Why Carbs are Important for CrossFit
The body uses carbohydrates for many reasons, but most importantly, your body uses carbohydrates for energy.
The type of exercise you do in a CrossFit class relies on energy systems that run primarily on carbohydrates for fuel. During CrossFit, your body will use the carbohydrate stored in its muscles called “glycogen”.
If you restrict carbohydrates, you may notice a decrease in energy levels going into training. However, if you eat too much carbohydrate the excess energy will be stored as body fat. This is why it is important to find the right carbohydrate intake for YOU. During these first two weeks we are trying to establish a consistent baseline for our carb intake so we can adjust our intake to support health and fitness.
If you deplete your body of carbohydrates and then train hard you will suffer from brain fog and compromised cognitive function. The brain relies primarily on carbohydrate in the blood for energy. It can also run on ketones, but it takes days, sometimes weeks for the body to ramp up ketone production. So, if you want to have a productive day at work AND get a great workout in- eat your carbs!
Food composition refers to the quality of the food that you are eating. Let's imagine that you can choose between an apple and a candy bar for you snack.
Candy bar vs apple
A candy bar may help you to get your calories higher for the day, but those calories will be from processed sugar and unhealthy fats.
The apple however, will contain a lot less fat and it will also provide you with the vitamins and minerals that are essential for muscle growth and general health.
A good quality carb is one that is digested slowly by the body (although there are times where fast-digesting carbs are preferable) and one that is nutrient dense.
High quality sources of carbohydrates include:
GOOD QUALITY STARCHY CARBS
Beans and lentils
Vegetables and fruits
Sweet potato / root vegetables
Whole grain bread/pasta
It is a good idea to compose your diet of mainly this type of carbohydrate, except around your workouts, where you will need fast digesting carbs.
Examples of these are:
FAST DIGESTING SIMPLE CARBS
White Rice or Rice Cakes
Aim to eat a variety of foods, especially of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, to fulfill their dietary requirements.