Hope you had a good Memorial Day! Sorry for not giving you any motivation yesterday. It was Daniel’s birthday, and we were busy all weekend… and so were you. I just never got around to it. I’ll make it up to you one of these days.

I had my yearly hotdog yesterday. Well, I say “yearly.” Maybe I’ll eat another one on Fourth of July or something. Maybe. It just feels right on American holidays. It made me burp a little bit as I was swimming after, but that’s all part of it, I suppose. I also had some cookie cake. It was good. I’m just being real with all of you. Usually I’d say that I eat pretty good 95% of the time, so when opportunities to eat cookie cake arise, I’m down with that. However, this weekend has been all about the cookie cake. I went hard giving thanks for Daniel’s birthday, AND in thanks for this beautiful country we live in and those who have sacrificed their own life for my freedom. 

But today was all about getting right back to it. TBH it feels like a Monday today. It’s raining. It’s actually pouring out my window as I type this. If you did Murph over the weekend, your body may be aching a little. You also maybe didn’t eat the best over the weekend. SOOOO, it’s a perfect storm for you to just sit at your job, or sit at home, and convince yourself that you aren’t going to the gym today. BUT NO. You are better than that. MOVING is addicting. It’s so good for you. So is the sun! (Vitamin D). Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing much of that over the next week, but we’ll do what we can this week. Stay moving. Make good choices when it comes to what you are eating. Eat good, feel good, look good, do good. 

Ok, so let’s talk about CARBOHYDRATES. 

But before we do that. Here is a little disclaimer. 

I want to be clear. I am not a nutritionist. And more than that, I haven’t put in the grueling hours or practice to become a “dietitian” either. BUT I want to help people (and in the process, help myself) with nutrition! I am always learning. I’m at the gym coaching, training others, working out, or maybe even hanging out every morning and every evening. It’s fun. But I also have a couple of hours in the middle of the day, most days to read and try and learn a thing or two. This of course comes after I make sure I’ve had food, and the kitchen is clean, and laundry is folded and done. It’s a tough life, but I guess someone has to do it! 

I’m not about to rock your world with the science behind carbohydrates and how they affect your body. And let’s be real… if you’re reading this, you most likely know what “carbs” you need to avoid. (In case you don’t, I’m talking about highly processed food here – like cake, ice cream, bread, brownies, cookies..basically everything we want to eat a lot of). This post is mostly about the carbohydrate sources you NEED to be intaking, as well as how much you should be eating. 

We hear a lot that carbohydrates are BAD. Cut them out. And while that is partly true, carbs CAN be your friend, if you choose them right. They are your FUEL – your energy. They also help keep your mind from feeling all foggy. Carbohydrates also help your muscles recover after a hard workout. 

I’m not saying to go out an eat all the carbs. I’m not saying that you should eat doughnuts, or second and third bowls of rice, or all the french fries chickfila has to offer WITH Polynesian sauce (duh). 

BUT, if you are wanting to feel good (in AND out of the gym), keep your body working right, and do well in your exercise routine, you need carbohydrates. TRUTH: This has always been a struggle for me. And honestly, I sometimes still don’t think I eat enough carbohydrates to fuel my workouts properly. Or, maybe the timing is off sometimes. I still have a ways to go, BUT I am always learning, and I’m way better than I used to be.

We are all different – different sizes, activity levels, goals,  etc, so below may look a little different for everyone. BUT below are some things to think about in regards to carbohydrates.

When choosing the sources of carbohydrates to consume, think about these things:

  • The vitamins and minerals in them. You’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck eating some oatmeal over some french fries, or an apple instead of a candy bar. All of the above contain carbohydrates, BUT the oatmeal and the apple are going to have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber which will help you feel better and function better. 
  • This is a follow up from ^^, but the more colors the better!
  • Stay away from processed foods when you can. These are empty calories, and they usually have more sugar in them. 

When choosing the amount of carbohydrates to eat, think about these things:

WHAT you are eating: Veggies go a long way. This means It takes a lot of broccoli to equal the amount of carbs in even a small bowl of rice. Veggies are “nutrient dense” however they aren’t “calorie dense,” as in, they aren’t loaded with calories, yet they will still help you feel full and great overall.

Your lifestyle. This includes your exercise habits, as well as how sedentary or intense your daily job is, and what your life is like at home. Do you go home and sit in front of the tv? Or do you go home and throw a baseball with your kid? Or do you go for a jog? All of these things matter. 

If all else fails, shoot for having at least one source of veggie at every meal, as well as one source of complex carbohydrate. It doesn’t need to be a lot, based on your lifestyle, but it should help you feel full, full of energy, and not sluggish an hour later. I’ll give some examples of complex carbs below. 

And let’s talk more about exercising: First of all, if you are trying to maintain your weight, or lose weight, a low carb lifestyle is the way to go. I think I already elaborated on this above, so go back and read that if you forgot. However, if you are attempting to do any sort of CrossFit workout, or a high intensity workout for that matter, YOU NEED CARBS…. and not just a half plate full of veggies (although I applaud you for that). If you feel like you usually lack energy during your 5:30 pm workout, try eating something a couple of hours before. If you are working out multiple times a day, make sure you are eating a little extra of these carbs to replace those glycogen stores and help with recovery post workout. 

Carbohydrate Sources for me:

Most of these come from vegetables, but veggies will only get you so far… especially those little, green, leafy guys..

  • Veggies: peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower (I tried not to put that one first), zucchini, squash, mushrooms, tomatoes….
  • Fruit: apples and berries
  • Complex carbohydrates: sweet potatoes, gluten free oats, rice. <—- these are all what wok best for me. There are some other ones out there though. 

Next Steps:

Hopefully this didn’t confuse you. BUT you may have some questions. I got you. Here are some things to think about:

  • Start weighing and measuring your food 🙂 There are different ways to track. One way can be just asking a coach or friend to look at a food log and give you a couple of pointers. Another way is to use MyFitnessPal. You can tweak your numbers, but it’s a good start at least. 
  • Check out the Zone Diet. We talk about it a lot in CrossFit. It’s a great way to maintain a low carb lifestyle, but still eat enough to fuel your body for day to day activities and workouts. 
  • If all else fails, and you don’t want to track or measure your food, go based on “feel.” You have your whole life ahead of you to figure this out. Try something new. Change up a habit. Quit doing the same thing and getting the same results in return. Seriously. See how it makes you feel. If you feel sluggish in your workouts, try eating 1/2 to a whole sweet potato about 90 minutes before. Do you feel tired about an hour after lunch? Well, maybe the meal you had included some carbs that ultimately just shut your body down. You shouldn’t feel that way after lunch. What you eat should make you feel like you have all the energy! Take note of how you feel. 

I know there is still so much more we can talk about when it comes to this. Maybe we’ll pick it back up in a few weeks. Let me know if you have questions!