Those who limit healthy carbohydrates for a prolonged period have been shown to demonstrate mental lethargy and increased general fatigue as the first symptoms. If a carbohydrate restrictive diet is continued it can actually lead to internal organ damage and to the amazement of some, a reduction in lean muscle and excess body fat accumulation. If the body’s first choice for fuel (carbohydrate) is restricted it must then make another selection. If protein is all that’s available, then the body has no choice but to either stop its activity or burn protein. As mentioned earlier, protein creates toxins when burned for fuel. The production and elimination of toxins is of course a stress to the body and as such causes a stress response. As with all forms of stress cortisol, also known as the death hormone, will rise causing lean muscle to be catobolized and fat to be stored.
Training for my first Ironman triathlon, I entered into a new realm. The training was different from what I was used to, lower intensity, but much higher overall volume. With the intense workouts absent, the long ones seemed much easier, for the short term. It seemed that the more volume of training I could do the better. I was putting in eight to 10 hour training days. All was well; I was becoming steadily stronger each week, as per the plan.
What began to happen next I certainly did not expect. Despite the fact that I was performing 40 hours of exercise per week, I actually began to accumulate body fat! How could this be? Was I simply eating too much, more than I could [...]