Using Control Days, fat days, to optimize your plan

(Click “Continue Reading” to view a timestamp and transcription of this seminar)

This is part of the information that I teach in the Eat To Perform Science Lab seminars.  Fat/control days are a popular subject that comes up in the Ladies classes.  This seminar was full of some great questions; it’s a must watch.  I think you’ll agree that a Science Lab subscription is well worth the $4.95/month.  You’d have a hard time finding this kind of content anywhere else on the web.

(Click on a time to jump to that section)

[01:30] The differences between CrossFit for men and women, catering to CrossFit, and why adding fat to your back-loads is a great idea
[08:32] How we’re different than CBL, recovering from low carbing, and dialing it all in
[23:00] Intermediate carb cycling for women, glycogen depletion, and dialing in high fat days
[30:45] Protein requirements and intuitive eating
[34:44] Fat/control days and why you shouldn’t be afraid of (or a slave to) the scale
[39:57] Beating “carbophobia”, body recomposition, and creatine supplementation for women
[50:42] Why the best version of you might be heavier than you think, and adjusting metcon to weight gain


Paul:  This is Paul Nobles from Eat To  This is the ladies Sunday seminar.  I am currently in my pajamas, and that’s going to be a new tradition on Sundays because I do both a women’s and a men’s class on Sundays.  So I’m gonna be chilling out in my pajamas doing these classes and having a cup of coffee.

We have a few people that may be having difficulty getting into the class.  There’s a lot of new people that signed up in the last couple days, and so those people I sent them an invite.  There are some things that most people get confused about initially, and one of those things is that we’re on Central Standard Time.  If you’re on PST or EST, obviously, you’ll have to adjust your schedule to my schedule.  That’s kind of the way it works when you’re in charge.  The other thing is that a lot of people need to realize to connect to the Google Hangouts page.  You get a detailed e-mail when you join the Science Lab and that tells you how to get here.

[1:30] The differences between CrossFit for men and women, catering to CrossFit, and why adding fat to your back-loads is a great idea

[1:30] Paul:  I’m relatively certain that the ladies in this class already are going to have some good questions.  We already had a good question (it came from a guy) that I’m gonna go ahead and answer.  We kicked him out of here ‘cause this is the ladies class.  Anyway, he asked “What are the main differences between men and women when it comes to CrossFit nutrition?  I think the standard answer to that question is that women hold onto glucose better in their cells than men do.  Men are a little less efficient (just through evolution or whatever) as it relates to holding glucose in their cells.  This is highly individual, but for men it’s about 90% and for women it can be anywhere from 70-85% carbohydrate utilization.  So women burn fat better doing CrossFit than men do.  Men are burning more carbohydrate, which begs the question:  “Why aren’t all the women super leaned out?”

Well, there’s a lot of factors there, but in terms of the nutrition part of things, because women hold onto glucose in their cells through high intensity workouts, they don’t need near as many carbohydrates in their back-loads.  That’s one of the main deficiencies that I believe is causing a lot of confusion in CBL; there’s not a specific understanding for women, so the recommendations are coming off as…You know, these women should be eating 500g of carbohydrate.  We go over that in this class a lot.  It’s not even close to that.

Kiefer has clarified that many different times, but he’s not specifically talking about the CrossFit community.  He’s not talking about people who do HIIT training virtually every single time.  That’s why my site exists, and that’s why his site exists.  We’ve had a few different questions come up recently, and there’s some level of frustration on my part because (in general) I try to put myself as the person that is focused on CrossFit.  Kiefer has a few CF clients; all of my clients are CF clients.  I’m trying to specialize in this niche.  This is my priority.

I don’t need anybody to call by one name or anything like that; my sole focus is to get in these classes and help you guys figure out your problems.  Also, if you haven’t used the Science Lab private forum, I think that’s a great resource for people that can’t make these classes, but have questions and need them answered.  This morning we’ve actually got 2-3 questions that are going to end up as posts later in the day.  It’s really allowing us to constantly refine our message.

One of the things that I think is going to be really interesting about what we do compared to (say) a book…For instance, our “Foundations” manual you get when you join the Science Lab…That will actually work like software.  We update it at least once a month.  What that’s going to allow, is our message to continue to get better and better, and answer questions.  People can draw off of the experiences of all of the people that came before them.

I think that’s going to be really helpful.  The problem with a book, is that people read that book…And then it doesn’t answer a one-off.  One of the great examples recently was the “fat in the back-load” question.  That’s been coming up a lot.  Kiefer clarified this in a video; he’s talked about it many different times.  I don’t actually even like his recommendations for our community.  I think in our community, we rely mostly on fats and an adequate amount of carbohydrate to fuel our athletic performance, right?

What he suggests is more of a leaner, high GI approach.  That’s fine if you’re OK with a super insulin-type of scenario.  I suggest that a more stable response is even better.  Is it “optimal”?  Are you going to win Mr. Olympia doing what I’m suggesting?  Probably not.  This is more for regular people; this is more for CrossFitters.  This is more for people that’re looking for a more stable blood sugar response.  I think when you start to get into all these tricky ways to manipulate your body into performing the best way possible, that’s where an elite athlete probably differs from the good majority of you guys.

Even in the case of the CF athletes that I work with, I usually tell them…We’ve not seen a negative response from the advice that I’m giving.  That’s a long story short.  Now, does that mean that I won’t change my opinion later on if we find that there’s a better approach out there?  Absolutely.  I will say this; I’ve poured over the studies.  When you add fat to your protein drinks, or you add fat to your meals, they look more like real food.  Because they look like real food, you actually get a better response within the body.  That’s the answer to Mark’s question even though he wasn’t here, but he’ll get to watch it later on like everybody else.

[08:32] How we’re different than CBL, recovering from low carbing, and dialing it all in

[08:32] At this point, we only have a small class, so I’m okay with people un-muting their mic and asking me their questions.  But if your mic isn’t working, you can ask a question in the chat window.  So does anybody have a question that they would be interesting in asking beyond what we just talked about?

Heidi:  I do Paul.  I’ve been doing CBL and following your protocol for…I think it’s been two weeks now.  I’m doing about 100g of carbs on non-training days, which for me is only two days a week.  I CF 5x a week.  On back-loading days, I do about 150g.  I’ve gained about 5 lbs. now and I’m trying really hard not to freak out about it, but for me, I’m heavier than I’ve probably been in a long time.  While I definitely want to be stronger, I definitely want to lean out.  So I’m not sure where to weak; do you think maybe I’m doing too many carbs?

Paul:  Well, I think the answer to your question is good.  It’s something that has been coming up a lot in the private forum, and it’s something that really needs to be addressed as we move forward.  First part of your question:  Carb Back-Loading is not my protocol.  CBL is basically a version of metabolic flexibility, which is what I teach people.  When you’re reading the book CBL, one of the things that you’re describing, is that if you’re having difficulty dialing things in at 100-150g, certainly that 400g recommendation you would get in the book would not be a good fit for you.  That’s where some of my approach is a little bit different from the book CBL, but also it may point out a little bit of the differences in how we work out compared to the way that other people work out.

In the sessions with Julia Ladewski on Wednesdays and Fridays, she often talks about the fact that her recommendations tend to be under 200g.  That kind of extreme carb intake for women tends to not be the best approach.  Let’s talk about what’s happening in your body and how you can deal with it, because mentally I think it becomes a big struggle for people starting to make this change.  What is the ultimate goal?  What are we trying to accomplish?  I’ve talked about this in the private forum, but I like the fact that it’s being brought up in the seminar.

Part of what’s happening when you take a relatively low carbohydrate approach most of the time, which is what you would have done before CBL…Is that correct Heidi?

Heidi:  Yes.  I’ve been doing very strict Paleo for over a year.

Paul:  Basically, what happens is in their process, your cells kind of become a little flat-footed.  Let’s say that you were at 50g of carbohydrate; your brain probably uses somewhere in the neighborhood of 100g of carbohydrate on a daily basis.  Your brain is sort of struggling to get where it needs to be, and it’s actually able to use ketones that it’s burning and potentially some glucose from the protein that you’re eating, but in general you weren’t giving it adequate amounts of carbohydrate just to fuel basic brain function.  Your body was then using all these other means to fill in the gaps, right?  Well, that process, hormonally, can become a little bit difficult.  It’s not that it’s wrong, because we actually use that on the fat/control days.  That’s actually part of the discussion that we’re going to be having here in a second.

So, basically, your cells kind of become flat-footed.  Your leptin hormone, which basically helps mobilize your fat…That becomes repressed.  Your human growth hormone doesn’t function as high as it normally would because you’re not really putting great demands on it to mobilize a great deal of fat and lean you out.  That’s one of the reasons why you actually want the scale to go up.  Not all the time…But there are a number of factors going on here.  First of all, your cells don’t have a level of adaptability because of the low carbohydrate approach you were taking with Paleo.  Does that mean that you can’t take a “more” correct approach with Paleo?  No; that’s pretty close to what we teach.

When you’re trying to eat a mostly whole foods diet, you should absolutely have enough carbohydrate to allow for a little bit of flexibility.  What happens for a lot of people is they start gaining 2-5 lbs. and then they panic.  They go back to their bad, eat less/do less diet that wasn’t getting them good results in the first place.  What we need to do is get your cells to a point where they can actually have some flexibility.  April Simmons-Blackford was one of the first articles that we had related to the “Gradually Awesome Approach”.  She talked about this; she talked about the adjustment that you’re making, where she went from 100g of carbs, and now she’s up to about 250g of carbs.

Her approach was very similar to yours where she took a mostly low carb approach.  She’s a 120 lb. woman.  She actually eats more carbs than I do on a daily basis.  Mostly, I rely on fat, but as a general rule on days before I WOD I’ll have about 250g of carbs.  On the other days, I go anywhere from 150-200g depending upon that scale weight.  So, let’s talk about how you work with that scale weight to kind of get it to do what you want it to do.

This is a really, really brain-dead simple approach that I think, once people start to get comfortable with it, is really the path to optimal health for your whole life.  What it will show you is how you can use a carb cycling approach to get optimal results from body composition, but also your fat loss foals.  When you do at this point is you have fat, or control days.  Even on days where you might be working out.

Right now, what’s happening is your cells don’t have a level of flexibility.  Your leptin’s not functioning the way it’s supposed to.  Your HGH’s been suppressed for a really long time; it’s going to take a while for your body to start recovering metabolically.  What we need to do, potentially, is we need to have a 200g of carbohydrate day, and then come back with more fat days.  Right now, you might be going 5 days carbohydrate, you’re reading the book, you haven’t been having carbohydrate for forever, you like Paul’s coconut smoothies…You’re sort of toying with the idea a bit.

What we need to do at this point is…You’re probably good on carbs as they exist right now, and what I need you to do at this point is to keep your calories high, but have mostly fats.  On the fat day, here’s what I would like you to do.  I’d like you to keep your protein right around 1g/lb. of body weight.  When you have more protein, that tends to settle the system down.  You may also need, through gluconeogenesis, the ability to get some glucose.  Now, I don’t want you to go extreme low carb like you used to.  What I’d like you to do is more about 75g.

What that might look like is going fats/proteins w/ fibrous veggies most of the day, and then using something like my coconut milk smoothie (for example) for that 75g of carbs.  That sort of settles your system down, allows you to sleep well, and allows you to continue with the fat process.  So how many days and how do your workouts change?  What I’d suggest to you is to not be overly bothered by the scale weight, but I like data.  I’m a fan of data.  I believe that you should be trying to figure out patterns and things of this nature, so I actually like the fact that people use scale weight as a bit of a gauge.  It’s not the only gauge; the mirror should also be a gauge.

But you’re saying that the mirror is not favorable either right now.  You need some control days.  What ends up happening is, is people go, “Okay.  I did the carb thing and now I’m gonna snuggle back up to my high fat days, and I’m gonna stick with this 75g approach ‘cause it feels more like what I used to do.”  But that wasn’t getting you the result that you needed anyway.  What you’re really trying to do is create some level of flexibility.  You’re not going to get that level of flexibility relying on fats all of the time.

One adjustment that I need you to make is that, one the day that you do 200g of carbohydrate (which by the way, won’t be for 2-3 days from right now, because you’re saying that the scale weight is up)…Right now, in theory, your energy level should be high.  You should eat probably close to about -10% for your TDEE.  Eat slightly less than maintenance, eat a majority of fat, and sort of adjust that down.

What I need you to do is, I need your Monday workout to be something close to Rx, something where you’re going to really push the limits of your ability.  You should have enough glucose in your muscles that will allow you to WOD really well.  On Tuesday, if you were to WOD…Is this possible by the way, or are you going to work out today?

Heidi:  Today is a rest day.  I always take Sunday as a rest day, and usually Wednesday or Thursday is a rest day.  So I do, I WOD Monday/Tuesday, take off Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

[23:00] Intermediate carb cycling for women, glycogen depletion and weight fluctuations, and dialing in high fat days

[23:00] Paul:  So this is what I would like to see you do:  I would like to see the majority of today to be fats. Use tonight as a 75g, and really push it on Monday. Here’s where I really want you to make a gauge.  Once again, 2-3 lbs. might be just your depleted glycogen that’s actually been refilled.  5 lbs. we probably want to address some inflammation.  This is sort of how we dial this in.  So what’s going to happen is, you’re going to go 75g of carbs, you’re going to have your coconut milk smoothie…When do you work out Heidi?  Please tell me it’s in the morning.

Heidi:  Yeah.  9 a.m.

Paul:  OK, we should be good here.  So you’re gonna have your coconut milk smoothie, you’re gonna work out at 9, and I suspect that that workout’s gonna be really good.  I think you’ll feel highly energetic, you should really push yourself.  If it’s something that you can Rx, you should go ahead and do it.  Always, the priority is to move as good as possible, but what you’re really trying to do is deplete your glycogen.  Some of the carbs from the evening will help, the added protein will help, but in general you wanna flush out some of the inflammation that has been built up because your cells aren’t flexible enough to deal with those.  We’re going to eventually get them to a point where they are, but right now we’re dealing with things as they exist.

Tuesday’s workout is different:  I want you to modify down to 1/3 of what you’re capable of doing at that point.  What I really want you to see from that WOD is really good metconning.  I want you to walk away from that WOD…You should definitely feel like you worked out in an extreme manner, but you shouldn’t feel as if you’re going to die.  You want to adjust towards your energy intake, so your energy output needs to go down.  So trying to lift the heaviest weight possible when you’re really not kinda set up to do so, I think is a mistake.  Then what I would like you to do is come home, get on the scale, and tell me what that says.

Normally, I would suggest that you weigh yourself in the morning.  Weighing yourself consistently at 6 a.m. is going to be the best approach, but we’re looking for some information at this point.  This might not be 100% the kind of information that we need to get but once again, we’re looking for some data, we’re looking for some patterns, we’re looking for some things that we can use to move on.  My suggestion is probably going to be, that if you can stick to that 75g approach, use Wednesday as your rest day.  Wednesday night is the day you’re going to carb up.

You weigh yourself after you work out, but hopefully you haven’t drank a ton of water at that point because obviously if you drank 16 oz. of water, it’s going to add 16 oz. to your weight.  In general, if you can weigh yourself after that Tuesday workout, that will be favorable.  On Wednesday, you should see some positive things.  Should your weight still be up?  It might still be up; it might still be up 2-3 lbs. but hopefully, that represents your muscles actually being a little more full than they used to be.  What we’re sort of trying to develop is this “metabolic flexibility” that I talk about quite a bit.  Wednesday night, that’ll be the night that you’re gonna use 200g of carbohydrate and we’re gonna start this thing over.

Most people want fat loss to work like a cliff.  That’s not how it really should work.  How it should really work is more of a gradual line down, then you go up, then down eventually…So, numerically, let’s say that you were 150 lbs.; you would carb up, maybe that day you’d be 152…Then afterwards, you do your control days, you get down to 149 1/2 , and then you start going back up again.  Is this making sense Heidi or are there any questions that are coming up as a result of what I’m saying?

Heidi:  Well, what I’m hearing you say is that basically, I should be doing 75g of carbs Sunday/Monday/Tuesday, with Wednesday being a 200g, and then start it over.  So I’m basically gonna knock it down to 75g of just like a couple days a week of 200g.  Is that correct?

Paul:  That is correct, but once again, we’re trying to help you figure out what is most correct for you.  So you will change these things as you start to figure out…Okay, 75g works, but 3 days felt like a little too much so maybe 2 days is probably more right.  So, for instance, let’s say you’re up 5 lbs. right now and you drop 7 lbs.  That’s too extreme.  We’re not looking for these huge extremes, because it’s that huge extreme that ultimately causes more hormonal harm long-term.  What we’re really looking for is a much more gradual approach where your body is sort of getting what it needs the majority of the time.

You’re using the fat/control days to allow for fat mobilization even though that sounds weird…But that’s what people need to understand.  Fats tend to be relatively favorable.  Part of the reason why is that every gram of carbohydrate that you take in, your body needs about 4g of water to process that.  So what you’re probably having is a little bit of inflammation.  I think we’ll be able to deal with that.

It’ll be interesting for you to take this 2-3 day approach.  I really want you to get back in touch with me though, and let me know what happened, because I think that this is going to be pretty enlightening and I think actually it’s going to be really enlightening for the whole group.

[30:45] Protein requirements and intuitive eating

Heidi:  Paul, you had said to keep the protein at 1g/lb. of bodyweight.  Now, when I had worked out all of my numbers before based on 146 lbs. and now I’m 150 lbs., I was eating 121g protein on rest days, and then 146g on WOD days…And then obviously more fat on those rest days.  So, am I not eating enough protein on those rest days then?

Paul:  Well, in the case of the rest days before, those were days that you were carbing up in anticipation of your WOD days, is that correct?

Heidi: Yes, that is correct.

Paul:  OK.  So yes.  You’re a good student Heidi.  On those days, you’re using your lean body mass.  Your LBM is probably pretty close to 121g and so you were fine.  You’re doing it exactly right.

Heidi:  So should I continue on that then for those two days a week to keep it at 121, or basically what we were just talking about, should I bump it back up to 146 or 150 at this point since I’m heavier?

Paul:  I wouldn’t necessarily adjust it up, but one of the things that I definitely want you…And certainly right now, you can be a little bit more specific, but one thing I want you to definitely do is, is it needs to become a little bit more intuitive over time.  So we don’t necessarily need exactly 146 or exactly 121, but you basically use the fat days and carb days, and you use the information you’re getting right now to sort of give you a template for how that looks.

So you’re not necessarily going to be counting calories diligently later on, but in general, you’ll have a good idea.  Does that make sense?

Heidi:  Yes, it does, and I do diligently weigh and measure everything.

Paul:  That’s good right now, but I’m just telling you that that approach, is not a lifetime approach.  I think anything that you do, you should be doing as a lifetime approach.  You should say, “Can I do this for the rest of my life?”  The fact of the matter is, the people at Chipotle, they’re not going to weigh and measure your food for you.  You’re creating a relatively inflexible way of eating, and what I need you to do is get through this phase, start to figure out how you can play with it to get the best response for yourself, but allow for a little bit more flexibility over time.  Does that make sense?

Heidi:  Yeah.  I agree.

Paul:  I think that was a great topic actually, and I hope that was really helpful to the other people in the class, but at this point we sort of need to address some of their questions as well.  Your questions were a little bit more advanced, and we haven’t really had many of those types of scenarios start to come up.  There are a lot of people talking about that in the Science Lab private forum.  So let’s move onto other questions.  Katrina, you joined first so I’ll give you the first shot at a question.  I’m not sure if your mic works or if you can use chat but…What are you thinkin’?

[34:44] Fat/control days and why you shouldn’t be afraid of (or a slave to) the scale

[34:44] Katrina:  “I am very new.  Could you clarify what a control day is?”

Paul:  Yeah, a control day is where you’re using mostly fats and proteins to decrease the level of inflammation within your body so you can control your weight.  For most people, it would be controlling storing fat storage over time.  The control days are fat days.  In the book Carb Back-Loading, they’re only working out 2-3 days a week…Maybe 3-4 days a week, I can’t remember, but they definitely tend to have more rest days than we tend to have.  Most of us are WODing 5-6x a week and let’s be honest; most of us are trying to screw ourselves into the ground trying to manage our weight mostly by exercising.

What I talk about a lot in these classes, especially for the new people, is that you need to figure out a way to eat that allows your body adequate recovery so you can get the best from your work capacity. That might mean going from 6 days a week to 5 days a week, or doing some slower lifting, but control days in the book CBL, as an example…They are more prevalent.  They have 3-4 control days a week.  So in their example, you’re using these hypercaloric days, and then you’re sort of coming down using fats and proteins.

A lot of people, they mistakenly go super low calorie on those days because they believe that to be necessary, almost as a punishment for all the carbs they ate on the other day.  They create this scenario where their cells aren’t actually as flexible as they could be.  So in general, you kinda want your carbs to go up, and you want to use your fat/control days real close to where your maintenance is…Maybe a little bit below.

I hear a lot of people outside of our community and CrossFit…And even for those guys, they’re going down to 1200 calories.  That’s not necessary, and that’s harmful.  What we need to make sure…First of all, going fats and proteins does the work in and of itself.  You don’t need to process that 4g of water.  When you use these control days, your body’s gonna naturally work through the inflammation a little bit better.

Women have unique challenges.  I’m not telling any woman on here anything different than they already know, but women retain water differently than men.  There’s just a lot of factors that go on there.  That’s one of the reasons why women tend to be a little bit more scared of data.  Maybe that’s fair.  I just suggest that if you, for instance, charted this data over the course of a year, you’d see a lot of trends related to water retention and that would actually help you solve a big piece of the puzzle.

Do I think that the scale is the most important thing by far?  No, I don’t.  I think that becoming a slave to the scale is a mistake.  But I do think that having the information related to your body fat levels, having information in general…But having information related to…Tape measuring your biceps, your hips…All of these things are favorable.  They give you clues to pieces of the puzzle.  For some people, those clues might be…You know, “My jeans fit better.” And so that is also a strategy.  Does that help, Katrina?

Katrina:  Yes.

Paul:  Okay, good.

[39:57] Beating “carbophobia”, body recomposition, and creatine supplementation for women

[39:57] Rita:  I’m new to all of this.  So I’ve just got the first book, and I’m beginning to delve into all of this.  I have been CFing for about two years and mostly eating Paleo.  I think my only nemesis is sugar.  I just can’t seem to get off of sugar, I really like sweets.  Otherwise, I’m doing fairly well with Paleo diet.  My main cue has been that, when I had my kids, I had gestational diabetes, and only during pregnancy.  I guess when I saw Paleo it made sense to me because I already knew how it works, just because of my brief experiences during pregnancy.  I knew that was the way to go for me to drop the fat.  I’ve done that and lost about 40 lbs. and gotten myself to a normal bodyweight.

I guess now, I’m toying with the idea where I want to recomposition…I’m at a healthy weight, I feel great, but now I want to recomposition and see a little bit more definition…You know, get the benefit of all the work that I’ve put in.  The way I’m eating, given that I feel great, I’m not seeing the lean-out result that I would like to see.  Hence, now, I guess I’m looking into these solutions through nutrition.  How do I do that?  Obviously I’m looking at CBL.  This is, needless to say, scaring me, because I’ve been mostly trying to stay low carb.  I don’t want to just jump off a cliff and start inputting tremendous amounts of carbs and really freak out.

Paul:  If you don’t mind muting your mic for just a little bit, I can start addressing some of those questions.

What we talk about, and once again, you’re reading the carb back-loading book and you’re hearing about the pastries and the doughnuts and all these different types of things.  That probably is real appealing for 19 year old boys, but in terms of a woman who has been working on fitness, has had various things, and had to dial in things as it relates to their health…Those prospects are a little scary.

One of the things that you mentioned was the kind of “falling off the wagon” a little bit as it relates to sugar.  One of the things that I talk about a fair amount is this whole “sugar addiction” question that comes up a lot in the Paleo community.  A lot of Paleo bloggers who, I think, lack a sophisticated approach, use this as an excuse to get people to eat less than their body requires as it relates to their performance.  If you’re a CrossFitter, your performance level is pretty high.

Judging from your picture, things are going pretty good for you, so you’ve sort of figure out some of this stuff.  What we teach is more of a moderate approach to carbohydrate where you’re sort of using mostly fats for energy, and then obviously some carbohydrate to sort of fuel your athletic performance.  One of the things that happens with people that are craving sugar quite a bit is…usually that’s a sign that 1) it’s a craving for energy density.  So when you eat overly clean, your body’s gonna natural want more food.  Your body wants the quickest, easiest option and that tends to be something that ends up being sweet.

Since your brain also likes glucose quite a bit, that ends up being why you resort to sugar.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and you know it works.  It feels good immediately.  But it doesn’t always lend itself to the exact type of carbs that you need to fuel your athletic performance.  That’s why we recommend sweet potatoes, some ripe bananas, things of that nature.  But also, I think a big part of the answer is to make sure you’re meeting your protein requirements.

One of the things that is very favorable as it relates to having a flexible metabolism is allowing for enough protein within your diet so some of those cravings start to go away.  It doesn’t necessarily address energy density.  Certainly, a post workout shake would because…Let’s say that you had 25g of protein, that’s 100 calories.  That addresses some calorie issues.  I would suggest to you that that’s something you might want to add into the mix if your protein is inadequate and you’re finding that you’re struggling meeting your protein needs over time.

I don’t shy away from the sugar thing.  I don’t believe that people should take sugar out of their diet…For most people.  Obviously, there are medical situations that might require it.  What’s interesting about the whole diabetic discussion is that…Most people don’t realize that diabetics actually eat carbs quite a bit.  They use synthetic insulin to sort of deal with that.  Some of what we teach actually ends up being a really good approach as it relates to diabetics in general; because it allows their bodies a little bit more flexibility.

It allows their bodies to absorb into their muscles…For instance, when you exercise, glucose can actually enter the cell and create glycogen without the presence of insulin.  You wouldn’t even need insulin at that point for your body to be able to recover and actually use some of those nutrients.  Is that helping you at all Rita?  Does that answer a little bit of your question?  I think one of the things that you mentioned was just being fearful.  We certainly talked a little bit about a more advanced concept with Heidi, but that is one of the strategies that I would employ early on just to make sure you’re sort of getting on the right path, but not creating a huge hole for yourself over time.

The other part that I want to talk about is that, for you, strength gains, and body composition goals…All of these things are going to come a lot easier as you maintain your muscle.  Something like creatine supplementation would be something that you’d wanna consider.  I’ve definitely been going over that a lot in the private forums if you can sort of check into that.  There’s a lot of information related to creatine; a lot of women are scared of it.  A lot of women that don’t resistance train don’t always get a good response from it.

It largely depends on the person, but it largely depends on strain on your musculoskeletal system…Kinda getting those GLUT4 receptors that Kiefer talks about quite a bit activated so it actually absorbs up that creatine.  I usually recommend that people start off small, but that actually allows you to retain a little bit more of your muscle.  Certainly, eating adequate amounts of protein will…Certainly fat is favorable as it relates to muscle retention.  Obviously, carbohydrate then goes along and refills that glycogen that gets depleted through your workouts.

Having mostly full glycogen levels, most of the time, allows for better workouts.  Better workouts tend to relate to better tissue development and things of that nature, and so what you’ll probably see is…What really happens…Let’s say that a woman is 22% and she wants to get to about 18-17% where there’s more ab definition.  Most people think of it as “dieting down” to see your abs.  In reality, what you’re kind of doing, is you’re filling up the muscles in your abs.  You need to actually activate those.

For instance, if your ab muscles are under developed underneath your fat layer, that’s gonna be something you want to deal with.  That typically isn’t a problem for CFers.  It is a problem for women, and one of the reasons is because women don’t tend to focus mostly on building.  They tend to focus mostly on tearing down.  That’s a big part of the discussion we’re having related to women.  If you wanna get the results that you want…

[50:42] Why the best version of you might be heavier than you think, adjusting metcon to weight gain

There’s an interesting discussion about what Heidi was talking about.  What if Heidi’s meant to be a 155 lb. woman with more muscle?  That actually allows her better body composition.  The slow, gradual approach will kinda show her how to get there.  I know a lot of people are going to say, “I don’t necessarily want to try and gain 10 lbs.” But what I’m going to suggest to you, is that your body is going to do what it’s going to do.  It will look most right in the mirror…If you’re testing your body fat, it will allow you a better understanding of how this all works.

As a new person, I realize it’s all a little bit scary, especially coming from a good majority of eat low carbohydrate most of the time…But one of the things that I really want you to be able to focus on is the ability to keep your calories pretty high, cycling both carbs and fats, in a way to get the best response for your specific goals.  Does that help Rita?

Rita:  Yes, it does.  The only question I have is…Heidi also mentioned she’s gained a little bit of weight.  I’m seeing a similar issue where I’ve gained a little bit of weight, I’ve gotten stronger, but it’s done a number on my metabolic conditioning.  So I’ve gotten slower.  Again, during the CrossFit open, I see things related to weight where I’ve done really well, but I get gassed where I haven’t been before.  I’m trying to find that balance between getting stronger and not compromising my metabolic conditioning.  Gaining those few pounds slowed me down tremendously.

Paul:  Well, you don’t get to do both.  That’s one of the discussions that we have a lot here.  Can you give me some idea of how much weight you’ve gained by adding the carbs?

Rita:  About 5 lbs.

Paul:  Similar to Heidi.  Okay.  There are a couple of things going on here.  Let’s say that you lost 5 lbs.  Would that be favorable as it relates to doing better pull-ups and air squats?  Absolutely, it would.  I think we’d probably mostly agree with that.  If you could feel mostly full of energy and lose 5 lbs. that would be favorable as it relates to your metabolic conditioning.  As you start to add muscle, you’re adding weight.  So you’re stronger and you’re increasing work capacity, but in general, your metabolic conditioning is slower to catch up.

So let’s say that this was a scenario where you found that the 5 lbs. is actually a real good spot for you; it’s actually getting you the results and the look and the things that you want.  Like I said before, the 5 lbs. right now doesn’t represent total muscle.  But it probably is a majority of muscle.  In general, you weren’t filling your muscle the way that it needed to be.  Now we’re starting to do that and we’re starting to deal with the repercussions and patiently deal with that process.

What we need to understand is that gaining strength is the largest part of the work capacity equation.  As you gain strength, that’s going to allow you to be better metabolically conditioned over time.  What’s going to kill you the most?  When you’re doing a weight really close to your 1 RM?  Or when you’re doing a weight at 75% of your 1 RM.  So the leader is always getting stronger.  Once you get stronger, that allows your metabolic conditioning to catch up.

You could be overly diligent.  You could use the fat days to kind of get your weight to get back in line, and I suspect that at that point, your metcon would come back in line.  But the problem with that is you’re not really fueling your body with the type of carbohydrate that athletes really need.  You have to find this “happy medium”.  In general, what people say, is that…Usually it’s about 7 days before their WODs start to feel right again.  They always report that strength tends to be good right off the bat.

Within 30 days, things start to become, really, more clear.  Maybe that 5 lbs. that you had added now becomes 2 lbs. and things are ultimately where you would want them to be.  Then after about 3 months…Julia talks about this quite a bit in her seminars…That is when the dialing in process becomes almost second nature.  We sort of talked a little bit about that with Heidi, and kind of eating in a more intuitive/flexible style.  These are all things that you’re discovering, and it probably takes some time to figure out.

One of the problems with buying NutriSystem or Weight Watchers or even the Paleo diet or Zone is that they don’t always have a level of flexibility that allows you to make changes on the fly.  They become a little bit of a negative as it relates to a lifetime approach, which is why you don’t typically see people starting on WW and then doing it for the rest of their lives.  If they do, and they see a decent result, they typically have to go hyper-low calories to do so. They have to exist at a really low caloric level.

It’s not a very flexible diet in that way; it doesn’t allow for your cells to recover the way that they need to.  There is an intelligence portion here that I’m trying to walk people through that allows them to kind of figure out this flexibility, and then take a more patient approach.  I will answer your follow-up questions off-air, but at this point I’m going to stop the broadcast ‘cause we’ve started to finish these up right at about an hour.  We’ll just kind of finish things up as we go and make sure that we tie it up all in a bow for everybody.  If we don’t get to that, then we’ll address that in another seminar or in the private forums.  Thanks.

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