Before decreasing or manipulating your intake of Carbohydrates, it is important to understand what they are.
This might sound obvious, but I can’t tell you how many clients I have encountered who have told me
“I’m trying to lose weight, so I just cut all carbs”
When I ask them why and what role Carbohydrates play in fuelling the body, they can’t tell me.
What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down by the body into glucose (aka sugar). This sugar is released into your bloodstream to be picked up by cells in the muscles, brain and liver to be used as energy. If your body doesn’t need this energy it is then stored as fat.
It seems that in reading the above paragraph, the brain immediately jumps focusses on “stored as fat”
But EQUALLY as important is
“Picked up by cells in the muscles, brain and liver to be used as energy”
What kind of foods contain Carbohydrates?
It is very common to think of Carbohydrates only as grains, breads, cereals, pasta, rice and potato.
Other types include sugar carbohydrates. Fruit and fruit juice, milk, yoghurt fall under this category as they contain natural sugars.
Finally there is the processed category which includes soft drinks, lollies, cakes and biscuits.
Excess is no good
Lets keep it really simple.
If you are eating excessive amounts of carbohydrate and your activity level is quite low. The energy will be stored as fat.
Excessive amounts of carbohydrates are very easily consumed when in the form of sweetened drinks or eaten in the form of lollies, cakes and biscuits. One reason is because they are almost pure sugar, they are not normally consumed in a balanced meal including lean protein and healthy fats.
When was the last time you portioned up a plate of lean chicken breast, broccolli, extra virgin olive oil and a small slice of sponge cake?
I am going to assumed the answer is- never.
After you consume the cake or soft drink, you are not satiated for very long. You get hungry again quite quickly which means you eat again and this leads to over-eating.
Cut out the cake and liquid carbohydrates and eat the type of carbohydrates you would portion into a well balanced meal. For example lean chicken breast, brocolli, sweet potato topped with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.
Deficiency is just as bad..
For CrossFit training you need energy. You are doing technical skill work, heavy strength work and very intense workouts. To succeed you must be fuelled well.
If you are deprived of carbohydrate, your body will pull it from your muscles. This is the last thing you want when doing CrossFit.
You will slow down, you will feel sluggish and you will not bring the intensity needed to get the most out of the workout.
You already know that intensity is the key component of getting results from your CrossFit training most of the time. If you are meant to be hitting high intensity intervals, but due to your carbohydrate deprivation you keep getting slower and slower each interval- you are really missing the point of the workout.
2. What is the sweet spot?
You can calculate your carbohydrate intake by using this simple formula
2g/kg/BWT or Adjusted body weight
Eg. 2g/100kg/BWT would equal 200 grams of Carbohydrate per day.
Lets say you wanted to gain weight to 110kg you could do this
2g/110kg/ABWT would equal 222 grams of Carbohydrate per day.
(Nutrition Solutions Sydney)
3. Timing is important
If you feel you are not active enough to warrant eating lots of carbohydrates with every meal- fair enough.
If you have an inactive job where you sit at a desk and the only time you are active is for 1 hour per day at CrossFit class 4 times per week.
You should definitely consider timing.
It may be better to prioritise your carb intake to before and after your workout.
*Important to remember* At work you are most likely using your brain. Your brain’s preferred fuel source is glucose. So if you don’t want to hit a wall and lose focus.. Fuel your the brain with what it wants, slow release low glycemic carbohydrates.
Need help with nutrition? When training at CrossFit Volume, you are assigned a coaching mentor who can guide you through all the confusing and conflicting information. Drop us a line below to see how we can help you.
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