Proper Carb Sources to Fuel Workouts | Q+A

Proper Carb Sources to Fuel Workouts | Q+A

Question:

Thank you for providing this resource for questions. To gain lean mass, I am trying to eat 1 gram of protein for each 1lb of body weight. That is 190 grams protein for me, which is a heck of a lot of chicken or beef! What do you think about reducing meat and protein shakes and substituting some moderate protein complex carbs for all the white rice, noodles and white potatoes I see in typical body builder diets?

For example, reading labels I note that edamame spaghetti has 25 grams protein per serving. Black lentils and quinoa can be cooked together (lentils=13 grams; quinoa 6 grams protein per serving). Edamame/roasted soy snack nuts have 13 grams protein and very little fat.

Also, for complex carbs can I mix just a little grain with black beans or does it have to be exactly equal portions to get a complete amino acid protein profile? Are there any energy level disadvantages to resistance training with these carb sources fueling my workouts? Thank you for answering my questions.

– Eric M.

Answer:

Thank you for sharing your grain-based Nutrition Facts panel observations!

1) I agree with substituting some moderate protein complex carbs. The volume of animal tissue to supply 190 grams protein means more saturated fat and cholesterol, and is unnecessary! Don’t forget about vegetables, which offer as much protein per calorie as do traditional starches. 

2) Yes, you can mix carbohydrate sources to get a complete amino acid profile for the day. They don’t have to be equivalent portions at one sitting. The key for vegetarians is variety of grains. You still eat meat (and I’ll assume fish, eggs, and milk products), so you’re getting plenty of amino acids otherwise.

3) The only disadvantage I see from carbohydrate sources fueling your resistance training is that without other protein sources, the quantity of carbohydrates will have to be high to reach your personal 190 gm protein target, and that may mean poor insulin sensitivity in the long run.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Prostate Cancer & You | Q+A

Prostate Cancer & You | Q+A

Question:

I am a 57-year-old male who was a professional football player and athlete all my life. I happened to get Prostate cancer, which is being controlled by Elligard, which is hormonal therapy. Look it up to view the side effects. It reduces my testosterone down to nothing, to not feed the cancer cells.  I do one hour of cardio every night {Low intensity and hi intensity mixed} I also due upper body workouts twice a week with four different exercises per body part and two sets of twenty per. I end up with 160 reps per body part for entire upper body all within an hour. Same with legs. I lost 25% of muscle mass because of medicine.

I am a certified NASM and AFAA personal trainer for years but suck at nutrition. 1/2 quart of egg whites and avocado for breakfast, tuna or chicken salad with horseradish sauce for lunch and lean turkey, fish or chicken for dinner. Usually not any carbs unless I have multi grain bread with tuna or chicken. Two scoops of protein a day with water. Need to find a way to maintain and increase a little muscle mass with nutrition. Hope you have ideas.

– Rocky C.

Answer:

Okay Rocky, I looked it up! The drug you refer to has base name leuprolide and I’ve noted its mechanism of action and side effects. Check. That doesn’t change the fact that testosterone is helpful, but not required for gaining lean mass. Women with only 1/10 the testosterone of men can get quite muscular!  Research supports the notion that with progressive resistance training, men with prostate cancer taking anti-androgens can still increase muscle mass and strength.

I hope you are open to changing up your diet (which currently reflects what someone might eat to slim down). To feed your muscles and prompt them to grow in response to your admirable workouts, you’ll need more calories, notably from fats and carbohydrates. As you know, carbohydrates help stimulate the release of insulin, which is a growth-triggering hormone. Insulin’s anabolic effects in the muscle are three-fold: it helps prevent the breakdown of protein, enhances glucose uptake into cells for energy and building, and promotes protein synthesis.

To make your body’s natural insulin work for you, proper nutrient timing and intensive weight training are critical. Priming your system before a workout (to increase circulating insulin in anticipation of a macronutrient load later) is key to taking advantage of insulin’s normal post-digestive metabolic process. To do so, you should eat 15-30 grams low-glycemic (complex) carbohydrate about a half-hour before the start of your lifting/resistance work, then have 30 grams of easily-digestible (simple) carbohydrate at the end of your workout or within 30 minutes while muscle is most receptive to nutrient storage. Each of these should be paired with an equivalent amount of protein. Low-glycemic carbs include sweet potato, oatmeal, quinoa and beans. Easily-digestible carbs include flake cereals, white crackers and pretzels, and pasta.

In addition, for overall calories and micronutrients, I’d suggest adding a variety of nuts and vegetables to your day. Good luck!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Belly fat cannot be ‘targeted’ per se, but the type of fat around your midsection should respond to some nutritional tweaks given the right exercise.

I Lowered My Fat Intake, But I’m Still Gaining Weight | Q+A

I Lowered My Fat Intake, But I’m Still Gaining Weight | Q+A

Question:

I am a male 6-foot tall and 180lbs. I upped my protein to 180 grams a day and lowered my fat intake to 35 grams a day but I am gaining more weight now than I was before dieting or eating clean with no change in diet. Any advice on eating habits I should have or why this is happening?

– Taylor F.

Answer:

Sorry, Taylor – My crystal ball is a little foggy since your full diet and exercise routine aren’t described. So many things could be coming into play… alcohol, low physical activity, less sleep, undereating, and/or poor meal timing and volume. Perhaps make a list of the changes you’ve made to identify what you might have been doing before that was helpful and prevented gain.

I suspect your intake of 35 grams of fat may be a bit low. Fat at meals slows digestion and increases satiety, helping to reduce appetite. For reference, with a 2000 calorie diet, 60 grams of fat provides 27% of your total energy, well within a desirable heart-healthy weight-maintenance diet.

Look at where your calories are distributed. Giving up snacks between meals might make sense to reduce calories, but not if eating larger meals from rebound hunger is the result. Breakfast should be a larger meal than dinner unless you work out at night or keep late hours. I’d also suggest you look at how you eat, not just the grams you eat. See our article on Think Your Way Thin.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Recommended Reading

Gaining More Muscle and Less Belly

Belly fat cannot be ‘targeted’ per se, but the type of fat around your midsection should respond to some nutritional tweaks given the right exercise.

Can Cardio Get Rid of Belly Fat? | Q+A

Can Cardio Get Rid of Belly Fat? | Q+A

Question:

I am 6’2″ and about 215 lbs. and average build. I started working out the last two weeks after long time. I am doing 20 minutes of Stairmaster and 15 minutes of treadmill. Along with that, I’m doing push/pull/legs alternative days. My goal is to build muscle and lose fat. I think I have large/moderate amount of belly fat. I’m wondering whether doing cardio will help to get rid of belly fat and what my caloric intake should be. Thanks for your help.

– Prabhu M.

Answer:

Yes, it takes at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise to increase fat burning. This is because of the body’s use of available fuels in metabolism processes. There are other sources of energy burned before body fat and these reserves last approximately 30 minutes. There are a series of reactions and hormones that kick in after the first half-hour of exercise that allow stored fat to be accessed. Abdominal fat is both under the skin (subcutaneous) and between organs (visceral), necessitating a diverse nutrition approach beyond just caloric restriction.

Am I doing the right things with my diet and exercise to lose belly fat?

Your estimated energy need is about 2000 calories daily, but you will need at least a 500 calorie energy deficit between actual intake and expenditure. In a study of 768 overweight or obese individuals following diets that represented a deficit of 750 calories, at 6 months the average waist circumference reduction was 5-6 cm, and at 2 years an average 4-6 cm loss in circumference was maintained. That’s about a 2-inch reduction, with the best results from the group consuming 20% fat, 25% protein and 55% carbohydrate.

Weight-Loss Diets, Adiponectin, and Changes in Cardiometabolic Risk in the 2-Year POUNDS Lost Trial. Ma W, Huang T, Zheng Y, et al. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2016;101(6):2415-2422.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Ask our Dietitian

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Recommended Reading

Gaining More Muscle and Less Belly

Belly fat cannot be ‘targeted’ per se, but the type of fat around your midsection should respond to some nutritional tweaks given the right exercise.

Why Do I Feel Tired When I Work Out? | Q+A

Why Do I Feel Tired When I Work Out? | Q+A

Question:

When I exercise, I feel tired. What do I need to take during day? I work in construction but I’m not doing any hard job.

– Raumir

Answer:

Right off the bat, you shouldn’t need to “take” anything. Look at your sleep, energy intake, and hydration. Chances are you are depleted in one of those areas accounting for your tiredness. Exercising too heavily or intensely may prevent adequate oxygen utilization and cause you to burn out early.

Solution:

  • Fully allow your body to rest and repair, enabling you to maximize your physical and mental performance. Be sure you are getting at least 6 hours of uninterrupted quality (deep) sleep.
  • Eat a proper diet of sufficient calories, assisting you to complete a full workout. Constant movement can burn up to 5000 calories per day, even if you never lift more than 30 pounds or use great force!
  • Drink adequate fluids to support physiological processes responsible for energy production and muscle movement. Consume at least one ounce per kilogram of body weight. That’s about 1 cup of fluid per 15 pounds.
  • Work out at a moderate intensity such that you can still carry on a light conversation.

If you’re already practicing the above and still have problems with sleepiness or lack of endurance, be sure to check with your physician to rule out any other underlying cause, such as anemia.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

LA Fitness Living Healthy subscribe button

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Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Recommended Reading

Gaining More Muscle and Less Belly

Belly fat cannot be ‘targeted’ per se, but the type of fat around your midsection should respond to some nutritional tweaks given the right exercise.

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