Carbohydrates: From Foe to Friend
Say the word carbs and nearly every person you talk to will run screaming in the other direction. Society and the media have transformed carbohydrates into public enemy #1. Despite this reputation, the reality is that carbohydrates (of the three macronutrients, the two other being fats and proteins) are the number one provider of energy to the body. Without carbohydrate-fueled energy, our body has to burn proteins and fats to operate, which is not always ideal. Carbohydrates can be broken down into "healthy" and "unhealthy" categories, dictated by their chemical composition. There are two categories of carbohydrates - simple and complex. Let's take a look at both.
Most junk foods are simple carbohydrates and have a high sugar content. Think candy, milk, white bread, pasta, soda, sugary cereals and processed foods. The structure of simple carbohyrates leads to quick digestion and spikes in blood sugar.
As with anything in life, moderation is key. So if you love cookies, then eat them! The key is perfect timing. If you hit a high-intensity workout and have depleted your glycogen stores, treat yourself to a delicious cookie post-workout every now and then. Otherwise, try to stay away from eating simple carbohydrates outside of that workout window.
Complex carbohydrates include buzzwords like whole grains and fibrous foods. Think oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, kale, spinach, broccoli and fruits - minimally processed, if at all. The structure of complex carbohydrates leads to slower digestion (largely thanks to the higher fiber content) and much subtler effects on blood sugar.
As far as complex carb sources go, shoot for a serving each morning with breakfast, along with a healthy dose of protein and fats to accompany. Continue to incorporate complex carb sources into your day, aiming for a total of about 45-65% of your total calories coming from carbohydrates, depending on your goals.
Eat Complicated, Train Dirty
One of the biggest battles when fighting the worldwide epidemic of obesity - or simply watching your own weight - is to say no to simple carb sources. The world is full of fast food, processed everything and soda everywhere you turn. By only eating these foods in minimal, occasional amounts, and getting the majority of your carbohydrates from complex sources, you'll be much better off. Remember, carbs are only the enemy if you are choosing the wrong ones.
Nutrition is a key feature of a healthy lifestyle, but your workout matters too. Our fitness accessories are like complicated carbs - functional, funky and good for you. Check out our apple green weight lifting straps and electric blue liquid chalk for your complicated graspahydrates.