So, we've talked about minerals, some B Vitamins, the Kreb's cycle and how our Macronutrients are converted into energy...let's now start breaking down our Macronutrients and those energy resources. There is so much to know about each of these, and I hope I can break them down and highlight some important factors in regards to our macronutrients and their role in athletic performance.
To start off, we are going to begin our journey into Carbohydrates.
Simple Carbohydrates are, in scientific terms, monosaccharides, the individual sugars that form larger carbohydrate molecules. Digestively, these sugars do not need to be broken down and are absorbed instantly. Metabolically, they provide an instant energy source, that is often described as a sprinter...super fast, super intense, and a quick drop and fatigue.
The simple carbohydrates are:
Complex Carbohydrates are, in scientific terms, polysaccharides. Meaning they are several different sugars bound together (typically 3 or more). Digestively, these carbohydrates take longer to breakdown. Metabolically, they provide a more steady stream of glucose energy because the bound sugars take time to breakdown...generally.
As we talked about in the Hyaluronic Acid post (click here), these carbohydrates are also important for your joint and connective tissue lubrication. So, cutting starches specifically can leave you clicking and with joint friction.
Using Carbohydrates Wisely
To Carb or not to Carb, that is the question of the day. Some are all about Carb Loading (see below) and other are anti-carbohydrates (so they think) going for Paleo and Ketogenic based diets. For those of you who know me, I believe all food has it's place...the issue isn't to carb or not to carb, but how to carb.
Just like when we were talking about calories, there are nutrient dense carbohydrates and empty carbohydrates (those high in sugar, but low in other nutritional value).
Choosing complex carbohydrates and quality simple carbohydrates is key. During an athletic event, keep in mind the form of athleticism you are doing and the way carbs work as energy. Starting the morning with a good complex carbohydrate based meal balanced with high amounts of fat will give you instant and sustained energy. Using good carbohydrates during long workouts will also maintain constant and bursts of energy to prevent hypoglycemia (which is hard to come back from).
Good Carbohydrate sources would be Whole Grains, Honey, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Dried Fruit.
Carbohydrate loading is a method used my performance athletes to increase their stores of Glycogen (the stored form of Glucose) before a competition. Carb Loading Glycogen is designed to be stored in the muscles, so should be Glucose not Fructose based, as Fructose is converted to Glycogen and stored in the Liver. The idea being that the body will release the stored glycogen during the athletic event to facilitate instant bursts of energy and increase endurance. This is more common in marathon, and long distance endurance competitors, who may eat large pasta based meals before an event.
The down side to Carbohydrate loading is that if the meal is too large, or the meal is eaten too close to an event, it can actually decrease endurance (because of blood sugar drops). The other common mishap with carb loading, is that athletes do not combine enough fat and protein to fully balance the meal...muscles need amino acids to perform, and this can also have the opposite effect, causing a decrease in performance. It can also increase gas, bloating and water retention that can make you feel sluggish on the day of competition if not balanced properly.
Typically with the new regimens of carb loading, athletes take a number of days off before the event and eat 70% carbohydrate meals.
In my opinion, this form of energy storage would work well for those who are planning to do long distance events that allows for few breaks to replenish or eat. For those that are doing more short term events, or long term events that offer the opportunity to stay on top of dietary energy sources...this may prove to be more of a hinderance.
1 Hour Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Breakfast: Arugula Fried Egg Sandwich
I do love my greens and eggs...it's a perfect combination.
Lunch: Miso Soup; Shrimp Spring Rolls & Peanut Sauce
In case you didn't know, you should never eat unfermented soy! Again, for those who know me, I believe we have as a society and culture lost so much of our food preparation knowledge. Certain techniques that have been known by our ancestors for thousands of years have not been past down, or if they were, they were too time consuming and lost.
One of these is the need for fermenting soy. Yes, soy is a rich source of protein, calcium, and other nutrients...but not if you don't ferment it. If you don't you've got a toxic little legume that the ancient asian cultures knew to be "hard to digest" and "not edible."
Fermenting releases the nutrients inside, neutralizes toxic compounds, and add the element of cultured health.
Dinner: New England Clam Chowder; REAL Sourdough Bread
Souring bread was once the only way to make bread. Without packaged yeast, letting the bacteria work their magic created a light, sour bread. Talk about another ancient food preparation technique lost to time. Thanks to packaged yeast and dough conditioners who needs to take the time to let bacteria do the work, or maintain 100 year old starts.
There is a lovely lady at the farmer's market that has a start from generations ago (love her) and she makes fresh sourdough weekly. I just HAD to grab a loaf today...and I am so glad I did. There is nothing better.
The natural fermentation before cooking breaks down Phytic acid (more on this later) and allows access to the minerals within the grains. It makes it easier to eat, and I have read in some sources that it destroys a large amount of the gluten present. We'll talk about his in a couple of days.
Total Water Today: 10 cups