Let’s talk everything carbs

For a long, long time I was convinced that in order to get strong, muscular and lean you have to eat a lot of carbohydrates, protein and avoid fats in most cases. Over the past couple years, it was more like I was trying to convince myself that was the right way to do things because it’s so popular and that is what so many professional athletes rave about. The more I realized how carbohydrates effect the body and energy levels it became clear to me that it might not always be the best option for every single person. A lot of people are experimenting with keto and carnivore-based diets for good reason. Don’t get we wrong, carbohydrates are not the enemy, sitting on the couch all day long, doing nothing and eating crap food are the enemy. Carbs bad, if we time them right throughout the day and stay within our margins, they’re hugely beneficial when trying to reach a fitness goal. Just like any nutrient, you will have to stay within the margins that compliment your activity level.

When you’re an athlete that is focused on performance, needs good fuel to keep energy high for workouts, works out multiple times throughout the day, you need to consume more carbohydrates to fuel workouts and the recovery in-between. Carbohydrates play a crucial role in the recovery of our muscles because we need to restock our glycogen storage (*glycogen= carbohydrates that have been absorbed by the body and stored in our muscles to burn and transform into energy). Even for us non (professional) athletes it’s beneficial to take in carbs pre/post workout because we still need to fuel and recover well. Recovery isn’t just for the ”elite” amongst us.

When we have consumed the right amount of carbs pre and post workouts to aid recovery, there aren’t a lot of other reasons why we should be consuming carb heavy meals throughout the rest of the day.

When we consume carbohydrates in excessive amounts or during the times when our bodies don’t need it, we’re likely to experience the ”other side” of carbohydrate consumption. One of most important negative effects is the way that carbohydrates impact our blood sugar level. This is the base of a lot of other problems that arise with the excessive carb consumption. Our body has an ideal blood sugar baseline, when we consume carbs (especially in the form of sugars/ simple carbs) that level gets raised significantly. It raises to the top of let’s call it the ”rollercoaster” for now. This is where our body starts pumping the well-known insulin into our bloodstream to bring that level back down. Instead of bringing our blood sugar level down to our ideal baseline it brings it further down, too far down. When we get to the point of too far down that means our bodies start asking for more carbohydrates (usually in the form of something sweet/ sugary) to bring our sugar levels back up. But guess what, those foods don’t just raise our blood sugar levels back to our ideal state but again back to the top of our internal rollercoaster ride.

our own ”internal roller coaster”

You might see the big problem that we have walked into here, we’re now in a constant loop where we go up and down the rollercoaster. It looks and feels like there’s no end to the ride that you’re on because you don’t fully realize that it’s happening to you, or you might realize what is happening but you don’t know how to get off. You’re in a constant back and forth state having a lot of energy (top of the rollercoaster) and feeling tired, sleepy, frustrated etc.. (Bottom of the rollercoaster). Luckily for us there’s a way to get off this ride that will eventually lead to serious health issues like diabetes and obesity, the chronic diseases that are negatively/ hugely impacting and taking millions of lives on an annual basis.

How do we control carbohydrates?

By replacing a part of our daily carb intake with proteins and healthy fats, we take control of the rollercoaster that we’re on, rather than having no control at all. We decide when our car gets to speed up, when it slows down and when we want to get off. These are metaphors of course for taking in carbohydrates (speeding up), replacing carbs with protein and fats (slowing down) and not giving into your cravings/ food mood swings (getting off). When we take control of our car, you will see that your energy levels are better throughout the entire day, your mood is going to change for the better and you won’t have as many food cravings as before. Just to name a few really important and key pieces to start taking control of that ride. By taking control, you’re also winning the fight against chronic diseases, like diabetes. And if your nutrition is supporting your daily activities, not body fat, you’re winning the battle!

What is the right amount of carbs for me?

That’s a good question and the answer to it is; by experimenting and tracking your food you will find out what works for you. I cannot tell you what your exact number is because I don’t know what your daily life and energy exertion looks like. A lot of our daily lives are revolved around routine, so you can be fairly certain that if you feel good about the foods you’re eating one day, it will work for you the next day. If you feel tired, sluggish, sleepy, frustrated etc. about an hour after you have eaten a meal, that means you should adjust your carb/ total calorie intake during that meal the next day. This way you take big steps towards finding that right balance for yourself on a day-to-day basis.

Like I mentioned earlier in this blog, if you focus on making your carb heavy meal the last meal before you work out and first meal after your workout, plus focus on getting a lot of protein and healthy fats in the rest of the day, you will automatically take a step in the right direction. If there are drastic changes in your daily life and you end up spending more or less energy, adjust accordingly that day, staying as close to your daily nutrition routine is the key and will be the best thing for you in the long-run. It’s a trial-and-error game and you’re likely to not get it right the first day you try it out, but the beautiful thing is that you have the next day to try again and get a step closer.

Foods That Are Easy To Digest | Speedy Remedies


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Categories: Fitness, nutrition, post workout nutritionTags: , , , , , , , ,

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