By: Allie Boudreau
Social media has done an excellent job of portraying carbs as the devilish food group that should be avoided at all costs. They have preached “high protein” diets along with exercise to be the cure of America’s obesity epidemic. Unfortunately, this is not the answer. In fact, carbohydrates are essential to human vitality.
Carbohydrates’ primary function is to provide energy for the body. Ever feel exhausted, depleted, or groggy during a workout? My guess is the culprit is a lack of carbs in your diet. Carbs provide energy to the brain and the nervous system through the break down of glucose (blood sugar). When carbs are consumed, they become stored as glycogen and then become the PRIMARY fuel source used during workouts. Once glycogen becomes depleted, feelings of weakness, loss of focus, and fatigue begin to settle in. Without enough carbs, muscle breaks down as an energy source for the body. Thus, lean muscle gains will never be achieved without adequate carbohydrate intake.
Timing your carbohydrates:
- Eat a small snack (carbs + protein) 45-60 minutes before a workout
- Eat (carbs + protein) within 60 minutes after you workout
*Eating carbs and protein within 60 minutes of working out will help your ANABOLIC (building of lean muscle) state and recovery
Examples of foods high in carbohydrates:
- Vegetables: 1 cup of raw vegetables, or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice
- Fruits: 1 medium-size fruit (such as 1 medium apple or 1 medium orange), 1/2 cup of a canned or chopped fruit, or 3/4 cup of fruit juice
- Breads and cereals: 1 slice of bread; 1 ounce or 2/3 cup of ready-to-eat cereal; 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal; 1/2 cup of cooked dried beans, lentils, or dried peas
- Dairy: 1 cup of skim or low-fat milk
Always set yourself up to succeed when entering a workout. Provide your body with the best nutrition possible and expect great results. Carb up and get boosted!