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What Everyone Needs to know about Carbs

The first thing I want to point out, is that you can not use a blanket statement to cover how every person should eat or how their bodies respond to any specific diets. But in general, I would say most people eat way too many carbs for what their bodies actually require. If you are not sure if you are one of these people that eats too many carbohydrates, then take a look in the mirror and if you think you are on the fat side, then you are probably one of these people.

To make this as simple as possible this is how it works. Let’s use a car as an example:

Lets say you have a car and you fill the gas tank up with gas but then don’t drive that car anywhere. The next day you go to the gas station and try to add another $50 worth of gas to your gas tank. What would happen? The tank would probably overflow, so what is the solution to this problem? Obviously, don’t put more gas in the car right! But here is what happens in this example to illustrate my point on how many people solve this problem when it comes to eating. Option number two is to add a second gas tank to your car as a reserve tank for when your main gas tank runs out. Now imagine doing this over and over again, pretty soon you have a car which is now way larger and heavier because you have 5-10-20 reserve gas tanks depending on how much gas you have been trying to jam in your car that you never drive anywhere.

Here is how this fits in with the human body:

The car represent our bodies, Carbs represent the gas, the gas tank represents our muscles liver and the stored energy within them. The reserve gas tanks would be the extra fat on our bodies.

Here is a more Scientific approach on how to explain all of this:

When you eat carbohydrates, they are generally converted to Glucose (blood sugar) that goes in to your blood, and in healthy people the Glucose triggers an Insulin production response that uses that Glucose (blood sugar) as energy for the body. Sounds great so far.

This energy can be used immediately if you are exercising or active. It can also be store as Glycogen in the muscles and Liver for use later on. Again sounds really great so far.

Here is the main problem…

Any excess Glucose (blood sugar) that is not used immediately for activities, or that is not stored in the mussels and liver as Glycogen to aid in later activities, will get alternatively stored as fat which can be converted back to energy later on if required. I reiterate (if required)!

So again here is how Carbs get used in the body: 

  • You eat Carbohydrates.
  • Carbs get converted to Glucose (blood sugar).
  • Your body produces Insulin so it can open up your bodies cells and shuttle that energy into the body as required.
  • Your body will use that energy for any immediate activity you are doing.
  • If you are not active at the time your body has this Carb energy available, then it will be stored as Glycogen in your muscles and liver.
  • Once you muscles and liver are filled with Glycogen, the excess Glucose (blood sugar) is stored as fat. 

So what about eating Protein and Fat, doesn’t this also get converted into fat if it is not used up? Yes and no. Unlike Carbs that create a Glucose (blood sugar) spike which in turn creates an Insulin spike opening up the body to receive the energy one way or another. Proteins and Fat do not create Insulin spikes, so they tend to hang around longer and get used to run the body, and slowly if they are not used they can then be covered to stored energy but not as extreme or as fast as Carbohydrates get converted. Because the absorption and conversion process is slower the body can run at an optimal state (no extreme ups and downs) without the feeling that it is either too augmented (Full of energy) or depleted (tired). So no food cravings!

Isn’t a calorie a calorie at the end of the day and if you want to lose weight then you need to eat less calories than your body is burning? This statement is absolutely true and if you eat less calories then your body is burring then you will lose weight! The opposite is true, if you eat more calories then you burn then you will gain weight no matter where the calories come from.

The main difference is that too many Carbs will create extreme energy ups and downs causing you to be energetic one moment and tired the next, this body confusion also makes you crave more food, even if your body does not require it.

The problem is that we are not all program the same way, some people have great self control when it comes to their diet where as some people do not. This is not always a mind over matter issue, it can be genetic and the way some peoples bodies almost completely override their will power and also how their bodies respond to the Glucose (blood sugar) from the Carbs. To compound this further, eating too many Carbohydrates will make it even harder to control food cravings. It has been shown in research that a person can eat 7000 calories of mainly Carbs in a day and still go to bed hungry. But if they change their diet to mainly proteins and fats, it will be almost impossible for them to eat 7000 calories in a day and they will feel super full all the time. So in other words, Carbs leave you hungry while proteins and fats leave you satisfied and full.

Carbs are not bad, we need them as energy when we are active to open up the cell pathways in our bodies via Insulin to convert Glucose (blood sugar) to energy and also help our muscles absolve amino acids fore recovery and growth. We also need Carbohydrates to replace the Glycogen in our muscles when we are active. But think of Carbs as gas for our bodies, we only need to add the Carb gas when we need it for activities. If you are not active at all, then you should limit your Carbs to very small amounts, just enough to run your car at idle. If you have a very physical job, or are an athlete who is training, then you need a lot more Carbs in your diet to drive your car each day, not enough and you run out of gas, too much and your gas is stored in the reserve tanks as fat.


Finally Broke my Deadlift Rut and got a new PR of 473 Pounds x5 Reps

The camera was not rolling, but to be honest I have not been that confident with my Deadlift these days and have been having trouble even lifting some of my old PR Weights so recording today's session was not in the agenda ;)

Today at my CrossFit Gym we where doing 5x5's and I felt good at all the weight increases so when we loaded the bar up with 473 pounds I was excited and nervous at the same time. I recently watched a YouTube video by MattDoesFitness where Matt had some tips about getting past his Deadlift Rut where he had a similar problem as me getting the weight to move off the ground. Once I get the bar started and the weight a few inches off the ground I generally have no problems finishing my Deadlifts. Matt had a similar hiccup so I took his advice to heart and it seemed to make all the difference for me.

Now 473 pounds didn't just jump off the ground for me but it did come up nice and even and keep in mind this should not have been a PR Deadlift day for me since I am cutting for my fitness competition and I am already down a few pounds, I weighed in at 190 pounds this morning! Perhaps my goal of 500 pounds is very close if I don't lose too much more weight too quickly :)


Get Fit Over 40 Update Video - The Cutting Begins (No Shirt)

I am 6 weeks out to my Victoria Cup Men's Physique fitness contest in Victoria BC and I have officially started my weight cutting for this competition. I plan to compete in both the Masters and Open categories of Men's Physique.

I am currently somewhere between 7-8% body fat according to my Fitbit Aria WiFi Scale and Sculpt Aim Body Composition Reader.

For the record I am just over 6 feet tall, I used to be  6 foot 1 inch but I think I have shrunk a bit in my old age perhaps under the pressure of heavy squaring and Deadlifts ;) I am also around 191-195 pounds depending on the day and time I weigh myself. (So on average around 193 pounds.)

I want to get down to around 5% body fat for contest day which means I need to lose 2 pounds for every body fat percentage decrease I need to make. This means I need to lose around 6 pounds of pure fat in total and get down to around 188 pounds and 5% body fat. I will be training hard this last 6 weeks so putting on a bit of muscle is not out of the question while cutting, I have done it before so I know it can be done again.

My plan is to cut 500 calories per day for the first couple of weeks and then reassess where I am and be either more aggressive or stay the course with my calorie intake. My last week of cutting is always pretty extreme since I do a veggie and fish diet that is super low carb and low calories, I usually lose at least 2-3 pounds in that week and if there is any fat left it will be all gone :)

I will be making weekly videos of my progress up until the week before the contest, then I will most likely be making daily videos in a VLog format till the contest. So keep checking back for more cutting videos to watch me while I shrink :)


My Taekwondo Yellow Belt Testing at CMA Martial Arts

My turn to test for a belt in Taekwondo :) I've been training in Taekwondo over at CMA Martial Arts for a couple of months now and it was time for testing. I have done some mixed martial arts in the past, (about 3 years ago) so it was not like I was starting entirely from scratch but we did not train for belts at the other Martial Arts gym.

In this belt testing cycle I was going for my Yellow Belt, basically the first belt in a series of 14 belts I need to get through to achieve my black belt. That said I do feel like I am doing fairly well against the other guys in my class who have been training for longer than me. I guess their higher level brings me up to speed quicker which is fine with me :)

In this Belt Testing video, we perform some basic punching and kicking combos, we break some boards, do a bit of sparring and we ended with some grappling but unfortunately my camera did not cooperate during the grappling portion of the video. At the end we where awarded with our belts but again I had some camera issues and only recorded my Yellow Belt being handed out. Congratulations to all the guys who have trained hard for their belts!