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[KETO] Just How Important are Carbohydrates for Athletes...Really?


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Just how important are Carbohydrates to athletic performance...really?  Most people are under the assumption that a keto nutritional lifestyle is simply unsuitable for athletes.   Here’s why I think this popular belief is not entirely correct.

 

The popular belief is that you need carbohydrates to replenish glycogen.   This seems obvious, because our muscle cells and liver can store glucose, which is sugar.   If you want to restore your fuel, then eat carbs, right?

 

However, the fact is that it’s not necessary to eat carbs to refill our glycogen stores.   Glycerol, which is found in triglycerides, can be turned into glycogen through the same process of gluconeogenesis.   Consumption of foods with amino acids and low carb vegetables also contributes to this.   It’s estimated that about 200 grams of glucose can be manufactured daily by the liver and kidneys from dietary protein and fat intake [see this study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition].   After some time, you will be able to store glycogen even on a ketogenic diet due to what’s referred to as “keto adaptation”.

 

Even in intense resistance training (weightlifting), you would also need to perform an absurd amount of volume to deplete your glycogen stores in the first place.   A full-body workout consisting of 9 exercises for 3 sets each at 80% 1RM empties only about a third of the body’s glycogen and 9 sets for a specific muscle result in 36% depletion in that muscle[See this study].     Also, the body self-regulates itself according to the stimulus it receives.   The more you deplete your glycogen, the faster the re-synthesis will be.   Even amongst endurance athletes, glycogen gets refilled almost completely within the first 24 hours.

 

The only benefit to eating easily absorbable carbohydrates would be that they get the job done faster.   You’d have to train the same muscle twice a day with insane amounts of volume, something you can’t handle naturally, to need carbs for glycogen replenishment.    You’ll know it when you’ve completely emptied your glycogen stores because you’ll be unable to move, a feat most athletes rarely achieve.   Unless you’re training for the Olympics you don’t need to “carb load.”

 

However, I’m not saying that carbs don’t serve an important role.   Fatty acids and ketones are actually superior for fuel at low intensities, but your performance is nevertheless limited by glucose and muscle glycogen.   Anyone who is following a ketogenic diet can benefit from some exogenous carbs when performing at higher intensities.  If you’re training hard and heavy more frequently, then your body won’t have enough time to replenish your muscle glycogen stores solely via gluconeogenesis.

 

Additionally, glucose is the body’s primary fuel source for a reason.  That’s why we don’t always need nor want to be in ketosis all the time, and most athletes who practice a ketogenic lifestyle understand this.   Muscle contractions for absolute power require some glycogen but that happens only very rarely.  If you think that simple aerobics will cause that to happen then you’re wrong.   What I’m talking about is 110% of our VO2 max and not for short bouts but prolonged time periods.  Very intense metabolic conditioning is glycolytic and requires glucose to be performed.

 

My point is simply that, contrary to popular opinion, even though we might be exercising it doesn’t mean we’re tapping into our glucose reserves.  We shouldn’t want to either.  Training to failure all the time isn’t the way to build muscle as a natural athlete.  Because it’s a vital fuel source the body will try to hold onto every gram no matter what and use it only in survival scenarios where failure is not an option.

 

There has to be both intensity and volume - near maximum effort - for glucose to be released.  In the modern world we can create a similar response with high intensity interval training (HIIT) or heavy weightlifting, or Crossfit (combining these two activities).  Depletion, however, is unlikely considering the relatively short period of time involved. 

 

So, a ketogenic lifestyle for an athlete is entirely appropriate and advantageous when the real-world role of carbohydrates is respected.

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Everybody needs to do what works for them, so I agree with you on that BUT sometimes you have to make sacrifices and change bad habits as hard as it may seem.   Eating cake and drinking beer

Sorry, I have no tolerance for people who’s only desire seems to be to disrupt threads with mean-spirited, inflammatory remarks.

Congrats. ! Two weeks is much too short to come to any conclusions concerning athletic performance, which is why many studies purposely are timed for four weeks only, thus coming up with inaccura

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Within limits carbs are important for multiple reasons. Just not processed carbs. Carbs help with insulin and insulin helps building muscles (and prevent fat loss) so it kinda depends what your goal is how you eat. Personally I eat my carbs in moderation and they help my lifting. 

 

You are right you can't deplete all your glycogen in an weightlifting session as honestly you don't burn that much lifting weights. Unless your only doing heavy compounds. Someone doing deadlifts with 170kg burns a lot more then someone doing them with 40kg. 

 

A diet should be tailored to the person and its goal, its unrealistic to say this is the best for all.

 

Just stepped down from my eleptical and will do a weight lifting session later in the day. Carbs are not my enemy but my ally when taken in moderation. 

 

 

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I agree with everything you said.  I always appreciate your input even though we have different viewpoints on nutrition and athletic performance because you have an open mind and base your viewpoints on solid science, not guru-speak.

 

I only started this thread because the popular belief by many is that carbohydrates are “essential” macronutrients needed to maintain health, when in fact, they really are not.  

 

Protein is essential and so are various fats because the body is unable to produce them.  Carbohydrates are not because the body can produce them in ample amounts from dietary protein and fats (gluconeogenisis and ketosis) to sustain a healthy resting metabolic rate and good health for most people who don’t engage in heavy labor or intense athletic activities.  

 

For those who do expend more “explosive” energy in work or sports, carbs are certainly advantageous and necessary for optimal performance but can be limited to the timeframe before and during those high-performance activities.

 

I’m not necessarily saying someone should adhere to such a rigid regimen, only that it’s possible to have optimal athletic performance by doing so, and timing their use around those high-energy activities.

 

My aim was only to dispel the myth that carbs are a “essential” macronutrient because too many people will ignore the health advantages of Keto on this basis alone.

 

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Carbs are not essential but there are many healthy things in certain carbs (think fibers and other stuff). I just baked a whole wheat bread ate it with some fine Dutch cheese. I don't often eat bread but sometimes I just like it. Sometimes I put almond butter on it (healthy fats and proteins).

 

I am certainly not one of those guys that goes carb loading, i try to eat them moderately and only the unprocessed kind. I found your post quite balanced and that is what I like not ... this is it and there are no other ways.

 

You wont find me sipping on energy drinks or anything like that. I find proteins far more important and make sure i get my healthy fats. I have no fat fobia i know fats are needed.

 

I just want to build a system where my body is efficient at burning both fat and glycogen. 

 

The question remains do you want your protein (building blocks for muscle) to be used to be turned into glycogen. I mean would that not mean less proteins for building. I am not sure about this it could be that the building blocks get used and the rest burned. My knowledge does not go that deep.

 

I really stopped stressing out about diet now that I am lean again. I might try to become extra lean but on the other hand building extra power without adding much fat is interesting too. Not because i want to be bigger but because i want to see progress in some way. 

 

I think the cardio I am doing will give me progress in an other way. It might help me lift more but who knows. 

 

I like debating with you you mellowed down a bit too and so have I.

 

Do look at the message i send you .. im like a child with a new toy.

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I agree with both & can happily survive keto adapted - i think for real world situations its much easier than an athlete. This does (as you both mention) depend on your athletic endeavour.........

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16 hours ago, eezergood said:

I agree with both & can happily survive keto adapted - i think for real world situations its much easier than an athlete. This does (as you both mention) depend on your athletic endeavour.........

Yes it really depends on your goals, i can happily eat carbs and stay lean and build muscle but i do stay away from the processed stuff. Its far to easy to overeat on that. 

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23 hours ago, robblok said:

Carbs are not essential but there are many healthy things in certain carbs (think fibers and other stuff). I just baked a whole wheat bread ate it with some fine Dutch cheese. I don't often eat bread but sometimes I just like it. Sometimes I put almond butter on it (healthy fats and proteins).

 

I am certainly not one of those guys that goes carb loading, i try to eat them moderately and only the unprocessed kind. I found your post quite balanced and that is what I like not ... this is it and there are no other ways.

 

You wont find me sipping on energy drinks or anything like that. I find proteins far more important and make sure i get my healthy fats. I have no fat fobia i know fats are needed.

 

I just want to build a system where my body is efficient at burning both fat and glycogen. 

 

The question remains do you want your protein (building blocks for muscle) to be used to be turned into glycogen. I mean would that not mean less proteins for building. I am not sure about this it could be that the building blocks get used and the rest burned. My knowledge does not go that deep.

 

I really stopped stressing out about diet now that I am lean again. I might try to become extra lean but on the other hand building extra power without adding much fat is interesting too. Not because i want to be bigger but because i want to see progress in some way. 

 

I think the cardio I am doing will give me progress in an other way. It might help me lift more but who knows. 

 

I like debating with you you mellowed down a bit too and so have I.

 

Do look at the message i send you .. im like a child with a new toy.

For sure we have both mellowed down.  Hahah!  That’s the thing I like about informed but open minded debate when it comes to controversial subjects.  It forces you to test your ideas and fine-tune them.

 

Understanding complex metabolic mechanisms isn’t really necessary to lead a healthy life but I (and I guess you, and many others) have inquiring minds and like delving into these things.  Nothing wrong with that!

 

However, I think too many people are swayed by misinformation and half-truths when it comes to nutrition which, more often than not, come from dubious sources (health gurus), and ignorant people with limited understanding.  You know what they say, “a little knowledge can be worse than no knowledge at all”.

 

Instead of just letting their body guide them and being attuned to how their body reacts to the foods they eat, they wind up getting fat and sick from eating the wrong things, and then look for some silly-ass fad diet to fix things.

 

It’s nice to know the physiological / biochemical mechanisms of fat metabolism and carbohydrates metabolism, but the body already know far better than your brain can ever know what it needs and what it doesn’t, and it has the ability to communicate this to us in a pretty powerful way, if we only let it.

 

It doesn’t take a PhD, and it doesn’t require exotic “super foods”, complicated diets, counting calories, or any severe regimens to live healthy.  It just takes common sense, and letting your body communicate with you.

 

Nature intended for it to be that way!

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13 minutes ago, WaveHunter said:

It just takes common sense, and letting your body communicate with you.

So why the need for topic after topic, page after page of repetitive clickbait terms?  Why is it so important for you to push your keto agenda on others?

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35 minutes ago, villagefarang said:

So why the need for topic after topic, page after page of repetitive clickbait terms?  Why is it so important for you to push your keto agenda on others?

Look, I don’t know why you and certain other individuals seem to have a bug up their ass.  Nobody is forcing you to click on these topics.

 

If you actually bothered to read my posts you’d realize I am not pushing Keto at all, merely discussing and debating it and many other aspects of metabolic science in an open-minded, and informed way.

 

Many of us wish to be informed about the current underlying science of metabolic mechanisms, instead of being ignorant and accepting the status-quo of outmoded nutritional dogma based on misinformation and half-truths.

 

We benefit from open discussion and debate with like-minded people with inquiring, open minds...not dealing with people like you who only have mean-spirited and inflammatory remarks to make. Have you nothing better to do with your time than to be a troll?

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14 minutes ago, WaveHunter said:

Look, I don’t know why you and certain other individuals seem to have a bug up their ass.  Nobody is forcing you to click on these topics.

 

If you actually bothered to read my posts you’d realize I am not pushing Keto at all, merely discussing and debating it and many other aspects of metabolic science in an open-minded, and informed way.

 

Many of us like to be informed about the underlying science of metabolic mechanisms, and discuss/debate related topics with like-minded people...not deal with people like you who only have mean-spirited and inflammatory remarks to make. Have you nothing better to do with your time than to be a troll?

Look, you don't know me either, but I do like to read these topics because I'm building up a library of nutritious books...

 

On the topic of the poster, all you need to do is to report him for 'baiting' to the Mods.

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12 minutes ago, stephenterry said:

Look, you don't know me either, but I do like to read these topics because I'm building up a library of nutritious books...

 

On the topic of the poster, all you need to do is to report him for 'baiting' to the Mods.

Thanks for your positive comment.  As regards posters who “bait”, trolls are just a part of any forum.  They’re like flys on a hot day; just an annoying nuisance.  Who am I to deny them of their perverse pleasure?

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9 minutes ago, WaveHunter said:

Sorry, I have no tolerance for people who’s only desire seems to be to disrupt threads with mean-spirited, inflammatory remarks.

I am not trying to be mean spirited.  I am trying to understand why you repeat the same arguments and use the same terms over and over and over and over again.  I have read all of these topics and posts and they seem very repetitive to me and you seem to get very upset and very dismissive when someone doesn't adhere to your agenda.

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i'll respond in full once I've had the opportunity to digest the posts. As has been said many times, it depends on the individual because we all have different DNAs, plus the fact that there is no exact overall nutritional science - merely numerous health studies that may or may not contradict previous conclusions. 

The nearest we can get is 'observational' studies, blind correlation studies, and in a few extreme instances a causal link that may or may not be attributed solely to the health benefit or unhealthy benefit outcome.  I am currently reading two nutritional books full of scientific analysis and study results that contradict each other! Go and work that one out.

 

The old saying that 'one man's meat is another's poison' is so relevant when discussing nutrition.

 

BTW, if you are looking for a way to improve your 'exercise performance', a study on sipping natural beetroot juice a couple of hours before running, weightlifting or whatever sports indicated that performance notably increased - bettering steroids! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just now, villagefarang said:

I am not trying to be mean spirited.  I am trying to understand why you repeat the same arguments and use the same terms over and over and over and over again.  I have read all of these topics and posts and they seem very repetitive to me and you seem to get very upset and very dismissive when someone doesn't adhere to your agenda.

With all due respect, you’re wrong.  I have no “agenda” except promoting the idea of optimal metabolic health.  Keto is only one aspect of it that works for me.  I have never implied it is right for every one; only that the underlying science is sound.

 

You consider my topic titles to be click bait?  Well, I guess you could say they are if you mean they are meant to get the attention of people who have an interest in that topic (either pro or con).

 

Those people can either agree or disagree with my point of view.  I welcome both viewpoints because it often leads to intelligent debate and those with open-minds can learn from that kind of debate...if it is science-based.

 

I often have hotly contested debate with one particular member of this forum, @robblok.  We each have different viewpoints on many topics but we both back up what we believe with science-based facts, not outmoded dogma, misinformation and half-truths, and we both have acknowledged learning new things from each other.  

 

So, what’s wrong with that?  Who cares how many pages get used up in the thread?  It’s just open-minded discourse.  Why do you have a problem with that?

 

 

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1 hour ago, stephenterry said:

i'll respond in full once I've had the opportunity to digest the posts. As has been said many times, it depends on the individual because we all have different DNAs, plus the fact that there is no exact overall nutritional science - merely numerous health studies that may or may not contradict previous conclusions. 

The nearest we can get is 'observational' studies, blind correlation studies, and in a few extreme instances a causal link that may or may not be attributed solely to the health benefit or unhealthy benefit outcome.  I am currently reading two nutritional books full of scientific analysis and study results that contradict each other! Go and work that one out.

 

The old saying that 'one man's meat is another's poison' is so relevant when discussing nutrition.

 

BTW, if you are looking for a way to improve your 'exercise performance', a study on sipping natural beetroot juice a couple of hours before running, weightlifting or whatever sports indicated that performance notably increased - bettering steroids! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The controversial nature of nutrition and how our bodies react to what we put in them is what makes the topic so fascinating to me.  Contrary to what @villagefarang implies, I am not an advocate of any particular nutritional strategy.  

 

What I really believe in is “fingerprint medicine”, meaning that every person is unique in how they react to food.  I don’t believe in any particular nutritional strategy whether it be Keto, Vegan, Paleo, or whatever.  I absolutely don’t believe in any sort of weight-loss diets...none at all! 

 

I have a troubled health history.  There was a time when I was obese, pre-diabetic, and hypertensive.  My doctor prescribed medications but offered no advice on lifestyle or nutritional modification.  Many accept this and find themselves on potentially dangerous medications like Statins for life, and all the while just getting sicker and sicker.  I chose different!

 

I explored nutritional modification as a way to solve my problems.  It was simple and the health improvements occurred quickly...as in a matter if weeks (as far as blood pressure and metabolic markers for diabetes was concerned).  What did it take?  Just cutting out processed sugars!  That was it!!!  It couldn't have been easier. 

 

Why didn't my doctor advocate that...instead of prescription drugs?  Why did he not treat the underlying cause (poor nutrition) instead of treating only the symptoms (high blood pressure & pre-diabetes)?

 

So, that’s where my interest in optimizing my metabolic health started.  I explored Vegan first, didn’t like all aspects of that so I looked at Paleo, didn’t like all aspects of that either, then combined both so that I was now “Pagan” 🙂 .  I got more active, started cycling with a passion and lost a lot of excess body fat, but still felt  at odds with my nutrition, and that’s when I started exploring ketogenic diets and fasting.

 

Keep in mind, I had no need to lose weight at this point.  My real interest in Keto/fasting was to improve my cycling performance.  That is, to make my body better able to access stored body fat as fuel, and thus less reliant in stored glucose.

 

Of course the body naturally will tap into stored fat when necessary, but can actually be trained to do it more readily, and that’s referred to as “keto adaptation”.

 

THAT is what I advocate...Keto adaptation, not ketogenic diets!  There’s a huge difference!  Being keto adapted simply means that the metabolic pathways of BOTH fat metabolism and carbohydrates metabolism are equally optimized.  If they are, a person never has to face the prospect of being on a weight loss diet!  Their bodies will just naturally maintain ideal body fat percentages!

 

i know that might seem fantastical but I’ve found it to be true.  I’m Keto-adapted and since becoming that way I’ve never felt the need to be on a weight loss diet.  There are only two elements of maintaining Keto-adaptation I need to be concerned with.  I have to avoid processed foods with added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, keep my daily carb intake of good carbs relatively low, and water-fast (72 hours) once a month or every other month.

 

Water fasting is integral for keto-adaptation IMO (unless you want to always be on a ketogenic diet, which I do not).  For me at least, a three day water fast once a month or even every other month seems to keep me keto-adapted through the rest of the month as long as I am careful about keeping my carbs relatively low (but not necessarily ketogenic).  Why this seems to work, I'm not really sure, but it does...for me. 

 

Otherwise, I adhere to no particular diet throughout the rest of the month.  I don’t gain body fat even though I eat pretty much how I want, I don’t count calories.  And I guess most important of all, my periodic blood tests always show optimal metabolic markers.

 

Being free from processed foods means my body can clearly communicate with me.  Insulin / leptin balance is not thrown off from processed foods so hunger & satiety signals are very clear.  I eat when my body tells me to, not my mind.  My body dictates what kind of foods I eat now instead of my mind!  And because my fat/carb metabolic pathways are working the way nature intended, my body fat remains optimal without the need to be on any sort of weight-loss diets...ever !

 

Now, if somebody wants to call me an advocate for that kind of lifestyle, well then, yes I am!

 

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Interesting. I accept for the ordinary person working out, it probably doesn't make an iota of difference in consuming calories up to three hours before a workout. If it suits the individual to consume coffee and cake, it also probably wouldn't make an iota of difference. Stomach cramp at worst?

 

I would suggest, post workout, it could be  - note, could be - sensible to spike insulin to top up glycogen levels with  - say - a portion of fruit which is best consumed on an empty stomach - or so I've been led to believe. 

 

What holds my interest most of all, is what blood and urine tests - and maybe others as well - I need to undertake to tell me the state of play my body is in - on a periodic basis. Optimal metabolic markers, you mentioned. What are these and how do I - not the doctor - work out that optimum level?

 

This could give me guidance on how to better manage my nutrition on a 'scientific' basis that suits me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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53 minutes ago, stephenterry said:

Interesting. I accept for the ordinary person working out, it probably doesn't make an iota of difference in consuming calories up to three hours before a workout. If it suits the individual to consume coffee and cake, it also probably wouldn't make an iota of difference. Stomach cramp at worst?

 

I would suggest, post workout, it could be  - note, could be - sensible to spike insulin to top up glycogen levels with  - say - a portion of fruit which is best consumed on an empty stomach - or so I've been led to believe. 

 

What holds my interest most of all, is what blood and urine tests - and maybe others as well - I need to undertake to tell me the state of play my body is in - on a periodic basis. Optimal metabolic markers, you mentioned. What are these and how do I - not the doctor - work out that optimum level?

 

This could give me guidance on how to better manage my nutrition on a 'scientific' basis that suits me.  

Regarding blood tests in relation to metabolic health, I like to keep tabs on these in particular (in no order of importance, and this list is not inclusive):

  • BUN (kidney function)
  • Blood sugar (FBS) (diabetes marker)
  • HbA1C (diabetes marker)
  • Lipid Profile
  •    -Total Cholesterol
  •    -Triglyceride
  •    -HDL-Cholesterol
  •    -LDL-Cholesterol
  • CBC (comprehensive blood counts panel)
  • IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor) 80-175 is safe range IMO; Personally I shoot for 150 ng/dL)
  • Vitamin D3 50-70 ng/dL
  • Vitamin B12:  Above 600ng/dL (particularly important if you are Vegan)

Regarding "optimal" values / ranges, you have to do your own research on this because it's pretty controversial and you need to make informed decisions based on your own body and your own interpretation of your research.  For instance, the current laboratory reference range for cholesterol is 100-199 mg/dL.  However, there is a lot of controversy about how "bad" cholesterol really is, and so many feel the optimal range should really be 180-200 (myself included).  HDL is another one.  Standard lab range is 40-59.  A lot of people think the low end is too low (myself included) and optimal should be greater than 55mg/dL

 

I will say that current laboratory reference ranges are based on a cross-section of the population, and this would include people with less than ideal metabolic health which means that the recommended lab test ranges are going to be skewed because of this and thus not indicative of what is really optimal.  In most cases they'll be relatively close but in some cases, such as cholesterol and HDL, less so.

 

If you google "optimal reference ranges" "blood tests", you'll find a lot of varying opinions.  Again, just want to stress that you shouldn't believe everything you read.  Make sure whoever you end up believing is a credible source, and you hear the same advice from more than one such source. 

 

FYI, here in Thailand you needn't even go through a doctor to get blood tests.  Private blood testing labs abound, most are safe and reliable, and all are very cheap and fast, compared with hospital testing labs which generally will charge up to five times as much and make you wait several days to get results!

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, WaveHunter said:

Regarding blood tests in relation to metabolic health, I like to keep tabs on these in particular (in no order of importance, and this list is not inclusive):

  • BUN (kidney function)
  • Blood sugar (FBS) (diabetes marker)
  • HbA1C (diabetes marker)
  • Lipid Profile
  •    -Total Cholesterol
  •    -Triglyceride
  •    -HDL-Cholesterol
  •    -LDL-Cholesterol
  • CBC (comprehensive blood counts panel)
  • IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor) 80-175 is safe range IMO; Personally I shoot for 150 ng/dL)
  • Vitamin D3 50-70 ng/dL
  • Vitamin B12:  Above 600ng/dL (particularly important if you are Vegan)

Regarding "optimal" values / ranges, you have to do your own research on this because it's pretty controversial and you need to make informed decisions based on your own body and your own interpretation of your research.  For instance, the current laboratory reference range for cholesterol is 100-199 mg/dL.  However, there is a lot of controversy about how "bad" cholesterol really is, and so many feel the optimal range should really be 180-200 (myself included).  HDL is another one.  Standard lab range is 40-59.  A lot of people think the low end is too low (myself included) and optimal should be greater than 55mg/dL

 

I will say that current laboratory reference ranges are based on a cross-section of the population, and this would include people with less than ideal metabolic health which means that the recommended lab test ranges are going to be skewed because of this and thus not indicative of what is really optimal.  In most cases they'll be relatively close but in some cases, such as cholesterol and HDL, less so.

 

If you google "optimal reference ranges" "blood tests", you'll find a lot of varying opinions.  Again, just want to stress that you shouldn't believe everything you read.  Make sure whoever you end up believing is a credible source, and you hear the same advice from more than one such source. 

 

FYI, here in Thailand you needn't even go through a doctor to get blood tests.  Private blood testing labs abound, most are safe and reliable, and all are very cheap and fast, compared with hospital testing labs which generally will charge up to five times as much and make you wait several days to get results!

 

 

 

I would also look to add (for males) testosterone total & free. Ferritin - particularly if you are coming off a very poor diet & for females.. 

Additionally a simple variable heart rate and blood pressure test is also a good bio-marker (in the overall scheme) 

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21 hours ago, stephenterry said:

Interesting. I accept for the ordinary person working out, it probably doesn't make an iota of difference in consuming calories up to three hours before a workout. If it suits the individual to consume coffee and cake, it also probably wouldn't make an iota of difference. Stomach cramp at worst?

 

I would suggest, post workout, it could be  - note, could be - sensible to spike insulin to top up glycogen levels with  - say - a portion of fruit which is best consumed on an empty stomach - or so I've been led to believe. 

 

What holds my interest most of all, is what blood and urine tests - and maybe others as well - I need to undertake to tell me the state of play my body is in - on a periodic basis. Optimal metabolic markers, you mentioned. What are these and how do I - not the doctor - work out that optimum level?

 

This could give me guidance on how to better manage my nutrition on a 'scientific' basis that suits me. 

 

I am what some might consider a bodybuilder (small one) but what i read is that pre workout is far more important a meal 2 before a workout should be enough. What is in that meal is up to you. Personally i need quite a bit of time between my meal and a workout as i workout heavy and i might throw up otherwise.

 

I don't think it makes that much of a difference what you do afterwards (currently that is the thinking of many bodybuilders). I think its far more important what you eat on a whole and how you workout then meal timings. 

 

For instance they say that people who consume cassein protein before bed get more muscle and burn fat. I do that at times but I think all these effects are not that big. They for instance say 20% more muscle as without it.. but maybe without the muscle growth is 1 percent then with casein it would be 1,2% .. the 20 percent sounded like a lot but if the starting amount is low the 20% is not going to do much.

 

I have come to the comclusion that its just working out hard consistently with compound exercises and a good general diet (be it keto if you like.. its sub optimal for muscle but i doubt it would matter hugely for the average person). I have only had to carb load a few times but that was after having moved 19.000 kg of weights in a session. Far more then what the average lifter does. I have since then cut down on it as it was to hard on my body. 

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50 minutes ago, robblok said:

I am what some might consider a bodybuilder (small one) but what i read is that pre workout is far more important a meal 2 before a workout should be enough. What is in that meal is up to you. Personally i need quite a bit of time between my meal and a workout as i workout heavy and i might throw up otherwise.

 

I don't think it makes that much of a difference what you do afterwards (currently that is the thinking of many bodybuilders). I think its far more important what you eat on a whole and how you workout then meal timings. 

 

For instance they say that people who consume cassein protein before bed get more muscle and burn fat. I do that at times but I think all these effects are not that big. They for instance say 20% more muscle as without it.. but maybe without the muscle growth is 1 percent then with casein it would be 1,2% .. the 20 percent sounded like a lot but if the starting amount is low the 20% is not going to do much.

 

I have come to the comclusion that its just working out hard consistently with compound exercises and a good general diet (be it keto if you like.. its sub optimal for muscle but i doubt it would matter hugely for the average person). I have only had to carb load a few times but that was after having moved 19.000 kg of weights in a session. Far more then what the average lifter does. I have since then cut down on it as it was to hard on my body. 

It seems like a really controversial topic to me, and of course it depends on your goals.  Some say pre-workout carbs before don't matter, some say they do.  Some actually advocate working out fasted (1st thing in morning before breakfast) if the goal is to promote fat loss. 

 

Personally, I prefer not to eat anything right before a resistance training workout.  I've experimented eating pre-workout, and not eating pre-workout.  Frankly I notice no difference in energy levels.  Then again, I don't lift intensely heavy weights since my goals are really muscular tone & core stability, not strength/bulking. 

 

In cardio (road cycling) I definitely avoid pre-ride eating because it actually seems to make me feel sluggish and sort of bloated, but I'll have carbs with me on the ride (like bananas) for when I start feeling depleted.  That's just me.  I know plenty of cyclists who carb-load before a ride and swear by that.  I think it all depends on the individual. 

 

Now post-workout nutrition is quite another matter, especially when it comes to protein.  There's no question in my mind that protein intake within an hour of resistance training has important and proven benefits.  I heard this preached in gyms for years, and it's one of those "bro science truisms" that's actually been scientifically proven to be factual! 

 

Also, I believe that the most strategic time to have carbs (in terms of metabolic health) is after a workout (whether it's aerobic or strength), when you've depleted some glycogen and the carbs and the body will be primed to using those carbs to replenish depleted glycogen, and thus less likely to be stored as body fat.  Just my feeling since I've never really looked for science-based proof of this.  It just "seems" right to me.

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4 minutes ago, WaveHunter said:

It seems like a really controversial topic to me, and of course it depends on your goals.  Some say pre-workout carbs before don't matter, some say they do.  Some actually advocate working out fasted (1st thing in morning before breakfast) if the goal is to promote fat loss. 

 

Personally, I prefer not to eat anything right before a resistance training workout.  I've experimented eating pre-workout, and not eating pre-workout.  Frankly I notice no difference in energy levels.  Then again, I don't lift intensely heavy weights since my goals are really muscular tone & core stability, not strength/bulking. 

 

In cardio (road cycling) I definitely avoid pre-ride eating because it actually seems to make me feel sluggish and sort of bloated, but I'll have carbs with me on the ride (like bananas) for when I start feeling depleted.  That's just me.  I know plenty of cyclists who carb-load before a ride and swear by that.  I think it all depends on the individual. 

 

Now post-workout nutrition is quite another matter, especially when it comes to protein.  There's no question in my mind that protein intake within an hour of resistance training has important and proven benefits.  I heard this preached in gyms for years, and it's one of those "bro science truisms" that's actually been scientifically proven to be factual! 

 

Also, I believe that the most strategic time to have carbs (in terms of metabolic health) is after a workout (whether it's aerobic or strength), when you've depleted some glycogen and the carbs and the body will be primed to using those carbs to replenish depleted glycogen, and thus less likely to be stored as body fat.  Just my feeling since I've never really looked for science-based proof of this.  It just "seems" right to me.

Post workout is actually seen as less important. Do remember it takes time for proteins to be digested and to be available. So if you eat after your workout it takes some time for the proteins to be available. If you eat pre workout they are available during your workout.

 

Anyway I think the grand scheme of things it does not matter much and one should eat the way they feel good. I like to eat 2 hours before my training any shorter then that and i feel bad. Its not that i see it as important to eat before for energy levels but more that i eat 3 times a day so it means i will always have to wait some time to be less full. Usually eat 9.00 12:00 and 17:00 and nothing more after that (ok sometimes casein in the evening).

 

Your right that after a workout or ride carbs can be more beneficial as they will go into glycogen reserves and not fat and the anabolic response of insulin is good. Anyway I am not going to say that i know it best. I think in real life just do what feels best but I doubt in the end it will result in kilos of more muscle.. i think differences are minor. Just my opinion.

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55 minutes ago, robblok said:

Post workout is actually seen as less important. Do remember it takes time for proteins to be digested and to be available. So if you eat after your workout it takes some time for the proteins to be available. If you eat pre workout they are available during your workout.

 

Anyway I think the grand scheme of things it does not matter much and one should eat the way they feel good. I like to eat 2 hours before my training any shorter then that and i feel bad. Its not that i see it as important to eat before for energy levels but more that i eat 3 times a day so it means i will always have to wait some time to be less full. Usually eat 9.00 12:00 and 17:00 and nothing more after that (ok sometimes casein in the evening).

 

Your right that after a workout or ride carbs can be more beneficial as they will go into glycogen reserves and not fat and the anabolic response of insulin is good. Anyway I am not going to say that i know it best. I think in real life just do what feels best but I doubt in the end it will result in kilos of more muscle.. i think differences are minor. Just my opinion.

When I said pre-workout, I meant right before a workout.  But I think what you meant after reading this post from you, you didn't mean right before the workout, but several hours before.  That's a different story and I'd fully agree with that.

 

Based on what I think you're saying in this last post, I think I eat the same as you do, more or less with regard to protein intake and timing.  I have a satisfying lunch around Noon time which is my first meal of the day, consisting of at least 40 grams of protein (which is about 4 hours before my resistance workout.  I time my resistance training for 4pm on alternate days, so I can have dinner as a post-workout meal around 5:30pm (within an hour or so of my workout) which includes around 80 grams of protein, for a daily total of 120 grams. 

 

I know for sure that the lunch protein is fully assimilated, and based on studies I've seen, I'm convinced that even the 80 grams of protein at dinner are also fully assimilated over 12 hours.

 

With lean body mass of 54kg, that's 2.2 grams per LBM kg, which my research shows should be sufficient for muscle gain from resistance training.  I seem to be making gains from this.  I've been eating this way for the last couple months and feel pretty good.

 

What do you think.  Do you see any red flags with this logic?

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6 minutes ago, WaveHunter said:

When I said pre-workout, I meant right before a workout.  But I think what you meant after reading this post from you, you didn't is not right before the workout, but several hours before.  That's a different story.

 

So, based on what I think you're saying in this post, I think I eat the same as you do, more or less with regard to protein intake and timing.  I have a satisfying lunch around Noon time which is my first meal of the day, consisting of at least 40 grams of protein (which is about 4 hours before my resistance workout.  I time my resistance training for 4pm on alternate days, so I can have dinner as a post-workout meal around 5:30pm (within an hour or so of my workout) which includes around 80 grams of protein, for a daily total of 120 grams. 

 

I know for sure that the lunch protein is fully assimilated, and based on studies I've seen, I'm convinced that even the 80 grams of protein at dinner are also fully assimilated over 12 hours.

 

With lean body mass of 54kg, that's 22 grams per LBM kg, which my research shows should be sufficient for muscle gain from resistance training.  I seem to be making gains from this.  I've been eating this way for the last couple months and feel pretty good.

 

What do you think.  Do you see any red flags with this logic?

I think your logic is sound and it works for you. And indeed I don't eat something right before training... i would throw up during training then. There must be at least a few hours in between for me.

 

I think once you got a good diet and exercise program the timing does not matter that much except with carbs better to eat them around your training if possible. 

 

But really how much all these differences are in real life.. I have no real clue. 

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2 minutes ago, robblok said:

I think your logic is sound and it works for you. And indeed I don't eat something right before training... i would throw up during training then. There must be at least a few hours in between for me.

 

I think once you got a good diet and exercise program the timing does not matter that much except with carbs better to eat them around your training if possible. 

 

But really how much all these differences are in real life.. I have no real clue. 

LOL, that's what I meant about eating right before a strenuous bike ride or resistance training...serious nausea!  Been there, done that...Not a pretty sight!

 

I agree that timing is an individual thing...whatever feels right is the best way to do it.  Your body knows better than your analytical brain.

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More or less what I thought. Replenishment of carbs around exercise would be sufficient for most people - with a 2-3 hour window before, and within one hour after. I'm pretty sure there's proven scientific evidence to support that health regime viewpoint.

 

On a tangent, and back to the actual workout:

 

I'm not into lifting weights, preferring HIIT workouts, which at the present consist of walking around the park (ten laps) for an hour four times a week. It (now) takes me under 6 minutes to walk (fast) one lap aerobically. Each lap is c.600 metres, so I'm covering around 6k per walk.  

 

After the first warm-up lap I'll walk as fast as I can for half a lap = 3 minutes, and recover during the second half by walking normally. I'll repeat this for 5 laps, so I'm carrying out a HIIT routine lasting 15 minutes, and a non-HIIT routine for 45 minutes.  It's strenuous enough for me.

 

All well and good, but I want to intensify my HIIT schedule by attending a local gym (costs 60 baht a session) for about an 30-45 minutes - probably by cutting my walk time to achieve that.

 

To 'build lean muscle from a fairly sloppy belly' as the main objective for an active old codger, what gym machines would you consider to be the most effective? 

 

  

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2 hours ago, stephenterry said:

More or less what I thought. Replenishment of carbs around exercise would be sufficient for most people - with a 2-3 hour window before, and within one hour after. I'm pretty sure there's proven scientific evidence to support that health regime viewpoint.

 

On a tangent, and back to the actual workout:

 

I'm not into lifting weights, preferring HIIT workouts, which at the present consist of walking around the park (ten laps) for an hour four times a week. It (now) takes me under 6 minutes to walk (fast) one lap aerobically. Each lap is c.600 metres, so I'm covering around 6k per walk.  

 

After the first warm-up lap I'll walk as fast as I can for half a lap = 3 minutes, and recover during the second half by walking normally. I'll repeat this for 5 laps, so I'm carrying out a HIIT routine lasting 15 minutes, and a non-HIIT routine for 45 minutes.  It's strenuous enough for me.

 

All well and good, but I want to intensify my HIIT schedule by attending a local gym (costs 60 baht a session) for about an 30-45 minutes - probably by cutting my walk time to achieve that.

 

To 'build lean muscle from a fairly sloppy belly' as the main objective for an active old codger, what gym machines would you consider to be the most effective? 

 

  

High intensity is classified as getting your heart rate to 80%-95% of your max  and i'm not too sure that you could sustain these percentages for 3 mins perhaps not even obtain these numbers with a fast paced walk. To be fair it is a lot easier to do HIIT  in a gym on a treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bike etc whereby you can play around so to speak with different permutations.

 

You cannot build muscle from a sloppy belly as they are 2 separate things, abs and core exercises will slightly build muscle, diet and cardio exercise will enable you to lose calories thus lose fat but not necessary all from the belly area.

 

Anyway this is all rather complex and i'm sure other posters will be on to give you some more in depth advice. 

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3 hours ago, stephenterry said:

More or less what I thought. Replenishment of carbs around exercise would be sufficient for most people - with a 2-3 hour window before, and within one hour after. I'm pretty sure there's proven scientific evidence to support that health regime viewpoint.

 

On a tangent, and back to the actual workout:

 

I'm not into lifting weights, preferring HIIT workouts, which at the present consist of walking around the park (ten laps) for an hour four times a week. It (now) takes me under 6 minutes to walk (fast) one lap aerobically. Each lap is c.600 metres, so I'm covering around 6k per walk.  

 

After the first warm-up lap I'll walk as fast as I can for half a lap = 3 minutes, and recover during the second half by walking normally. I'll repeat this for 5 laps, so I'm carrying out a HIIT routine lasting 15 minutes, and a non-HIIT routine for 45 minutes.  It's strenuous enough for me.

 

All well and good, but I want to intensify my HIIT schedule by attending a local gym (costs 60 baht a session) for about an 30-45 minutes - probably by cutting my walk time to achieve that.

 

To 'build lean muscle from a fairly sloppy belly' as the main objective for an active old codger, what gym machines would you consider to be the most effective? 

 

  

What you are describing is not HIIT... 3 minutes full out is total hell. HIIT is going full out like your being chased by a pack of wolves or something like that. What you describe is more interval training. Real HITT would be max 2 minutes (after you build up to that) less in the beginning even 30 seconds.  This is great of course but real demanding on the body. Interval is what you describe periods of going faster but not full out and then a slower period.

 

I would say don't use gym machines, let yourself get instructed in the bench-press, squat and if your body can do it deadlift (at light weights of course so you get the movements good).  Its now about weight. These exercises incorporate multi joints and loads of muscles and will give you most bang for your buck.

 

Machines in general are isolating muscles (not bad as an addition) but compound exercises are the core of training.

 

Your sloppy belly will only go away with diet but as your a newbie maybe it will go away from just training new trainees can gain muscle and burn fat at the same time. 

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I agree with @robblok mostly.  If you're older it might be wise, as a first step to get a cardio stress test but and if all is good with that i’d Hire a good personal trainer to help you put together a good workout program consisting of free weights (not machines) and a HIIT style cardio workout you can grow with.

 

Irregardless of age, free weights (barbells and dumb bells) are much better because they not only improve strength but improve smaller “stabilizer” muscles which are just as important as the primary ones.  Machines can’t really do this as effectively.

 

Specifically free weight exercises referred to as compound are best.  When you get right down to it, free weight workouts can be simple and relatively short.  There are 3 compound exercises that all by themself can give you a pretty decent overall body workout IMO; they are the bench press, deadlift, and squat.

 

 @robblok know far more than I do about weight lifting so I’d defer to him if he disagrees.

 

One suggestion I’d offer is to consider joining a CROSSFIT program. I know most people think of this being for people who are already fit super athletes, but that’s a fallacy.  People of all ages and fitness levels participate.  It is the optimal combination of resistance training and HIIT style training IMO!

 

You'd want to find a good CrossFit gym (they refer to them as “Boxes”).  A good one will be run by a highly certified CrossFit trainer who is capable of SAFELY and effectively training people of ALL skill/fitness levels and ages.  I’ve seen many people in the 70’s and 80’s age range participate.  Some even have disabilities (I.e.: back issues) that a good trainer knows how to work around.

 

As for sloppy belly, @robblok is right.  There’s a saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.  Exercise alone will strengthen, stabilize, and tone the body, but if you are carrying significant body fat, and want to also look fit, fixing your diet is the only way to really shed body fat.  Exercise will improve your metabolic health greatly, and thus make it easier for you to shed excess body fat, but in the final analysis, you’ll need to consider nutrition changes for it to happen.

 

Just one final comment.  There’s no reason people of any age can not be fit.  I know a lot of people resign themselves to seeing a “spare tire” around their belly as an inevitable part of getting older but that’s false.  Some think they’re too old to jog, or get on a bicycle and ride it long and hard.  They often underestimate what their body is really capable of.

 

The human body is a pretty amazing machine irregardless of your chronological age.  I’m not saying you’d want to go from being a couch potato to running a marathon in a day, but there are many marathon runners in their 80’s and even 90’s who decided to get fit very late in life.

 

Very few people actually have health issues that prevent them from working towards a high level of fitness if they really want it irregardless of age or starting fitness level.  So, I say, get tested to be sure you have a clean bill of health, and then just get down to making it happen.

 

All is just my personal opinion of course 🙂

 

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