Low-carb exercising (Photo: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images )
Exercising on a low-carb diet must be done with careful planning and consideration. While it can lead to achieving your weight-loss goals, it may also cause serious strain on the body, which won’t have as much energy to fuel the workout. Carbohydrates are used quickly for energy, and they help prevent fatigue. Without the right balance, your body will feel deprived and experience a crash. Check with your doctor before beginning a low-carb diet and pairing it with an exercise regime.
The Facts on Low Carb
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbs are processed foods, such as candy, soda and chips, that will provide immediate energy after consumption. They will also lead to a crash after your blood sugar drops and will ultimately leave you hungry and tired. Complex carbs are found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and can sustain energy longer because they are released slowly into the bloodstream. Complex carbs also contain vitamins and minerals essential to all diets. The reason a low-carb diet combined with exercise can lead to weight loss is because without carbs to use as fuel, your body will begin to burn off its fat stores.
The Right Type of Workout
The most effective workout on a low carb diet is one that will increase metabolism and muscle mass. Both interval training and weightlifting are good options. Interval training involves a series of low to high intensity exercises mixed with recovery periods. Consistency is important with regard to time of day, frequency and duration. Workout sessions should not last longer than 30 minutes because fuel stores will become depleted and the body will begin to break down.
Fueling Your Workout
Getting the appropriate fuel for your workout while on a low-carb diet can be challenging, but with the right choices, it can be doable. Try to exercise within 30 to 60 minutes of your first meal. This will give you enough energy to last through the workout without depleting your muscles. Keep in mind that low carb does not mean “no carb, ” so get a small amount of carbs along with protein and fiber. Hydration is also critical to keep the body functioning efficiently.
After exercising, your muscles will be in need of replenishing. This should be done within 30 minutes of completing your workout. One of the easiest forms or refueling is a protein shake or fruit that contains quick digesting carbs. Consistency in your workout routines as well as pre- and post-fueling will ensure that you are getting the most out of the exercises you do on a low-carb diet.