Published Feb 12, 2013 « Back
Nutrition is not taken serious enough when trying to reach any fitness goals. If you're looking to achieve fat loss/lose weight/cutting up, nutrition should be at the front of your mind. The 3-4 hours a week you're in the gym, is outweighed by the 160+ hours you're away from it making nutritional choices etc. It may be obvious but when you split the time you're in the gym, vs time you're consuming food it becomes black and white. It comes back to the old "cheesy" saying "abs are made in the kitchen". Whilst this remains to be a 'cheesy' saying that I despise, it is true! When looking at nutrition there are many factors to take into consideration. Many people become fixated with protein consumption (which is very important in the right way). However, here I'm going to talk about insulin; specifically the role it plays within your body and how it effects your fitness goals.
To reach fitness goals we need to control insulin and understanding how to do this is vital. Insulin is the only hormone we have complete control of, it is responsible for breaking down foods and in return the storage of fat. Insulin is an anabolic hormone released form the pancreas to elevate blood sugar levels. Protein can slightly effect the rise on blood sugar levels, however the nutrient that has the greatest effect is carbohydrates. This puts to bed the myth that fats make us fat; as fats have no effect on blood sugar levels. This shows that just a small deviation from a nutritional plan can cause blood sugar levels to rise and in return the release of insulin.
When blood sugar levels increase insulin will not just effect the storage of sugar, it also has an effect on the storage of fat and magnesium. Magnesium plays a very important part with the production and transportation of ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate) - the bodies energy molecule. Therefore when insulin spikes it often leaves us with the feeling of low energy, this is due to the lack of magnesium spreading around the body. As well as this insulin also increases the production of lipoprotein lipase. This enzyme is used in the body to break down fat (triglycerides) in the bloodstream to store it as fat within the body. Which will unfortunately add to those dreaded love handles.
The last thing I'm going to note in this short article/blog is the affect insulin has on what energy source we are using. Insulin stops Carnitine a substance which plays a big part in escorting fat from the fat cells (adiposites) to the mitochondria - the powerhouse of the cell. These powerhouses are responsible for producing ATP by a process called the kreb cycle. This means that when insulin spikes it prevents your fat being used as energy; which of course does not help us with our fat loss goals
The key to controlling insulin is to control blood sugar levels, eat regularly and stay away from the sweet stuff. The hormonal balance that insulin plays on the body can make or break your fitness goals, whether it be to slim down or get ripped! Controlling your insulin spikes is a must, ensuring there are no peaks and troths but just a steady plateau of insulin released. Make sure you eat regularly, train hard and sleep well to reach your goals and create a healthier you!