Tackling diet is a difficult matter. There are so many factors involved in stimulating fat loss, maintaining metabolic health and getting lean enough to kick the snot out of your nemesis in a posedown, that any edge is crucial. Enter the glycemic index.
You may have heard of it, but I’ll you don’t practice it like you should, or even know what it can do for you. Truth is, not all carbs are created equal. Because bodybuilders are simple creatures, they’d rather just go Atkins on the situation and cut out carbs altogether so it’s easier to remember what to eat. But that isn’t serving the bodybuilding physique at its best.
The Glycemic Index (henceforth called GI, so I don’t have to keep writing it out) is a way of ranking carbohydrates based on their effect on our blood glucose levels. Some describe it as the best way to avoid metabolic and heart diseases, as well as being the key to sustained health and sustainable weight loss.
Carbs We Bodybuilders Like to Eat
We all like a big heaping pile of mashed potato or white rice. We like gigantic baked potatoes the size of our heads, but they may not be the right things for us to eat to get the carbs we need, sustain our size and support our mass goals, but also keep our bodies in a flight pattern appropriate for fat loss at any time.
That’s why we need to choose our carbs carefully. If you are overweight and mostly sedentary (that is, you go to the gym, but you almost never do cardio and you’re a fat fucker) eating carbs with high GI food values can be really horrible for your body composition, energy levels, and ultimate motivation to change any of that.
C’mon… You know how it is when you get fat in between contests and you wish there was a couch in between the squat rack and leg press so you could lay down for a spell.
Switching to eating carbs with low GI values, that allow only a slow ooze of glucose into your blood stream, rather than a big hit, keeps your energy levels balanced and sets you up for a positive change in body composition. Plus, you’ll also have more energy to train and maybe, the motivation to try a little cardio.
- Low GI diets help you lose and control weight
- Low GI diets increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin (a good thing for mass gain and balance)
- Low GI carbs reduce hunger and sustain you longer
- Low GI carbs help increase and prolong physical endurance
- Low GI carbs refuel the body’s carbohydrate stores after exercise much more effectively
How to get started…
Getting started is easy. Just substitute what you normally eat (a high GI carb) for a low one. This is the quickest way to understand how it works, and see it work, without really dieting on top of it. So try that first.
Go to: www.glycemicindex.com and look up carbs that appeal to you by clicking on the left hand side of the page on GI Database. Type in the foods you typically eat and enter their values on a sheet of paper. Chuck the ones that are above. Now go look up other ones, like yams, brown rice, whole grain wheat bread, unleavened pita bread, squash, vegetables, etc…
Look up breakfast cereals that are oat based, barley or bran based. Put down the potatoes and pick up the basmati rice or salad greens.
Doing this year ‘round, whether on a diet or not on a diet, will make you look like a different person in a year’s time – guaranteed.
Recently, the University of Sydney (that’s in Australia, mate) and their Human Nutrition Unit published a study that clearly shows that carb quality actually does make a difference in long term weight loss, overall and heart health.
GI Index Rule of Thumb:
- Low GI = 55 or less
- Medium GI = 56 – 69
- High GI = 70 or more