This macro nutrient is surrounded by confusion. High-carb, low-carb, no-carb? There really isn’t an ideal amount that meets the needs of all individuals. I tell all of my clients to think of carbs like you would gas for a car. The more you drive the more gas you need.
Carbohydrate intake should really be based on an individual’s level of activity. The more active an individual is, the more they can eat.
The other confusing part for people is that quality, quantity and timing DO MATTER. A cookie and a banana both might have 25 grams of carbs but how your body utilizes these carbohydrates is VERY different. The quality of the carbs in a banana can help you reach your fitness goals. The cookie, while delicious (side note: my friend Mary Thompson makes the best chocolate chip cookies!,) does not help. The other thing to consider is quantity.
Just because you work out for an hour, doesn’t mean you should eat a full spaghetti dinner each night. A small amount goes a long way and we definitely abuse this category of foods—excess intake can cause weight gain. Realistically, the majority of the population can meet their carbohydrate needs with fruits and vegetables alone.
Prioritize vegetables and some fruit as your primary carbohydrate choices---remember the 3:1 rule (3 veggies per 1 fruit).
That leaves carb timing.
To keep things simple, let’s start out assuming that your body does a decent job of burning fat. You go to bed at night and your body burns fat. The downside is you don’t burn a ton of calories while you sleep (bummer!). When you wake up you get a little insulin spike (side note: this is why fasted blood sugars are ideally done in the morning). Depending on how high you spike when fasting is a pretty good indicator of your likelihood of developing diabetes (side/side note: what’s considered healthy fasted blood sugars varies from state to state!). Fasted blood sugars below 80 are ideal and the closer you get to 100 the more likely you are to develop type 2 diabetes.
But I digress; so you wake up in the morning burning fat. Once you introduce carbohydrates your body switches over to burning those. This is o.k. if you have an intense training session coming up but if you are eating so you can get in your car and then sit at your desk do you really need the carbs? If you look at the graphs above, they both explain the same thing. One shows how sugar cravings work and the other goes more into detail about how that cycle works. Long story short, if you have spikes in insulin (from too many carbohydrates) your body DOES NOT BURN FAT.
This is why nutrition coaching is so important. There is not one carb amount that meets everyone’s needs. Protein and fat are relatively easy for a nutrition coach to help you calculate. Carb intake (timing and amount) needs to be calculated based on consistent body comp measurements. Here at Fuse Fitness Coaching we LOVE it if our clients get their Results Mapping done at least every other week. We are 100% results-driven and in order to help you get the most out of your training we need to track results so we can help you determine which variables to change.
Our supplement of the week is MNS C, which besides being a great multi-vitamin, probiotic and fish oil, helps to promote healthy blood sugar levels to help YOU burn more fat. Click here if you'd like to get 20% off MNS C or any of the other great Advocare products.
On a separate note, Fuse Fitness Coaching is proud to be a sponsor for HOPE 4 Youth's 2nd annual "The Darkest Night of Your Life 4K." The 4K is Saturday, September 23rd and we'd love for you to run/walk with the Fuse Fitness Coaching Team!
Hope 4 Youth is a non-profit organization that works to provide pathways to end youth homelessness here in the north metro Twin Cities. This event is not only designed to raise awareness of youth homelessness, but to give participants a chance to experience what many homeless youth do: darkness, loneliness, cold, and quiet. Funds raised by this event will go to HOPE Place, which is HOPE 4 Youth's transitional housing program designed to help homeless youth become independent, self-sustaining adults.
Click here to join our team and to get a FREE Couch to 4K cardio, strength and nutrition plan.