Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, October 19, 2015

"What is that supposed to do?"

I was talking diet the other day with a friend of mine. We're both on a modified eating plan at the moment. He's going low carb, something I've successfully done in the past when I needed to cut weight.

I told him my approach - more carbs than usual, lower fat than usual, and not as much protein as I usually pack away. The goal being to maintain weight but lower my body fat and my waist measurement. Lose fat, but maintain performance.

He asked me a great question.

"What is that supposed to do?"

On the surface, that might not seem like a brilliant question. But it is.


Because to answer that with a real answer requires that I have a real answer.

My answer is pretty simple. There are lots of indications that I will perform better on higher carbs. And that I should be able to tolerate higher carbs better. So I constructed an eating plan based on my nutritional knowledge that worked off of that.

But what if my answer was, "fat makes you fat." Or "I read it in a magazine"? Or "I heard that works well"? Or even "I want to lose some weight"? Or worse, "I don't know"?

Not so good.

The first is a controlled experiment. Based on solid information about how much I need to eat, and what parameters I want to play with, I'm on a good track. Upping my carbs and getting enough (but not too much) protein.

The second group of questions are just cliches, backed by nothing. It's guessing and hoping.

That's what makes that such a great question - either I had a considered answer, or I didn't. Either I have a reason based on knowledge, or I am just hoping to randomly hit on the change I needed to reach my goal.

It's not a huge change - we're talking 50/25/25 carbs/fats/protein instead of 40/30/30 or 33/33/34. It's not more food or a dramatic cut in food, either. It does involve more tracking, so I'm more consistent with my intake each day. In the end, I can see if it works as expected. I will be able to compare it to other eating plans I've used in the past (ultra-low carb, low-carb, high-carb, balanced, etc.)

If I couldn't answer that question, it meant I could do none of that. And if I simply didn't know, I was guessing.

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