I can’t think of anything witty or mildly entertaining to start this with.
Sooo, how about we skip the foreplay and get right down to it?
…Adam Answers #3 that is, get your mind out the gutter.
I’ve heard a lot recently that for ideal muscle building with minimal fat gain, your first meal of the day should consist of no carbs, but protein and fats instead saving your carbs for around your workouts and later in the evening. However I train at 6am so my first meal should consist of carbs to fuel my training session….what are your thoughts?
The short answer:
Yep. Feel free to have some carbs before you workout.
The long answer [well,they did ask for my thoughts]:
There is, in fact, some truth to this, but not because of the reasons people believe or want you to believe.
What people want you to believe: Skipping carbs at breakfast holds magical properties that bypass the law of thermodynamics, resultantly leading to ‘lean muscle gains’ – a la max muscle, minimum fat – or, fat loss.
What’s really going on: As with most things, there’s a logical explanation to what’s actually going on .
There are two factors at play here: Nutrient partitioning and Satiety.
Carbs, for the most part, are used primarily for energy by the body. By foregoing carbs at breakfast and saving them for later in the day – usually coinciding with most people’s training window – the carbs you do consume are better utilised by the body to fuel performance and recovery.
As a result, you can get away with eating a bit more food, and seemingly not gain excess fat, which is what leads people to believe that this way of eating is superior for lean gains.
Satiety and Hunger Control
Eating a protein and fat based breakfast will naturally result in people consuming more ‘whole foods’ like eggs, lean meats, nuts and veggies.
Compared to traditional high-carb breakfast foods like cereal, these foods are a lot more satiating – keep you fuller for longer – this results in people eating less during the rest of the day.
As I touched on in this article, carbs, for some, can trigger hunger and cravings, so by skipping carbs early on in the day these people find themselves having fewer cravings and are better able to control their hunger and snacking [fewer calories consumed].
Please understand: skipping carbs in the morning, or training sans carbs, may mean your body is burning ‘fat’, but ‘burning fat’ doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘[body] fat burning’.
Two more things to consider:
- If skipping carbs negatively impacts your training and ability to perform; is a little extra fat burning worth your progress taking a hit?
- Fat loss doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it happens over days and weeks. So one isolated window of fat burning won’t result in overall fat loss if you’re going over your total calorie intake by the end of the day.
Bottom Line: Total calorie intake in conjunction with an intelligent training programme will dictate rates of muscle and fat gain. Everything else, like nutrient timing and distribution of macros, will come down to your personal preference.
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