There are those who hate the movie, love it, think you’re crazy if you haven’t seen it and even those who have vehemently sworn off all Marvel movies and abstain from them like the plague (me). Such is the tale of carbohydrates as well, but this just gives us more of a reason to take a look at this seemingly controversial nutrient. So let’s dive into what exactly are carbohydrates, what do they mean for fitness and boot camps, and what should be your approach to utilizing carbohydrates in your training regimen.
What is a Carb?
Surprisingly enough, there’s a pretty stark deficit when it comes to knowledge of basic nutrition, including foundational macronutrients like carbohydrates, but hopefully, this article will catch us just a little more up to speed.
Carbohydrates, or just carbs for short, are essentially your lighter fluid of the nutrient world. Meaning, they provide us with the easy-access energy needed for getting through a workout. This energy comes in the form of glucose, which is basically what you get when your body digests and breaks down carbs. Glucose is stored in the body and tapped into to give you the energy and spark you need to burpee like there’s no tomorrow.
Typically, we know carbs to be grains like rice, bread, and pasta; but, sugar, candy, fruits, vegetables, and donuts are all carbs and, therefore, all potential sources for your body to extract fuel from. This means, from a strictly fitness perspective, even donuts can be a useful ally! Most people stay terrified of carbs and go on low-carb diets to lose weight, when, in fact, skimping on carbs could be detrimental in a domain like a boot camp workout.
Bootcamps and Carbs
While it’s true that carbs can often be one of the easiest sources to overload on and end up in a calorie surplus, when properly utilized they can be a great nutritional asset to your boot camp fitness regime. Because they’re the body’s primary source of energy, what carbs you consume can really give you an edge before your next session.
Opting for whole, complex carbs like brown rice and sweet potatoes, will provide you with a slow digesting, long-lasting energy source to tap into when your workout finally comes around. In addition to these longer lasting sources, opting for simpler sugars, in moderation, before a workout can give you a good initial spark to ride throughout the boot camp.
For instance, if you have a morning boot camp session bright and early, try to incorporate things like whole wheat bread or brown rice into dinner the night before, and then go with a banana the morning of the workout, some 45 minutes prior, as a good pick me up. The result is a steady source of glucose from wholesome sources that your body can utilize to push through kettlebell and push up circuits.
These are just some of the bare basics when it comes to carbohydrates, and, just like the movies, you’ll find a world of opinions out there. When it comes to more complex situations, like whether or not to go low-carb, carbo cycling, and exactly how many grams of carbs you should consume to fuel your lifestyle, you should definitely consult a dietitian.
But, in terms of what your body generally needs to fuel your next intense outdoor fitness program or boot camp, don’t fear the carb!