You don’t often hear the word insulin get thrown around in typical fitness discussions, but this hormone actually plays a crucial part in the regulation of hunger and even your waistline.
The question is can understanding insulin be the key to unlocking your utmost potential when it comes to your weight loss and fitness journey? In this post we are going to dive deep into the world of this pretty wonderful hormone and determine it’s ability to affect your life.
Ready to learn everything you need to know about insulin and how controlling it can lead to incredible results and a lifetime of weight-related contentment?
What Is Insulin?
The body releases insulin as a means of “accessing” the sugar content in the carbohydrates we eat to use as energy – our insulin levels elevate and decrease at natural intervals throughout the day, but exercise actually leads to a forced increase in insulin release.
The reason why insulin levels elevate post exercise is due to the fact that the body has depleted it’s natural glycogen (sugar) stores through muscular exertion – as such, these stores need to be replenished therefore insulin is released to “sponge” as much use as possible out of our fore coming carbohydrates.
It’s worth noting that regular exercise leads to more stable insulin levels overall – the body comes to “expect” exercise and as such naturally adapts to releasing this vital hormone in excess amounts around exercise windows.
How Do You Control Insulin?
Insulin control simply involves timing your heavier carbohydrate intake periods throughout the day with your natural increases in insulin.
Insulin levels are naturally high first thing in the morning (hence why it has always been deemed appropriate to take in a large carbohydrate intake within the first hour of waking up as the carbs are “useful” at this time), during the late afternoon and after training.
As such, you simply need to make sure that your carbohydrates are primarily consumed in accordance with these windows. One of the most effective control mechanisms is to ingest carbohydrates primarily first thing in the morning and during the post workout window only.
What Happens When you Control Insulin?
When you control insulin in the manner previously specified then the carbs you eat don’t lead to any “overspill” – this means that that you actually use the glycogen they contain in a functional capacity for energy rather than any going to waste.
Should you consume a high carbohydrate intake at any other time of the day, this will likely lead to the body receiving more energy than it can actually access (due to insulin levels being low.)
In turn, this excess energy will get stored as fat.
Where many avid exercise enthusiasts go wrong is that they put all the hard work and effort into their training and making the right food choices, but they don’t always consume those choices at the most appropriate times.
This small change can lead to swift results as part of an already highly effective regime.
Insulin Manipulation: Putting it Into Action
Insulin manipulation isn’t anywhere near as difficult as it sounds – try to follow this structure in order to successfully put it into action:
- Add up your daily carbohydrate total based on your physical activity level using a site like freedieting.com
- Spread your carbohydrates around the breakfast, pre workout (an hour and a half before training) and post workout (within an hour and a half after exercise) windows
- Try to keep your carbohydrate intake to a minimum outside of these windows
By following these steps, you’ll help to establish stable energy levels AND keep your waistline in check.
Of course, you can eat carbohydrates outside of these windows, but it’s important to understand that the bulk of them should be consumed during these periods – this really is the key to mastering your hormonal dynamics.
There are other variations of this insulin “window” concept including carb back loading whereas all of your carbohydrates are consumed over the course of a few hours after training rather than during the morning or pre workout windows, or even intermittent fasting.
Ultimately, sticking to the windows specified in this section is for most people the most accessible means of keeping insulin levels (and as a result, excess fat levels) in check.
Try to follow some of these principles today and you’re sure to see a massive difference in no time at all.