Why I'm sticking to a low carb diet
Monday, February 25, 2013
Saturday marked the completion of my first official week of “competition training.” There are so many articles that I’ve read that indicated how difficult training can be – the worst part being changes to diet. Thankfully, I’ve been following a clean, low-carb diet since August, so I didn’t go into shock with the changes I am required to make. I’ve been living quite happily being low-carb. Now, I’m not saying that figure competitors live and train on a low carb diet – many don’t – but it’s been working for my fat loss so far so I’m sticking to it. My last official dunk (in early February) had me at 21% body fat. Today, I’m probably at 20%. I’d like to get down to 13% for my first competition, so I have a ways to go before then.
Speaking of which, the Western All Forces Figure Competition is 9 June 2013. Only 14 more weeks to go!
So why do I love living low-carb so much??? As I stated earlier, it’s been working to cut the fat fast. I went from 32% to 21% in less than 6 months. But it’s a highly debated topic in the health and fitness industry. Everywhere there are arguments amongst amateur and professional bodybuilders regarding carbs. My trainer eats carbs at every meal. So I looked into carb-cycling. Why should I have to miss out on ‘em? Well, there’s this whole hormonal factor that I won’t get into, but that’s why I personally need to be low carb. You can check out metaboliceffect.com to get the skinny on hormonal fat loss.
But what I wanted to share my response to the primary myths behind low-carb and training. Well, I came across a lot of conflicting information. However, one of the articles (from figreandbikini.org) summed up the controversy nicely:
1. Sustaining low carbohydrates and calories can be both physically and mentally challenging - Well it never has been an issue with me. I never dealt with mental or physical fatigue.
2. When you're constantly in a caloric deficit your metabolism actually may slow down too far. - Again, this doesn't really apply to me because my metabolism is higher than normal. I had my Resting Metabolic Rate tested initially in August then again in December. In August, I was still breastfeeding so my RMR was higher than normal, exactly 15% above normal. By December, I had been on the low-carb diet and stopped breastfeeding and my RMR INCREASED to 25% above normal. Probably because I was putting on muscle. Which leads to myth #3…
3. When you're constantly in a caloric deficit you will not add lean muscle. - And yet again...I've gained muscle in both an overall caloric deficit and less than 80 carbs/day. I have tests to prove it. Plus, it’s protein that adds muscle, not carbs.
So not only has my metabolism increased, I gained muscle and improved my overall health. In December I also had my VO2max tested. I don’t have an initial test to compare it to, but my VO2max is 43 – that’s in the SUPERIOR range for a woman my age.
This is why I want to compete – I want my outsides looking like my insides.