Also, to inhibit gluconeogenesis and spare protein, it is crucial that an athlete consume enough carbohydrates to fuel performance and replenish glycogen stores. Athletes who do not consume sufficient carbohydrates may be unable to work at an optimal performance level. Athletes need the right types and amounts of food before, during, and after exercise to maximize the energy available to fuel optimal performance. Typically these foods need to be high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are readily and efficiently broken down by the body to the monosaccharide glucose, the body's preferred energy source. During exercise when energy is needed, glucose that is stored in muscle floating in the bloodstream and/or stored in the liver can be directed to the working cell where: it is converted into ATP. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the body's usable energy source. ATP is used for all processes that require energy, including metabolism, muscle contraction, heart pumping, and many other demands required for exercise performance.
Have a great day!
Coach Tim Garrett
Martial Arts & Wellness Coach
Updated July7, 2017
Natural Sugar versus Processed Sugar
No matter what form sugar comes in, it’s a simple carbohydrate that is broken down for energy. The sugar that’s in a piece of fruit is made up of fructose and glucose, just like processed sugar. Most fruits are 40-55% fructose (although this varies depending on the fruit—cranberries have 20% fructose and apples are 65% fructose). Table sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Your body processes fructose in the liver so it won’t trigger an insulin response, while glucose starts to breakdown in the stomach and requires insulin to be released into the bloodstream so it can be metabolized quickly. Neither glucose nor fructose is better than the other, when looked at alone. It’s how it’s packaged that makes the difference.
Sugar Health Impact
The type of sugar (natural or refined) that you’re eating impacts your health differently. Natural sugar—the sugar that comes in fruit—is packaged with fiber, water, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phtytonutrients and other nutrients that improve your health. (Natural sugar is also found in milk and cheese and is called lactose.) Refined sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are both processed to extract the sugar. Usually, this sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose, called sucrose.
Manufacturers add chemically produced sugar, typically high fructose corn syrup, to many foods and drinks. Other than providing a source of energy that the body can use, processed sugar doesn’t provide any benefits to the body—it lacks the fiber and health-promoting nutrients that occur in natural sugar sources. By contrast, processed sugar can harm the body when overeaten and may contribute to inflammation, disease, weight gain and obesity. This is why refined sugar is known as “empty calories”—calories without nutrients that benefit the body.
Refined Sugar Highs and Lows
There is a significant difference in how you feel after you eat natural sugar versus refined sugar. Refined sugar causes you to experience energy highs and lows and sugar cravings.
Refined sugar (think candy and cakes) has no fiber to slow down its absorption, so it’s digested rapidly and enters the blood stream very quickly, causing a (blood) sugar rush/high. This sugar high, in turn, causes the body to release a surge of insulin, which quickly removes the sugar from the blood to the tissues. This is what is often known as a sugar crash or “low,” and is the body’s way of signaling that it needs a quick pick-up and the quickest pick-me-up is more sugar! This launches a vicious cycle of highs and lows that lead to a deep craving for more sugar. At the same time, sugary foods don’t provide the body any of the nutrients it needs to feel good and to sustain energy.
Natural sugar provides a longer source of energy without crashes. Natural sugar comes packaged in fruit—and fruit is a good source of fiber, which slows down the digestion of glucose so you don’t get the energy high/insulin spike followed by a sugar crash like you do when you eat refined sugar. Fruit also contains water, which helps to prevent dehydration and the tired, drained feeling that comes with it that mimic blood-sugar dips.
Fruit Juice and Fiber
Fruit juice is an important exception to the above. If the fiber has been removed from the fruit juice it will differ from fruit in how it affects energy levels. While it still provides important nutrients that the body uses for good health, portions should be limited to prevent a blood-sugar spike and to prevent weight gain.
Added Sugar Guidelines
Overall, there is room in a wholesome, nutrient-packed diet for a small indulgence in added sugar. The current Dietary Guidelines state that no more than 10% of total daily calories should come from added sugars. The amount we “need” is less than that, but exceeding that amount can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and poor dental health (among others). This does not necessarily include pre- and post- HIIT workout nutrition.
Most people overconsume added sugars in their diet without realizing it and it’s beneficial for most people to make an effort to avoid added sugars because they can contribute to weight gain and take the place of other nutrient-rich foods. Trying to satisfy sweet-tooth cravings with naturally sweet foods, like desserts made with fruits is suggested. This helps people to appreciate less-sweet flavors, while consuming added nutrients.
Food Labels and Added Sugar
One of the easiest ways to avoid added sugars is to look for them on ingredient labels. Be aware that if you purchase a sweet food and don’t see the word honey or sugar or another sweetener that you recognize on the label, this doesn’t mean there isn’t added sugar. Instead, it probably means that the sugar is hiding under a different name. The good news is that added sugars will be listed on the new Nutrition Facts Labels (released by 2018).
Until then, be mindful that added sugars in foods and drinks may be listed on labels as: anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar and more.
Added sugars include any type of “syrup” or any word ending with “ose.” Common added/hidden sugars include: brown rice syrup, corn syrup (solids), high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, agave nectar, honey, brown sugar, malt/malt syrup, (evaporated) cane juice, fructose, glucose, invert sugar and molasses.
Fall in love with the foods that are good for you! Your body will thank you. You're Welcome!
In addition to considering a carbohydrate's glycemic index or load, an important consideration when evaluating carbohydrate quality is the food's fiber content. Fiber is classified as functional fiber and dietary fiber. Together. dietary and functional fiber comprise “total fiber."
Functional fiber is defined as an isolated nondigestible carbohydrate that may have beneficial physiological effect in humans. Functional fiber is typically available in both natural and synthetic dietary supplements which claim to offer such benefits as improved gastrointestinal symptoms, weight loss, reduced cholesterol and colon cancer prevention. among other claims. On the food label functional fiber shows up as isolated, nondigestible plant, animal, or commercially produced carbohydrates. It is typically added to foods.
Dietary fiber is the fiber naturally found in certain foods. It is further classified as high viscosity and low viscosity. High viscosity fiber typically those referred to as soluble fiber include gums, pectin and psyllium seeds.
These fibers slow gastric emptying or the passage of food from the stomach into the intestines. Consequently, once mixed with digestive juices they become gel-like, causing an increased reeling of fullness. Also, the delayed gastric emptying slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which may help attenuate insulin resistance. High viscosiy fibers also can interfere with the absorption or fat and cholesterol and the recirculation of cholesterol in the liver, which may decrease cholesterol levels.
Low viscosity fibers previously referred to as insoluble fiber such as cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin play an important role in increasing fecal bulk and provide a laxative effect.
Fiber serves many important and beneficial roles in the human body. The average American consumes far less than the recommended 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed per day-or the approximately 25 to 35 grams per day for most adults. With increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes. and whole grains, most Americans could easily achieve this.
Basic Workout Nutrition
In order to get the most out of workouts or training proper carbohydrate intake is very important. It is suggested that individuals follow the macro nutrient recommendations of leading health, fitness and nutrition experts suggested to maintain optimum performance. Considering percentage of total caloric intake their recommended daily macro nutrient intake is 10~35% protein, 45~65% carbohydrate and 15~35% fat. Personally, I try to maintain around 25% protein, 60% carbohydrate and 15% fat. These percentages will be the used to determine my daily macro requirements below as an example.
Further, to optimize workout and training the recommendation is for individuals to consume 20~40g (80~160 calories) carbohydrates and 5~15g (20~60calories) protein pre/post workout. In addition, they should consume 30~60g of carbohydrates per hour of training to maintain blood glucose levels, maximize performance and optimize training.
This effort to maximize available glycogen on race day is the same reason that fitness professionals advise people to taper their workout duration as they approach an event. Individuals should be aware they may gain a few pounds while carbohydrate loading because carbohydrates require a lot of water for storage. Those individuals who are serious about optimizing sports performance may consider a consultation with a sports nutritionist to help them adopt the more appropriate dietary plan and carbohydrate loading regimen.
For maximum recovery it is best to eat your post-workout snack within 30 minutes of ending the activity. An example of Post-Workout snack might be: one cup of yogurt (8g Protein; 12g Carbohydrates), one-fourth of a banana (0g Protein; 7.5g of Carbohydrates) and one slice of whole wheat toast (3g of Protein; 15g Carbohydrates). If I am in a big rush I default back to the Blue Machine Named Juice and 10 grams of Protein. Depending on the intensity and duration of the activity, it may be necessary for individuals to continue to replenishing their glycogen and protein stores over the next couple of hours after the activity has finished.
If an individual consumes more calories than are expended, an individual is in a positive energy balance. This is necessary during times of growth such as in infancy, child and pregnancy. Otherwise, a positive energy balance results in weight gain. When more calories are expended than consumed an individual is in negative energy balance, which is necessary for weight loss.
To address weight loss goals, it is suggested to start by estimating your daily energy needs by using the Mifflin-St. Jeor formula1) which is a fairly accurate estimation of resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR represents the number of calories needed to fuel ventilation, blood circulation and temperature regulation Calories are also required to digest and absorb food and fuel the activities of daily life. You can look use the Mifflin-St. Jeor formula formula at the end of this article and calculate your RMR and estimate daily energy needs manually or use the American Council on Exercise online calculator to help determine your daily caloric need. Keep in mind that this estimation is only a start point. Actual caloric needs will vary based on the unique demands of each individual.
ACE Online Calculator: https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy_living_tools_content.aspx?id=4
In addition, I like to use a phone app called 'Macros-Calculate your Diet.' The app will also calculate your daily Macro nutrient requirements based on the percentages input as well as give suggestions for caloric intake to lose or gain weight.
These tools use the Mifflin-St Jeor formula to determine daily caloric needs. This is only a starting point. Among other things, the amount of lean body mass (LBM) a person has can have a significant impact on their daily caloric needs. The Katch-Mcardle formula2) actually estimates RMR based on an individual’s LBM. I also included the Katch-Mcardle formula below as a reference for those motivated individuals that want to know the difference in RMR as calculated by the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation vs the Katch-Mcardle formula.
My RMR as calculated by the Mifflin-St Jeor formula is about 1656 kcal/day. Assuming my body fat percentage is 7% and I weigh 170 pounds yields a LBM of about 158 pounds. Using the Katch-Mcardle formula my RMR is 1918kcal/day. There is a variance of 262kcal/day between the formulas. If my body fat percentage was about 23% then both formulas estimate my RMR to be around 1650 kcal/day. For individuals with low body fat percentages there is merit in using Katch-Mcardle formula. However, it is a lot of hassle and may be overkill when weight management is concerned.
Again, the amount of lean body mass (LBM) a person has can have a significant impact on their daily caloric needs. For example, if two people weight the same but one of them has 10 more pounds of LBM, then the person with the greater LBM will burn about 100 more calories per day. For example, because my LBM is greater than the average person of my same my height, weight, gender and age I need about 200~300 more calories per day than the average person to maintain my current weight.
When considering your Macro-nutrient balance remember:
1gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1gram of protein = 4 calories
1gram of fat = 9 calories
As I mentioned above, due to leading a very active lifestyle and the need to keep glycogen stores I eat a macro balance similar to 10~35% protein, 45~65% carbohydrate, and 15~35% fat. This is the recommendation of several leading fitness and dietary organizations. Personally, I try to maintain around 25% protein, 60% carbohydrate and 15% fat although it varies from day to day based on my anticipated activity level. These percentages will be the used to determine my macro balance below.
Determine you daily caloric needs.
Age: 40; Weight 170lbs; Male; 5’8.5”
Moderate Exercise 3~5 Days: 2582 cal/day
25% Protein = 2582 cal x 25% = 645 cal/(4cal/g) = 161g
60% Carbohydrate = 2582 cal x 60% = 1549 cal/(4cal/g) = 387g
15% Fat = 2582 cal x 15% = 387 cal/(4cal/g) = 97g
To lose 1lb of fat, create a 3,500-calorie deficit. Example: Eat 250 calories less per day and expend 250 calories more per day through daily activity over 7 days to lose 1lb of fat per week. Generally, any loss greater than 1~2 lbs per week is not fat loss. It is also very possible to gain 1~2lbs of lean mass per week with proper exercise and caloric intake. Keep in mind that the 3,500 calories is based on the aproximate number of calories in 1lb of body fat.
The 3,500 calories is calculated like this: 454g in 1 Pound 1 Gram of Fat = 9 calories. 9 caloires x 454g = 4,086 calories. 87% of the fat mass is actual lipid so, 87% x 4,086 calories = 3,552 calories. However, the more fat mass a person has the more readily they will loss fat mass. The main point is that in order to loose weight or more importantly to loose weight or fat mass a person must create a calorie deficit. The actual fat mass lost will vary from person to person based on each individuals unique set of circumstances.
Pre-workout snacks should be something relatively high in carbohydrate to maximize blood glucose availability, relatively low in fat and fiber to minimize gastrointestinal distress and facilitate gastric emptying, moderate in protein, and well-tolerated by the individual. It is important that snack does not upset your stomach. It is good to eat the snack about 30 minutes prior to the start of the activity.
As a pre-workout snack, I often eat something like a Kashi Go Lean Trail Mix granola bar (21g of carbs/ 5g of protein / 5g of fat) or banana (30~40g of carbs) or drink 8 ounces of Blue Machine Naked Juice (40g of carbs) with about 10 grams of protein from a protein powder or some of a smoothie. Depending on anticipated duration and intensity I may eat multiple snacks like a granola bar + banana + juice + protein source. Then every hour I will each another banana, juice, smoothie, etc. Once the workout is underway and I rev up the intensity I stay away from granola bars or other snacks that seem more difficult to digest.
Individuals training for long-distance endurance events lasting more than 90 minutes, such as a marathon or triathlon, may benefit from carbohydrate loading in the days or weeks prior to competition. Eating more carbohydrates helps muscles store more carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. If more glycogen is stored, it will take longer to deplete the body's preferred energy source during a prolonged workout.
The Scale is a Liar
To much emphasis is placed solely on pounds lost or gained. It is a more accurate reflection of your body composition and health risk to measure changes in your body fat percentage and the impact to you Lean Body Mass (LBM) than it is to focus only on how many pounds are lost or gained. Your LBM is the amount of weight you carry on your body that isn't fat. The goal should be to improve lean body mass and reduce fat mass.
The SCALE is a LIAR! It would have you believe that all weight loss is good weight loss. This is not true! It is better to be 130 pounds with 10% body fat and 117 pounds of lean body mass than it is to be 100 pounds with 30% body fat and 70 pounds of lean body mass. I would rather be a 25 pound dumbbell than a 20 pound medicine ball... lol... Don't listen to the LIES of the SCALE...
When dieters strictly restrict carbohydrates and lose large amounts of weight shortly after starting the diet, most of this weight loss comes from loss of water. Glycogen requires water for storage. When these glycogen stores are broken down in response to carbohydrate deprivation, the body excretes water. In the long term, there is no difference in sustained weight loss in dieters on low-carbohydrates versus high- carbohydrate diets. However, low-carbohydrate diets usually result in less than optimal performance and potential nutrient deficiencies.
All Carbs are not created equal
A growing body of research does however support that eating carbohydrates with lower glycemic index (GI) and lower glycemic load (GL) may offer health benefits including weight control, decreased risk of diabetes, decreased risk of heart disease and reduced morbidity in individuals with those and similar chronic diseases. Furthermore, these foods are often nutrient dense and provide more nutrients per calorie.
Another important consideration regarding carbohydrate quality is the fiber content of the food. Fiber serves many important and beneficial roles in the body so consuming foods with higher fiber content may also offer health benefits.
Generally speaking, high-GI foods are good for refueling and athletic performance, but as far as heart health goes, higher fiber and lower GI foods may be a better choice. The goal is to find a balance. Read the section on Carbohydrate Quality for more information related to GI, GL and Fiber as well as a few charts and tables showing the GI, GL and Fiber content of typical foods.
Basic Nutrition to Fuel Performance
The information below is based on the daily macro nutrient and caloric needs of an inherently healthy, active individual without contraindications or significant health problems and one who answered ‘No’ to all the questions in our HIIT Transformation Readiness Program Questionnaire.
To Carb or Not to Carb? That’s the question
To start with carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source and it is a myth that carbohydrates make you fat or gain weight. When it comes to weight gain, research has not confirmed that increased carbohydrate type or consumption leads to increased weight (when overall caloric consumption is maintained). Time and time again, research indicates that it does not matter where the calories come from, it only matters how many total calories a person consumes in a day. If dieters eat fewer calories than they expend - whether those calories come from carbohydrates, protein, or fat – they will lose weight.
Mifflin-St. Jeor Formula (RMR)1)
For men: RMR = [9.99 x wt (kg} + 6.25 x ht (cm) - 4.92 x age (yrs) + 5)] kcal/day
For women: RMR = [9.99x wt (kg) + 6.25x ht (cm) - 4.92 x age (yrs) – 161] kcal/day
Note: Convert pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2; convert inches to centimeters by multiplying by 2.54
The RMR value derived from the prediction equation is then multiplied by the appropriate activity correction factor:
Sedentary (little or no exercise): 1.200
Lightly active (light exercise/sports one to three days per week): 1.375
Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports six to seven days per week): 1.550
Very active (hard exercise/sports six to seven days per week): 1.725
Extra active (very hard exercise/sports and a physical job): 1.900
Note: This equation is more accurate for obese than non-obese individuals.
Note: 1 kg= 2.2 lb; l inch = 2.54 cm
The Katch-McArdle Formula (RMR) 2)
RMR = 370 + (9.7976 x LBM) kcal/day, where LBM is lean body mass in pounds.
Most athletes recognize that carbohydrates are essential to fuel optimal athletic performance, but fad diets have given the general population the impression that carbohydrates are bad" when it comes to weight control and overall health. This is not the case when minimally processed carbohydrates are consumed in appropriate portion sizes.
Simple and Complex Carbohydrates
Carbohydrate quality was once decided based on whether the carbohydrate was classified as a simple carbohydrate (mono-or disaccharides) like table sugar or a complex carbohydrate (oligo-and polysaccharides) like brown rice. This classification branded simple carbohydrates as nutrient-poor and "un-healthy" and complex carbohydrates as more nutrient-dense and “healthy.” The belief was the digestion rate, and thus postprandial effect on blood glucose, was based primarily on the length of the carbohydrate chain, with short chains causing a more pronounced blood glucose response and long chains causing only a small bump in blood glucose. Today, carbohydrate quality is better determined by considering the food's nutrient value, effect on blood glucose levels, and extent of processing. Although no one scale or formula can completely determine carbohydrate quality, many health experts use glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) when considering carbohydrate quality.
Glycemic Index & Load
Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates based on their blood glucose response: high-glycemic index foods enter the bloodstream rapidly, causing a large glucose spike. This rapid increase in glucose stimulates release of insulin and a subsequent insulin spike. Insulin promotes glucose uptake in muscle cells and fat deposition in adipose tissue. Two to four hours after consumption of a high-glycemic index meal residual effects from high insulin levels can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar and hypoglycemia. Low-glycemic index foods such as nonstarchy vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, and legumes are digested more slowly and cause a smaller glucose increase and a small boost in blood insulin levels. Highly processed, refined starches and sugar tend to have a higher g glycemic index and have been associated with negative health consequences such as heart disease and diabetes. Although valuable, the glycemic index does not account for the caloric amount consumed of one product. For example, carrots have a higher glycemic than a candy bar. Glycemic index is based on a reference amount of carbohydrate (50 g). Glycemic load (GL) accounts for portion size (GL =GI x grams of carbohydrate/ l 00). A food can have a high glycemic index but a low glycemic load. For example, carrots have a high glycemic index. A person would need to eat several cups of the carrots to equal 50 grams of carrots. Because the typical serving size is approximately one-half cup, the glycemic load is small. Also, carbohydrate-containing foods that are also moderate to high in fat or protein, fiber, and other nutrients and that are minimally processed may have a high glycemic index but a low glycemic load.
A growing body of research supports that eating a diet with mostly lower glycemic index carbohydrates may offer health benefits including weight control, decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease and reduced morbidity in those individuals. Also, food with a low glycemic load are commonly more nutrient dense and provide more nutrients per calorie. For example, 16 ounces of soda has about the same amount of carbohydrates as two medium-sized apples, but the glycemic load of the soda is much higher. The two apples provide more vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared to the soda, making the apples more nutrient dense. Overall, high-GI foods are good for refueling and athletic performance, but as far as heart health goes, lower GI foods may be a better choice. The goal is to find a balance.
Evaluating changes to LBM and fat mass is clearly a much more accurate and scientific way way to measure physical change than simply looking at pounds lost or gained on a scale. However, even when measuring body fat percentage and calculating LBM there is a margin of error associated with using calipers as well as general assumptions made to develop the charts that estimate body fat percentage. For example, it is assumed that individuals in each age group have a similar muscle mass to height ratio. It is based on the general population and not each unique individuals set of circumstances. Clearly, a body builder, marathon runner, sprinter and MMA fighter will not have the same ratio yet the same ratio is used to make the charts. So, it is important that each individual evaluate the overall change based on a positive change in their specific measurements and not get hung up comparing their unique measurements to the measurements of others.