Carb Up!

For anyone that plans to exercise or train in a sport long-term, it’s important to know a bit about food and how you can increase your performance while still managing to get through the next work-day. We all know about Protein in term’s of its benefits for muscle growth but what about carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates (CHO) primarily supply energy to our bodies and are generally classed into two types, simple carbs (sugary) and complex carbs (starchy). The steady supply of energy we gain from carbs maintain our brain and central nervous system, and so, the glucose gained is very important to our functioning. In terms of our fitness, carbs have an important place also.

During intense exercise training (physical activity) such as Jiu-Jitsu and Football, your body can use up the glycogen stored in liver and muscle as these are primary sources of energy storage for exercise. Once this is used up your body starts using fat stores to produce more energy which is ideal for weight-loss.

The main aim after training is to replenish expended glycogen stores and optimise recovery which should be done within a short time of completing the session (ideally within 2 hours post-training) to avoid fatigue which could result in underperformance if you train regularly. If the stores are not adequately topped up you risk progressively depleting your glycogen stores which can affect other aspects of your life such as poor work performance, aching and soreness, headaches and irritability.

ACSM recommends ~ 1 g/kg body weight in the first two hours after exercise and high GI foods are better at this stage. In the 2-4 hour period post-training it’s recommended to consume close to 50g of carbohydrates from high or low GI foods.

Depending on what training I have planned for the day I’ll have a meal such as white rice, salmon, frozen vegetables and salad leaves. From a meal like this, I’ll get the fast action of the rice and the muscle repair capabilities of fish as well as some fibre from the veg and salad.

Carb up with:

Sweet potato

Dates

Banana

Oats

Wholegrain Rice

Dark leafy green Vegetables

Published by Abu Hafs

Abu Hafs Hanif from London. Married with Children. Fitness and Nutritional Advisor.

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