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!

Your body is a car

You may not be an Olympic athlete but having a well-balanced diet will help improve your overall health and fitness levels. Think of your body as an engine that runs on synthetic oil. Of course the engine can take regular oil (processed foods) but it does not perform the same. It becomes slower and burns gas faster. It’s the same with our bodies. If you aren’t properly fueling your body, you can’t train hard and you always feel tired.

Make sure to fill your diet with a variety of whole foods and be sure to get enough protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. Eat clean and train dirty!

Way too busy? Try HIIT!

Are you crunched on time and still want to burn fat and build lean muscle?

Try HIIT which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. HIIT can be performed during cardio or weight lifting. Cardio HIIT is done by going "all out" for X amount of seconds (10-30s) and then walking at a moderate pace for 1-2 minutes. This method is to be repeated for the duration of your cardio session. (Be sure to stretch first)

HIIT performed during weight training is similar to cardio HIIT. The difference is in the recovery time and how the exercise is performed. Instead of taking a 1-2 minute rest between sets, it will be 10 seconds. The workout will be performed in a circuit format with 3-4 exercise.

Take care of your body with modalities

Take care of your body with modalities (hot and cold treatment) Modality-the use of therapeutic care to treat a physical disorder

The use of a cold pack or ice bath causes vasoconstriction meaning it makes the blood vessels narrow and reduces the flow of warm blood to that area. Cold modalities can help reduce swelling, inflammation and muscle spasms. Next time you experience sharp pain after working out use a cold pack it will numb the pain and reduce the swelling.

The use of a hot pack or warm shower causes vasodilation meaning it widening the blood vessels to allow more warm blood flow to and through that area. Hot modalities can help increase local/full body circulation, relax muscles , relief pain and muscle spasms. Next time you are feeling extra tight or stiff warm that area up with heat. Then preform your warm up stretches.

The "Big Four"

squat oneNot sure where to begin your strength training workout? Here is quick and versatile routine that you can add into your workout repertoire.

First, warm up. Next, start your workout routine by using one of the “big four” lifts (bench press, deadlift, squat, overhead press) with a barbell. These main lifts are your bread and butter exercises, work your way down to low reps and higher weight. 

After completing one of the “big four” do your complimentary lifts. This includes lifts that involve dumbbells, machines and bodyweight for high reps.

Some example routines may include:

  • Bench press is your main lift followed by dumbbell bent over row, face pulls, and abdominal strengthening as your complimentary lifts.
  • Overhead press is your main lift followed by dumbbell/cable upright rows, weighted/non weighted dips, and pullovers as your complimentary lifts.
  • Squats is your main lift followed by weighted/non weighted walking lunges, knee hikes with band, and leg curls as your complimentary lifts.
  • Deadlift is your main lift followed by kettle bell/barbell hip thrusters, farmer walks, and hyperextension as your complimentary lifts.