Great weekend learning from some of the best at the Elite Fitness and Performance Summit in Chicago! Writing a quick one today with a few things that might help you reach your fitness goals. I Learned a lot, met a lot of cool people, and I also ate carbs. Yes, I ate carbs. And they were delicious.
My view on carbs are very similar to those of Nate Miyaki in his book “The Truth about Carbs”
Just like most of you I have played around with low carb diets and other variations. These diets define low carb somewhere between 30 grams to 100 grams, so it varies quite a bit. Like all diets, they can work, but it’s usually short term. The diet mindset is what leads to failure. You need to focus on having patience and changing habits.
Below is a quick overview of how low carb diets work, why some people can’t stay on them, and why I will continue to eat carbs and not feel bad about it. The definition of low carb varies but I am just going to go after the very low carb (50 grams and below) diets. I know I already lost some of you to comments like…..”carbs made me gain fat!” or ” thanks for the green light to go to town at Dunkin Doughnuts D!” As usual the truth lies in the middle so my take away points are below.
*Fruits and veggies are carbs. Trust me, the reason you might have gained fat is not because you had too many fruits or veggies. They provide fiber, nutrients, and even water to help keep you full. This also makes it easier to stay on your plan since you are not hungry all the time. Your brain will not allow you to accept the truth so I hear people say “I had too much fruit” when it reality it was probably the sweets, wine or fast food.
*Very Low carb diets are absolutely terrible for those who train hard. Your training intensity will go down the drain, especially if you are a higher level athlete. Expect to lose some muscle if you stay on this long term without cycling carbs up a few days per week.
*Reducing calories from carbs, bad carbs, is a very good thing. Reducing Calories from fats, bad fats, is a very good thing. The reason all of the diets work is because you are reducing calories. They all get you to eat more protein, reduce calories, and eat higher quality food. They make it seem like there is some evil macronutrient causing all your problems, because it sells books.
*I have noticed that some people screw up lower carb diets and gain weight because they use it as an excuse to load up on the bacon, butter, cheese, fatty meats, or even healthy fats. Yes, healthy foods, especially fats, can cause you to gain weight. It still comes down to calories in, calories out.
*The first week of a low carb diet really messes with your head. I see people lose a ton of water weight, and some fat also. The second week they continue to lose some fat, but the water weight goes back up if they eat a carb. They did not gain fat weight back, but the obsession with the scale causes them to start and stop over and over again.
*We surveyed 100 people (In my family feud voice) and the number one reason why VERY low carb diets don’t work is because………PEOPLE CAN’T FOLLOW THEM LONG TERM. It puts you in a position where you feel like a failure when you touch a carb. This usually leads to the swing from “eating perfect” to eating terrible. Most end up with a terrible mood, low energy, low libido, and just overall feeling like crap.
The truth is always somewhere in between the 2 extremes. Your carb level should fall right in between also. The studies clearly show that when calories are matched up there is no clear advantage to keto or low carb diets. They also show that low carb/keto diets are very hard to follow long term. If you are into all the geeky science stuff then respond and I can get this over to you. Below is just one of the well designed studies https://ajcn.nutrition.
The other big takeaway from this weekend is the importance of investing the time and money to building your network. You have to accept the fact that you don’t always have the answer. You have to accept the fact that if you have the answers you still need someone to hold you accountable. You also have to view it as in investment and not just spending money. You are nothing without the help of others.
There is a reason our members get superior results. Everyone wants to think there is a magic exercise, super treadmill, or some gadget that is going to cause you to lose weight. This is never the case. It is because of that email that the members get when they are slacking. It is because you have mentors to provide education, accountability, home workouts when you miss, and much more. It is because we know when you need that push, or maybe you need to be held back. It is because the other members in the group become a family and also offer support.