Why You Need Carbs

Nutrition is one of the most important components of life especially when you are looking to up your performance in the gym. The largely held belief that carbohydrates are bad for athletes has been debunked!

Many studies show that carbohydrates are one of the best ways for an athlete to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles. Power output is directly affected if an athlete doesn’t have enough glycogen stored in the muscle. If we are not fueled properly we can feel sluggish and slow in daily activities and workouts.

When healthy individuals consume carbohydrates, insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, is released in order to get glucose out of the blood and into the cells. That tired feeling after you workout is a signal to your body that blood sugar levels have dipped. This is a perfect time to utilize post workout fuel- rice, potatoes, fruit, veggies, oats, etc.

You can replenish your glycogen stores by consuming more carbohydrates after you workout, causing your body to release insulin and bring your blood sugar levels back down. This will simultaneously trigger glucose to be stored as glycogen in the cells. Since the cells that are fatigued and depleted are your muscle cells, storage will happen in your muscles instead of your liver.

In certain circumstances, for example if an athlete has diabetes, consuming these types of carbohydrates won’t have the desired effect. If an athlete is not insulin sensitive or has diabetes, spikes in blood sugar levels will stay elevated after eating carbohydrates. This can result in elevated LDL or bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. A diabetic body simply can’t handle the sugars and isn’t releasing insulin in order to store it into the cells. As a diabetic, you would work directly with a medical professional and be prescribed insulin since the body is not producing it on its own.

You may be wondering how you can increase your insulin sensitivity to optimize your response to elevated blood sugar levels and maximize your muscle growth and global energy. There are a few key factors to consider around your workout that will help.

  1. Sleep
    It can impact every function in the body, especially the release of insulin. Aim for 8 hours a night of good quality sleep. Try sleeping with a sleep mask to eliminate extra light or a hot tea before bed to wind down.
  2. Exercise
    This is one of the most important components for staving off disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day. Studies have shown that this is an excellent way to decrease your risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.
  3. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet
    Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis as well as carbs like rice, potatoes, oats. Eat healthy fats, like omega-3 found in fish and seeds, avocados, and nuts. And drink plenty of water.

The big takeaway here is that carbohydrates are friends and food!

If you want more help with your nutrition just ask! We can help you get going in the right direction and help you reach all your goals!

 

Coach Alex

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