Article last updated: May 2019 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
In the 90’s it was all about low fat diets.
Then it was all about going low carb to lose fat.
I tried both approaches and they didn’t get me the results I wanted.
In the beginning of my training I followed the low fat approach because I thought fats are “bad”. My testosterone levels went to whack because of this.
Later on, I tried the low carb approach and I lost a great amount of fat, but my training stalled because:
When you train hard you NEED to eat enough carbs to support recovery and muscle gains.
I assume that most of you that are serious about defeating your skinny-fat genetics are training hard most days of the week. To support your training you absolutely need a sufficient carb intake.
I’m NEVER Going On a Low Carb Diet Again
In late 2012 I experimented with a low carb diet. This low carb diet got me to my lowest body-fat ever in no time; I lost something like 10-12 lbs in a month even though I ate 2-3 lbs of red meat and 8-10 eggs every single day.
I got very lean, but at the same time I was “small”, weak, fatigued and I had no sex drive. I remember that people commented on my lack of size and that my head started looking big in comparison to my body. I got my testosterone levels tested during this experiment, and guess what: they went to whack.
Also, despite going from 190 lbs to 177 lbs I didn’t improve my performance on chin ups.
Usually performance on bodyweight exercises should improve but in this case I lost 13 lbs without adding a single repetition to my chin ups.
What did I do after getting those comments and evaluating my symptoms? What every sane man would do: I started eating balanced meals again and ate my way up to 194 lbs in a month.
I definitely carried more bodyfat at 194 lbs but I felt better, looked muscular instead of skinny and started progressing again in my training. See the change below:
Since December 28 I’ve stuck to pretty much the same way of eating. I eat what I want, when I want. It happens to be that I rarely crave junk food or candy now, and I don’t go out to drink that often anymore, so I just eat what I need throughout the day without getting fat.
I’ve done this for 9 months now, and the results are that I’ve gotten leaner, stronger and more muscular – all without obsessing over finding the new secret diet that doesn’t exist.
Low carb is probably the MOST effective way at losing body-fat fast, but what’s the point in losing body-fat fast if you feel like crap, can’t train hard and look “flat” on all days of the week except that one day where you do a carb refeed? I don’t see it. All I know for now is that I’m never going to do a low carb diet again.
Ok, Low Carb is Bad… Should I do High Carb?
No. Stop thinking about training and diet in EXTREMES. You need a bit of everything to feel, look and perform good. If you eat high carb every single day, chances are you won’t lose fat since a lot of skinny-fat guys eat too many carbs. However, this doesn’t mean that you should switch to the other extreme and go low carb.
Instead, start with a balanced diet that has a bit of everything. Once you have that, eat slightly more carbs on training days (especially after your workout) since that’s when you need them, and slightly less on days that you don’t train hard. This approach works for me, and chances are it will also work for you.
When you train hard +4 days a week, your body needs a good amount of carbs every single day – especially if you want to gain muscle.
If fat loss is your priority, then you can reduce the carbs and perhaps go low carb a few days a week, but once you have a reasonable body fat level (visible 4 pack in good lighting), get carbs back into your diet and gain some quality muscle in the right places.