In this article I’ll explain why insulin is the secret to weight loss, and how using a post workout recovery shake will greatly improve your weight loss results. This applies to type 0’s, type-1’s, type-2’s, and type-3’s. Translation = It applies to everyone, and has nothing to do with diabetes.
What makes you gain weight, . . . is insulin. (Don’t even get me started about a low fat diet to lose weight. What an evil joke!) Without insulin, fat cannot be stored, and muscle cannot be built. Insulin is anabolic, meaning it’s a growth hormone. Insulin has a sister hormone called glucagon. Glucagon is catabolic, meaning it’s a release hormone. Insulin stores fat, glucagon releases it. Only 1 can exist in the blood stream at a time. If insulin is present, glucagon is not. Both hormones do much more that store and release fat, but for now, we’ll focus on that.
Everybody has heard of aerobic exercise, but do you know what it means? It means “with oxygen”. It’s when you exercise, but you’re not out of breath. Your muscles have ample oxygen. To burn fat, your body must have oxygen. If you’re workout leaves you out of breath, and your muscles do not have oxygen, then you burn glycogen from within the muscle cells, instead of fat. This is called anaerobic exercise. It means “without oxygen”. So, to translate, walking, running, or eliptical, will burn fat. Programs like Les Mills Combat, Insanity, P90X, or any form of strength training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), will burn glycogen, leaving the gas tank in the muscle empty. Now it’s not exactly that clear and simple, but with aerobic you’ll burn more fat than glycogen, and with anaerobic you’ll burn more glycogen than fat. Plus there’s no defined percentage of how much of each is burned, but in general, this is how it works.
Anaerobic exercise produces the best results for weight loss. So that means exercise that leaves you out of breath. Here’s why. Anaerobic exercise causes a metabolic change in your body that reduces your need for insulin for hours. Aerobic exercise does not do this. When insulin isn’t present, glucagon is. Glucagon is what releases fat, so it can be used as fuel.
Now to tie it all together, and show you the secret to using insulin for weight loss. If you wanna burn the most fat DURING your workout, then make sure your blood stream is full of glucagon when you start. How do you do this? Don’t eat carbs for at least 3 hours before your workout. No carbs = no insulin. You may run out of energy, but you’ll be burning fat like crazy. Just keep pushing. T H E N . . . after your workout, when you don’t need as much insulin to absorb carbs (remember, less insulin is good for fat loss), suck down a post workout recovery shake that includes both fast acting carbs and protein. You want it to be in liquid form so it will digest faster. The faster you consume it, the better. General consensus is within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. The carbs produce an insulin spike, but one that’s not as big because you did an anaerobic workout. The insulin spike shuttles the carbs and the protein into the muscle cells. The carbs fill up the empty gas tank, and in this state, they even make the gas tank grow, so it can hold more glycogen. The protein is used to rebuild muscle, and the insulin helps get into the muscle faster. This is one reason that having more muscle means you store less fat. If you can store more in muscle, you won’t store as much in fat. You fed your hungry muscles with less insulin, and your muscles continue to need less insulin for hours. You have more glucagon in your body, so you’re burning fat longer throughout the day, or while you sleep depending on when you workout.
On Bodybuilding.com they recommend a recovery shake that has a carb to protein ratio of 2/1, however, if you’re just trying to lose weight, and not sculpt a physique, a ratio of 4/1 would be fine. The shake I drink mixes 2 products. Beachbody’s P90X Results and Recovery Formula, with 40g dextrose and 10g protein, and their Body Beast Hardcore Base Shake with 10g dextrose and 18g protein. After a workout, it’s like drinking candy crack juice. It’s makes me feel like a bad diabetic.
Now, if you’re a type 1 diabetic reading this, it’s not quite as easy for us, for obvious reasons. Here are some tips for type 1 diabetics. We can still “try” to do the no carbs for 3 hours before a workout to limit insulin in the blood stream, as long as we don’t go hypoglycemic. When “I” do this, my blood sugar is usually within range of 80 – 120 before sweatabetes. My workout causes a hypo, so I actually sip my shake throughout my workout, without insulin, and then bolus after my workout. This prevents my hypo during the workout. Anyway, this little trick works for me. After the workout, you may have to reduce how much bolus you use for your shake, compared to normal. I know I do. You may also need to reduce your basal for hours after your workout. I have different basal profiles in my pump. After my workout I switch it, and when I wake up, I switch it back. As type 1’s we have to experiment to see what works.
So . . . . . clear as mud? Well, I hope it’s clearer than mud at least. If you need to, bookmark this page, so you can come back and re-read it. So you can Google more info about what I said. If you’d like to try the products I use, just click the links above. You’ll help me out if you do. Thanks!
********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle. Go Joe!!! **********
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