Carbohydrates and Fitness Performance

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

How many times have you wanted to start a diet and exercise routine and to get back into shape? One of the first things you need to consider in your new routine are carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates could be the one thing making you gain those unwanted pounds on your body and Carbohydrates have been given a bad reputation and are blamed for “sabotaging” people’s diets!  Also, many people don’t even know what a carbohydrate is.

Working as a Personal Trainer, I have noticed that some of my client’s fitness performance is not at 100% because they have lacked carbohydrates in their meal prior to performing a fitness activity. The reality is that carbohydrates are good for you. What makes them bad are the type and the amount of carbohydrates you consume.  Let me explain in a simple way why carbohydrates are very important in your diet and your fitness activity.

Carbohydrates just like proteins and fats are a macronutrient. There are complex carbohydrates, “the good ones” and simple carbohydrates “the bad ones” (see list at end). Complex carbohydrates are those high in fiber and that’s the type you should add into your diet. Carbohydrates are also the body’s main source of energy. This means that carbohydrates will provide the glycogen needed to exercise and maintain your fitness activity. How many carbohydrates do you need to consume in a day? It depends of your daily activity level. I recommend that sedentary people consume at least 1 gram-per pound of body weight. Moderately active people 2 gram-per pound of body weight. For very active people, 3 gram-per pound of body weight.

It’s very important to eat carbohydrates together with proteins and good fats in your meal. If you eat only carbohydrates for a meal, whether they are complex or simple, your blood sugar will spike and will drop making you feel dizzy, irritated and have a lack of coordination. Bottom line, make sure to add complex carbohydrates in your diet if you are physically active.

Complex or good carbohydrates are: Whole Grain Products, Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, Wild Rice, Whole Wheat Pasta, Oatmeal, Wheat Bread, Brown Rice, Fibrous Vegetable and Fruits.

Simple or bad carbohydrates are: Raw Sugar, Brown Sugar, Honey, White Bread, White Rice, Pasta, Refined Grains and Sweets.

Note: Before changing your diet please consult your doctor if you suffer from any disease related to carbohydrates such as diabetes type 1 and 2, hypoglycemia and others.  Also, please be aware of any food allergies you might have before adding some carbohydrates to your diet.


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