Carbohydrates and exercise – Friend not Foe

Carbohydrates and exercise – Friend not Foe Over the years carbohydrates have been given a bad reputation for promoting weight gain and decreasing performance in exercise. Most people who are trying to lose weight are told that carbohydrates are the enemy. The truth is that carbohydrates could actually be the greatest factor in determining your success in the gym. The role of Carbohydrates in Exercise Protein, protein, protein. When it comes to recovery the fitness industry would have you believe that protein is the most important factor. Of course, protein is an effective supplement for promoting muscle protein synthesis – the precursor to recovering muscles. Looking at exercise as a whole, carbohydrates are the primary fuel source. Muscle glycogen is the most important factor when it comes to performance during a workout. Without adequate stores of glycogen in the muscle, you will lose force production and overall recovery as a whole. Glycogen is a compound that can only be synthesized from carbohydrates meaning if your diet is lacking in clean sources of readily digestible carbs you will come to exhaustion much faster, building up lactic acid and losing out on potential reps and sets. Carbohydrates before exercise If you speak to any great long distance runner they will tell you that carb loading is the most effective way to increase total performance. This is not just a method that works for distance runners, but also strength and power athletes. Carb loading is effective because it provides your body with an excessive amount of glycogen to draw from, providing you with the opportunity to work longer without hitting your “anaerobic threshold” (the mechanism that starts lactic acid build up). The only downside to carb loading is the weight gain you will experience. If your sport demands a weigh in(such as wrestling or mma) carb loading may not be feasible. Carbohydrates after exercise After exercise, protein is an important supplement that can stimulate muscle protein synthesis – the mechanism responsible for muscle recovery. Supplementing carbohydrates with your protein shake is a very effective way to decrease recovery time. Not only will the carbohydrates help to replenish glycogen stores (enabling you to exercise again faster) but it can also help to stimulate an insulin response thereby speeding up the metabolism of protein. Research has shown that when a protein shake was supplemented with carbohydrates exercises performed 18-20% harder the following day. This could be the easiest addition to your post workout shake to increase overall performance. How much and what kind? We now know that the problem does not stand with carbohydrates but perhaps with the type of carbs. We are by no means saying that you go out and eat as much cake and cookies as you want. Clean, low-calorie carbohydrates are suggested for optimal strength adaptations. Perhaps the best sources of carbohydrates are ones that do not go through any type of processing. The best sources of carbohydrates are fruit, vegetables, legumes, dark/whole/sprouted grains, and dark leafy greens. A great way to get some post workout carbs are to supplement 2-3 bananas with each post workout protein shake and watch the PR’s come rolling in. If you want to specifically monitor the number of carbs you ingest on a daily basis we recommend about 40-50% of your Daily intake of calories to come from carbs. RESOURCES True Protein -CLUSTER DEXTRIN

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