You are down to 10% body fat, you are 4 weeks out from a show/competition/photo shoot and you decide to cut your carbohydrate intake down further…
Let me guess; you are tired, no energy, no motivation, moody and grumpy, you have the strength of a 5 year old girl…..
The short summary is that anaerobic exercise (strength training, HIIT, intermittent sprint sports, etc.) creates a unique metabolic environment, an altered physiological state, and changes the way your body processes nutrients for 24-72 hours after completion of a training session.
So if you exercise 2-4 days a week, then your body is virtually in a recovery mode 100% of the time. It is in an altered physiological state beyond pure resting conditions 100% of the time, thus its nutritional needs are completely different than that of the average sedentary office worker.
Here are 5 specific reasons to consider keeping some carbs in your physique enhancement plans, even during cutting phases:
1. Low glycogen levels as the result of inadequate carbohydrate intake are associated with low energy levels, fatigue, lack of motivation, and decreased performance. Conversely, numerous studies have documented the positive effects of carbohydrate intake and elevated muscle glycogen concentration on performance, work output, and high intensity intermittent activity. Keep in mind that maintaining your ability to kick ass in the gym is the main stimulus that is going to preserve your lean muscle mass, even while in the calorie deficit necessary for fat loss.
2. Hard training can cause a temporary impairment of the immune system and increase susceptibility to illness. With consistent high-intensity exercise, adequate carb intake lessens the potentially negative changes in immunity brought about by training. Do you catch every cold that comes around town? A lot of athletes do when they go too low in carbs.
3. Sufficient carbohydrate intake supports an optimum free testosterone: cortisol ratio IN RESPONSE to high intensity activity. If you are juicing it up that doesn’t matter so much. But if you are going about it naturally, you need a targeted plan that helps maintain natural hormone production. Dietary fat isn’t the only critical factor. Carbs count too.
4. Low carb diets coupled with intense training protocols can impair thyroid production and sabotage normal metabolic rate. More specifically, it can impair the conversion of t4 thyroid hormone to its more active T3 form.
5. A carb-depleted state can affect natural production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which affect mood states and the ability to induce sleep. Suffer from insomnia when following fat loss diets? Are you grumpy, depressed, and just generally always in a foul mood?
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