The Carb Cycle

carbs food tomatoes bread mushroom

When it comes to carbs, there is a lot of misconception. It is true that when it comes to weight loss cutting down on the carbs is beneficial. But there is a difference between low carbs and zero carbs.

Having zero carbs is unhealthy and you need to intake at least the minimum amount of carbs to keep your body and your organs performing well and fit.

Today I would like to share with my readers the topic of controversy – CARBOHYDRATES.

What are carbs?

Carbohydrates or carbs are the primary energy source for human beings. They are found in foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables and wheat products such as bread and pasta. Sugar is also a carbohydrate and can be either refined or unrefined.

You want to lose weight and have planned to follow a HIIT (high intensity interval training) program, you will need energy. Or else you will faint in the first 10 mins. This is when you can depend on the carbs. Carbs improve endurance and high-intensity performance, because the muscles retain an extra store of carbohydrates. Carbs are also broken down quicker and easier than other energy sources, such as fats, making it ideal for consumption before and between training sessions.

The Optimal level of Carb intake

Now this is a point that raises a lot of eyebrows. No matter what, you cannot survive on just protein. Yes you will lose weight. But you will also lose muscle. When the body will burn the energy from protein, it will then go to the stored energy in muscles.

Hence always maintain a certain level of carbohydrate intake based on your goals and profession.

For example for an athlete the recommended amount of carbs per day is anywhere between 4 and 13 grams per kilogram of weight. This again depends on your level of activity – heavy training or a big match.

For a person who works behind a desk and the goal is weight loss and gaining muscle, then carbs per day should be between 2 – 5 grams per kilogram weight. The variant is dependant on your level of activity.

Best times to consume Carbohydrates

  1. In the morning – For breakfast because that night sleep that you took puts your body in a state of ‘fasting’. Unless you are doing an early morning cardio, then just protein will do.
  2. Pre workout – Any training or exercise sessions lasting longer than an hour should ideally be 80% carbs to ensure optimal energy levels. You can eat anywhere between two to four hours before the exercise session and should supplement your energy after every two hours of constant exercise with a carb-based snack.
  3. Post workout – After the workout is the other time to take in simple carbs: this is critical because it starts the whole recovery/muscle growth process.