By Dana Ryan
PH.D., M.A., MBA,
Director, Sports Performance & Education
Carbohydrates are the most important source of fuel in an athlete’s diet; however, there is a common misconception that all carbs are bad. In fact, there are many types of healthy carbs that should be included in everyone’s daily nutrition.
Here are the top five reasons why carbs are beneficial and why you shouldn’t fear or avoid them!
1. Carbohydrates fuel the brain and muscles
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our brains and are the fastest way for our bodies to produce energy. Carbs act for our body as fuel acts for your car.
As with a car, we have limited stores of carbs in our bodies, and since they help to sustain you through workouts or sports, it is important to consume adequate carbs through your training.
2. Carbohydrates prevent muscle breakdown
By eating enough carbohydrates throughout the day, protein is free to do its main job: repair and rebuild muscle tissue. If we limit carbohydrates, protein will be needed as an energy source and will not be utilised to build lean muscles. While it is very common in sports to see athletes only consume protein after a workout, the combination of protein plus carbs is actually the key to recovery.
3. Carbohydrates should make up the majority of the diet
For athletes, a high-carb diet is needed in order to sustain the daily demands of training and exercise. While needs will vary based on the individual and the type of exercise or sports they engage in, carbs will always make up a majority of calories.
4. Carbohydrates before a workout will boost your performance
Fuelling up with adequate carbs 1-2 hours before exercise helps maintain optimal levels of blood glucose for our muscles. Choose pre-workout snacks that are easy to digest such as bananas, an English muffin with jam or a muesli bar, a Herbalife24 Achieve Bar or Formula 1 Sport.
5. Carbohydrates accelerate recovery
Consuming carbohydrates after exercise helps replenish the energy stores that were just utilised during strenuous exercise. Muscles need protein and carbohydrates to properly recover and become stronger. Herbalife24 Rebuild Strength is a great option for any workout, but for higher intensity or endurance exercise, you can blend it with fruit for extra carbs.
Always read the label – use only as directed.
Before embarking on any physical activity, please consult your physician.