Get Fit 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 reserves.
"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
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."