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Hunger at End of workout, losing body composition

Commented on May 13, 2013
Created May 09, 2013 at 12:48 AM

Hey, so about 2 months ago, I was going through a period of trying to lean out, and I was eating high high HIGH protein, with moderate fat and low carbs.... I still want to lean out, as some things happened between then and now (I plateaued in my progress, then gave up for a period where I failed while attempting to bulk slightly, thinking more muscle would allow me to lose the last bit of fat, but I only gained fat, so I'm back where I was then.)

About the end of that time, I started to feel intense pangs of hunger near the ends of my morning, fasted workouts, and I had increasingly worse performance. I was eating app. 2400 cals per day, when I'd worked out my maintenance to be around 2600, but I had put on quite a bit of muscle and lost some fat since calculating that 2600 number, so it could have been higher by that point.

for the 3 weeks after this, when I was plateaued, I zig zagged calories, 2800 2x a week, 2200 4x a week, and what I thought was my maintenance(2600) one day a week. it went high, low, maintenance, low, high, low, low- repeat. However, I realized that this was only a weekly average of around 2400 a day, basically the same net cals as last time, though while I did this for 3 weeks, I ate FAR less protein, about 2g per pound of body weight, and 100-150 grams of carbs, the rest in fat. I have been using workouts from Beachbody's programs, including P90x, Insanity, and P90x2, so what I do is fairly glycotic, and incorporated some type of resistence 3x a week, and HIIT cardio 2x a week.
What do you think was the problem?

SO my question really is, did these hunger pangs come as a result of my body not getting enough calories, or should I just have increased my carb intake?

Since then, I've seen significant decrease in my body composition, despite staying the same weight, and I'm frustrated as all get-out. Can you actually LOSE body composition because of not eating enough carbs for the workout you're doing? I thought your performance might decrease, but you would ultimately increase aesthetic appearance, and lean out... which hasn't happened for me..

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 13, 2013
at 07:48 AM

Be well fed, that being eat the typical paleo ratio P:C:F 15%:20%:65% of total calories. Leave your carbs till post-workout. If you are aiming to lose fat then reduce your total calories by 10%. Keep your protein the same on all days. Just don't let protein replace your fat as the larger proportion of calories, if you end up getting a lot of calories from protein, your body will use it as fuel. Rather keep protein constant, keep fat adequate and eat enough carbohydrate to supply your glucose needs. I think I detailed this better in the answer to your other question.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 10, 2013
at 05:02 PM

Okay, thanks so much! Just one question though, If I calorie and carb cycle, and have days of high carbs/cals 1-2 days a week on my 2 hardest workouts, should I eat a small amount of fat that day? Also, on my low carb days, where I'm basically trying to lose fat, will eating too much protein counteract the effects of ketosis? IE, if I eat too much protein despite eating high fat on my rest days, will my body's ability to burn its stored fat be blocked off?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 10, 2013
at 08:48 AM

It depends on the amount and complexity of the carbs. Higher fibre carbs would be slowly digested and would effect blood glucose levels for longer which is useful post-workout but probably not when you are inactive. But the amounts here are pretty small, so I wouldn't worry. Eating a bunch of wholewheat porridge for breakfast would be a different matter. Personally I try not to eat starch or fruit until after my workout. Not specifically eating starchy carbs (or sugar) will by default keep you under 50g of carbs, so don't worry too much. 1kg (2.2lbs of uncooked broccoli is about 60g of carbs!

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 10, 2013
at 02:17 AM

Alright, this has been super helpful! just out of curiosity, if I have say, 50 grams of carbs throughout the day in just veggies, along with the carbs I eat in the 2 hrs post workout, will that affect the fat loss process? I have always thought veggies are pretty much fiber anyway.. Also, If I plan to go low carb for several days, and then have carbs once or twice a week, on my low carb days, how many carbs would be a good amount? currently I manage to get to around 70, is that low enough to have my body using stored fat for fuel throughout the day?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 09, 2013
at 03:53 PM

The thinking is really that consuming (lots of) carbs away from actual activity is less useful. They are high calorie, they raise insulin, and if your liver/muscle glycogen levels are pretty much full you won't do much with them other than store the energy as body-fat. So just think about utilising lower insulin levels/fat-mobilisation via lower carb hours, and utilising the anabolic benefits of carbs around the workout periods. If you do a heavy workout that day, it probably matters little when you eat the carbs, but I lean on thinking post might provide the edge even over a number of meals.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 09, 2013
at 02:55 PM

So I should eat ALL of my carbs post workout, and then aim for a keto-type diet(fattier meat, fat, veggies, nuts/seeds in moderation) for the rest of the day? What is considered post workout? could I split my post workout carbs into two meals, each with about 50-60 grams of carbs, and space them 45 mins or so apart? eating over 100 grams of carbs in one sitting seems difficult to me

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2 Answers

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Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 09, 2013
at 08:18 AM

This might be useful: post-workout carb amounts?

I really think that hunger in the most part is driven by malnourishment. Understandably there is habit involved (i.e. you normally eat at 12:00 and don't that day), but if you are nourished even at a calorie deficit, I believe you should not feel that hungry.

To solve this I would just for one week keep things simple so you can test yourself. That being choose a number of meals and their calories and run with it for a week. Then see how you feel. So many times you read about someone not feeling right and then they go and change a bunch of variables all at once and months later they are still not sure what worked and what didn't.

Create a plan for one week, like making sure you eat three cups of cooked starchy vegetable a day (roughly 150g carbohydrate), set yourself a minimum calorie target and hit it every day, or make sure you eat fish every day, etc.

This type of simplifying and tracking is really the only way you will be able to work out what might be wrong (or right).

In regards to body-composition. It could also be hydration related to glycogen. If you are fatigued and don't feel punchy, have been low-carb and doing high-intensity workouts you may be glycogen depleted. A simple test would to eat at a 150g of carbs post-workout, you can of course stay lower-carb on your rest days but see how you feel. Also if you are low-carb but high-protein depending on your needs, you may be turning the protein over for glucose requirements which is in my mind a waste (meat is expensive, starchy veg is not) and unnecessary. i.e. For the first couple of weeks on a ketogenic diet you need higher protein to compensate for this (protein sparing) until you taper down on your glucose needs.

But anyway keep things simple so you can test this all.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 09, 2013
at 02:55 PM

So I should eat ALL of my carbs post workout, and then aim for a keto-type diet(fattier meat, fat, veggies, nuts/seeds in moderation) for the rest of the day? What is considered post workout? could I split my post workout carbs into two meals, each with about 50-60 grams of carbs, and space them 45 mins or so apart? eating over 100 grams of carbs in one sitting seems difficult to me

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 10, 2013
at 02:17 AM

Alright, this has been super helpful! just out of curiosity, if I have say, 50 grams of carbs throughout the day in just veggies, along with the carbs I eat in the 2 hrs post workout, will that affect the fat loss process? I have always thought veggies are pretty much fiber anyway.. Also, If I plan to go low carb for several days, and then have carbs once or twice a week, on my low carb days, how many carbs would be a good amount? currently I manage to get to around 70, is that low enough to have my body using stored fat for fuel throughout the day?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 09, 2013
at 03:53 PM

The thinking is really that consuming (lots of) carbs away from actual activity is less useful. They are high calorie, they raise insulin, and if your liver/muscle glycogen levels are pretty much full you won't do much with them other than store the energy as body-fat. So just think about utilising lower insulin levels/fat-mobilisation via lower carb hours, and utilising the anabolic benefits of carbs around the workout periods. If you do a heavy workout that day, it probably matters little when you eat the carbs, but I lean on thinking post might provide the edge even over a number of meals.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 10, 2013
at 05:02 PM

Okay, thanks so much! Just one question though, If I calorie and carb cycle, and have days of high carbs/cals 1-2 days a week on my 2 hardest workouts, should I eat a small amount of fat that day? Also, on my low carb days, where I'm basically trying to lose fat, will eating too much protein counteract the effects of ketosis? IE, if I eat too much protein despite eating high fat on my rest days, will my body's ability to burn its stored fat be blocked off?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 10, 2013
at 08:48 AM

It depends on the amount and complexity of the carbs. Higher fibre carbs would be slowly digested and would effect blood glucose levels for longer which is useful post-workout but probably not when you are inactive. But the amounts here are pretty small, so I wouldn't worry. Eating a bunch of wholewheat porridge for breakfast would be a different matter. Personally I try not to eat starch or fruit until after my workout. Not specifically eating starchy carbs (or sugar) will by default keep you under 50g of carbs, so don't worry too much. 1kg (2.2lbs of uncooked broccoli is about 60g of carbs!

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 13, 2013
at 07:48 AM

Be well fed, that being eat the typical paleo ratio P:C:F 15%:20%:65% of total calories. Leave your carbs till post-workout. If you are aiming to lose fat then reduce your total calories by 10%. Keep your protein the same on all days. Just don't let protein replace your fat as the larger proportion of calories, if you end up getting a lot of calories from protein, your body will use it as fuel. Rather keep protein constant, keep fat adequate and eat enough carbohydrate to supply your glucose needs. I think I detailed this better in the answer to your other question.

0
2edfcc5c8044bbb4f22ba6ea4289f592

(1398)

on May 09, 2013
at 12:09 PM

Sounds a bit like "rabbit starvation". This occurs when you eat too much lean protein and not enough fat. Your body needs fat to digest the protein. When you don't get enough fat for the protein you eat, you can indeed become malnourished.

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