I started writing a post yesterday about the evolution of my workout, when Michael asked if I wanted to go get some dinner. We went to Cracker Barrel even though I’d seen on the net that they no longer have their precious low carb menu. I saw that they had replaced it with some low cal breaded baked stuff that had my blood sugar bubbling, just looking at it. On the plus side, they still have ribeyes, turnip greens, and salad, so I ate low carb at Cracker Barrel even without the special menu. Win/win in my eyes.
After we got home, I had a few minutes to check out some of the groups I am part of on facebook before “The White Queen” came on. I ran across a post asking about fueling workouts, what to eat prior and after working out. It’s only natural for low carbers to ask questions like this in low carb groups because googling “workout fuel” tends to net only “carb loading” recommendations. Seems it is common knowledge that one must needs carbs so that they can exercise.
The thing is though with common knowledge, that while it is common, it’s not always knowledge, mostly he said she said, ok for the normal person, but for people like me for whom carb loading causes an increase in blood sugar then the feeling of sluggishness, just doesn’t work.
Posts like this also tend to show the great divide in the low carb community of folks who have learned that they don’t really have to exercise to get results because diet (what one eats) is 80% of the whole getting fit. I really think that is great and wonderful, and in my beginnings, I was happy that I didn’t really need to exercise to get results.
There came a time in my journey when I wanted to work out. I wanted to do things to prove to myself that I could do things. Through research I learned that when I work out with weights, my muscles tear down to build up, they fill with water as they repair and that if I don’t want to lose muscle mass with the fat that I need to eat adequate amounts of protein in order to keep my lean mass and build upon it.
Most days, I drink a bit of coffee and my first workout is done in a fasted state. I hit the bags, hit the weights, do some body weight exercise and then feed my face some protein and fat, even some carbs if I have some nice fresh tomatoes or strawberries. Since my entire workout is a bit brutal, but only about 20 minutes total time, there are many days that I “Play it again Sam” and repeat prior to my next meal.
The big thing though, about exercise and the low carber is that one must find their own “sweet spot” when it comes to fueling their workout. What I do works for me. It works because I do not give a flying flea about the scales, my focus is on the shift in my body composition, less fluffy, more not fluffy. For me, there is nothing greater than to see that last pair of yoga pants needs to be tied a bit tighter to stay at my waist, no matter what the scale says.
There are some days I wake up and my shoulders or legs tell me to take a break. I do not feel guilty on the days I do not work out. Just like each night, I need sleep, some days I need no exercise just so my girly muscles can rest, repair, and get ready for another day of doing what I want to do. When this happens I am not reverting to couch potatoism, as I still have things like feeding chickens, toting groceries, cleaning the house, etc.
The baby steps from boxing the Wii and curling canned veggies have gradually evolved to gloving up and hitting real bags and lifting real weights. My workouts have not helped the scale to go down, further proving to me that exercise is for health, not weight loss, in my own experience. As a matter of fact, I’m still 5 pounds above the goal I made back in April, but at dinner last night I rocked those size 9 “skinny” jeans and no the seams did not pop after consuming a 10 oz ribeye, side salad, and turnip greens.
My main point is that I consume low carb to keep my blood sugar stable, as a side effect, my body tends to fuel itself between meals with it’s own fat. For me to carb load prior to exercise would be for me to burn those carbs I loaded, and save my body fat, which sounds to me like taking many steps backwards, so I just say no to carb loading and keep on doing what I enjoy.
Find something you enjoy, do it because you like it and it makes you feel good. If you’re a scale driven low carber and am not quite pleased with your body composition, maybe take the battery out of the scales and give exercise a shot, who knows, you might just gain a few pounds while your body keeps shrinking 🙂