While Following the Atkins Diet
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
Whether you are an experienced athlete or
just getting started with an exercise program, following the Atkins plan may be
the ideal way to maximize your potential.
Weight management and exercise are two of
the most important ingredients of a healthy lifestyle. Nearly every weight loss
program advocates regular exercise; however, the Atkins plan may go one step
further than other approaches. Following the
Atkins Nutritional Approach may actually provide the
ideal way to supplement your fitness program.
As we all know, the hardest part of any
exercise program is getting started. The Atkins plan may give you the energy
you need to take that crucial first step. "While doing Atkins, people tend to
experience higher energy levels and feel better," says Dr. Stuart Trager, an
orthopedic surgeon and consultant to Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. "This can make
them more likely to stick to an exercise program."
Dr. Trager explains that many popular
low-calorie and low-fat approaches to losing weight provide insufficient
calories that rob you of energy and put your body at a disadvantage. "The
challenge many people who want to lose weight face when they start an exercise
program is that they are running an engine without much gas," he says. "So,
when they begin to exercise, their tank is already on empty."
Dr. Trager says that in addition to feeling
better and having more energy, Atkins followers will experience an increased
incentive to keep exercising as they begin to take off those extra pounds. "I
know that running became more enjoyable for me as I began to lose weight," says
Dr. Trager, himself an accomplished endurance athlete. In addition to running
marathons, he has competed in several Ironman triathlon competitions. Dr.
Trager trains an average of 20 hours per week, all while continuing to follow
the Lifetime Maintenance phase of the
Atkins Nutritional Approach.
"Studies have shown that one of the
advantages of training while following the Atkins plan is that your lean body
mass is preserved," says Dr. Trager. He explains that your post-workout
recovery is enhanced as a result of the amount of protein consumed, adding that
the Atkins approach also improves the bodys utilization of its fat
"The Atkins plan increases the process of
your liver converting stored body fat into glucose," says
eDiets expert Raphael Calzadilla. According to the
Atkins Web site, even the fittest and leanest of bodies contain enough stored
fat to complete 10 or more consecutive marathons.
Following the Atkins plan along with your
workout program may even increase your endurance. Yes, you read that correctly.
"There is some literature published to suggest that your endurance is improved
while following the Atkins plan," notes Dr. Trager.
How can this be? For years, conventional
wisdom has told us that in order to increase endurance, it was necessary to
follow a high carbohydrate diet. But, is this really true?
"I think the biggest misconception many
people have is that you need a diet that is high in carbs in order to
exercise," continues Dr. Trager. He says that an increasing number of amateur
and professional athletes are beginning to discover that it is possible to
enhance their performance levels by actually lowering the amount of
carbohydrates in their daily diet. On www.atkins.com, Dr. Trager writes, "The
emerging research regarding controlling carbohydrates is extremely exciting,
empowering athletes of all abilities to effectively manage their weight with
this innovative approach."
So, what about the idea of carb-loading
adhered to by many athletes? While consuming a lot of carbohydrates can be
useful before an event, Dr. Trager says that there is not sufficient research
to suggest that loading up on carbohydrates is beneficial before each exercise
session. Dr. Trager explains that it is only advisable to supplement your
workout with a sports beverage when you engage in intensive and prolonged
exercise; moreover, you must consume it during your workout. After about
an hour and a half of exercise, Ill have a carbohydrate sports
drink, says Dr. Trager, because I burn up all the carbs as I work
"The whole concept of carb loading has been
extremely poorly implemented," says Raphael Calzadilla. "Some carb loading is
necessary before competitive events, but it still isnt as much as many
people think. Most people carb dump instead of carb loading."
Calzadilla says that he has witnessed
athletes increase both strength and endurance while following the Atkins
approach. But, he says it is primarily a matter of biochemistry. "People
respond differently," says Calzadilla. "No program is right for everyone."
If you think following the Atkins plan may
be an ideal way to supplement your fitness program, this may be the perfect
time to give it a try. Now that
Atkins has teamed up with the worlds leading online
weight-loss site, the program is easier than ever to follow. eDiets
provides 24/7 support and allows you to personalize your program to suit your
fitness and weight-loss needs.
"When you follow the Atkins plan in your
eDiets program, you'll find that your weight loss will be consistent," says
eDiets Director of Nutrition Services Susan Burke. "Your program is dynamic,
not static, and responds to your progress and your needs. Your menu depends on
your progress, your activity level and your goal. If you're trying to lose
weight but training fairly hard, you'll get meals that contain calories to fuel
your workouts but maintain your muscle strength and fitness."