Nutrition for athletes and the importance of carbohydrates

Carbs can be a controversial food group when it comes to nutrition. Many experts don’t even agree, which makes it hard for everyone to work out what to eat.

There’s also the fact that all carbs are NOT created equal.

One function is carbohydrates are broken down and turned into glucose to provide “energy” for cells. Carbs aren’t ‘necessary’ for energy as it can be produced from both protein and fat, however, the process is faster with carbs. If you’re an athlete or need to quickly replenish energy stores due to fasting or a high activity requirement, carbs are often our go-to source.

Some will tell you that as athletes, you need a really high carb intake requiring processed carbs.

We feel there had to be a better way than just eating pasta, bread, lollies or Gatorade to fuel workouts.

Does this work? There is evidence to say it does.

However, if processed carbs don’t sit well with you, it IS possible to have a higher fat and protein intake to fuel your body.

Key points here, are we eating to improve health and therefore performance, or just performance? Are we elite athletes searching for the 1%ers? and what’s our actual requirement for performance in our specific sport or task? Most sports last less than 90min, which means if you have good nutrition in general, you’re unlikely to need to eat many (if any) refined carbs to fuel your workout.

Eat a high processed carb diet consistently for 2 weeks and see what happens and how you feel. Some might feel amazing, others might start to feel softer, put on weight and see veins disappear.

Carbs aren’t the devil. You should definitely have them in your diet in the form of vegetables and other complex carb sources.

The point here is, seek good advice, build an UNDERSTANDING of what you’re eating and why seek disconfirming information, and then try a variety of things consistently over a few weeks at least to see how you respond.

Don’t take anyone’s word as gospel.