Carbs: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Carbohydrates:  Good or Bad?

“Oh I can’t eat that, it has carbs in it.”   Really?  Is that how people view carbs?  The evil macronutrient you are to avoid at all costs?  Don’t vegetables have a carbohydrate content!?  Sure, excess carbohydrates, which require water for storage, can lead to weight gain.  However, excess of any macronutrient can lead to weight gain!  The basic idea of a diet builds around energy balance.  In the case of a lower carb diet, the restriction typically leads to less energy in.  If coupled with exercise and proper energy out, someone loses weight.  It should be that simple.

But we do need carbs, especially athletes and active people.  Why do we need carbs and what are they good for?

For starters, we all need carbohydrates as energy transfer depends on it.  Our brain and red blood cells also need a continuously available supply of it.  We should get these complex carbs from high fiber sources including vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.  This leaves us feeling full longer.  Highly processed carbs digest quickly and lead to spikes in blood sugar and typically coming along with high amounts of sodium and preservatives.  (HINT:  Eat real food!)

Now that you know you need carbs, you could be strategic about when you eat them if you want to dive deep in to your nutrition.  Build your carb intake higher around your workout times to help fuel energy!  Carb intake will vary per each athlete.  Many endurance athletes have an ectomorph build.  They are often tall, lean, have trouble putting on mass and they tolerate carbs very well.  A power lifter in a strong man competition may need far less carbs to fuel their body and rely more on protein and fat.  The most important factor of carb intake is not to avoid it, but rather to work with your coach to understand how much you need and where to get useful carbs from.

Move well.  Eat well.  Be Well.

Written by,

Dane Schneider, Pn1

dane@springhillgc.com

Macros : Where to start

Tracking Your Macros

Let’s get into the bulk of your diet and talk Macronutrients.  Macros are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.  This is what makes up your daily caloric intake and provides you with energy not only to tackle your workouts, but also to fuel your basic daily functional needs.  Tracking your macros is an effective way to make sure you are staying on track to achieve your nutrition goals.

To build an appropriate diet, we need to find out what your macronutrient needs are.  Body type, activity level, age, and your goals will all help shape how many of each macro you need.  Different people need different amounts of each macro to help either build muscle and mass, or reduce overall body weight.  Working with your nutrition coach will help dial in these numbers to a tight range you want to achieve each and every day.  The My Fitness Pal App is perfect for entering your daily intake.  Here are a few tips now that you have your macro count and a place to track them;

*Be honest!  Track everything even if its just a few bites off your kids plate or a quick snack you didn’t plan on having.

*Don’t guess.  Measure your food.  Portion sizes are tough to judge just based on looks, and this can lead to a massively inaccurate count.  A digital scale is the best way to measure your food.  They are just $20 at Target!

*Track your food throughout the day.  Its easy to wait until 9pm before entering your meals.  Its too late now when you realize you over ate or under ate all day.

*Share your macro count with your coach.  Giving feedback can help expedite the learning process to figure out YOUR best macro count.

Move well.  Eat well.  Be Well.

Written by,

Dane Schneider, Pn1

dane@springhillgc.com