Friday, April 8, 2011

The "Grain Trick" for Fast Fat Loss

Grains are a sticky subject when it comes to fast, healthy fat loss. Some experts say eat them, some say don't. The main problem is that grain foods like breads, pastas, and rice are very caloric dense. They can also cause blood sugar levels and insulin production to spike... not good things if you're trying to burn fat and lose pounds rapidly!

There is a simple solution, as there almost always is. I call it the "grain trick" and it basically goes like this: eat your grains at the right time, mainly right after a heavy strength training/weight lifting workout. That way your body is much more likely to use the starchy calories to re-build lean muscle tissue instead of storing them as body fat.

Stick to these basic guidelines and you should be able to continue eating grains occasionally while still losing weight:
  • Eat fewer grains and starches (like potatoes) in general. It's simply easier to lose fat if you do so.
  • Eat grains/starches ONLY after heavy strength training workouts, within 40 minutes after doing your last set.
  • Choose 100% whole grain options 95% of the time. These are much healthier than refined "white" grain products and don't spike insulin levels nearly as much because they digest slower and generally have lower glycemic index numbers. Every once in awhile it's OK to have a cheat meal that includes whatever type of grain foods you desire. (Also, if you're doing very heavy lifting for muscle gain, it's OK to eat some refined grains or even simple sugars immediately after workouts. The spike in blood sugar/insulin is actually very beneficial.)
  • Eat meals and snacks based around proteins, vegetables, raw fruits, healthy fats, and beans/legumes. Only add in grains only on heavy lifting days and you'll be good to go!
So there you have it: you carb lovers can still have your breads, pastas, crackers, rice, etc. Just time it right and you'll gain more muscle while losing fat faster!

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