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How To Eat Carbohydrates Without Getting Fat

When and How To Eat Carbohydrates – Plus Solving the Post Workout Puzzle

Hey mate,

I hope this finds you better than ever. By the end of this long post, you will have a pretty good idea how to answer the following questions:

When should you begin to introduce carbohydrates post workout?

When should you reintroduce a carbohydrate RE FEEDING day?

When should you move off of Food for Fat Loss and alter total protein, fat, and carb ratios to a much higher carbohydrate intake on a daily basis?

You should also understand the following:

Insulin Resistance and what that means for carbohydrate intake

Training demands and what that means for carbohydrate intake

These are important questions that are all going to have an influence on how you feel, how you perform and on how good you can ever look naked, as such there is going to be a fair bit of background.

Let’s get to it.

The fundamental idea behind the Food for Fat Loss Protocol is simple; use a food quality approach tacked to an enforced macro nutrient ratio that will get about 95% of the population moving dramatically in the right direction health-wise and for fat loss.

By MACRO nutrient ratios I am referring to how much protein, fat, and carbohydrate you are eating as ratios in your daily food consumption.

The Food for Fat Loss protocol enforces a macro nutrient profile that is low in carbohydrate, moderate in protein, and moderate to high in fat.

Whether you are FAT OR NOT, whether you think you are insulin resistant or not, most people do great if they get in there and give it a shot.

30 days. Pure. Clean. Simple. One month of Food for Fat Loss. A food quality based, low carb protocol to jumpstart your body back into health, and kick of some serious fat loss, while giving your body an insulin “reset”. Volume of training may need to be pulled way back for the highly active, especially when starting out. Most people are pretty darn insulin resistant, and even when not, the “insulin reset” plus food quality focus can work wonders. As a plus to rocking out the low carb high food quality approach, you tend to greatly assist DIGESTIVE health by making life easy for your gut lining, while making life pretty hard for bad bacteria.

SIGH – Food for Fat Loss, a thing of beauty

As a one size fits (nearly) all approach, it is a ripper.

Lets take a step back and think on some eating rules for a minute.

The Kiwi’s Rules for ALL eating.

 

EAT for nutrient density

EAT to minimize systemic inflammation

EAT to improve gut absorption of nutrients and support a healthy GI system

EAT for a positive hormonal response

EAT to support your body’s own immune system – host resistance IS key

EAT a macro nutrient profile that lends itself to improved body composition and less disease

EAT sufficient quantity of quality food to deliver your body its macro and micro nutrient requirements

 

DO NOT EAT anti-nutrients

DO NOT EAT toxins or any foods that harm you

 

Note these two here particularly, since even more than the others they dictate MACRO nutrient ratios:

EAT a macro nutrient profile that lends itself to improved body composition and less disease

EAT for a positive hormonal response

When we talk macro nutrient ratios, we are always always always (say, “always”) talking about protein, carbs, and fat from food quality “clean” sources.

Ultimately it is FOOD QUALITY plus lifestyle choices that matter ahead of pretty much all else. Eat first to heal your gut and to reduce systemic inflammation, get your body as far out of complete metabolic disorder (disaster) as you can (this means low carb for the majority of people, at least for a period), then just eat with food quality as your foremost priority for the rest of your now healthy and energetic life. You will do great.

What is food quality? One that ticks the boxes on those rules for all eating! This means real food.

Real food quality = Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, veges, fruit, tubers, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and for some people, a little bit of white rice, a little bit of full fat dairy such as cheese and butter to tolerance.

Too easy!

But what, you ask, does this mean to YOU?

This is a post about how and when to introduce CLEAN carbohydrates back into your eating pattern. It is not about cheat meals.

Food quality first, nutrition rules first. (Say “always” again).

All that is left is adjusting the fuel mixture and timing of macro nutrients depending on individual goals, exercise type and level, existing health conditions and your own lifestyle, and considering the timing of those nutrients depending on your own individual goals, exercise type and level, existing health conditions and your own lifestyle.

Who are YOU on the insulin resistant spectrum? Where are you at in terms of health? Are you after performance? Can you tolerate carbohydrate intake? Should you even care?

BIG Insulin Metabolism PARAGRAPH starts:

Those with superior genetics and superior insulin sensitivity, or whom have exercised a-plenty all their lives and are still exercising currently and therefore have superior insulin sensitivity, or have never really let themselves get out of whack metabolically through any of the contributing factors in this non-exhaustive list such as below…..

Things Other Than Food That Can Impact Insulin Sensitivity and Blood Glucose Levels

Lifestyle

Lifetime exercise level and type

Current exercise level and type

Gut integrity and gut health

Genetics

Fatty liver disease

Inflammation

Autoimmunity issues

Stress

 

In other words, those who are maintaining good blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity…..

 

……can get away with a higher carbohydrate intake.

The VERY IMPORTANT FLIP SIDE TO THIS

If that is NOT YOU, then you CANNOT GET AWAY with a higher carbohydrate intake

BIG Insulin Metabolism PARAGRAPH ends.

Unfortunately, for many of us, we are so far gone towards the insulin resistant side of things that we may NEVER be able to eat a decent whack of carbohydrates on a regular basis without compromising our health and body composition.

All of us fall within the following spectrum, the important thing is for YOU to figure out where you are

Awesome Insulin Sensitivity ————————————————————————— Ugly Insulin Resistance

Despite a lifetime of hard training and continuous exercise, I am very much in the more “insulin resistant” camp.

 

This is a result of numerous factors, including but not limited to:

– Complete adrenal blowout from overtraining made worse by being coupled with stimulants at age 21

– Persistent sleep issues

– Serious viral infections in 2007 and 2008

– Unknown gluten intolerance ALL MY LIFE

– Compromised gut integrity for majority of adulthood

– Stress levels

As a result, I can only get away with a regular increased carbohydrate intake when

1. I am maintaining a reasonably high training volume (but not too much, a fine line which if I cross puts me into poor recovery status)

2. I am sleeping really well (remember that ONE night of poor sleep can impact insulin sensitivity!)

3. I am controlling my stress levels really well (cortisol impacts both blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity)

4. I have one, two, and three above sorted, and as long as I eat any significant portion of carbohydrates POST WORKOUT ONLY.

 

If I don’t attend to 1-4 above then watch out! A round midsection promptly ensues – see pic of the last time I ignored this and played with it!

 

Insulin Resistant? Then Pay Attention!

If we are talking HEALTH, then we want to get people a grip on their insulin management problems as fast as possible. One of the reasons Food for Fat Loss works so well is that it promotes improvements in insulin management within days. Have type 2 diabetes? You can FIX it, permanently. Have a fat roll round the middle? You can fix that too. Have gut dysbiosis, we can starve those bad bacteria into submission. Hypertension? Yes. Energy issues? Yes. At high risk of a heart attack? Let’s fix that shall we. Systemic chronic inflammation? You better believe you can fix it. Have a glucose consuming cancer running amuck? You may not cure it but you can make life tough for that bastard by starving it of sugars.

Short version: the low carb food quality Food for Fat Loss approach is an approach for HEALTH.

HEALTH should be the most important consideration for people, especially if just starting out. If you haven’t already, lets get you started on the Food for Fat Loss approach.

Once you have done that, you can read on.

From here on, I am assuming you have not only READ but ALREADY COMPLETED AT LEAST A MONTH OF THE FOOD FOR FAT LOSS APPROACH.

“Hi Chris,

I’m a long time reader of your site and finally took the plunge and did my 30 days FFFL, which I followed strictly. Today is day 30.

Here’s how it worked:

How I feel: Unbelievable. Tons of energy, mental clarity, focus.

Performance: Went from running a quarter mile in 100 seconds to 75 seconds. Not super fast, but pretty good for my size. Went from doing 8 pushups barely to 20 easily. All this was on 3-4 short workouts per week. I also notice that my recovery from a hard track workout takes a day instead of two days now. No soreness. Awesome.

Fat Loss: I lost 13 pounds in 30 days, while not being hungry even once. Not sure how much was fat, but I’m definitely a lot slimmer. Not too concerned about this.

Waist: from 40 inches to 38 inches.

I have more fat to lose, so I am planning to continue on until I lose another pile of fat.

More importantly, though, I can’t see ever going back to eating like I did before.

One note on gluten: One day, I went off and ate a bunch of crackers with wheat (my one mistake cheat day). But it was worth it because, after this, I felt like crap for 3 days (upset stomach, weird digestion, etc.). This was enough to convince me not to touch gluten again.

Thanks for everything.”

– AC, a comment on this blog

Go read it and start now if you haven’t already ——> FOOD for FAT LOSS

So you have done one month, or two, or twelve. See my last post here to determine when you should stop.

Now the big question:

When should you be eating more carbohydrates in your diet that the Food for Fat Loss opening stages?

That depends on WHO you are and WHAT your goals are.

Who you are is referring to you and your health, exercise, and lifestyle, both now, and in past history.

Remember that big paragraph about insulin management?

Lifestyle

Lifetime exercise level and type

Current exercise level and type

Gut integrity and gut health

Genetics

Fatty liver disease

Inflammation

Autoimmunity issues

Stress

 

Now what is your goal?

We are referring to what is driving you. Different folks, different goals, if you can accept that, then you can accept that we are going to have different NEEDS in your local macro nutrient requirements office.

Please believe me that the individual variety here is MASSIVE.

With that in mind, lets talk about the group of people who NEED to eat more carbohydrates. You know, non metabolically deranged folks who exercise a bunch using glycolytically demanding forms of exercise.

NOTE: If you are smashing your body frequently with glycolytically demanding exercise (think; cross-fit style workouts, circuits of all kinds, long work periods with short rest, most ball sports when played intensely or for duration, or even just a high total volume or frequency of weights or training) then at a certain point, you will most likely HAVE to reintroduce carbs post workout to maintain performance and stop your body getting into serious STRESS MODE and going backwards in both health and performance.

Your body will strive to replenish those glycogen stores, and it will get them from somewhere. If you don’t put back in what you are continually taking out, and you keep taking out – say hello to recovery challenges and self induced chronic stress, leading rapidly to chronically elevated cortisol levels, and remember that cortisol alone can cause a degradation of muscle tissue via gluconeogenesis, and voila, your body is breaking down your hard earned muscle mass to put sugars into your bloodstream.

Most elite athletes are continuously walking a fine line between overtraining, burnout, and adequate recovery for maximum performance (note I said performance, NOT health).

That said, lets talk FUEL MIXTURE.

Remember fuel mixture and timing of macro nutrients will depend on individual goals, exercise type and level, existing health conditions and your own lifestyle, and considering the timing of those nutrients depending on your own individual goals, exercise type and level, existing health conditions and your own lifestyle.

POST WORKOUT and why it matters

Let’s look at the two main post workout eating options.

Post Workout – Protein plus Fat

If your primary goal is HEALTH or FAT LOSS and you do not meet any of the criteria below on when to add in carbohydrates post workout, then you will do best on the same foods you have been eating for Food for Fat Loss. Animal protein, fat, vegetables. Eaten as a solid food meal post workout. You have protein to help repair damaged muscle tissue and blunt cortisol post workout, fat to suppress the normal glucose release of a large protein meal (via glucagon) and provide fuel for energy, lots of yummy micronutrients, a tiny bit of carbs from the veges, and voila.

This will drive optimum results for insulin management, movements in body composition (see notes below), and a nice hormetic response to the punctuated stress that is/was the exercise you have just done.

Stronger, leaner, healthier.

Throw in the occasional re-feeding day (more on that below) and I will take it for the vast majority of normal people. This can also work pretty well for pure strength athlete’s training most of the time, especially if training with a minimalist approach. There will also be some for whom this approach works better all of the time. Gotta love individual variety. (See limits above on exercise volume and frequency and comments below). Some strength athletes and many for whom health is a priority will ride this horse indefinitely.

Ideally eat this meal as close to when you finish your workout as possible, though this is not quite as important as for the Protein plus Carbs set up.

Question: What is a typical post workout meal for Protein and Fat?

Whatever you would normally eat on the Food for Fat Loss approach!

Grass-fed cow, some yummy quail eggs, and then the salad bar

PHOTO: a typical post workout meal (grass-fed steak and vegetable medley)

Post Workout – Protein plus Carbohydrates

Taking advantage of the ANABOLIC WINDOW post workout, a time of maximal insulin sensitivity, and superior glucose transport, when your body is primed to transport both sugar and other nutrients directly into muscle cells is a smart idea for those who are pushing any fine line for performance or recovery or with superior insulin sensitivity who can milk this period for all its worth.

These meals will be Protein plus Carbohydrate.

Protein to help repair damaged muscle tissue (think building blocks for lego) and the carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen for faster recovery and along with the protein to diminish overall cortisol response.

Performance focus while limiting total INSULIN RESPONSE by timing the meal post workout and gradually building up the amount and type of carbs, and this is your baby.

Try to get this meal in as soon as you finish training. The harder, longer, and more often you train, the faster you will want to get this meal in to maximize recovery. This may necesitate bringing your food to the gym with you depending on your individual set up.

A typical post workout meal in the protein and carb department?

An example: a Pre packed cold meal: Protein: Tuna, 2 hard boiled eggs, Carbs: the mighty-even-when-cold sweet potato mash, big slice of rock melon, splash of balsamic on tuna and eggs, any other salad or veges to taste.

For hot meals, this is pretty easy, just eat your animal protein, then fill up on carbohydrates from clean sources. How much carbohydrate will really depend on YOU. I recommend you start on the lower end and work up. Watching body-fat levels, how sleepy you get after the meal, performance, and recovery.

An easy way to do this without any annoying measuring or weighing is to simple eat your protein until 80% full then go with a half cup of COOKED (insert your preferred clean carbohydrate source). Start there and work your way up or down based on how you feel and perform, filling up on vegetables to make up any hunger shortfall. Obviously if you are 220 lb guy at 10% bodyfat training 90 minutes for foot ball, your post workout meal is going to be a bit different in make up from a 120lb lady at 20% bodyfat doing cross fit for 20 minutes.

When can you/should you have a post workout protein plus carb meal?

After one month or more of Food For Fat Loss, and depending on exercise level, type, volume, and duration, and all those factors dictating blood sugar and INSULIN RESISTANCE above – you would kick in a re-introduction of carbohydrates post workout in the form of tubers such as sweet potatoes, taro, yucca, peeled potato, then the more carbohydrate heavy squashes (squash “spag” = yummy). To those who don’t have gut problems or auto immune issues, you can also look at white rice, but start with the others first. Tiny bits of fruit are ok but I would not make them the main post workout carbohydrate source due fructose’s preferential resupply of liver glycogen via the GLUT 5 pathway and associated downstream problems with advanced glycation end products (the famous “AGES”) – you don’t want your liver topping out in glycogen ahead of muscle stores if you can avoid it. So small amounts of low fructose fruit, ok (hello melons and berries!) and yes, if you want fruit, now is the time to have it.

SIDE NOTE 1: Why the tubers first? Because these deliver steadily absorbable carbohydrates with a minimum of downside in terms of anti-nutrients. As a further positive, the inner parts of tubers are low in INSOLUBLE fiber, and quite high in SOLUBLE fiber. Why is this cool? Because SOLUBLE fiber is FOOD for the good bacteria in your GI tract, also known as a PREBIOTIC. Help those guys grow in population size and they will help you break down your food better. After that I would go for squashes. In terms of white rice it is something I would play with AFTER you figure out if you can handle the carbohydrate load in the first place, and with perfect gut health and no auto-immune issues, then add in white rice carefully watching that you don’t get any degradation in GI health.

SIDE NOTE 2: Kiwi, don’t I need to get my post workout sugars in AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, so don’t I need a liquid meal of some sort? Only if are already very lean (10% or less for boys, 15% or less for girls) and at the very high end of the performance spectrum, and REALLY running a fine line between performance, recovery, and overtraining would this become a really smart idea. EVERYONE ELSE will do better going straight to solid food, eaten immediately post training. I will give you my two cents on options for liquid post workout recovery in another post. For the absolute MAJORITY OF PEOPLE you will do better with REAL FOOD.

IMPORTANT: How do you know when to begin taking in carbohydrates as part of your post workout meal?

Either: You are already LEAN (you can see your abs when sitting: men, under 10% bodyfat, women, typically under 18% bodyfat) and you decide to play with increasing post workout carbohydrate intake to see how you look, perform, and feel.

O

1. Fat loss is flying along, and then STOPS for an extended period of time or regresses.

2. Your performance plateaus or regresses slightly

3. You seem to be tired more of the time

4. Sleep quality starts taking a pounding

5. Libido takes a pounding and/or you notice some skin changes even though food quality remains the same

All of these things are directly impacted, not just by that big list above on what impacts blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, but by:

Total training volume and intensity – training too long or too often will lead to overtraining

Recovery parameters such as sleep and downtime need to be managed very closely

OVERtraining – training beyond recovery ability, is a fine line that elite Athletes tend to be walking the ENTIRE time

Intelligent progression and recovery demands need to be built into programming both off and in season

(I would also look at caloric intake, either up or down, at any of these points, and total MICRO nutrient status – if you already have your food sorted but want some insurance against micro nutrient deficiencies or anything else not being quite 100%, then consider Athletic Greens)

So you need to look not just at post workout nutrition, or even just at overall nutrition but also training and recovery as well. One will definitely not “save” the others. Ie: you can’t out-train a poor diet, and you can’t out eat a shitty exercise program or lack of sleep).

What I am trying to say with this big long post-workout endorphin-driven spiel is simple:

When should you begin to introduce carbohydrates post workout?

It DEPENDS.

Now you can see why the answer to this is it depends!

It depends on you and your history and your health and your exercise levels.

It depends where you are at in the fat loss spectrum.

It depends on you and your goals.

For most people coming off Food for Fat Loss I recommend starting with ONE post workout protein and carb meal per week as your segue into a post workout carbohydrate meal.

There is of course another term for when you do this in a punctuated manner, once every 5-7 days (lean, performance focus) or once every 14-30 days (fat, early insulin management focus).

It is called a carbohydrate RE-FEEDING day.

When should you reintroduce a carbohydrate RE FEEDING day?

It DEPENDS

It depends on you and your history and your health and your exercise levels.

It depends where you are at in the fat loss spectrum.

It depends on your goals.

Popularized by Mauro Dipasquale, the fundamental idea of protein plus fat all week with punctuated periods of protein plus carbs stands as very anabolic format for eating and one which I think will work wonders to the health and fat loss focused among you.

In my opinion, these don’t need to be epic, all out eat-carbohydrates-until-in-a-coma days to derive positive benefits. Just one or two large carbohydrate meals on a punctuated basis depending on individual needs will do the trick.

Recommendation:

1. Performance focus folks who are training hard and are relatively lean as a segue into regular post workout protein plus carbs (or strength athletes such as weight-lifters or powerlifters who are relatively lean as an ongoing plan)

After a month on the Food for Fat Loss protocol you should try inserting a carbohydrate re-feeding day every 5-7 days. I recommend that this “day” is in fact one or two meals.

How: One day a week, make your post workout meal protein plus carbohydrate. If a late in the day workout then meal, cap the protein at about 30-50 grams of protein then just eat carbohydrates until pretty full. Expect to faceplant early.

If an earlier in the day workout, then eat one protein plus carbohydrate meal post workout. This will be moderate protein, moderate carbohydrate. Then, either about 2 hours later or (if you want to play more with meal timing), the last meal of the day, eat another meal consisting of moderate protein (30-40 grams) and then carb down from clean sources until full.

Doing these post workout is ideal. I recommend either Friday evening or Saturday evening as the format for when you do these. This will allow you to let your hair down a bit with your mates in a social setting. If you find that body fat gets impacted negatively, bring it back to just one big meal.

PROGRESSION

Keep doing this exactly this way until you hit any of the qualification points for moving to more frequent carb intake:

Either: You are already LEAN (you can see your abs when sitting: men, under 10% bodyfat, women, typically under 18% bodyfat) and you decide to play with increasing post workout carbohydrate intake to see how you look, perform, and feel.

OR

1. Fat loss is flying along, and then STOPS for an extended period of time or regresses.

2. Your performance plateaus or regresses slightly

3. You seem to be tired more of the time

4. Sleep quality starts taking a pounding

5. Libido takes a pounding and/or you notice some skin changes even though food quality remains the same

In which case I would move to anywhere from half (if more insulin resistant) to ALL of your post workout meals being Protein plus Carbohydrate and see how you go.

From there, just titrate how many post workout meals are P + C up or down depending on results. You can also titrate up or down on how MUCH carbohydrate you take in post workout (I covered that above) and play games with WHEN in the day you take down your protein plus carbs (see final comments below)

2. Everyone else coming off Food for Fat Loss.

At the end of the first 30 days you get a cheat meal (but no gluten!) as your reward for good work. (Read this post here)

Thereafter, depending on all the “WHERE ARE YOU AT” and “WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS” questions we have just covered off, will determine what you do next.

For those with insulin management problems, who DO NOT HIT THE CRITERIA for when to begin Protein plus Carb post workout meals, then I recommend you continue with Food for Fat Loss for a full 30 days.

Chase HEALTH.

Yes that means 100% clean or as close as you can do it. Once a week feel free to have an over feeding day, but try to do it with FFFL sources (I commented on this in the last post on this blog). As an adjunct to this, consider pushing yourself away from your plate with a bit more space left at least 2 or 3 days a week and adding in more walks and activity to help accelerate this process.

Why can’t you refeed more often? If you completely top up muscle glycogen stores post workout by ingesting carbohydrates too frequently you will affect insulin sensitivity and you will find it very hard to get lean. You will also continue to add an insulin load your body can’t deal with and it is most definitely not a good idea until you are healthy and insulin management is way more under control.

You can have a cheat day every 30 days until you are lean or until you hit one of the qualification points below.

IF

Either: You are already LEAN (you can see your abs when sitting: men, under 10% bodyfat, women, typically under 18% bodyfat) and you decide to play with increasing post workout carbohydrate intake to see how you look, perform, and feel.

OR

1. Fat loss is flying along, and then STOPS for an extended period of time or regresses.

2. Your performance plateaus or regresses slightly

3. You seem to be tired more of the time

4. Sleep quality starts taking a pounding

5. Libido takes a pounding and/or you notice some skin changes even though food quality remains the same

 

At which point, you introduce a carbohydrate re-feeding day once every 7-14 days.

Then just bring the interval down over time to suit your own situation.

Those who accept their insulin management and exercise levels are never going to allow them to carb up more regularly can also consider just adding in a every 14 day carbohydrate refeed to help compliance via less boredom. Yes, when you get leaner, you can make this every 7 days.

For most of you, I really doubt you will need to go more than 60-90 days of FFFL style eating before you will be healthy enough to start going after a PERFORMANCE goal if you so desire.

If happy just pursuing health as a goal, you will like continue eating on a low carb food quality basis with punctuated carb refeeds more or less indefinitely.

Exercise levels for health, for the record:

2-3 resistance based strength workouts a week

1 “sprint” session – which would make 2 weights workouts just fine for many

Plenty of walking

Plenty of fun activities outdoors (some of which may include more sprinting!)

 

QUESTION: When should you move off of Food for Fat Loss and alter total protein, fat, and carb ratios daily?

It DEPENDS on HEALTH problems more than anything else.

Health and carbohydrate intake.

While most health ailments will do better on a low carb diet some health ailments will require a move back to a higher carbohydrate way of eating. An example of this is the potential for gut health issues brought on by insufficient good bacteria. One upside of low carbohydrate diets is that it makes it hard for bad bacteria to survive in your gut. This is great for obvious reasons, however, for some folks there can be a time limit to how long the digestive health benefits of very low carbohydrate diets will last. Simple reason: it also makes it pretty hard for the good bacteria to survive long term. For some people, this won’t be a problem, for others, health reasons ahead of insulin management or training recovery requirements will drive a push back towards higher carbohydrate eating patterns sooner. If you have been on a low carb protocol for an extended period and begin to find that gut health regresses then consider at a minimum adding in one or two decent sized carbohydrate refeeding meals per week and potentially moving completely to a higher carbohydrate intake throughout your day. I recommend starting with the former first.

Further comments.

Meal timing and carbohydrate intake

Since you will be starting with a moderate carbohydrate intake post workout only on a punctuated basis I did not cover off meal timing. There is evidence to suggest that taking in the majority of your carbohydrates later in the day (read; at night time) may offer superior benefits for fat loss for some. HOWEVER, I would leave this potential tweak as a more advanced protocol for those without insulin management issues.

For those with insulin management issues I would still recommend consuming your carbohydrates (and remember, you are not OD’ing on the carbs, start on the lower end in terms of amount!) post workout to minimize your insulin response to the carbs – you know, what got you in trouble in the first place. If you are getting sleepy (let alone have any type of altered heart rate) after your protein and carb post workout meal consider lowering the amount of carbs post workout for a period and monitoring progress AND/OR scheduling in a nap post workout AND/OR doing your workout later in the day to have your post workout meal closer to bed time.

If in doubt, start and stay on the lower side of carbohydrate intake and keep it to post workout only.

 

******

The extremely short version of this post would have been: “How To Eat Carbohydrates Without Getting FAT? Answer: get healthy (or better yet, never let yourself get unhealthy), exercise all your life, but not too much, watch sleep and recovery and lifestyle dynamics, try and keep your carbs to post workout periods, and only only only ever eat from a food quality standpoint. The End”

As mentioned above the human variance in this is absolutely massive. Get healthy, think about your goals, then you are going to need to tinker with it and play with it.

I hope you continue to make health your priority, and go after it, big time.

If you come off the wagon, don’t sweat it, the most important thing is just that you GET BACK ON.

“100% Focus on Happiness”

That is my mantra, and it starts with phenomenal health.

 

If you liked this post, please click “like” below. Look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Best,

Chris “the Kiwi”

 

 

 

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About the author
Chris 'The Kiwi'
So named because he comes from a little country in the Pacific called New Zealand where a small, fat, quasi-blind, and largely defenseless bird by the name of “Kiwi” is the national animal, and what we are called when we land in other countries. He is focused on using what he can remember from his studies for a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and his cumulative years as a nutritionist and strength coach to help other people enjoy amazing levels of health and energy. He enjoys ticking through his list of life goals and meeting new people.
  • Christopher Claunch

    Chris, It’s been a while (@lentilchef) and i am u against a wall, what do you think of popcorn as a healthy source of fiber and carb?

    • Anonymous

      Hey mate,

      Cheat meal, go to town. Along with natural (non gmo) soft tacos it is a cheat meal favorite of mine.
      Regular intake, I would stick to fruit, veges, and tubers including potatoes.
      :)

      http://www.christhekiwi.com

  • Tony R.

    Chris this might be a weird question but I’m a little worried. I have been on FFFL for just under two weeks and have lost 8Lbs! Is this normal or ok?

    • Anonymous

      Haha. Totally fine. The record is over 15lbs so no worries there. Throw out the scales and keep after it!
      Well done :)

      C

      http://www.christhekiwi.com

      • Tony R.

        Thanks mate btw first time I have been single digits body fat!!!!! Ever !!

        • Anonymous

          That is awesome Tony! Congrats!

        • christhekiwi

          Awesome work Tony!!! HUGE CONGRATS to you

          C

  • AJ

    Chris,

    I am a 28 year old male. I have been following a low carb diet for few months. i Have dropped my body fat from 22% to around 13.5%. But i believe in turn i have dropped my testosterone levels. I have included Vitamin D and Cod Liver oil in my diet as mentioned by Tim Ferris in his book Four hour body. Recently, I have also started following the exercise schedule critical mass as suggested by you in the same book.

    Do you suggest some other supplements/diets which i should follow to increase my testosterone level. The other supplements which i am taking currently are Athletic Greens, Omega 3 and BCAA .

    I would love to increase my testosterone level by following some exercise schedule. Please advise on how to go about my supplements as well as exercise schedule which will help me bring down my fat percentage below 10% and increase my testosterone level. All your help will be greatly appreciated.

    Please advice. Thanks!

  • Vollmerr

    Chris, I just found out about your products and your site a week ago, and got my athletic greens today!! I am excited to start my 30 days tomorrow. Your information is so amazing, and is so real that I can’t stop reading it. I thought that I was eating right, and doing the right things before, you have truly inspired me. Thank you for all of your posts. I wanted to ask you a couple questions. I am already very active, and have been my whole life, but still want to start my 30 days on the FFFL tomorrow. I am struggling though because I feel like it is so hard to eat right in this day and age especially when you don’t make that much money. I wanted to see what you thought about lunch. I can cook dinner and breakfast, but it is very hard for me to eat the way I want for lunch. Is canned tuna okay? Also, I wanted to see how you felt about taking whey protein right after your workouts. I know you recommend no dairy, but after the 30 days can that be worked back in, if the whey protein is from grass fed animals? Again thank you so much for all of your posts, and I can’t wait to see what you have next.

  • Sita

    Really loved the post but I am really confused handling protein/fat/carbohydrate ratios. I am a lacto ovo vegetarian and a diabetic on metformin. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ryan.canty Ryan Canty

    Great post…one that I really need to read and think about. Since I do have massive issue with carbs, there is sound knowledge and advice in here that I’m definitely going to use and apply to my current eating habits/working out, etc.
    Thanks for this, Chris!

  • http://twitter.com/blueharv Rohan Thompson

    It looks like you’re hinting at carb back-loading late in your post. Much as you suggest, I consider it an advanced technique that demands significant overhead. There’s been plenty of action on the topic over at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s site. What’s your experience with the technique? Have you run any trials on yourself?

    • Anonymous

      Hey Rohan, I think it is something worth playing with AFTER people have checked to see how they go with post workout P + C and they should only do that first step if they hit the criteria I gave in this post. Most people would be better suited with a sustained period of low carb clean eating and then interspersing in punctuated refeeds after they either hit their desired bodyfat or progress stalls. I have played with it. I am sufficiently insulin resistant that I get a fat roll very quickly unless the carbs are immediately post workout, and I don’t even bother with having P + C post workout meals unless I am really cranking up the training volume or frequency. If bodyfat is an issue I would hammer that down first. The likes of Poliquin, Wolf, Ferruggia, all pretty consistent with me at chasing for about the 10% level for dudes. I would aim for that first and only move over to ANY increase in protein and carb intake if you hit the criteria (ie lean or something stops working). Hope that helps mate

  • http://harshbatra.com/ Harsh Batra

    Hey Chris, awesome post which came at a very timely time for me. This is going to be a somewhat long question so please bear with me; I could use some advice.

    I just got off Tims geek to freak workout. I added 4.7kg of muscle and went down to a 9% bodyfat (As measured with bodymetrix ultrasound) with just 8workouts but once the month was over I had to get off the diet. I could not maintain the force feeding, it just isn’t sustainable. I wonder how these big muscly guys maintain the muscle, eating is like a full time job! I wonder if I’m missing something that they all do. I went up from 73kg to 76kg in weight. I wanted to settle On 77kg but I only hit that weight once. Now that I’m off the diet, my starchy intake (brown rice and whole wheat pasta and 1litre of protein full fat milk shake/day has stopped). I’m back to my usual Diet of protein+good fat+veggies. My weight has fallen to around 75kg and I’m sure I’ve lost some muscle mass. I’m getting hungry more often though! After lunch and before dinner, I need to eat a meal and I was wondering what I can have to maintain or even put on some weight so that I stay between 75-77kg. I’m dying to getting back to working out (1-2 short but intense workout session per week)

    I ended up incorporating a banana milk shake with 10almonds  to fill me up after lunch and before dinner. And on workout days I’m thinking of adding protein to this shake. Does that work for what I want to achieve? I was hoping to stay off the powders, so is there an easier/better substitute? The simpler the better!

    • Anonymous

      Hey mate,

      Congrats on going after it with your physique goals. Adding 10 lbs of muscle in a month is impressive. IMPORTANT: You really only need to be about 300-500 calories above baseline and in positive nitrogen status to put on a surprising amount of muscle, assuming you are training right and resting right and therefore providing the right STIMULUS and the right medium for repair and growth, that is not that much food over your baseline. In the short term/starting out your body is going to explode but you also need to be aware that the longer you are training, the slower the gains will typically be, as the adaptation curve will lower. At the more beginner level, folks can make progress doing nearly anything. Going forward, you need to think it through. What you need is an anabolic stimulus and an anabolic environment. I personally think it is time you started to lift HEAVY, and perhaps a bit more often. If you are even reasonably fast-twitch oriented then you will also do great by adding in some sprint work. I recommend you grab a program by any ONE of these guys:

      Jason Ferruggia
      Zach Even-nesh
      John Romaniello
      Eric Cressey

      These guys here are guys I know personally and I can vouch for their professionalism in helping dudes get JACKED without letting them get injured. Jason in that list has an entire community of guys who are not shy in admitting that they want to get jacked and that may help you out a lot. There are a lot more awesome trainers our there, many of whom could help you. The key is pick ONE, and complete an entire routine/program, don’t deviate, 3 days a week will probably get you there. I recommend you train a bit more frequently and really milk the post workout window in terms of eating, which will make it a lot easier for you. Bear in mind that just like carbohydrate tolerance, the optimum training stimulus in terms of volume and frequency will vary by person a lot. For most people, VOLUME is going to be the key, but you also need to get STRONG or I won’t talk to you in public! :) For some they do best on volume of heavy, explosive sets in the 2-5 rep range, for others it will be volume in the 8-15/20 rep range, for others (most) a mix. If you don’t currently have a training partner, consider getting one.

      Question: Why do you need to “fill up” after lunch? Your lunch should have taken care of that! That suggests to me that something is not working in your eating or sleeping somewhere.

      To maintain your current levels of BF while building up some more muscle I would try playing with this:

      All pre workout meals in a day: protein + fat + veges
      All meals post workout in a day: protein + carbs + veges

      It will be a lot easier to eat more food post workout, so just eat P + C whenever hungry to satiety for the 4-6 hours following your workout. If you can train a bit later in the day and time those P + C meals into your evening that is probably a good idea.

      The easiest way for you to add a host of calories to your P + F meals is by throwing in coconut milk in the form of a curry, or ensuring that any rendered animal fat lost in the cooking process is added back in to your meals. P and F are going to satiate you far faster than P and C, fyi.

      Beyond making sure you are getting your protein in mate, I recommend you take about 30-40 grams of BCAA’s a day. Take 10 grams spaced between meals on non workout days. And the entire 30-40 grams before, during, and after your training on workout days. This can get tiring, but it works. You can also play with some intermittent fasting protocols but I recommend you get back on the training wagon first.

      I hope you go after it.

      • http://harshbatra.com/ Harsh Batra

        thanks for taking the time to respond Chris. Appreciate it.

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