The tasty truth about carbo-loading

They say that you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. And it’s true. Start in the kitchen because that’s where abs are moulded – they’re simply chiselled in the gym. But there is no denying that calorie intake and energy output are connected when it comes to weight loss. You need the right fuel to prevent overexertion. This makes a medical weight loss programme all the more enticing because you can strike the right balance as measured and approved by a professional – a medical doctor, no less!

Fortunately, there are also some simple truths that are good to keep in mind where eating-and-exercising is concerned. Take carbo-loading for example: opinions differ vastly when it comes to this particular method but it’s less about the method and more about the execution. Carbo-loading is about the types of carbs you choose before exercising because the first truth to take note of is this: carbohydrates give you energy.

“…it’s less about the method and more about the execution”

Adopt the long-term habit of carbo-loading with low-GI foods and drinks before you exercise. Immediately before running a race or committing to a lengthy gym session, you can opt for a high-GI diet. Eat whole-wheat bread, rice, oats and even potatoes. Delicious and healthy! Endurance athletes or people with hypoglycaemia should however stick to the typically low-GI foods before exercise commences: fat-free yoghurt, lentils, milk and dried fruit will work well and are equally delicious!

“Delicious and healthy!”

Fruits contain plenty of carbs and can give you a boost but remember that too much fibre can cause stomach issues while you’re working out. The truth is: this is not pleasant! Eat post-workout fruits like pears, blueberries and watermelon to replenish antioxidants that your body has lost. Also consider the fact that high-fat foods – creamy sauces, oils, butter and cheese – fill you up quickly and take a long time to digest. Carbs end up being the logical alternative.

Sometimes it’s necessary to fuel up during exercise too. Research confirms that consuming carbs decreases stress levels and improves physical performance. Avoid fructose if you can but more importantly, steer clear from low-GI foods at this time because you run the risk of having these foods ferment inside your digestive tract which will significantly decrease your energy levels.

Finally, don’t be alarmed if the scale’s truth is that you’re a little heavier after you’ve started carbo-loading in preparation for exercise. The additional weight probably means you’re doing it correctly. For every gram of carbohydrate that you store, you also retain three grams of water – this is good! You will be strong and hydrated!

“The additional weight probably means you’re doing it correctly”

The final tasty truth is that your body is actually an efficient and honest communicator. Learn to listen. If you crave carbs for instance, it could simply be because you need them to sustain your active lifestyle!