Carbohydrates are the instant source of fuel available to the body.
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy during workouts. Your body is capable of deriving energy from almost any type of food but it cannot absorb energy at an optimal rate from other sources as it can from carbohydrates.
When you train on a high intensity workout your body craves for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates become the most preferred source of energy when your body is under immense physical and metabolic stress, such as the state experienced during your intense workout.
Proteins also can be used for energy, but they are not excellent sources of immediate energy. You need to maintain a healthy carbohydrate intake and supply to empower your body to perform at high levels. Proteins are appropriate for building and maintain good muscles but are not the optimum fuel for workouts.
Your body is also capable of burning fat and using it as fuel, but this occurs only during prolonged duration of low intensity exercise. For example when marathon runners train for Olympics, they train for long durations at a low intensity and as a result their body is burns off all the fat tissue and they appear lean and trim.
On the other hand if you observe athletes training for a 100m sprint. Their sport needs low duration high burst energy. As a result they consume a high carbohydrate and protein diet.
In bodybuilding the person doing weight training is similar to the 100m sprinter, whereas the person doing cardio and low intensity training can be compared to a marathon runner. The low intensity long duration trainee will always remain lean and the sprinter will always be more muscular and ripped
While undertaking high intensity training your body is comparable to a 100m sprinter and your body needs easy sources of energy, so carbohydrates become its “GO-TO” fuel.
Your body stores the carbohydrates in your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. The muscles can hold up to 400 grams of carbohydrates which can yield 1600 calories (4 calories per gram of carbohydrate) and your liver hold an additional 100 grams of carbohydrates which can yield 400 calories of energy.
Exercise uses up muscle glycogen very quickly. If you don’t replace it every day by eating high carbohydrate foods… your glycogen stores quickly diminish. Your body will use up almost all of the muscle glycogen within three days. You’ll feel exhausted and will be unable to workout. So if you are serious about your training you need to avoid a low carbohydrate diet at all costs.
But here’s the twist you need to be aware of. You need to refrain from consuming too many carbs. Your muscles and liver can hold upto 2000 calories of carbohydrates which can be used up during a workout or for physical activity. If you consume additional carbs over the 2000 calorie limit… your body will convert the extra glucose and store it in the form of body fat.
This is one of the major factors you need to consider if you are serious about fat loss. You need to take up to some form of strenuous exercise to burn off all the additional glycogen.
We will discuss about the optimal intake of carbs and exercise planning in the coming sections.