Time to bring you back to high school health class and go over what a carbohydrate is. To many people nowadays either don’t know what a carbohydrate is and how your body uses them, eat too many of them, or the deadly combination being both of the above mentioned. I need you not to be afraid of carbohydrates, but understand how your body uses them, and why overeating carbohydrates can be detrimental to you if your goal is body fat reduction.
A carbohydrate is one of the three macronutrients we put in our body, the other two being fat, and protein. Each of these could be a lecture on themselves, but let’s stay on track and focus on the carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates are ingested into the body, they travel to your liver, and get broken down to a product called glycogen. Glycogen is then stored in your liver and muscles for when it is needed for energy.
Carbs can be broken down into two categories, simple and complex. Simple carbs are sugar filled, they are typically higher in calories, and carry less of a nutritional value. They may include fruits, syrups, and sugars. These would be considered “junk food”, anything that has a sugar filled content.
Complex carbohydrates are one of your best friends. They require a lot more work to be broken down to glycogen, thus keeping your metabolic rate up, and your stomach full. These would include things like vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Now, when it comes to carbohydrates and dieting, their kind of like that friend you thought you had in high school. They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. Don’t eat enough of them you’ll be dragging slower than a Sunday morning hangover. Eat too many of them and you’ll be watching your waistline grow by the daily.
The key is to eat the right carbohydrates, at the right time, for the right activity. I mentioned it before, and I will mention it again, carbohydrates are stored for energy. If you don’t need to use a lot of energy, don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates. If you’re running the Spartan Race (Join Our Team), you probably want to have some good complex carbohydrates in you. I am a big proponent of eating to your activity level. The more active you are, the more carbohydrates you can have. Just remember, any excess carbohydrates are ultimately going to be stored as body fat.
In short, carbohydrates aren’t a bad things. Eating too many of them, that’s a problem. Know that carbohydrates are an energy source for your body, and eat accordingly. Stay away from the simple carbohydrates (sugar-filled), and make your body spend some time digesting complex carbohydrates( whole grains/vegetables).
The summer here at Spurling Training Systems has been nothing short of amazing. We have some exciting news to announce in the coming weeks so be sure to stay tuned. Get the latest on our Facebook page, and on our website! If you have any questions on this topic, others, or want a questioned answered on our blog please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact us!
Yours in Health & Fitness,
Doug Spurling, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Owner, Spurling Training Systems, LLC
Kennebunk, ME 04043