Today I want to talk about carbohydrates. With many fad diets out there and the start of the new year, I want to clear the confusion about carbs.
There is a lot of talk about avoiding carbs and how that may link to weight loss. I don’t want to belittle the diets that are based around low carbohydrate intake – there have been many people who have lost weight with these diets. However, there is no argument that it is not a sustainable diet, so in the long-run many people will actually gain that weight back and create a food stigma/unhealthy relationship with food in general. In my professional opinion, I find that having a good relationship with ALL food and food groups actually has better results in the aspect of exercise, caloric intake and overall weight loss.
With that being said, I wanted to create this post to get to the bottom of why carbohydrates are important to incorporate into your diet and when they have the most impact.
First, let’s talk about what carbohydrates are and where you find them. To put it in layman terms – carbon, hydrogen and oxygen make up a molecule, which is found in food and living tissues. Carbohydrates are utilized by the body by breaking down into energy to expend. Consuming the right carbohydrates may have many affects on the body including regulating bowels, lowering cholesterol and improving sleep, however the main ones I want to talk about today is ENERGY and ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE.
Do you ever feel sluggish before and/or after your workout? Yes, this is because you are not fueling your body for success! Your body requires carbohydrates to stay energized throughout the day. When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, you are depriving your body from reaching it’s full potential.
Carbohydrates are your body’s first line of energy fuel. It is actually scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to prepare your body for exercise and to maximize your performance. Carbohydrates should be consumed as a pre-workout snack to supply your body with the energy it needs to perform at it’s peak. Some examples of pre-workout snacks that will fuel you to PR on your next run or workout include: a bowl of cereal and milk, oatmeal made with milk, a banana, a granola bar, or a slice of toast with PB.
It is also a great post workout snack too! A combo of protein AND carbohydrates will actually help your body restore your energy and muscle tissue stores! There’s a reason your body craves carbohydrates and I’m here to tell you, it’s perfectly fine to indulge yourself. Carbohydrates are required for the production of ATP, which is our body’s energy source. When you are feeling lethargic after a workout, a snack that includes carbohydrates can be the best pick-me-up. Some examples of a great post-workout snack include: yogurt with a spoonful of PB, rice cakes with PB and banana slices, cottage cheese with fruit chunks, a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts.
* Note: Foods high in fat and fiber actually slow down digestion and can make you uncomfortable during a workout because they may stay heavy on the gut.
Finding the perfect pre- and post-workout snack for you and your body is individual, however I wanted to remind you all how important it is to properly fuel your body and how that may improve your performance in your next workout. There is not a one size fits all when it comes to what’s healthy for you and your body, however I STRONGLY encourage you to make sure you have a healthy relationship with all foods and to do your research before excluding, avoiding or even limiting foods from your diet.