The Importance of Carbohydrates
You may have asked yourself this question at some point in your life, or maybe you are asking yourself this right now. There are hundreds of different opinions out there when it comes to carbohydrate consumption. You may have heard of a bodybuilding athlete “carb depleting” or “carb cycling”, an endurance athlete “carb loading”, an IIFYM follower slamming donuts or pop tarts post workout or having a “refeed” day where they literally eat crap all day, or people doing a Ketogenic style diet where carbs are extremely low. So, will carbs make me fat? My answer; no, however they could. I know it’s probably not the answer you are looking for! In order to explain, I will have to get a little scientific on you.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Each gram of carbohydrate you consume contains about 4 calories. Carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, the main one being glucose. Glucose is your body’s primary fuel. It is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen and is used for immediate energy needs. The liver can store up to 100g and the muscles can store up to 400g of glycogen. The remaining will be stored as fat. So, too much of a surplus can make you gain weight.
Carbs are important. They are needed before and after workouts and assist with energy and recovery. Exercise depletes your glycogen stores, so in turn, the carbs you consume after training will then refill those stores. You will want to make sure to consume the appropriate amount of carbohydrates to support your activity level. If you eat too many carbs, it creates a surplus. This surplus can cause weight/fat gain.
So, in my professional opinion, carbs alone do not make you fat. Eating too much of any foods will make you fat. It is all about portion control and knowing how much food to intake to support your activity levels. Carbs are your friend 🙂
If you need more assistance figuring out what your body needs, our nutrition coaching can help get you going in the right direction!
The time has come, here you are seconds from starting the first workout of the open. Your heart is racing, stomach in knots, palms already sweating. Your judge is right there staring you in the face. Looking at you with those intense eyes, clipboard in hand, prepared to slap you with a no rep. Three, two, one, BEEP……it’s time to go. You hurry to the bar, it’s time to move, your time to shine. You’ve spent the past two months grinding everyday, pushing yourself harder than ever, focusing on those areas of weakness you know Dave Castro will challenge you with. Burpees, double unders, thrusters, DB snatches, muscle ups; you’ve put in the time perfecting these movements. But have you done everything you can to optimize your true potential? What about your nutrition? Have you spent the same amount of time dialing in your food to fuel your body as you have your workouts?
Whether you are new to Crossfit or a seasoned athlete, you may have seen this pyramid at some point:
Let me ask you this. You are building a new house. Would you choose to build it on a soft, wet, swamp-like ground or would you choose to build it on strong, stable, flat, solid ground? If you are investing in building that dream home, I hope you chose the solid ground. The same goes with your fitness. If you want to reach your true potential, you need a solid base. Coach Greg Glassman, founder of Crossfit and creator of the pyramid, states nutrition is the foundation with metcons, gymnastics, weightlifting, and sport following. Each level builds off of the level before it. So, needless to say, if your nutrition sucks, all other levels will not be where they should and you will fall short of your true potential.
Here are some tips to kick start your nutrition and get you better prepared to take on the open!
- Keep things simple: Start by limiting processed foods, sugar, and alcohol. The CrossFit prescription for nutrition is: Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat.
- Start weighing/measuring & tracking your food: This can help ensure you are not eating too much or too little food to support your activity levels.
- Stay hydrated: Water is essential. We need it to survive. Keeping yourself hydrated will help with so many things including, but not limited to, increased energy, reduced fatigue, promoting weight loss, improving digestion, lowering your chances of cramping, and improving your mood.
- Don’t skip breakfast: When you wake up, your body is in a fasting state from sleeping the night before and your glycogen storage is lowest in the morning. When you workout on an empty stomach, your body will break down muscle before using fat stores.
- Food is fuel: The food you choose to eat is what will fuel your body for daily tasks and workouts. Be mindful when making your food choices. Make sure you are consuming good quality carbs, especially after working out.
Need more assistance with your nutrition? Let us know, we have nutrition coaching to get you on track!
By: Liz Jenkins- Nutrition Coach & CFL1