Today we will take a critical look at high carbohydrate diets for getting toned arms.
High Carbohydrate Diets
1. Oodles of energy. As long as you’re eating BALANCED meals, your energy levels should remain fairly high. Recall that carbohydrates are your body’s (including the brain) preferred source of energy. The difference in quality of life between a high carbohydrate and high protein diet is like night and day.
2. You get to eat carbohydrates. If you like carbohydrates—and most women do—then this diet won’t make you suffer. You can have your cake and eat it too as long as it’s not too big. And most high carb plans allow you to eat bread and pasta if they’re whole grain. So all the bread fanatics out there will love this way of eating.
3. No loss in definition. The high carb intake keeps water and glycogen in your arm muscles. Thus, you don’t get the flat and deflated (and in some cases jiggly) look of a high protein diet. Furthermore, if you cut out sodium, you can get even more definition because this will reduce the amount of water underneath your skin (i.e., covering your muscles). Although somewhat transient but effective, increasing carbohydrate intake TEMPORARILY while simultaneously eliminating excess subcutaneous water is a nifty little trick for getting toned arms ASAP.
4. The ability to keep on going like the energizer bunny. Your muscles work capacity and their ability to recover are enhanced by leaps and bounds when eating lots of carbs. This is one of the reasons why ultra endurance runners like Dean Karnazes will down an ENTIRE pizza in the MIDDLE of a race.
1. Dangerous territory for those with sugar addictions. If you have a sugar addiction, getting toned arms will be very very hard. And a high carb diet puts you right next to a lot of foods with sugar. The temptation to give in and just have “one” bite can lead to a pig out session. We’ve all been there…
2. Contraindicated for those with insulin resistance. What is insulin resistance? It’s a state in which a body’s active tissues (muscle, brain, organs) resist absorbing nutrients. If nutrients aren’t going to active tissues, they’re going to inactive tissues (arm fat). How can you tell if you’re insulin resistant? There are some complex insulin resistance tests, but a simpler approach should do. Take a look at your abdomen. If it’s relatively large, then you are more likely to have insulin resistance. Why? Because visceral (stomach area) obesity is HIGHLY correlated to insulin resistance. And multiple studies have shown that women with insulin resistance do far better with lower carbohydrate diets.
3. Hunger. Carbs have a huge impact on insulin. And insulin has a huge impact on hunger. Thus, you are more likely to get very hungry when eating carbs galore. You could mitigate this effect by eating lots of vegetables in each meal, but I can say from personal experience that this only partially solves the hunger problem.
4. Slow fat loss. If you want toned arms ASAP, this probably isn’t the right diet for you. With a high carbohydrate diet, arm fat loss comes at a relatively slower pace.
Are you desperate to get toned arms? Do you want them NOW and not latter? Then don’t go high carb! And if you have a sugar addiction, high carb is definitely out of the question. It’s simply way too hard to lose a substantial amount of arm fat when your body is flooded with carbohydrates. If you’re sedentary (i.e., desk job), a high carb intake will make it virtually IMPOSSIBLE to lose arm fat.
In the final article of this series, we’ll take a look at detox diets and I’ll shed some light on what I believe is the best way to approach dieting for arm fat loss.