I'd like to keep this very simple and high level for the other laypersons out there like myself...
My understanding is that carbs are your main source of energy. So the more carbs I eat, theoretically the more energy I have (as a highly active person). If this holds true, then does the AMOUNT of energy translate only to how long I can work out for, i.e. stamina, or can it also affect my power output, i.e. intensity.
For instance, marathon runners eat for stamina, sprinters eat for intensity. If I eat more carbs, will i see a performance increase across different time domains of my workouts, i.e. short durations with high intensity and long workouts that require stamina?
Please clarify if there are different approaches to eating for different circumstances. Thanks everyone!
asked byRich_2 (0)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on September 13, 2011
at 04:25 PM
Carbs are good for high intensity workouts, it takes less O2 to burn carbs than fat, so they work well when O2 is going to be in short supply, such as during a very intense workout. But your body can only store about 2,000 calories worth of carbs in your liver and muscles, thats all you can hold, on average. Of course if you train alot you may be able to increase that number a bit, but generally your 'carb gas tank' is limited, and tiny. So if you eat 5 huge bowls of pasta, once your 'carb gas tank' is full, the rest gets stored as fat. Typically the cells in your body burn a mix of fat and carbs, this mix will vary according to how much enegry is need at the time. At low intensity, like walking around, sitting, driving....all the times whey you are not working so hard it feels like your heart is going to blow out, you burn way more fat than carbs. This is because your body, even if you have very low bodyfat%, will have tens of thousands of calories stored as fat that you can burn as enegry. Heres the math on that one, you can figure body fat % with a tape measure and be sort of in the ballpark of how many pounds of fat you've got, there are 453.6 grams per pound, and 9 calories per gram. So it makes sense to burn more of the thing you have the most of, and conserve that which you have little of. You are an active person, but there is no way you spend the bulk of your time at intensities high enough to be burning more carbs than fats, it just isn't possible. So you dont really have to eat many carbs to top off your carb gas tank, and alot of the carbs you eat will wind up as fat anyhow on account of bloodsugar spikes and then the insulin spike that will store everthing as fat if you need it to or not. Marathon runners dont really eat for stamina, they train for it. Sprinters train for intensity. These activites require the body to burn different mixes of fat/carbs. The marathon runner would be better off to run at an intensity that burns more fat than carbs, so he/she will never run out of enegry, and the sprinter runs so damn fast that they will burn mostly carbs, but they only run 100 meters or so and that intensity, so you wouldnt need 5 huge bowls of pasta to refill the tank. You'd be better off to eat a few carbs, more good protein (not in shake form) and get most of your calories from fat, because thats what you burn more of anyway, and the more fat you eat, the more fat you will burn, which means you burn fewer carbs and conserve your tiny carb gas tank even more. This also means that all the protein you eat wont be used as enegry, it'll be used to build you some new muscles, and repair the old ones. Tuns out your body is just plain better at processing protein and fat than it is at processing carbs, less enegry is wasted and more muscle is grown, and thats what you need for stamina or intensity.