The ‘C’ Word!

It’s time to take our relationship to the next level… dirty talk!

And there’s no dirtier word when it comes to nutrition than the ‘C’ word… CARBS!!! AAAAAAHHHHH!!! NO, DON’T DO IT!!

Right! First of all, let’s get this straight. Carbohydrates are not the enemy! Nor are they all bad for us. We simply must learn their purpose, what falls into their category and how to use them more efficiently to provide us with our body shape goals. So let’s dive in…

First of all, lets take a look at what carb’s are primarily for and why they play an important role in our bodies. As most of us know, carbohydrates main purpose is to provide us with energy. It is not the only macronutrient to do so (Fats and Proteins too) but it is the bodies favoured energy source. Every carbohydrate we eat is broken down into Glucose which then is stored as Glycogen in the muscles and liver and used as energy for when our body demands it through exercise, normal day to day activity or even general body processes.

Now to put it in easier to understand terms, Glucose is a form of sugar and this comes from the carbohydrates we eat. It is the first energy source that the body will use for energy and therefore it is important that we understand how to utilise carbohydrates more efficiently depending on our body shape goals. For example…

If our goal is to drop body fat, then carbohydrates should be carefully monitored as to the amount we eat in order to manipulate the bodies systems to burn body fat as energy as opposed to stored glycogen(From carbohydrates). Make sense? For instance, if we continued to eat a diet high in carbohydrates so our bodies are supplied with an endless amount of resources to use as energy, it will never feel necessary to burn that body fat as energy.

This is not to say cancel out ALL carbs immediately… that would be dumb! Our bodies require a certain amount of carbohydrates to function properly. For example, our brains ONLY energy source is Glycogen which we get from..? That’s right! Carbs!!!

Let me give you an example of this. Have you ever been on a diet and felt clumsy, forgetful and feel like you have this ‘brain fog’ which leaves you feeling not quite right? This is why!

So it’s important to strike the right balance when following a diet plan that you are working towards your goals but able to function optimally too.

If our goal is to build muscle, ‘BULK UP’ and make some GAINSSSS! Then it is an entirely different story. Carb’s will then become a close friend! This is for two reasons. Number one is obviously to increase calories coming into your diet as if the goal is to gain weight, muscle, bulk up, we must have MORE calories coming in than we do burning off through day to day activity and exercise. Second of all, it is the affect that carbohydrates produce in the body that is the most interesting and integral to muscle building in particular. You see, as most of us know, we need plenty protein when weight training as it is the building blocks of muscle, promotes recovery and of course muscle growth. However!! Carbohydrates when digested, produces a spike in Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, which is one of the most anabolic hormone of all! (Anabolic = Muscle Building State) When setting out to build muscle, our primary goal is to remain in an anabolic state and the way to do this, is to have a perfect balance of proteins and carbs in your diet.

NOW! Lets take a look at the difference between the two types of Carbohydrates – Simple and Complex.

Simple Carbs – Simple carbs are sugars. They are the simplest form of carbohydrates and are therefore easily digested and produce a rapid source of energy.

List of examples:

  • Fruit
  • Sweets/Cakes
  • Fizzy or high sugar juices
  • Cooies/Any baked goods

Simple carbs should be monitored closely or avoided in certain cases as they tend to be high in calories and sugar. There are times when it can play a good role in your diet, for instance, immediately after intense exercise, fruit can be consumed to replenish the bodies glycogen stores which were depleted during the exercise.

Complex Carbs – Complex carbs tend to contain more nutrients than simple carbs, are higher in fiber and digest more slowly. This also makes them more filling. Complex carbs are also the better choice for diabetics as they have less of a pronounced spike on insulin levels as simple carbs do.

Starches and fibre are the two types of complex carbohydrates. Fibre is especially important in our diets because it promotes bowel regularity and helps to control cholesterol. The main sources of dietary fibre include:

  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • beans
  • whole grains
  • And fruit (Although this is a simple carb, it does provide a sufficient level of fibre too)

Starch is also found in some of the same foods as fibre. The difference is certain foods are considered more starchy than fibrous, such as potatoes. Examples of starches are:

  • whole wheat bread (I personally would avoid bread as often it is not well tolerated by peoples digestive system causing bloat and other undesirable effects which can leave you feeling sluggish)
  • cereal
  • corn
  • oats
  • peas
  • rice

The more complex carbohydrates we eat, the better. With a particular emphasis on VEGETABLES! We need these to supply us with sufficient vitamins and minerals (And Fibre) to keep our bodies functioning at top performance as well as keep our immune system battle ready to help fight illness and disease!

So… There you have it! Carbohydrates 101.

All this information should give you a better understanding of what their purpose is, why it is important in our diet and how they can effect our body shape goals.

If you still find this all a little confusing and want some real guidance and coaching to achieve your fitness goals, feel free to drop a message or comment to us and we will get back to you asap! 🙂


Your Coach,

Stuart Jamieson


Head Coach & Founder

The PT Studio – Dumfries

Leave a Reply