Confused about carbs?
Carbohydrates, or carbs as they are often called, as in ‘no carbs before marbs’ (do people even say that anymore?), often get a lot of bad press when it comes to fat loss.
You’ll no doubt know people who have cut carbs, and as a result have lost weight?
You’ve maybe even done this yourself?
Cut out bread and lost weight?
Then reintroduced it and gained weight again?
Every now and again, something seems to get demonised in the world of nutrition and health, and carbs have certainly had their fair share of hate over the years.
All are carbs the same? Will carbs make you fat?
Should you avoid them at all costs? Do you need carbs?
Let’s nail some basic first, and look at the different types of carbs:
>Carbohydrates- the name means carbon plus water.
Carbs hold water in the body, which is why dropping carbs can result in (fairly) quick weight loss due to a loss of water weight.
There are 2 main types of carbs (dietary fibre is the 3rd, but I’m focusing on the following from an energy perspective):
Your brain and nervous system utilize carbohydrates for energy. In the body, carbohydrates are broken down into a molecule called glucose, which is either used for energy or stored for later use.
All of the above are made up of units of sugar, the difference between each type of carb is simply the number of sugar units it contains and how they are linked together.
These are made up of 1 or 2 units of sugar.
Carbs with only 1 unit of sugar are called simple sugars, but their formal Sunday name is ‘monosaccharide’ (it’s Greek ha).
Fruit also falls into this category as Fructose.
Carbs with 2 units of sugar are called double sugar (no surprises there) with the fancy name of ‘disaccharide’.
Common day to day examples of simple carbs include sweets, cereals (coco pops etc) cakes, Lucozade and other energy drinks.
Simple sugars are often linked to the above processed foods (hence the bad press), but the reality is they are present in a range of naturally occurring foods such as the aforementioned fruit, but also in veggies & milk products.
What separates the two is that the naturally occurring food choices will also contain naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, making them a potentially more nutritionally dense choice.
This why many people would consider a banana to be ‘healthy’ and Skittles ‘unhealthy’.
They both contain simple sugars, both contain calories, both would have a similar effect on blood sugar, but as the banana is natural or what could be deemed as ‘real food’ it also provides the body with vitamins and minerals.
However, there is no real rational argument to support eating 5 bananas a day (even though it is ‘healthy’ and one of the ‘5 a day’) if the goal is fat loss as this can clock up around 500 kcals, which is quite a chunk out of anyone’s daily allowance.
If you are looking for a lower calorie fruit option, try pineapple, watermelon, berries, fresh or frozen (frozen are a lot cheaper).
Simple carbs are very fast acting, and quickly absorbed by the body to produce energy. Because they are broken so quickly they cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
This is why it is common practice when anyone feels dizzy to give them a sugary drink or snack.
There are pros and cons of implementing simple sugars into your diet, depending on how and when these choices are made.
Before I go any further, this is probably a good place to emphasise and stress that (despite what the media will have you believe) sugar in isolation is not responsible for making you or anyone else fat!!
The single most important factor in weight loss and weight gain is the total amount of calories consumed and whether an individual is in a calorie deficit or a calorie surplus.
Excessive calories creates weight gain, NOT excessive sugar!
However, practically speaking sugar isn’t particularly filling, and as it digested so quickly this is what can make it very easy to overeat on.
Try it: eat a bowl of kids cereal and tell me you aren’t hungry again within an hour?
Does a slice a cake actually fill you up and leave feeling satisfied in terms of hunger?
Or does it just ‘keep you going’?????
However there may be times when you wish to consciously implement fast acting sugars into your routine, and placing them around your workout window can be an advantageous choice for some people. This may be time when you want to consider choosing foods that can be digested easily, as long as it fits into your total daily intake in terms of calories.
I deal with a lot of people who claim to have sugar cravings, and who also believe that they have a perceived ‘weakness’ when it comes to certain food choices.
If you feel you are craving sugar or something sweet, it’s very often down to your blood sugar levels dropping and you needing that ‘quick fix’ to bring them back up rapidly.
The easiest fix for this to simply try to eat a bit more regularly if possible. This isn’t to do with metabolism (that’s a whole other subject) but practically speaking leaving large gaps between meals can often lead to you to reaching for the quickest sugary fix.
When these carbs are made up of 2 or more units of sugar their funky name is ‘polysaccharides’, when these carbs have 3 to 10 units of sugar they can be called ‘oligosaccharides’.
Common day to day examples of complex carbs include: porridge oats, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, and beans.
The key to complex carbs is in the name, as they are made up of many many units of sugar, this is what makes them ‘complex’.
This is why complex carbs take a lot longer to digest than simple carbs. This results in glucose being released slower and at a steadier rate than simple carbs.
Opting to fuel your body on complex carbs may help to provide stability in your blood sugar levels and potentially help with those cravings. For example, a bowl of porridge oats will leave most people fuller for longer compared to a bowl of coco pops.
If you feel you giving in to cravings, I always advise noting at what you have eaten on that day in question and looking for patterns linked to the choices you are making.
How many carbs do you need? When should you have them? What if you are ‘sensitive’ to carbs?
The subject of carb consumption and when/where you should eat them can be a very confusing topic, and there are many strategies that can be utilised, all to a potentially positive effect.
You may have heard or read about the following:
>Cycling carbs (using low & high carb days).
>Nutrient timing (placing majority of carbs around the workout).
>Carb back loading (eating most of carbs on the evening or later in the day).
>Intermittent fasting (consuming all your daily calories within a set timeframe each day).
All of which have their place, based on activity levels, training intensity, lifestyle and personal preferences.
I’d just like to reinforce the fact that THE single biggest factor in fat loss is ensuring you are in a caloric deficit. The subject of when you place the carbs and how many you have/need is irrelevant if you are not in a deficit.
The most important factor is your overall net energy balance opposed to where you place the carbs in your diet.
How many carbs do you need?
A very simple way to look at this is to consider that:
Carbs are fuel, but are you using the fuel?
If you have a busy/active job, have a high daily step count, on your feet all day AND you are training hard consistently, then the chances are you may need more carbohydrates than a sedentary inactive person.
If you are sitting on the sofa all day having a lazy movie day and not training, do you need as much fuel?
There are ALWAYS medical exceptions to everything that I have stated, and some people will have issues in tolerating certain macronutrients. Just as some people will have genuine hormonal issues that will create issues with carbohydrate consumption.
If this is the case then medical advice/guidance is the best step forward. Blood testing can be done to help assess genuine issues.
Practically speaking carbs can be easy to overeat on, a big factor in this is often cost.
For example, rice, bread, potatoes, & pasta are all relatively cheap options that provide larger quantities of food compared to protein sources like fish & meat.
However, for a LOT of people, when it comes to claims of carbs being their enemy, they are simply NOT doing the following:
>Ensuring they are in a caloric deficit.
>Matching their carb intake to the demands of their day (ie they are simply not moving enough on a daily basis).
>Training hard consistently and progressively (this is all relative.)
If you consider all of the above factors, it becomes clearer how some people appear to handle carbs better due to better due to activity levels and training intensity.
If you are reading this and have no idea of your current daily caloric intake, start by tracking your foods:
Download MyFitnessPal, it’s a free app that’s pretty easy to get your head round and will help you log your daily intake.
Start by looking at the TOTAL daily calorie intake, before deciding how many carbs you are or are not going to consume.
Remember: If you overeat on ANY macronutrient (protein, fat or carbs) you will NOT achieve your fat loss goals.
As ever, if you need any help in putting any of this into practice, give me a shout.
Tristan ‘carbs, carbs, carbs’ Buttle.
Yep, that’s right….
Over 10,000 kcals, EVERY DAY, you read it correctly,
In one day……….
That’s a serious intake, right?!
‘He’ in this case is Eddie Hall, who also happens to be one of the strongest men on this planet………weighing in at over 29 stone…..
My girlfriend and I watched Eddie’s documentary on Netflix last night in which he chats about his colossal calorie intake and his training & lifestyle……
Eddie claimed he doesn’t count calories now, as he has an accurate idea from sheer experience of eating in a certain manner for years…
When he did track his intake, he said it clocked in at over a MASSIVE 10,000 CALORIES A DAY!
Ha, we were both amazed! He literally eats a full pizza and tub of ice cream most days!
My point to you today is to simply ask you:
Do you know or at least have an idea how many calories you are eating on a daily basis?
Chances are its not 10,000, but Eddie only knew this by initially tracking & measuring his intake.
I’m not suggesting you have to track every single calorie you eat from now to eternity…
However, if you are not where you want to be with your goals, tracking things for a certain period of time can help you to educate yourself on what you are truly eating.
From there you will gather experience & knowledge that you can apply to your life, so if you allow a little treat it can be factored into your daily targets.
That’s all for today,
Until the next time,
Tristan ‘I thought I ate a lot’ Buttle
P.S –When I do track calories, I use the My Fitness Pal app. It’s easy to use and it’s free, try it and educate yourself on yourself. Any issues, give me a shout.
Have ever looked in a magazine, seen a pic of someone and thought to yourself:
He/she looks cool, I LOVE their hair…….I want that hairstyle……
You book your appointment and strut into the salon all ready & fired up for your new look, and after your discussing it, your hairdresser tells you……………
It’s not for you!
This is often because your professional stylist knows that you simply cannot reproduce the same look yourself.
It’s perhaps just not a manageable style for you to have to deal with on a daily basis.
So if you did go for this new style, you’d maybe look great for that day (with the help of your stylist) but what would you do when left to style/maintain it yourself?
>Would you end up in a worse position in terms of your lovely locks?
The same logic applies to your health & fitness goals:
I pretty confident I could get you to do A LOT more than you may currently be doing in the gym in terms of intensity, and you would definitely step out your comfort zone, however:
If you can’t consistently reproduce this yourself, what’s the point?
>Anyone can train hard once.
>Nobody got in great shape by doing just one intense workout.
If the intensity cannot be matched/reproduced, I’d suggest you’d be better scaling it down to a more manageable level.
You need a find a level of intensity that challenges you but also allows you to build a foundation of progression.
Your hairdresser and I have your best interests in mind, and we are both thinking about your long term happiness and success.
If you need a hand in establishing a routine that you CAN stick to, give me a shout.
That’s all for today, until the next time,
Tristan ‘have you got your holidays booked?’ Buttle.
P.S – What’s the worst haircut you’ve had?
P.P.S – I’ve had some absolute shockers ha
I’ve just got back from a week in the Lake District with my girlfriend and her family friends, we had an amazing time and I would recommend it to anyone!
A week of biking, walking, hiking, relaxing & chilling with one of my favourite people was exactly what I needed.
Part of the trip included the opportunity to go mountain biking, which I agreed to, even though I haven’t rode a bike (as in an actual bike, not spin bike) in a VERY long time, and given that some the guys on the trip were well into biking, I don’t mind admitting I was a bit nervous!
The night before I was advised to borrow some padded shorts to protect the ‘delicate’ parts of the male anatomy……..
Fast forward to the next morning, and there I was, walking a bit strange and feeling like I was wearing a big nappy…
I was questioning whether this was actually necessary, as it seemed a bit overkill in my inexperienced mind….
Oh how wrong I was!!!
After getting about half way around the course, let’s just say I was VERY thankful I had my nappy on!
It’s a unique feeling that only men reading will be able to relate to, but all of sudden the padded shorts made absolute perfect sense!
If you relate this to your health & fitness goals, there is a valuable lesson to be learnt:
>Experience leaves clues…..
If you are unsure about how to tackle your goals or have little experience to draw on in the gym, then seeking advice from an experienced professional will help to you to massively enhance your performance and your results.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, and don’t be afraid to embrace something new even if it seems strange like wearing a nappy!
That’s all for today, until the next time
Tristan ‘pampers’ Buttle.
P.S – I’ll be back in touch this week, speak soon.
The word ‘lazy’ is often misused and misrepresented…………
There’s a huge misbelief that if somebody doesn’t train, or has stopped training it’s because they are simply ‘lazy’.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of the word lazy, I’m imagining someone who does nothing…….. I’m talking just sits around doing nothing,…..laid on the sofa, all day everyday, basically somebody who lives like everyday is a hangover day…..
I don’t happen to know ANYONE who fits into this category………..
…….…I’m sure there are people like this out there, I’m just saying I don’t know anyone & haven’t dealt with anyone who does literally NOTHING ALL DAY.
In my experience, a huge reason/rational that people give for not going to the gym or not sticking to a routine is a perceived lack of time.
I have trained & have helped some very, very busy people over the year & as I’ve said before, age often presents more responsibility, which again eats away at your precious time….if you let it.
If we consider the following aspects of daily adult life:
>cutting the grass
>being a taxi service to the kids
>getting the kids ready for school
>dealing with moody teenagers
…….all of these commitments add up to provide a quick snapshot of the average adult lifestyle….
Anything but lazy, am I right?!
Due to all of these commitments, your physique and health may suffer/decline………if you let it.
However, this isn’t down to plain old laziness, but often an inability to put yourself first.
Feelings of guilt, coupled with thoughts of ‘I should really be doing something else’ are often reasons why people quit or don’t even get started…..
Putting yourself first is tough, I get it……….
The thing is that it’s often a case of breaking the cycle…
All of the things listed above that stop you from training are all exactly the things that you can handle better from training!
Referring to yourself as lazy or, worse still, being labelled lazy by others & society only compounds the feelings of self doubt and adds pressure to a potentially already pressured lifestyle…it’s a very negative downward spiral…..
If you feel you can relate to what I’m talking about, please believe me when I say you are not lazy & you are not useless or worthless…….you are anything but & the fact that you give so much to so many other areas of your life should be proof enough for you……..
What you do need to do is establish a totally realistic & enjoyable routine, that you CAN stick to, one that allows flexibility, that gives you a ‘plan b’ option and that keeps you inspired & motivated.
I would also add that all this is far easier with the right support from the right people around you. This will help you find your ‘me time’.
Think about what you CAN do, forget what you DID do, or what you USED to do, focus on the now, organise your time, schedule it in like you no doubt do with all other aspects of your life, and stop beating yourself up!
As ever, give me a shout if I can help you out.
That’s all for today, until the next time,
Tristan ‘lazy?’ Buttle.