In Part 1 and Part 2 I discussed why we want to track our sugar intake in our quest to reaching our fitness and physique goals. Now, I want to talk about fruit (or ‘fructose’ sugar) which can also be high in sugar and deter you from getting to where you want. Yes, not to sound arrogant (at all) but I’ve heard it a thousand times that fruit has ‘natural’ sugar – so what? lol Sugar is still sugar no matter where it comes from. It will still raise insulin through the roof if you consume too much at one time. Think of having a bowl of strawberries (low insulin spike akin to a bowl of oatmeal, as discussed in part 2) versus having a bowl of grapes (wait for the sugar crash, just wait for it, because its coming and you’ll fall hard on it).
Although fruit is high in antioxidants and is good for your health, it can still cause health problems. A key thing to remember is that sugar is sugar whether its from a chocolate bar or a fruit. A person can still get diabetes from consuming too much fruit.
Of course it depends on the person and their goals but for the most part people want to look good and feel great in anything they wear or not. When that’s the case then I like to recommend sticking to the fruits that are low in sugar and overall calories. These are my top choices: strawberries, blueberries (or any other berries), apples, and grapefruits. The other fruits are fine but I suggest consuming them less frequently and definitely controlling the serving size.
For instance, you might be surprised to see just how much sugar fruit can have. Oranges are great for you but there is nearly 20 grams of sugar in one! That’s why I normally recommend having this type of fruit only before your workout or when you will be active. Consider it as fuel for the work to come. If you’re going to get a hard leg workout in then maybe get some protein and a fruit about an hour beforehand. Berries are far lower in sugar so its not as important in terms of when to have them, but I still recommend having it earlier in the day when people tend to be more active, so you can burn off the calories from the carbohydrates.
If you want to maximize your work in the gym and have your general nutrition under control, start looking at what your sugar intake is per meal. Getting between 8-12 grams is ok but aiming for 7 grams or under is best for the majority of your meals (excluding your pre- and post- workout food). The only time you’d want to spike your sugar intake is before and/or after a workout. But even then, it really depends on the person’s goals. I personally like to stay lean so I keep my carbs pretty low. I might have an intra-workout shake while I’m training but I don’t focus on carbs before or after a workout; unless its my cheat meal. Then I always make sure to hit the weights hard and then enjoy my bad meal afterwards.
The take home message I like to instill is this: if you see food as fuel and not solely a comfort sort of thing then you will reach your goals that much easier! The 3 components of transforming your physique are:
1.) training (lifting heavy as your base)
2.) performing cardiovascular exercise
3.) eating well
If you ‘sort of, kind of, eat well then you’ll sort of, kind of, look good’. But, if you want a fit & well defined body, you have to work hard for it. To look and feel awesome plan to commit to eating well at least 90% of the time.
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