and the like are good sources of carbs and you can add fruit / honey etc to taste.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Thanks mate. Yeah, the aim is to stay fit and healthy and look like a slightly better excuse of my former self. I only have a slot for exercise in the morning, I have a job and other commitments and exercising twice over is not feasible. I am pretty ok with the result for the effort I put in (age and all considered), but yeah I do find it difficult to shed the last 5-10kgs and become that bit more lean. I know the key to that lies in nutrition much more so then exercise, hence my question. Good point about taking carbs early, question is if I have the energy the next morning to push myself to exercise hard, I'll give it a try. I quite like lentils (in the form of dahl) which seem to be an excellent source of both protein and fibre. Will also have a look at the amino acids. Doesn't one bulk up quite quickly if there is a boost of protein intake and regular exercise?
  4. Make sure your carbs are wholegrain as far as possible. Eat more meat. Dont be scared of red meat - there is only so much fish and chicken you can eat before you get bored. Try eating more beans but some people find the effect on their digestion unpleasant!
  5. How about adding nuts to your diet like walnuts and pine nuts for some variety? Both tasty and healthy with a relative high portion of protein.
  6. For increased protein intake to make you bulk up you have to do the right type of training, ie heavy weight low rep and will have to limit the cv to a warm up and cool down. Dont be afraid of protein. Like i said before it will give you energy to train but wont be stored as fat, the draw back of increased protein intake is that your shit will stink and you will be a farting machine! Good suggestion about phoning the hospital. I bet a dietician would love a conversation with a healthy individual trying to better themselves as opposed to a mong on death's door who just wasnts to eat Maccy D's!
  7. Viceroy - A little off topic but you mentioned trying to ditch the last bit of weight. If you constantly top up with carbs your body is less likely to be burning fat as it doesn't need to. For short hard sessions where you are working at a high level your body will naturally use carbs as fuel much more than fat, it is the fuel of choice and much easier for the body to use. Working yourself above a certain level will mean you are burning almost 100% carbs, 0% fat (the remaining tiny % will be protein that you are burning). So, if you want to lose weight/be leaner (as well as making your body more effecient from an endurance perspective) you need longer, slower sessions where you body will be burning more fat than carbs, if you can couple this with taking on board less carbs during the day and not eating within a couple hours of exercise the better.

    A good example is people in a run saying they "hit the wall" when it is simply running out of the bodies chosen fuel and switching to fat burning as you will struggle to run out (average bloke at ~10% body fat will probably have enough fat to run the body for a couple of months! Although not at the intensity it can using carbs), this will always be harder work than burning carbs and will most likely slow them down but can be mitigated by teaching your body to burn fat more efficiently.

    A little off topic but hopefully it helps a bit.
  8. Your muscles hold energy stores. When those stores are completely depleted the body takes stored energy in the form of fat and takes it to the muscles that are doing the work. There is a level to which you will burn protein as it is a ready source of energy, as long as you have protein in your system your body wont break down the muscle to get that energy!

    Its very complex and a black art. And for everybody it is different.
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  9. Losing the last few lbs is always a bitch. Keeping it off even more so! The trick is to eat clean.

    There's so much advice flying around, and so much of it contradictory, that it's impossible to take snippets of information and implement them. It won't make an enormous difference which one. You need to pick a diet plan and stick to it. Loads on the "fun site".
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  10. Thanks for the linky Jarrod

    As Im about to enter my mid life crisis I need to sort my self out physically

    According to the boss round is not in shape.

    As a slightly related question do the Fat burning products such as Creatine etc actually work
  11. Google intermittent fasting - there are several variations of it, but it's good for shedding fat (and you make it a lifestyle rather than a diet).
    • Like Like x 1
  12. I agree, it will vary a lot from person to person given weight, body fat % and fitness level just to start. A tough one to find the balance, but very worthwhile especially from an endurance side of things. Not necessarily the goal here however.
  13. Creatine isnt a fat burner. Creatine helps you work harder when training, aids recovery and hydrates your muscles. Thermogenesis products such as thermobol are what you are looking for. They consist of mainly natural products that accelerate and maintain a high metabolism. green tea extract and guarana etc. the science makes sense as to whether or not they work is for you to try. Try a one month period following the instructions and see what effect it haves.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Creatine is great if you're trying to build mass - but it's not a fat burner and I get muscle cramps if I do a lot of cardio on it.

    Ephedrine is probably the best (semi-legal and semi-safe) fat burner out there, but you need to be careful especially if you're getting on a bit. You can't buy it in this country any more, but it's legal to import and posses (from Canada, for example) as long as you don't pass it on to anyone else.