More and more athletes like these are livin' la vida low-carb!
More athletes have chosen to follow a low-carb lifestyle to preserve lean body mass and improve body composition to maximize their workout performance, according to a new survey presented at the 2nd Annual International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference and Expo in New Orleans, Lousiana this past weekend.
The research revealed on June 16-18 from this not-for-profit academic society dedicated solely to sports nutrition blows a huge hole in the age old myth that claims you need to load up on carbs to achieve a high-energy workout. In fact, what the study found was that just the opposite is true for many athletes now.
The survey was conducted at the 26th Annual Broad Street Run that took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 1. Participants in the 10-mile competitive race were asked a variety of questions about their training schedule regarding their specific fitness and nutrition methods. The study results have sent shockwaves through the health and fitness industry.
Close to one-third of the respondents who had 10 or more pounds to lose said they are livin' la vida low-carb to lose weight rather than following the traditional low-fat/low-calorie diets that have been implored by the experts for managing weight. Interestingly, the vast majority of people who began a low-carb program said this way of eating provided them with enormous success in their weight loss and athletic performance goals.
I have found this to be true in my own workout and nutritional experience. Since I first started a low-carb lifestyle on January 1, 2004, I have lost 180 pounds in all. But more importantly, I have totally changed my body from a fat blob of body mass into a muscularly-toned and physically fit one. I'm no Arnold Schwarzeneggar, but my body looks a lot better now than it did a year and a half ago! I credit my workout routine and low-carb for helping me reach this point in my physiological turnaround.
Eight-time Ironman competitor and Medical Director for Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. Dr. Stuart Trager responded to the findings of this survey by highly recommending that more athletes begin to realize the tremendous benefits of making smarter choices regarding their carbohydrate intake.
While many of them have traditionally eaten such products as a PowerBar before workouts, recent research by the Stone Foundation for Sports Medicine and Arthritis Research actually found these to be no better for an athletic performance boost than a sugary food product like a Pop-Tart, Trager explained! In fact, the research concluded that it did not matter what food the athlete consumed to provide fuel for their body before and during a workout. Instead, athletes should concentrate on finding foods that are high in protein and fiber and without added sugars as part of their general nutritional approach to generate the best benefits to their workouts.
"An energy bar high in sugars may fuel many during a workout, but active people rarely spend all their time training," says Dr. Trager. "To truly manage weight, improve body composition and preserve lean muscle mass, athletes must concentrate on their nutrition choices for the other 22 hours in a day. Too many active people are sabotaging their workout results in their day-to-day life by eating energy bars packed with sugars."
In fact, research in the past few years has shown livin' la vida low-carb is an excellent workout companion.
In the January 2002 edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that athletes who control their carbohydrate intake were better able to maintain their endurance performance as a result of a higher level of fat burning during rest and exercise. And in the July 2002 edition of Nutrition & Metabolism, a controlled-carb approach to eating was found to produce better fat loss and preservation of lean body mass than a low-calorie diet program.
As more and more evidence like this is published, people will realize that the low-carb lifestyle is not only healthy, but necessary for even the most intense workout fanatics and those who need to be. If I can go from flab to svelte, then anyone can!