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“The correct amount of calories with enough protein, fat, and carbohydrates may actually be more important than your exercise routine.”
  • Liz Keller

Is Eating Carbohydrates the Secret to Winning the Dynamic Duo Contest? 

There are so many factors that go into who wins the Fitness Incentive Seasonal Challenges. But some people fail to realize that the challenges are not actually about weight loss; the scores are calculated based on body recomposition. The contestants who score the highest are not necessarily those who lose the most weight but those who put on or maintain muscle mass while losing body fat. 

Reasons why body recomposition is better than weight loss:

–      Increased metabolism: Increased muscle mass helps increase your overall caloric burn.

–      Disease prevention: Less body fat can improve health conditions like sleep apnea and acid reflux, along with preventing the onset of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

–      Mental health: Shifting the focus to body recomposition can help establish a healthy relationship with food that doesn’t revolve around obsessing about a number on the scale or feeling the need to restrict calories or avoid social situations

The secret to this body recomposition comes from a well-designed training program and especially diet. The correct amount of calories with enough protein, fat, and carbohydrates may actually be more important than your exercise routine. You may be surprised to learn that one of the biggest challenges that ALL of the trainers at FI deal with is getting our clients to eat MORE of these macronutrients. While doing well in the contest requires cutting back on some things like alcohol and processed foods, it also requires eating more – yes, more – of specific food groups.

Christina and Kelly

Building muscle is not an easy thing to do. It takes time, and eight weeks is not a lot of time to accomplish this task. It’s common knowledge that one should focus on protein intake to increase muscle growth, but what about carbohydrates? If you ask Kelly or Christina (the 1st place winners of the Dynamic Duo Spring 2022 contest), one of the things they changed from prior contests to this contest was their mindset about the carbs in their diet. They are not alone in thinking that if you reduce or cut out carbs, you will lose more weight. Yet, I ask all of my clients to eat complex carbs like sweet potatoes, potatoes, oatmeal, and quinoa. I even have them eating bread! 

The science to explain why complex carbohydrates help to build muscle:

–      Increase muscle glycogen: Glycogen is a form of glucose stored in muscle for later use. When carbs are low, glycogen is low.

–      Decrease muscle breakdown: If you are exercising with low glycogen stores, the body may start to break down muscle for fuel

–      Increase muscle recovery: When glycogen is depleted, gluconeogenesis starts. Gluconeogenesis is how your body creates glucose when it doesn’t have carbs and has to use fat or protein instead. If your body has to use protein to make glucose (for energy), then that protein will not be used to build muscle

–      Increased muscle strength: Glycogen and protein are required to build muscle and repair the tiny tears in the muscle fiber that occurs during exercise. By increasing muscle recovery and strength, one can have more efficient workouts and progress towards getting stronger, increasing lean body mass, and decreasing body fat. 

Body recomposition requires a combination of diet and exercise. Although this article focuses on carbohydrates, the requirement to get enough protein can not be overemphasized. Studies show that eating a high protein diet (over 1 gram per pound of body weight) and a heavy weight lifting training program can help lose more body fat, even if the person is eating more calories than they are burning. (link to research article: Also, it is important to remember that not all carbohydrates are the same, and complex carbohydrates – those with higher fiber and less sugar – will give you better results. 

For a personalized approach to body recomposition send me an email at or text to ‪(240) 803-3438

About the Author

Liz Keller

Liz Keller

Liz Keller is a personal trainer, nutritionist, group fitness instructor, and health coach. She runs the Eat Smart program at Fitness Incentive.

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