Count Calories

How to lose weight without counting calories

First off you should understand this — no single weight loss plan can cater to everyone’s needs. The relatively new field of research called, “nutrigenomics” — the study of how our genes interact with our nutrition — shows that it’s impossible because individuals process and assimilate protein and carbohydrates differently based on their own unique biochemical identity. The need of protein (according the consensus on sports nutrition) is a must either from the gym or from the job for good health and vitality. Don’t forget the carbohydrates,  because as nutrition goes they are your energy source.

Three diet principles to remember (committee consensus on nutrition)

  • Don’t count calories, count nutrients(eat lean protein and low glycemic carbohydrates, carbs low in sugar)
  • Love protein
  • Only eat carbohydrates after training not before

Don’t count calories, count nutrients
We have become obsessed with calories from the start. Our basic understanding is that if we eat too many of them we gain weight and if we eat fewer of them, we lose weight. In fact, the University of Colorado on sports nutrition has shown that body weight can’t change if, over a specified time, energy intake and energy expenditure are equal, which reiterates the old “energy in” and “energy out” approach to dieting.

On sports nutrition thousands of variables can render calorie-counting flawed. For example, even your cooking method can have a huge impact on the food you eat. When I cook lean protein and carbohydrates from the low sugar family I use spices and stay away from processed food high in sodium and sugars. I specialize on sports nutrition and from the years I have competed I have been in top condition.

Basically we are not calorie-counting machines.  Following from the scientists at State University of New York Downstate Medical Centre say: “Attacking the obesity epidemic will involve giving up many old ideas that have not been productive, ‘A calorie is a calorie’ might be a good place to start.” The consensus on sports nutrition will agree that there are good calories, bad calories. We need energy from the good calories and the need of protein as well.

For this reason be calorie conscious, but don’t count them, your nutrition and what type of calorie is more important. The need of protein and good fats and low sugar carbohydrates are the way to go.

Remember protein and carbohydrates must be utilized properly. In other words eat clean.

Love fat and protein

High-protein diets are fashionable right now. That’s because, when used correctly, they work. Now, don’t run for the hills when you see a carbohydrate, and as a sports nutrition guru do understand how eggs, fish and protein powders can help build muscle, support the immune system and aid fat loss.

Firstly, the sports nutrition bible, The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition says that the International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition recommends strength and speed athletes eat 1.7g of protein per kg of bodyweight. As an authority on sports nutrition I agree with that protein intake.

This is considered the optimal amount of protein to help the muscles repair and regrow. But scientists from the Department or nutrition at Arizona State University found another need of protein —  a large part of the calories ingested through protein are lost as heat when it’s metabolised by the body. This is through something called the “thermic effect of feeding”. Put simply, protein burns calories from the digestive system that’s why there is a need for protein to stay healthy and lean.

What this means is that if you get the right amount of protein in your diet — the International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition guidelines seem a good place to start — you can achieve the holy grail on sports nutrition, increase muscle mass while you drop body fat from the lean protein you eat.

Only eat carbohydrates after training

Training for sports nutrition and training to look good are two very different things. Once you know the difference you can choose to improve your bench press or your six-pack. Let’s take carbohydrates as an example.

If you want to run 30km faster the consensus on sports performance says get nutrition from plenty of carbohydrates. This is based on the research from Loughborough University where scientists took seven experienced endurance runners and had them complete a 30km road race. The first time they completed the trial athletes were given a 250ml sports drink (five per cent carbohydrates). The second time they completed the trial they were given tap water. Performance decreased by up to ten per cent in some athletes, which lead to the conclusion, “This study shows that performance time for a 30km road race is improved after ingesting a five per cent carbohydrate solution.” Remember carbohydrates  are endurance and the need of protein for muscle.

But if your goal is to burn more fat, forgo the pre-work-out carbs. Scientists from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham believe training on an empty stomach — in a fasted state — is the smarter way to lose fat. As an experienced athlete on sports nutrition I practice that method by training first thing in the morning and I am ripped from the regimen. Research published in the American journal of physiology about nutrition, found people who trained without carbohydrates were better equipped — hormonally — to burn fat, but if you train on an empty stomach before your next meal you don’t have to worry about weight gain from the carbohydrates.

Exactly why you should eat your carbohydrates after training. Research from the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that carbohydrates are used to ensure effective muscle repair, recovery and regrowth. But equally research from the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine shows they’ll be far better absorbed, too. Just remember the need of  protein for good nutrition and weight loss is also essential too.

This is all because a gym session has been shown to increase the efficiency of a protein called GLUT4, which helps the transport and absorption of glucose into the body. So after training the carbohydrates you eat reach the muscles more easily and faster. It won’t improve your sprint speed, but you’ll say goodbye to Man Boobs come beach season.

How many carbohydrates should you eat to activate weight loss?

Looking at the nutritional bible, Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition, a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is considered ideal. Put in simple terms choose complex carbohydrates(low sugar) and you will stay lean. Eat clean to be lean and mean!

Therefore, based on the previous recommendation from the International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition to consume 1.7 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. If you’re an 80kg male you need 136g of protein per day. Divide this between five meals throughout the day means you need 27.2g of protein roughly every two to three hours. Ok I think the need of protein and low glycemic carbohydrates is essential for good nutrition and endurance. I hope you learned something about weight loss in  this article. Train hard and enjoy that hard body you have always wanted!

Share Excerpt