By: Caroline Ofenstein, CFL1, Pn1 & Nutrition Coach
I’m sure many of you have suffered through a low carb diet (I know I have) and lived to tell the tale. I think it is where the term “Hangry” came from! The media and popular diet fads have portrayed carbs as the devil for years and years, leading to restrictive diets and a whole lot of sad plates. The good news is that if you are a high-intensity athlete, you need nutrient dense carbs and you should learn to appreciate them.
Does that mean you should finish off those Girl Scout cookies today? Not quite…
Choose whole, unprocessed sources of carbohydrates whenever possible. Think oats, rice, sweet potato, squash, berries, and whole grains. Fiber-rich and full of micronutrients, these healthy carb sources are absorbed slowly by your body, alleviating hunger and providing a steady source of energy.
While carbs are not essential to our bodily functions, they are essential for performance. Carbs are stored in the body as glycogen, which is our most readily available source of energy when doing high intensity physical activity like CrossFit. Think of carbs as the gas in your tank!
Carbohydrates also help you recover. Tough workouts stress your nervous system and spike your fight or flight hormone, cortisol. Not addressing this cortisol spike can lead to muscle breakdown and you not recovering before your next workout. Consumption of carbs post-workout increases insulin which decreases this cortisol response so your body can start rebuilding the muscle you just worked.
If performing well is your goal, please don’t cut out carbs while training hard. Carbs are not the enemy! Throughout the day choose whole, unprocessed carbs with your meals, such as leafy greens, zucchini, and quinoa. Try to consume 15-25g of carbs post-workout with your Propello Life protein shake to replenish glycogen (energy) stores and repair your muscles. Experiment to find what works best for your body and your workouts!
"Eat Smart, Stress Less, Sleep More, and Exercise Forever"
About the Author:
Nutrition Coach at Macros & Muscles Nutrition