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BACKGROUND

For about four months now I have been on a low carb diet, and during that time I went from 93 to 78kg. I have been lifting some weights (some squats, overhead pushes, bent over rows) at a low rep (6-8) and set (1-2) count, once or twice a week, just for maintaining the existing muscle mass. Im quite sure most of the weight lost was fat. Some calculations made with my (a bit inncaurate) bathroom scales that has BF% measurement, I concluded that around 75% - 80% of the weight lost was fat.

Since my diet was actually based on changing eating choices/patterns, not counting grams and calories, and I mean to keep it, I cant really control accurately my calorie and protein intake. Still, I would be guessing that Im in or near to a caloric deficit. The diet bases on removing sweets, bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other similar carbohydrate sources and severely limiting fruit. Ocasionally (once a week or two) I allow myself for a carbohydrate spike, eating pretty much anything I want, pizza or chocolate included, just to keep the diet maintainable in the long run.

Now I wanted to begin a training plan around 2 physical and 1 swordsmanship technical workout a week (please see this: Making a training plan for medieval swordsmen / reenactment question, it could use some more good aswers). I will be mostyly focusing on endurance/90sec burst interval adaptation rather than strength during the physical preparation workouts.

Im afraid that my protein intake might bee to small for such a training plan. Most probably I still am in caloric deficit, as my weight isnt yet stable (Fluctuates +- 1kg, with a overal declining tendency, at least up till now). Thats why I was considering including some protein supplementation to make sure i get enough of protein to prevent muscle loss.

QUESTION

While my diet includes quite a lot of eggs, dairy and different forms of meat, I cant be sure if its fit for some additional conditioning training. Is adding some supplementation "just in case" a good idea? If so, how much should I add?

Also (I dont want to repeat the background section in another question) can the conditioning training interfere with my body recomposition program, which is based on eating pattern changes? Can this program hinder my efforts to improve my endurance/condition? Please note, im not trying to build muscle mass while losing weight. I want to improve how long I can be active in high intensity 90sec bursts, without hidnering my fat-loss-ability and ruining my existing strength and muscle mass.

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I'm a little confused by what exactly you are hoping to accomplish, as well as what drawbacks you are afraid of. If you feel that you aren't eating enough protein, by all means add it in, and if you have some adverse reactions to it(gas, bloat, etct) just take it out. –  Brent Hronik Mar 5 '13 at 14:48
    
@Brent Hronik Ill try to clarify - im quite content with my current diet and the results it brings me in terms of weight loss/body recomposition. Body recomposition remains my main goal. Recently I found the need to improve my condition/endurance, and want to start training. Im worried that my current diet might put me to muscle catabolism if i start training, but on the other hand im worried of some potential side-effects of including supplements to my diet (slowing body recomposition, perhaps kidney problems, my friend ended up in a hospital because of that, anything other i cant think of) –  K.L. Mar 5 '13 at 17:57
    
"I cant really control accurately my calorie and protein intake" how is anybody supposed to be able to figure out if you're supplementing correctly then? Just because your diet isn't based on "counting" doesn't mean you can't keep a food journal. I don't do any counting either, I eat a restricted menu based on appetite, but I still keep a detailed journal of what I actually ate so I can look at the end of the week and see how much actual protein etc was consumed. –  Affe Mar 5 '13 at 18:52
    
Since I know very little about supplementing at all I assumed that for the most part, if I slightly excess in my protein intake, it will be simply flushed from my organism doing no hurt. I thought that any side effects would appear only after reaching some critical protein intake. Please note, that I am asking in my question "is supplementing just in case a good idea". Its part of the question. Your comment seems to suggest that its not a good idea and supplementation should be strictly fit to diet. If so, then im a little smarter already. Ill wait for more comments and redesign the question. –  K.L. Mar 5 '13 at 22:47
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You don't supplement "just in case." You supplement to fill any gaps that your diet may have left. If there are no gaps, there is no reason to supplement. So at this point, your best bet would be to get a rough idea of how much protein you currently get (nutritional values for all foods can be found with a simple google search), and supplement (or don't supplement) accordingly. –  Tip_Top Jul 26 '13 at 17:51

1 Answer 1

  1. "Is adding some supplementation "just in case" a good idea? If so, how much should I add?"
  2. "Can the conditioning training interfere with my body recomposition program, which is based on eating pattern changes?"
  3. "Can this program hinder my efforts to improve my endurance/condition?"

The answer to all these questions is... yes! To understand why, ill answer each question starting at 1 and ending with 3.

Q1. Protein supplementation is typically a wise move for those using strength training to accomplish fitness or physique based goals. While whey protein powder is one of the most efficient proteins you can use (based on bio availability), it's possible to get away without supplementing with it if you can stomach eating enough protein to cover it. However, even the most dedicated individual would have a difficult time trying to eat THAT MUCH chicken (or any other protein rich food source), instead of substituting an easy to drink shake instead. In terms of how much, there isn't a "one size fits all" type of answer, as it depends on many individual factors. Factors such as workout intensity, and how much a person weighs, are examples of things that differ per person, and this will factor into the optimal amount of protein a person needs. The Huntington College of Health Sciences, stated that 1.3-1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, is the range most authorities agree on [1]. However, this article from the Journal of Sports Sciences, recommends amounts up to 1.8-2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day [2]. Try different amounts for 2-3 weeks and note how you feel and look, if you feel good and like your making progress, keep the amounts the same and re-evaluate in another 2-3 weeks, otherwise, bump up the amount until you get to that level.

Q2. The second source has a section in it titled "Changes in body composition with nutrition and exercise", and I'll bullet a few of the more important quotes from it.

  • "Emerging evidence suggests that reducing the intake of dietary carbohydrates is a critically important step in promoting both greater weight loss and greater loss of body fat"

  • "However, following low carbohydrate, lower GI diets may be a problem for endurance athletes seeking to compete, since dietary carbohydrate intakes are recommended to be higher to allow a more rapid and full recovery of endogenous glycogen stores"

  • "Thus, at the expense of carbohydrates, a higher protein or fat intake can obviously compromise performance"

A lower carb diet can be very effective at decreasing fat levels ** (I can personally vouch for this as well) **but there's a potential for it to have an adverse effect on performance.

Which leads to question 3...

Q3. High intensity 90 sec bursts of activity means were talking endurance. Glycogen is an important source for creating ATP, which is a particularly important energy source for exercise bouts lasting 60-90 seconds [3]. And if you're removing carbohydrate sources as you said, it's going to be difficult to perform at the highest level possible in your fitness endeavors. On your days off, I personally believe switching to a more fats-based diet is a good way to boost insulin sensitivity which can be a powerful factor in preventing weight gain.

Hope that clears everything up, and that it helps you become one bad-ass medieval swordsmen.

Sources

  1. http://www.hchs.edu/literature/BCAA.pdf
  2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640414.2011.619204#.Urjl8fYsWpI
  3. http://www.faqs.org/sports-science/Ba-Ca/Carbohydrates.html
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