Carbohydrates Around Strength Training

Food fuels our days and our workouts. When we aren’t consuming enough food, we pay for it with low energy, lack of motivation and loss of glycogen stores. Glycogen is the main storage form for glucose (starches and sugars) in the body. So, what do carbohydrates have to do with strength training? Well to keep it short and sweet, carbohydrates are the primary energy source for strength training!

Our bodies store glycogen within the muscles. Glycogen is made up of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take much longer to digest and store in the body. Things like oatmeal, potatoes, brown rice and whole-grains are all complex carbs. It is ideal to eat these 2-3 hours before strength training. Eating complex carbohydrates 2-3 hours before training gives your body enough time to digest the nutrients and store them, giving your muscles the energy needed for strength training.

Glucose is the fast-acting carbohydrate. Foods like fruit, honey, white rice, and pretzels are all considered to be simple carbohydrates. These foods take very little energy to digest in the body and are considered quick energy sources. The best way to utilize these carbohydrates is to consume them 30 minutes to an hour before strength training. Simple carbohydrates are great for the days you didn’t have time to get complex carbohydrates 2-3 hours prior to strength training.

By timing majority of your carbohydrates around your strength training, you are able to utilize more of the food you eat before and after. Our bodies not only use protein to aid in muscle recovery, but it also uses carbohydrates! Everyone’s bodies and metabolisms are different, so it is important to learn about your body and metabolism to find what ratios work best for you!

Is “Keto” Right for You?

“Keto”. It’s sort of a thing as of late. If you haven’t been living under a rock in the past 18 or so months, you’ve at least heard the term, if not fully adopted the diet yourself. Popularized by several credentialed and maybe not-so credentialed folks; the ketogenic diet was first studied and proven effective in 1921 as a therapy for children with seizure disorders.

Although there are variations of the ketogenic diet, generally it provides 70-90% fat, 10-15% protein and about 5% carbohydrate. Severely restricting carbohydrates, while consuming LOTS of healthy fat encourages the body to produce ketones and use them as fuel. Which results in a state called nutritional ketosis, an ability we’re all born with. To provide some context, the standard American diet is roughly 55% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 15% protein. This is a radical shift in macronutrient distribution. With that said, our bodies are amazing machines and can utilize both ketones (from fats), or glucose (primarily from carbohydrates and excess calories) as fuel. Thus the ability to survive on either plan.

The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now, and with good reason, let’s talk about some of these. Though it’s initial research and use was to control epilepsy; more research is proving beneficial for several other conditions. This list includes dementia, migraines, depression and obesity, among others.

Since one in three adults are overweight or obese, weight loss is the main driver of the diets’ recent rise in popularity. The diet works in a few different ways, but regarding weight loss it’s largely due to the lack of insulin produced by the pancreas, and the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. Since insulin remains low, the diet mimics a fasting state, burning fat, while providing most of one’s essential nutrients.

Let me explain how insulin is so key in the weight loss equation...

Feeding on Fiber

When we think of fiber, normally we don’t think of Cholesterol. We have gotten some odd looks with this month’s 10 Day Challenge here at PPW; “eat 25 grams of fiber every day for 10 days!” Fiber is best known for digestive health. There are two types of fiber; Soluble and Insoluble. As the name suggests soluble fiber dissolves in water forming a gel-like substance that can block the absorption of the LDL (bad Cholesterol). Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and stays relatively unchanged in the digestive track helping to move things through! We need to eat both.

399659 preview

Foods that contain high amounts of soluble fiber include: Oatmeal, fruit skin, kidney beans, and brussels sprouts. If you eat the daily recommend amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you will eat enough soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol.

The best part of waking up!

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.” – A.A. Milne Leslie

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. I’ve never really been able to relate to people that skip breakfast. Breakfast is magical! Sometimes a good breakfast can define the rest of your day. Whether it’s oatmeal, avocado toast, or scrambled eggs, a delicious and nutrition filled breakfast can start you off on the right foot with the energy to get things done.

“C’mon, there has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.” -Ron Swanson, Parks & Recreation

Benefits of eating breakfast aren’t just in your head. The experts have been saying for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that is the truth. Eating breakfast leads to
• Consuming less fat through the day
• Jumpstarting your metabolism
• Meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption
• Having higher daily calcium intake
• Having higher daily fiber intake
• Having better performance (memory and attention day.

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” – Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Be sure not to just grab a pop-tart or doughnut and call it a morning, an effective breakfast has a variety of carbs, protein and fat to kickstart your day. Eggs, oatmeal, smoothies, Greek yogurt, fruit, etc. are all great foods to start with. For more breakfast ideas, check out our Nutrition section of the website!

“In Wilson’s scale of evaluations breakfast rated just after life itself and ahead of the chance of immortality.” – Robert A. Heinlein, By His Bootstraps

Heart Health Month

February is the time to start thinking about your heart! Just small changes to your everyday eating habits can help make your heart healthier and happiers.

First check out this great shopping list for heart healthy foods!

Then check out these great substitutions for more heart healthy recipes

Be sure to check out this article as well for heart T.L.C. tips