If you're finding that you're really struggling to make it through your workouts - or you're just having trouble getting through your day, it's vital that you take a look at the carbohydrate content in your diet. Carbohydrates are one of the main three macro-nutrients along with proteins and fats that will form the base of your diet. Carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source.
By getting quality carbohydrate sources you'll experience:
To get results from your nutrition program, you've got to eat quality carbs. But what's the difference?
Quality carbs are complex such as whole grain cereals, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. They're digested more slowly and will also feed your body necessary nutrients over time.
Simple carbs like cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream, white bread, and baked goods are usually lower in healthy nutrients and higher in calories. They'll spike your metabolism, leaving you in an energy slump later.
Fruit is an exception to the simple carb rule. Try to pick lower sugar fruits or fruits high in fiber – options like cranberries, melon and apple.
If your goal is to stay lean at all times, it's important to think about timing carbohydrates in your diet. If you get most of your carbohydrates around the time you're most active, then you'll maintain optimal energy while still burning calories coming from carbs.
Not going to be doing much during the evening? Focus on protein, healthy fats and vegetables in your meals. If you know you're going low-carb, take carbs before and after your workout to prepare your muscles with glycogen - readily usable energy. Getting carbohydrates immediately after your workout is important to help shuttle vital protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids to your muscles and start the recovery process fast.
Using a carb supplement is fast, easy and convenient for pre and post workout carbohydrate needs.
One very popular choice for post-workout carb is waxy maize. Waxy maize is fast digesting and can help replenish the glycogen energy stores in your body after exercise.* Waxy maize mixes well and comes in many different flavors.
Other great carbohydrate supplements are Vitargo, Dextrose, Maltodextrin and Karbolyn. All of these are going to promote overall muscle recovery and get you back on your feet after an intense workout.* You can always mix protein and carbs as a post-workout shake to make things easier!
Carbohydrates can easily throw you off your diet. Hidden sugars and high fructose corn syrup are found in tons of processed foods, and it's easy to be tricked by a "low-fat" label that is full of bad carbs. But that doesn't mean you should cut carbs out entirely!
To keep things easy, think basic. Ask yourself whether the carb in question has come straight from the ground or if it's gone to some manufacturer to be processed. If it's been processed and put in a package, it likely isn't the best choice to eat.
Keep it natural and you'll be set up for results.