Good morning lovelies and happy May 1st! I am so excited that it is finally May because I am participating the photo a day challenge for the very first time! If you want to participate too click here.
Todays guest post comes from a very good friend of mine who also loves getting a good sweat on in the weight room. The topic she covers today is very important and definitely something everyone should read
Hey there A Dash of Meg readers! I am Electra and I blog over at http://vanillabeanlean.com about clean eating, fitness as a lifestyle, and the being your best YOU.
Meg is one of my favorite bloggers because she has such a fun personality and always has interesting facts, great food pics, and such honesty that blows me away. She is also one of my favorite people ever and I feel lucky to have gotten to know her. So needless to say, I was completely honored when she asked me to do a guest post for her while she is on vacation. Talk about a LUCKY GIRL! I bet we’d all rather be doing our burpees, running, workouts, and eating on the white sandy beaches with the clear blue ocean waves with Meg, but the least we can do is have some fun here with carbs while she’s enjoying herself in Barbados!
Let’s talk about why carbs are SO essential to have in a healthy nutrition plan as well as why they’re so important for muscle building!
Who here at one point or another did the “no carb” diet? Or has placed rules on themselves, “only carbs post workout,” “no carbs before bed,” sound familiar? I know it does to many of us. Carbohydrates are not the enemy. The key is to know how to differentiate between the “good” and “bad” carbs and how to nutrient time to get the most out of them and cause them to be used for fat loss and muscle gain.
First, let’s look at the difference between “bad” & “good” carbs.
Bad Carbs vs. Good Carbs:
Bad carbs = Simple Carbohydrates
Good carbs = Complex Carbohydrates
What is the difference you ask?
Simple carbs break down quickly, spike your blood sugar, which in turn releases a lot of insulin quickly, asking for fat storage. The higher the amount of sugar and the lower the amount of fiber, the worse the carb choice is. Simple carbs create sugar cravings as well. (And we all know the Simple Carb Monster is the one in the back of our heads telling us to reach for that last oreo. Don’t give the Monster any fuel! )
Complex carbs take longer for the body to digest and use, giving you more steady energy for longer, a stable blood sugar, and no insulin spikes. Their glycemic index is usually lower, which is good in terms of sustained energy and no spikes & crashes.
Simple Carb Sources (Stay away from these on a regular basis and have them only as treats once in a while):
Bread or Pasta made with White Flour
Packaged Cereals and Baked Goods
Complex Carb Sources (Great Carb Sources!):
Pretty much all Vegetables
Oatmeal (Whole rolled oats/Steel cut oats, not the packaged sugary versions)
Whole Wheat Pasta & Bread
Low Glycemic Fruits (Grapefruit, Apples, Prunes, Pears, Plums, Strawberries)
Potatoes (Sweet, White, Red)
Beans (Garbanzo, Kidney)
Tips and Tricks to Staying on Track with Carb Choices:
- Try to avoid processed foods, but make sure to read all labels! Avoid the food if the label has sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, or white flour.
- Choose whole grain bread/pasta/cereals over white bread/pasta/processed cereals.
- Eat as close to the source as you can – eat foods as natural as you can – fresh food over processed whenever you can!
Now that we know WHICH carbs to eat, WHY are they important?
Carbs for Health:
- From a health perspective, glucose in necessary for our body to complete all of its necessary functions, and the brain cannot function without it. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which feeds our brain and muscles. This is why those who “low-carb” diet get the “brain fog,” since their brain cells are not receiving adequate energy or nutrition to carry out their jobs.
- Carbohydrates have fiber, which has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and digestive issues.
- Carbs keep you “regular” – if you catch my drift…
- Fiber also increases satiety, so grains fill you up – not out!
- Low-carb diets are not healthy for long term sustainability. In order to maintain energy, prevent hair loss, and maintain adequate hormone levels, it is important to incorporate complex carbohydrates into your plan!
Carbs for Muscle Building:
- Carbs ensure protein (amino acids) is sent to and used by the muscles to repair muscles after lifting!
- Eating carbs right after training is so important, because it shifts the body from a catabolic (breaking down) mode to an anabolic (building up) mode.
- Eating carbs & protein together increase their ability to build muscle by shuttling them to the muscles instead of eating carbs alone, which are more easily stored as fat.
- Eat most of your carbs earlier in the day, before and after your workout, and around the times you’re most active. This will encourage muscle gains and fat loss, not storage!
I hope you’re all thoroughly convinced that good, complex carbohydrates are important for your health, fitness, and energy levels! I hope you all incorporate or are already incorporating some, regardless of whether you’re trying to gain muscle, lose fat, or just get fit!
Thank you ALL for taking the time to read this, and thank you Meg for giving me your stage for a day. I hope you’re having an AMAZING time relaxing on the beach and rockin’ your bathing suit girl!
What is your favorite carb source?
When do you incorporate carbs into your day?
Thanks for the wonderful post Electra! I couldn’t agree more! Carbohydrates are definitely so important! We need carbohydrates for so many reasons! Our bodies simply can’t function without them!
Well, I am off to stroll the beach now It’s a little tradition my Daddy and I have Every vacation we go on, we will wake up early in the morning and go for a walk along the beach It is so peaceful <3