They can be a simple thing to understand if you get the complex rules behind it all.
Okay, that was a lame play on words. But really, it’s true. Carbs are not that hard to understand and properly incorporate into your diet, provided you understand how important carbs are, and that they don’t all come in the same form.
In essence, all carbohydrates are sugar. Every time you eat a carbohydrate, no matter what kind, they are broken down into sugar by your body. They are our primary energy source and fuel both mental and physical function. They are also the biggest scapegoat and most widely misunderstood food group in our industry. You can blame this on misleading information that comes in magazines, diet books, and the internet, where everyone talks about low cards. You need carbs to function, period. Trying to eliminate them from your diet altogether or reducing them significantly is a terrible idea.
I have experimented with low and high carb meal plans with myself and clients at our Calgary bootcamp, and higher carb meal plans are by far the superior choice, whether your goals include fat loss, toning, enhancing energy, gaining strength, better fitness, or just wanting to feel better. Not all carbs are the same though so don’t go thinking I just gave you permission to have a sticky bun before your bootcamp class! More on that near the end of the article, and in an upcoming post.
1.Carbohydrates enhance energy.
Our body and brain operates on glucose and sugar, which directly comes from Carbohydrates. If your carb intake is too low, than your energy levels suffer and you begin to feel light headed, lethargic, and your Calgary bootcamp workouts won’t be intense because your body isn’t getting enough glucose to function properly. Your goal with your workouts is to optimize intensity, something that is impossible without adequate Carb intake.
2.Carbohydrates retain muscle and your metabolic rate.
If your body is low on carbohydrates, it will look to convert something else into glucose or sugar for energy. One of those things is muscle tissue or protein. This is a process known as Gluconeogenesis, whereby protein and muscle tissue is directly converted to glucose in the presence of low- to no carbs. Whenever your body uses muscle tissue as energy, you are lowering your metabolism and decreasing your ability to burn calories at rest.
Lastly, having enough carbs ensures your thyroid function remains healthy, and that your body is producing enough thyroid hormone ( T3 and T4 hormones)- something that decreases over time if you eat low to no carbohydrates. This has a direct impact on your metabolic rate.
3.Carbohydrates reduce cravings.
Do you ever wonder why you crave sugar all the time? I bet your carbohydrate intake is way too low. Actually I know your carbohydrate intake is too low. The body always craves what it isn’t getting enough of. If you are craving sugar constantly, that’s a sign your body isn’t getting enough sugar or glucose, and thus you crave things like candy, sweets, and chocolate.
Every time we increase our Calgary bootcamp clients carb intake, their sugar cravings start to disappear. Remember, the body craves what it always needs, Craving sugar means you almost always need to increase your intake of complex carbs.
4.Carbohydrates promote sustainable fat loss.
Fat loss and weight loss are way different. Many people think because the scale is going down they are losing body fat. Maybe they are, and maybe they are not. However, If you are on a low to no carb food plan that scale drop is never fat loss, and a lot of water weight and glycogen ( carbs stored in your muscle). This weight loss is sudden, and short term, and will never be sustained long term….so spare yourself the excitement.
To boot, your metabolism and thyroid will slow down to a snails pace, and energy levels will drop so much that you can’t workout at the intensity needed for fat loss. Your body will shut fat loss off altogether.
However, ensuring you have the proper amount carbohydrates in your food plan ensures this will never happen, leading to sustainable progress.
This is why we all need to assess our progress with long term thinking in mind.
To end, the bulk of your carbohydrates should come from complex, dense sources like yams, quinoa, brown rice, potatoes, oatmeal, squash, brown rice pasta, and fruit.
Everyone is different, and will require a different amount of carbohydrates depending on their individual needs.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to post below.
Always here to inspire and motivate you!
David Macdonald and the Vitality Fitness Team.