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Eliminating carbs

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Old 12-13-2012, 01:57 PM   #1
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Default Eliminating carbs

I cant really see how this can be beneficial to exercise? I think it's hindering ones work out.
As you know, high intensity exercise relies almost completely on carbohydrates.. if your glycogen stores are low, how are you all able to really get a good butt-kicking work out in?

I ask because Im super curious. I dont think I could ever cut carbs out of my life or even reduce them but was wondering how you all did it.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:52 PM   #2
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I completely agree with you in that it's not a great idea to completely eliminate all carbs from your diet as you do need them to power through intense workouts! Also glucose is the main source of energy for your brain which is why many who eliminate carbs 100% have a hard time concentrating and feel fatigued often.
I think it's all about the carb choices, as in choosing whole complex carbs including fruits and veggies over white enriched flours while being sure to also include a lot of protein in your diet as well!
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:57 AM   #3
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I lift weights and run 45 minutes to an hour, 4 times a week. If I ran a marathon, I would add in a ton of carbs for sure.
But I'm pretty much only interested in doing one thing right now: losing body fat. Increasing my cardiovascular endurance is not my #1 goal in life at the moment.

For what it's worth, I don't struggle to get those runs in at all, and I eat aprox 20 - 30g of carbs a day.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:15 AM   #4
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Even the most severe low-carb diets don't eliminate carbs. Only the wackiest eliminate vegetables and fruit entirely.

Even with Atkins, even in the early weeks, non-starchy vegetables should be taking up the most room on your plate. Induction isn't the best time to be exercising intensely, but once you start adding in more carbs, you shouldn't have any trouble if your calorie intake is sufficient.


You don't really need tons of carbs for exercise though, because your body will make what it needs if your protein and calorie intake is high enough (which still should be low enough to allow you to lose weight if you need to).

Also, the types of carbs (the high glycemic ones) that are most important to cut back on, are the ones that only temporarily give you an energy boost. In fact, they often result in an energy spike that is then followed by a crash that leaves you more exhausted than before you ate those carbs.

Controlling carbs, and getting them from the lowest glycemic sources helps ensure that you have a constant supply of energy rather than erratic bursts and crashes.

I have more energy on my moderately-low-carb diet than on traditional high-carb diets. Because I have no energy and am extremely ill on Atkins induction (and only judged Atkins by induction) I had thought all low-carb diets were unhealthy and even dangerous. I only tried moderately-low-carb when my doctor recommended that I "try low-carb, but not too low." He admitted that he had no idea what was too low, so I'd have to experiment.

I found that I feel best on about 100g per day. I can't exercise at high intensity, but that's because of my current pain and health issues. Someone very active might need more, but while they need more carbs, those carbs don't have to come from pasta, they can come from low-glycemic, high-fiber and relatively low-carb sources such as fruits and vegetables. They don't have to come from grains (although even Atkins incorporates whole grains eventually).

Most low-carb diets do reincorporate carbs, they're just selective about when, which, and how much.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:29 AM   #5
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Kaplods, I'm glad we have you in the carb counting forum. You explain it better than I can.

After lower carbs for awhile, your body will switch over to being an efficient fat burner. Some feel even better and have more energy. It can take quite a long time for some to make that switch and will have a harder time. I can't say enough about how much I love being low carb (low in my case = 75 carbs or less a day). I have more energy, sleep better, my mood is more even, I don't crash in the afternoon. It did take me a long time to get to this place. I don't do big workouts, so I can't attest to my energy levels there. I have a medical condition where I cannot get my heart rate too high. But, there are lots of people in the low carb community that are totally ripped.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:34 PM   #6
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I've been making huge strength gains in my workouts while eating low carb. I eat between 20g and 50g of carbs per day, and I not only have more cardio endurance, I have measurable muscle gain from my resistance workouts. I swim and do kettlebells. If you're doing long term steady cardio, such as running or aerobics for long stretches of time at a high heart rate, then yes you'll probably need and crave more carbs. If your workout is largely weight/resistance based you can do low carb and still successfully fuel your workouts.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:09 PM   #7
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I'm training for my next marathon... and I've been keeping my carbs between 120 and 150 a day which works well for me... Not only in providing me with the endurance that I need, but also in helping me to control my appetite and maintaining my weight without excessive cravings...

I used to be firmly in the "You MUST carbo load" camp for endurance sports, but my thinking has changed... Not only from my own personal experience, but from my understanding... the research and the science behind it has supported this as well...
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:29 AM   #8
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There is a world ranked athlete in the Wheat Belly community who is low carb ( of course) and loads on chicken salad, bacon and eggs and lots of avocados before events . The carb loading idea is a bit of a myth for a lot of things IMO. My hubbie weight trains on low carb.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:28 AM   #9
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I don't feel that I need an abundance of carbs to exercise, personally. If I have a salad with boiled eggs or whatever for breakfast and let it digest I'm all set. I'm not really sure where you're getting the idea that exercise relies "almost completely" on carbohydrates. I don't say that to be rude, but that's just not the case. If your glycogen is depleted, your body will utilize body fat for fuel.

I find that I do have more energy to work out if I've eaten a couple hours before, but that food can be anything with a substantial amount of calories (again, I'm a fan of eggs in the morning). And I do a lot of cardio!

If the body needed carbs to work out, people doing intermittent fasts wouldn't be able to work out (and they do). People on severely carb-restricted wouldn't be able to work out.

Last edited by CabernetKitty : 12-27-2012 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CabernetKitty View Post
I'm not really sure where you're getting the idea that exercise relies "almost completely" on carbohydrates.

The body does need carbohydrates for fuel - but it can make all the carbohydrates necessary from protein and fat.

That doesn't mean a no-carbohydrate diet is necessary or ideal, but it is possible (without sacrificing the ability to exercise).

There's a fair amount of research that suggests that carb-metabolism can be more efficient than protein/fat metabolism. And "efficient" is good during famine, when calories are scarce, but not so great for weight loss in a food-abundant culture.

Some people take this to mean that a no-carb diet is ideal, and I can see why, but there are other reasons to eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:56 AM   #11
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If you trot on over to Paleo/Primal communities, there are a lot of athletes who subsist on lower carb plans. It's entirely doable, but I'm sure depends on the amount of exercise one is doing. Running/training for a marathon surely involves different nutritional needs than most people's workout routines.

I eat a lower-carb diet most of the time. Not intentionally, it's just where I gravitate. Now I don't go as low as traditional low carb plans; I tend to eat around 100-150g of carbs a day, with just about all of it coming from fruits and starchy veggies. I find my exercise is fine. In fact, before I lift heavy I often eat almost no carbs and my lifts are fine...the only time I have trouble is when I haven't gotten enough sleep!

Like CabernetKitty, I have eggs in the morning before my workouts.

Of course, with anything, YMMV. Everyone has different nutritional needs and find different things work for them.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:48 AM   #12
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There is a saying that I've have heard from many exercise physiologists and coaches that I've worked with...

"Fat Burns in a Carbohydrate Flame"

If you google it... you can get the jist of the underlying science behind it... and I could be mistaken, but I have a feeling that this is what the OP might be referring to... So there definitely is underlying physiology behind it... and the science is always good to know.. No matter where you fall on the whole high carb vs. low carb vs. moderate carb and exercise debate...

The question I'm trying to figure out is... Just how many carbs for that flame do I need to keep that fat burning and not hit the wall at mile 20 of my next marathon...???
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
The body does need carbohydrates for fuel - but it can make all the carbohydrates necessary from protein and fat.

That doesn't mean a no-carbohydrate diet is necessary or ideal, but it is possible (without sacrificing the ability to exercise).

There's a fair amount of research that suggests that carb-metabolism can be more efficient than protein/fat metabolism. And "efficient" is good during famine, when calories are scarce, but not so great for weight loss in a food-abundant culture.
This is exactly my point. The body can utilize fat and protein in place of carbohydrates. A lipid molecule has a bunch of carbon atoms in it. This isn't as fast or efficient as creating energy from carbs, but like you said, we live in a culture where food is abundant.

Am I advocating completely eliminating carbs from your diet? Absolutely not. But you don't need to have consumed carbs to exercise. That's just not the case. Your body will break down what you've eaten and create energy from it whether it's a carb or not.
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