GTS Reverse Diet
Each week we are going to keep building off of the previous weeks.
The Preparation Week material focused on getting ready to start the journey.
Week 1 our focus was on calories and getting the hang of tracking your food.
Week 2 we worked on hitting your target protein numbers.
Week 3 we increased the total servings of vegetables each day.
Week 4 we'll take a look additional carbohydrate sources.
Week 4 Focus
I don't want to bore you with a tremendous amount of science, but I feel it's important to have a base level knowledge of what carbohydrates are and what they do in your system. There's been a lot of controversy around "carbs", specifically sugar, so having a base level education on this macronutrient will help you make smarter decisions.
Carbohydrates are found in a wide variety of foods and can be simply broken up into sugars (ex. table sugar, fructose), starches (ex. rices, oats) and cellulose (ex. vegetable based, plants).
Cellulose in the cell wall of all plant tissue is a carbohydrate. It is important in our diet as fibre which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system. We focused on vegetables last week and always want to make room for a base amount of vegetable based carbohydrates each day.
For the purpose of this week, we'll focus a little more on sugar and starch based carbohydrates.
Starch and sugar are important carbohydrates in our diet. Starch is abundant in potatoes, maize, rice, bread, beans, and cereals. Sugar appears in our diet mainly as sucrose (table sugar), which is added to drinks and many prepared foods such as jam, biscuits and cakes, and glucose and fructose which occur naturally in many fruits and some vegetables.
The body converts carbohydrates into glucose which is then used as energy for our organs and muscles. The body will also store glucose in the form of glycogen in one of two places... the liver (small reserve) or your muscles (much larger reserve). Think of carbohydrates as your performance calorie, as stored muscle glycogen is used to fuel your muscles during intense bouts of training and activity.
In recent years carbohydrates have been vilified as the cause of obesity and a host of other diseases. But like anything, when consumed in balance and in the right quantities are completely healthy and can improve your day to day performance.
As we discussed earlier, in the body, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (a form of fuel the body can use). Table sugar, milk sugar, fruit sugar do not require a lot of processing to convert into glucose as compared to a starchier carbohydrate (potato, rice) which requires digestion time and slower release of glucose into the body. So while sugar itself is perfectly safe, when consumed in large quantities at a time, the body is left to figure out what to do with this huge amount of energy that was just added to the system. Unless you're extremely active, prolonged over consumption of sugar is generally what causes most of the problems.
Also, if you think about all the things that taste amazing in this world, it's generally a combination of carbohydrates and fat. Examples include pizza, ice cream, baked goods, french fries, etc. Carbs and fats are both fuel sources for the body, and when foods contain high levels of both of these macronutrients they taste delicious... which generally means you'll consume too much of it. Is ice cream bad? Will pizza and french fries make you fat? No, not at all... when consumed at a serving size or two and a few times per month it's perfectly fine to have in your diet! Again, over consumption is where we get ourselves into trouble.
As we discussed in recent weeks, sometimes diets that are lower in carbohydrates tend to create a quick drop in body weight the first week or two. Glycogen (stored glucose) binds to water and is stored in the muscle, so when you reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume, you'll generally see a quick drop in bodyweight as your body is releasing water and energy stored into the system. This obviously levels out over time and the body will continue losing body weight at a much slower rate.
On your reverse diet, you'll notice each week we've been adding mainly carbohydrates back into your diet. At this point you probably have a better understanding of how much more volume of food you can have when you transition off sugar as your primary carbohydrate source and focus more on vegetables and starchier carbohydrates. Vegetables will always be your base carbohydrate. Your next priority will be your starchier carbohydrates as these will help store energy in the muscle and improve performance in the gym.
Stored energy --> improved work capacity --> higher performance --> stronger muscles --> leaner body --> better physique.
This week, I'd like you to experiment with starchier based carbohydrate sources like rices, grains, beans, breads, pastas, oats, potatoes, etc and attempt to reduce (NOT eliminate) the overall amount of sugar based carbohydrates you consume. Sugar based carbs can enhance the flavor of meals, and when when consumed in small dosages are completely safe and healthy, just keep an eye on the serving size.
If you haven't had a chance to watch the carbohydrate video below, you might find it helpful. I review some of my weekly starchier carbohydrate purchases, and why I choose those items.
RESet Custom Calorie and Macros in MyFitnessPal
Set your Week 4 Calorie and Macros in your tracker app on your phone.
Look in your training log for your week 4 calorie and macro targets...
Next, in MyFitnessPal, click...
--> More (bottom right) <--
--> Goals <--
--> Calorie, Carb, Protein, and Fat Goals (Custom) <--
Adjust the calories and percentages to get as close as you can to your prescribed numbers.
At this point you should be pretty familiar with this process, if you have questions make sure to ask your coaching staff.
Experiment with new carbohydrate sources
For those focused on fat loss, calories are still relatively low and consuming less than 200g of carbohydrates per day, you'll most likely want to focus on getting your starchier carbohydrates through filling items like oats, potato, rice, quinoa and beans.
For those consuming 200+g of carbs per day, you'll likely want to add in additional items as well like breads and pastas to help satisfy your calorie requirements. Breads are super easy to prepare, digest a little quicker and easier to consume larger quantities. I typically stick to rice based bread and pasta when I having larger quantities as I can sometimes experience some inflammatory issues after reaching a certain threshold of more traditional breads and pastas.
What to expect...
Enjoy this week's calorie bump!
With each week that you increase the starchier carbohydrates and calories you'll probably feel a bit of a performance bump in the gym, most of the time with the number of reps you can do on the top end weights.
Body Weight Reminders
Those of you focusing on fat loss will have likely seen a pretty good drop the first 2-3 weeks. It's not uncommon for your body to hold onto the weight a little more weeks 3-5 and the progress to slow day to day. The body is stubborn sometimes and starting to adjust to the deficit. You may also start seeing a recomposition, meaning while your body weight may be the same, but you'll find your clothes are starting to fit better. This typically means you're building lean muscle tissue while dropping fat. Stay the course, the weight on the scale is less important than how you feel, look and perform day to day. The the body weight will release at some point, sometimes dropping a few pounds randomly.
Just a reminder, focus on building long term, sustainable habits. Instead of just focusing on the low number on the scale, I'd like you to keep a closer eye on your weekly high bodyweight. Each week I'd like to see less fluctuation in your weight on the high end. You can't necessarily control the rate at which your body releases the weight but by staying the course you can typically ensure your weekly high bodyweight is a little bit lower than the previous week.
Training Impact Reminders
Everyone should start seeing strength and endurance pick back up again as the calories and carbohydrates have been increasing.
Continue focusing on perfecting your reps, and rack the weight when you feel your form is degrading at any point during your working sets.
Sync up with your coaching staff if you're having issues and we'll adjust your program accordingly.
Success Tip 1
Another great idea sent in from Aidan! Overnight oats in mason jars!
"Sticking with the mason jar theme, I make a week's worth of overnight oats for both myself and my folks. They have a hard time stomaching protein in the morning, especially from savory sources, so these do the trick.
For their jars, I use 1/4 cup oats (dry), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 serving of frozen berries, and 1 tsp of honey, with cinnamon to taste. Works just as well w/o the protein powder --> instead: 1 cup of Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup of almond milk. 26g of protein and roughly 300 cals.
My jar has 1/4 cup oats (dry), 3/4 cup liquid egg whites, 1 serving of frozen berries, and some cinnamon and stevia to taste. In the morning, I microwave this for 2 minutes and it turns out really fluffy. This was a trick I used when I was cutting to get a lot of food volume on low cals. I eat the same breakfast now that I'm gaining weight, I've just scaled up the ingredients appropriately."
Success Tip 2
Easy Prep Carb Sources
If you're short on time and unable to cook and prepare things like rice, beans, or oats yourself... try having a loaf of brown rice bread, canned beans, or pre-cooked frozen rice on hand.
These items are easy to re-heat, toast, or a quick addition to a protein and vegetable based meal you're already preparing.
End Of Week Check-IN
I'll be sending out a check-In form on Monday to gather data and see how everyone did, but you're free to communicate with us at any time.
Text our training/nutrition text message account @ 424-265-0487
A few reminders...
Make sure you're weighing yourself 3x per week, preferably first thing in the morning. We'll be tracking the high, the low and average for each week.
Take progress photo (selfies) at each weigh-in.
Final Thoughts & Other Helpful Links
Remember go easy on yourself! Try not to stress about being perfect. This will be a journey, let's just aim for small victories and improvements each week.
Next week we'll taking a look at other carb sources...
GTS Facebook Team Training Page (Meal Prep Tips and Ideas)
GTS Nutrition Video Playlist
GTS Nutrition E-Book
Week 1 - Calories, Logging/Prepping, Cheat Meals
Week 2 - Protein, Preparing in Bulk, Stir Fry and Stew, Quick Protein Options
Week 3 - Vegetable Prep, Weighing and Measuring Tips, Salads in Mason Jars
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