Limiting Carbs to Burn Fat
Limiting Carbs to Burn Fat
Want to burn fat quickly? Start by using a low carb approach on your off days.
As an athlete in training, you’re used to consuming more food than the average person to support your intense lifts. For you, better nutrition is viewed as a fuel source and without it, your athletic performance suffers.
Ideally you’re planning each day’s meals in advance (or have some sort of routine already in place) so you know precisely what you’re going to be eating to meet your protein, carbohydrate, and dietary fat needs. But does your plan look the same every day of the week? Why would you eat the same on training and game days as you do on off days (despite being much less active)? Good question!
Let’s then look at a few smart adjustments to make to your diet on recovery days.
What’s Your Bodyweight Goal?
The very first thing to think about is your body weight goal. Are you looking to burn fat to help improve your performance, or are you currently satisfied with your body composition and just looking to maximize performance?
If you’d like to lose weight and get cut, you’ll want to reduce your calories on non-workout days as, well, you’ll be burning fewer calories! Should you not, it’ll be difficult to create the calorie deficit required for your body to start using body fat as a fuel source (i.e. what you’ll need to see progress).
Furthermore, when working to lose fat, you’ll want to maximize your calorie intake on heavy training days as best you can. Those calories will enable you to maximize energy and recovery, for they help you build the lean muscle mass you’re looking for.
Reducing your calorie intake by 500 on your off days will help if you want to see ½ to one pound of fat loss per week, while maintaining your size and strength. However, if you’re more concerned with maximizing performance, keep the calories consistent throughout the week (i.e. no calorie drop-off). Those who consume more calories on recovery days will find they feel fresher for their training sessions.
How Many Days Per Week Do You Train?
The second question to ask is, how many days a week are you training? If it’s five or six days a week, you’ll likely want to keep your calorie intake fairly steady on off days. Without much time for recovery, you’ll need to be sure you provide your body with the necessary nutrients to complete the repair process as quickly as possible.
If you’re only training three or four days a week, then scale the calories and carbohydrates back slightly for better weight control. Three or four days off per week with a higher calorie intake could be enough to keep the scale creeping up, long term... and nobody wants that.
The Importance of Raising Awareness
Finally, it’s important to monitor how your body is responding to your diet set-up. If you find you’re hitting the gym in a non-recovered state, look at your recovery day diet. If you’re cutting the calories too aggressively, consider adding a few more back in.
Also make sure to pay attention to your carbohydrate intake. Some bodyweight conscious athletes will really curtail their carb intake when not training, but this can halt the recovery process. Remember, carbs supply the energy for recovery to take place. Protein supplies the building blocks, but unless energy is present to put those building blocks to use, you aren’t getting very far. So dial carbs up and dial them down as you see fit, but always be sure to pay attention to your body’s response.
As evidenced, it’s very important to dial up your carbs and calories on training days, and then adjust them based on your training goals and frequency. By planning your diet properly, and by listening to the way your body responds, you can ensure you achieve your ideal body composition and burn fat quickly without sacrificing performance during training.
To maximize your gains and burn as much fat as possible, we at 1R recommend the following supplements to be included in your healthy diet:
- Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil – These tasteless fish oil pills will help you burn fat, improve joint health, and reduce inflammation associated with hard training
- Dymatize Elite Fusion 7 – A great tasting meal replacement for your off days, Elite Fusion 7 has 23 g of protein, 5 g of fiber, and only 190 calories in each serving
- Inner Armour Training-Peak - A multivitamin packet that will support your active lifestyle and increase your energy levels throughout the day
About the Author
Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now. She currently works with a variety of different clients with various goal sets, helping them reach whatever physique goals they have set for themselves. Shannon is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com and has also been named ‘Writer Of The Year’ two times running. She has been featured in the Iron Man magazine and has contributed well over 400 articles to a variety of different websites dedicated towards muscle building and athletic performance.For more information on Shannon, please see her website, www.ShannonClarkFitness.com
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