All the cells in your body are constantly breaking down and being rebuilt. The food you eat daily provides the base ingredients for your cells to rebuild and your body to function.
The Role of Carbohydrates
Carbs are your main fuel. They fuel your cardio, your lifting, your body weight exercise, and even the hidden stuff you don’t see or feel, like your organs and your brain function. Your body can only store a limited amount of carbs, so it’s important to refuel them.
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The Role of Fats
Fats are also a fuel. Your body uses fats and carbs at the same time. A lot of people think your body uses fuels one at a time, and that your fuels are like a light switch: flip on the switch for fat metabolism, then turn that switch off and flip the switch for carb metabolism. That paradigm is a mistake. Fats and carbs are simultaneously used in your muscle when you move. However, at high intensities, fat metabolism slows down, and at maximal intensities, you’ll only use carbs as a fuel. This results in confusion, and has caused misinterpretations with “fat loss zones” in heart rate calculations. Your body can store fats without limitation, so they’re not as urgent to refuel compared to carbs. Daily dietary fats provide important vitamins, and good fats can help manage inflammation.
The Role of Protein
Another common nutrition mistake is that the fitness industry preaches that protein is a fuel for your muscles and for lifting. Protein is not an efficient fuel; it’s role in your diet is to serve a more structural role. You need a lot of protein in your diet to support the growth and restructuring that exercise causes. Your body uses protein; it doesn’t really store it. So it’s important to eat sources of protein throughout the day. Refuel after a workout with carbs, and eat steady amounts of protein throughout the day in your meals and snacks. Protein shakes before or after a workout are valuable if it’s been a while since your last protein meal.
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