Low Carbs = Low Energy? (Myth…)

When it comes to building a lean muscular physique there are times when you need to tip the scales in favor of building maximum muscle mass. And other times when you need to change focus and tip the scales in favor of burning maximum bodyfat.

It’s a delicate balance, but when done properly the end result is a BIGGER & LEANER physique.
(Which is what we are all striving for.)

As for tipping the scales in favor of maximum fat burning, one of the best approaches is following a “Low Carb” diet plan.

However, the thought of eating low carbs is one that scares many people. They fear that they’ll lose all their hard earned muscle, have low energy, and just feel like a piece of crap…

But this is just not the case. In fact there was a study done by Australian researchers with 60 overweight people. The subjects were divided into 2 groups. Half were following the typical high carb / low fat eating plan. And the other half followed a low carb / high fat eating plan. The interesting thing was that the test subjects ability to exercise, energy levels, perceptions of fatigue and exertion – were consistent for both groups.

However, the big difference was that the low carb group lost more weight and burned a higher percentage of bodyfat during exercise than the high carb group.

When I’m training for a bodybuilding competition and maximum fat loss is my main goal, I follow a low carb diet plan and it works really well. Now the key point here is that I said “Low Carb” not “NO Carb”. There is a huge difference.

The Atkins diet and other similar type diet plans generally recommend drastically cutting carbs to virtually zero. They even go to the point of dropping healthy carbs like vegetables in order to get your carbohydrate intake down as low as possible. It’s this ridiculous approach to cutting carbs that often leaves people feeling low energy, constipated, and just down right miserable when following such a drastic diet plan.

However, I DO NOT do this when I’m following a low carb eating plan.
My version of a low carb diet plan consists of:

  • Lots of lean protein foods such as; poultry, fish, beef, eggs, and protein supplements.

  • Lots of veggies such as; fresh garden salads, broccoli, celery, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, peas, carrots, bean sprouts, etc.

  • I also include moderate amounts of healthy fats in the form of almonds, olives, fish oil, flax seed oil, natural peanut butter, almond butter, etc.

The key trick that allows me to stick to such a diet plan, satisfy my appetite, and maintain my energy levels is consuming high amounts of veggies.

Veggies are pure sources of nutrition. They are loaded with phytonutrients such as chlorophyll, polyphenols, carotenoids and other antioxidants help protect and nourish the body. By filling up on veggies you are getting all the good stuff you need, without all the empty calories that are often associated with typical high carbohydrate foods. When it comes to veggies the more the better. After all nobody ever got fat from eating veggies.

A little trick that I use to help me consume veggies with every single meal is to combine them with healthy fats. So I’ll keep a big veggie tray in my refrigerator consisting of chopped broccoli, celery sticks, carrot sticks, etc. and I’ll dip these veggies in natural peanut butter or natural almond butter and chomp away. The peanut butter / almond butter makes the veggies taste better and it also satisfies my appetite more and fills me up.

Low Carb, Healthy Fat, High Protein Meal

So even if you don’t have time to sit down to the table for a full meal, you could simply have some chopped veggies dipped in natural peanut butter, and wash it all down with a protein shake. Presto! a super quick, high nutrient, healthy low carb meal / snack.

Another trick that I use when trying to sneak extra veggies in my diet is to use blender smoothies. You are probably familiar with mixing up things like protein shakes and frozen berries in the blender now. But what you could use in place of the frozen berries, is add in frozen vegetables.

Blender Veggie Protein Shake

I know it probably sounds gross, but it’s not. The protein powder masks the taste of the veggies and it’s actually pretty good. You could even add in some artificial sweeteners like stevia if you want to make it taste a little sweeter.

The secret to successfully following any diet plan is enjoying the foods you eat. No one can stick to an eating plan if they have to force down foods they don’t like. However, if you get creative and find ways to make healthy eating more enjoyable, you’ll be able to stick to an eating plan over the long term and actually reap the results you are looking for.

In my Extreme Fat Loss Program I cover in detail the exact meal by meal low carb diet plan that both myself and my wife Patricia follow while training for Bodybuilding competitions. Following this kind of low starchy carb – high veggie eating plan is the key that allow us both to get our bodyfat levels super low for that lean ripped look.

Extreme Fat Loss

Our pictures below show what’s possible with this style of “healthy” low carb eating…
Lee Hayward & Patrica Crocker

If you’d like more information on how you can apply this type of eating plan into your own routine, just click on the link to find out how you can get your own copy of the Extreme Fat Loss Program – for FREE!

Click Here to read the Next Page...

About The Author


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you... lee@leehayward.com


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  • Leon,

    So right Leon. People need to do some basic research and see just what microwaving does to their food. Look up Blanc and Hertels research into the effect of eating microwaved food. You wont use a microwave again.

  • Lance

    Mark, you think you are eating healty but the problem is when you heat your food in the microwave,the food molecules change(and researchers found that long term food with changed molecules can cause different types of cancer disease. +The more you cut your veggies or the more time passes since you made your salat:the less nutrition value your veggies will have.

    There is a more important point you missed here. The microwaving of food could be and is debated but the scientific community has little debate when it comes to microwaving food in plastic containers or bags. This definitely leeches toxic chemicals into your food. If you are going to microwave food at least heat it in a bowl instead of a plastic bag.

    • Mark

      Lance: There is a more important point you missed here. The microwaving of food could be and is debated but the scientific community has little debate when it comes to microwaving food in plastic containers or bags. This definitely leeches toxic chemicals into your food. If you are going to microwave food at least heat it in a bowl instead of a plastic bag.

      Guess I struck a nerve. I understand not heating food in plastic i just never gave it much thought. I do not believe I am losing too much nutrition from the veggies by steaming them and freezing them right away. I am sure I am losing some. Guess if i cant heat my food in the microwave I will just have to eat pizza and beer. 🙂 thanks for the heads up

  • Leon:
    Lee i wanted to ask if you think consuming low carb diet is good for me.
    The reason i ask this is because i am 18, i workout 6 times per week(ABC),i also wrestle few times a week and without oatmeal or black bread i feel exhausted even if i consume veggies.
    I also dont understand how can you grow with LOW carb diet: insulin is anabolic hormone right? if i workout and my insulin stays low, how can i add muscle over the long term?
    As i understand you must eat hugee amounts of veggies to fill your glycogen in the muscles, and as i know the more glycogen your muscles store-the more effective is the workout.

    The low carb diet I talk about here is a “Fat Loss Diet”. I would assume that since you are 18 and very active you are not interested in trimming down, but rather building up. So in your case you need to eat higher amounts of carbs.

    I recommend eating lean protein, green veggies, and healthy fat year round as the base eating plan. But when your goal is to build muscle mass you increase your calories in the form of adding complex carbs to the diet. Especially with your breakfast and post workout meals.

  • NJ power:
    Hey Lee I was wondering when u r on ur Low Carb do u still hav like ur oatmeal in the morning???

    Not when I’m training for fat loss, but I will have oatmeal in the morning when I’m in my off season / mass building training phases.

  • kool rock steady:
    How’s going Lee, i was wondering if i can dip my veggies in some lo fat cheeses or yogurt instead since i’m not a big peanut butter fan?

    Sure, I often use salad dressing as well. The idea is to help make your veggies more enjoyable to eat.

  • Owen Cook:
    Lee, regarding my above post on sugar content in milk, people always refer to dairy as a protein source, however it has slightly more sugar than protein in it. Is this sugar content something that needs to be considered in a low carb phase? We all mention protein shakes, but it is not clear as to whether they are being made with milk or water. What’s your strategy, milk or water? Thanks

    I rarely ever drink milk, I mix my protein shakes with water.

  • Leon

    Thanks for the answer Lee, i just seem to be getting a lot of weight recently and i am afraid most of it is fat. like 2.5-3kg per 2 2weeks.

  • denis

    i can’t say anything about that but i wanna thank you about the good thing u post for us coz veggies its my itreasted top up meal so am gonna start mix it with peanut i will enjoy that thankx lee i realy do the best i can and now i see the difrent on my body i my self i know its very dificult to see your self but me i do its realy intreasted .

  • leehayward: Even 20 grams of carbs per day as Atkins suggests is not much.2 cups of mixed veggies would equal 20 grams of carbs or more. I personally average about 100 grams of carbs per day from veggies when I’m following a “Low Carb” diet.As for the peanut butter it has to be eating in moderation (like anything). But most people eat peanut butter on bread, which is a fattening combination. How many people do you know eat their peanut butter on vegetables? Probably not that many

    Here to clear up some confusions. Atkins do encourage eating vegetables and there are no restrictions at all. This is because of the high fiber in veggies and so most of the carbs will not be digested.

    Furthermore, veggie fiber is needed to facilitate bowel movement.

    Another point is that during the induction phase, you are only allowed 20gm carbs in your meal. These are not veggie carbs, but carbs from other sources.

    Besides, the induction phase lasts only two weeks and one is to increase the carb intake gradually where one is still losing weight until one reaches his optimum weight, he shud by then be able to identify the percentage of carbs he eats where he does not gain or lose weight and that will be the macronutrient composition for his meals for the rest of his life to maintain his ideal weight.

    I was on Atkins a couple of years ago and lost 35 pounds in about 4-5 months and have happily maintain my weight all these years.

    Hope this info helps.

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  • Sovereign Funding Group Structured Settlement Buyer

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  • Dimitri

    Lee, regarding the “Atkins recommends virtually little or zero carbs” is NOT true. During the initial induction period (when you first start) you have to have a minimum of 20 carbs, which will trigger ketosis. As he weeks go by, you add cabs until you reach the right amount for continued fat loss.

  • Dimitri

    “The Atkins diet generally recommend drastically cutting carbs to virtually zero. They even go to the point of dropping healthy carbs like vegetables in order to get your carbohydrate intake down as low as possible”

    I’m sorry man, I respect you and all, but this is laughably incorrect. Are you familiar with the diet plan? You need to eat vegetables, which is where the good carbs come from.

  • Dimitri,

    Read the post again and you’ll see that I do recommend people eat vegetables as a regular part of their diet.

  • Dimitri


    Yeah, I know, Lee, but I was referring to your Atkins comment: “They even go to the point of dropping healthy carbs like vegetables in order to get your carbohydrate intake down as low as possible.”

  • Rayca

    Ah, how refreshing. You are SO on the right track. Kudos to you (both). Honestly, veggies (raw, cooked) are such powerful energy boosters. Thanks for the frozen veggie tip in smoothies. I always use raw veggie w/fruit, etc. but frozen will make it nice and cold, like frozen banana. Mmmm. Just know when to add your starches, I say. If you bonk in the gym, next time more starch. Easy, peasy.

  • Atkins restricts “net carbs”, or carbs that have an effect on blood sugar. Net carbohydrates can be calculated from a food source by subtracting sugar alcohols and fiber (which are shown to have a negligible effect on blood sugar levels) from total carbohydrates. Sugar alcohols need to be treated with caution because while they may be slower to convert to glucose, they can be a significant source of glycemic load and can stall weight loss.

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