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When Carbs & Cardio Work . . .

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  • When Carbs & Cardio Work . . .



    Why do standard low-fat diets and chronic cardio seem to work for some people for weight loss?


    I know they're not getting the overall health of a primal/paleo lifestyle, etc . . . but for some people the CW approach does seem to work.


    It's a question that comes up when I try to explain Primal and I was kinda wondering how to answer it effectively.


  • #2
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    It "worked" for me to a degree, only I ended up losing muscle mass as well as fat, and now I'm having to make up what went wrong.

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    • #3
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      Well, cutting off my leg would give me an instant 40 lb weight loss, but that doesn't mean it's the best approach!


      All kidding aside, every approach works for weight loss, to an extent. Even eating disorders. But, like you mentioned,the health benefits are not being fully realized. You're in this for the lifestyle not just weight loss. Although that might be your biggest motivator, it's not the only benefit.


      The other factor is sustainability. The low-fat, chronic cardio people will have to do that EVERY day to maintain and possibly even up the intensity when they get older. Where as the PB standards are less frequent and intensity is based on you level of fitness. That's my $0.02 anyway.

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      • #4
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        A couple years back I would eat tons of carbs and basically just any junk(like a half gallon of chocolate ice cream in on sitting weekly) you put in front of me to get to 3500-4000+ cals a day. My workouts usually consisted of 2 a days of anaerobic cardio, heavy lifting, plus working out if i was bored. Doing this pretty consistently till my senior yr in college I was down to 8% BF and feeling pretty good. The thing is I had a crazy and almost ravenous hunger all the time and worked out at least 2-3 hrs a day, which didn't seem like a sustainable lifestyle.

        Eventually once I started working i couldn't keep up the workout routines and really didn't feel like eating so much, so I bounced back up to 18% BF back about 6 months.

        Started, doing paleo eating, then primal for the past couple months and have got my BF back down near 10% and eating only when I feel like eating.

        The primal lifestyle just feels more in tune with how our bodies are designed to work. Right now Primal just seems effortless compared to how a couple years back i went about to get my body comp down to 8%.

        Also, I think some bodies are genetically better at dealing with the carbs. Since without really doing anything and eating basically junk I always stay around 15-20% BF.

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        • #5
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          "Also, I think some bodies are genetically better at dealing with the carbs. Since without really doing anything and eating basically junk I always stay around 15-20% BF."


          But 15-20% is not at all lean for a guy

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          • #6
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            Low-fat leaves me hungry all the time.

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            • #7
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              Jedi,

              Most would consider the 15-20% below average and especially for eating so badly with minimal working out. At 15 most people around comment that I'm "cut" but once I hit around 10 or below i get more of the "your ripped" comments. I would have to say genetics are what keep me around the 15 while eating anything and everything. Most people eating and exercising like that usually continually gain.

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              • #8
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                If someone is really at 15% bodyfat, they are decently lean. I think most people understimate their bodyfat. If anyone tells you their bodyfat is in the single digits they are either anorexic, elite athlete, ignorant or a liar .

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                • #9
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                  Wow, ignorant or a liar, not sure how that could be if the person used multiple methods to measure BF and averages the results. I could see if someone is just estimating by looks or something. Using multiple methods such as calipers, hydrostatic, and resistance scales, I would think one could come up with a fairly good idea of their BF measurement.

                  Back to the topic of Carbs & Cardio, I definitely think its more to due with genetics. Another example is my brother who was a competitive sprinter and currently only sprints a couple times a week in addition to body weight workouts. He also eats fairly high carbs and frequently is near single digits for BF based on available test methods.

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                  • #10
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                    Jostle, most people don't use multiple methods and most methods are inaccurate. If you are using hydrostatic testing you are in a very small minority and if you are in the single digits then you are probably either an elite athlete or have amazing genetics. I wasn't speaking specifically to you - I just see people all the time who say they have 6% bodyfat when they are probably closer to 12%.

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                    • #11
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                      regarding the question...high carbs and cardio do work especially in the light of lowered calories...but like Diana said...when I was doing that I lost a LOT of "weight", but a lot was muscle...like a lot.

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                      • #12
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                        OK - Thanks, guys.

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                        • #13
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                          Great discussion, y'all.


                          Jostle, I know exactly what you're talking about. When I first began exercising about five years ago, I went really hard core. My workouts would be a bout 3 hours a day... split evenly between cardio and weight-lifting (segmenting body parts). I carb-loaded every day, eating lots of sandwiches on bagels and having two huge fruit smoothies with 50 grams Isopure each and milk or yogurt). I was about 160 lbs then, but had to do this whole cycle every day to maintain that. I'm 5'11".


                          Boy, have things changed. About three years ago, I stopped all that. Now I eat almost no grains (except for very very rarely) and no dairy (save butter). I also only do total body workouts now that are more resistance-based and usually never exceed 40 minutes to an hour. Most of my cardio comes via intervals and supersetting compound movements. Also, I usually bike or walk to work (Downtown Brooklyn to SoHo). I am now about 185 lbs. and quite muscular. Not sure what my body fat is as I'm not all they concerned about measuring. I look and feel good though. My clothes feel good. My waist size is about a 30-31.


                          I've just taken up intermittent feeding/intermittent fasting and have noticed my moods, energy levels and outlook are all better. My sugar cravings continually wane.


                          Conan, you're right about folks underestimating their body fat. Most people don't realize that the lower double digits for a man is still very lean. When men start to get below 6-8%, it borders on unhealthy. Usually, only malnourished or body builders get to that point. And body builders only sustain for a contest. Being that low isn't good, because you don't have much energy to do anything else. Body building isn't really all that functional for every day life.

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                          • #14
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                            A friend of mine observed, "The abnormal has become the normal." This is certainly true in our current obsession about body fat, "six packs", and workouts. I see this all over these forums on MDA. In fact, I'd say there are two kinds of posters and users of PB: Those just wanting to lose weight and be healthier, and those fixating on their BF and how "ripped" they are.


                            If you look at photos of athletes of the past, they are fat by what men are trying to achieve today. Probably a lot healthier, too. Women push themselves to the point that their periods stop, their bodies going into reproductive emergency mode, yet they keep on running and starving themselves. This is considered good?


                            Today's bodybuilding is flat out weird and unnatural. Yet look at Charles Atlas, literally, go look on the internet. He is not "ripped." He probably didn't have all the ($$$$) supplements and steroids that bodybuilders do today. (Although he probably ate a diet heavy in meat and dairy!) I think he looks a lot healthier than most men, even if he couldn't win a medal in a contest now.


                            And female bodybuilding? Talk about the abnormal. Maybe it's just me, a hetero kinda guy, but I like women to look like women, not men.


                            Truly, the abnormal has become the normal.

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                            • #15
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                              Good point. I've known 2 hardcore male bodybuilders. Both were in their late 40s, both of them were fat, one had severe gout, one had Type II diabetes. Both of them said their bodybuilding crash diets had affected their metabolism. One of them told me that the closest he had ever been to death was right before a contest when he would get his bodyfat down to 5-6%. He said he wouldn't even drink water, he would just suck on ice cubes starting 2 days before the show. Then right after the show he would eat an entire cherry pie or gallon of ice cream and start his next bulk cycle.

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