High-Protein Could Be Key To Your Short Term Weight Maintenance

As I discussed in an earlier post, us athletes should periodize our eating to match our training. Of particular concern, during those times of reduced volume training (like now, as we enter autumn and what is a Transition period for most of us), we need to be mindful that we don't pack on some extra pounds. They could be doubly difficult to lose when we get back to training (again, see the earlier post).

A Low-Carb Strategy For Weight Management

Now, I've read about a study by the Rowett Research Institute in Britain that compared the results of a "low-carbohydrate" diet with a "moderate-carbohydrate" diet. Both diets had 30% of calories coming from protein; each diet was really a so-called "high-protein" diet. The difference for each, then, was the blend of carbohydrates and fats making up the remaining 70% of calories. In the low-carb diet, 4% of calories came from carbohydrates. In the moderate-carb diet, 35% came from carbohydrate.

The four-week study showed participants on the low-carb diet had lower hunger levels, less binge eating, and ultimately more weight loss.

Focus Your Diet On Quality Proteins

I think even if your aim is simply short-term weight maintenance (say, over the course of 1 week during a recovery period, or up to a 1 month period of transition from one training season to the next), pay attention to eating more proteins and much fewer carbohydrates in your diet. Aiming for the 4% level of carbohydrates may not be entirely feasible for us athletes, but don't be afraid to go that low for short periods.

You can manage your hunger cravings, and get by on fewer total calories by focusing on eating quality proteins. What kinds of proteins are these? Look to fresh and preferably wild fish, free-range chicken and eggs, and finally grass-fed meats - in that order too. Minimize the use of processed deli meats - though they are convenient, they usually contain high levels of nitrates. I also use whey protein shakes mixed in water (not as tasty as using milk for the base, but basically no-carb as a result).

Athletes Do Need Carbs

Ultimately, we need body stores of carbohydrate to fuel our quality workouts. Eat high-carb while you're actively training. But when you're not stacking up those workouts, don't get caught stacking up the pounds. High-protein will help short-term weight maintenance.

Happy Eating!