Carbohydrates – The Essential Energy Source
Most athletes know and realize just how important it is to get the proper nutrients however many athletes are being drawn into the idea of using low carbohydrate diets as a way to help control weight. Needless to say, the sports medicine field is quite alarmed at the number of athletes that are starting to use low carbohydrate diets in recent years. Even scarier is the fact that these diets can cause harsh long-term complications such as making weight loss even harder.
Carbohydrates are the essential energy source that all athletes need in order to maintain the stamina to work out. Without this vital energy, it is much easier for injuries to occur from exhaustion as well as body strain. This is never an advisable outcome, but sadly, it has been occurring much more often in recent years. A proper diet for an athlete involves consuming quite a few carbohydrates.
Typically, a number of carbohydrates that are required to be consumed by athletes are much higher than the amount required for people who are sedative. The proper amount of carbohydrates that each athlete needs varies greatly with some requiring much more than others. To determine the exact amount of carbohydrate consumption that you should personally aim for it is important to talk to your sports medicine doctor or a sports nutritionist.
There are times when athletes are especially encouraged to increase their carbohydrate intake, this is especially common during tournaments, competitions and if you are engaging in more than one sport at the time. This is to ensure that your body has enough energy to handle the rigors that you are placing upon it during especially strenuous activities. In addition, there are other times when your doctor may recommend cutting back carbohydrate consumption, however, all serious adjustments to your diet should be carefully monitored by your sports medicine team to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients.
As the number of fad diets appearing on the markets increases, it is especially important to listen to what your doctor says about your diet. Athletes are recommended
to store as much as 15 grams per kilogram of body weight in the form of carbohydrates. This translates into as much as 15 grams for every 2.2 pounds. For an average
180-pound athlete this translates into as much as 1227 grams of carbohydrates.
In terms of how carbohydrates are related to calories, it is easiest to use the following conversion. One gram of carbohydrates translates into four calories of energy.
This means that for our example of the 180-pound athlete, the 1227 grams of carbohydrates they should consume would equal as much as 4909 calories. This is an enormous number for most people; however, there are some athletes that would require higher calorie intake while other would be able to handle much lower intake levels.
Ultimately, it is up to you working with your doctor to determine the best level for your individual needs.
Remember, cutting back on carbohydrate levels can be quite damaging to the body. If your body is not consuming enough carbohydrates, then the body starts using protein as energy. This can be dangerous because protein is designed to help fuel your muscles and provide the muscle mass for the body, rather than simply providing energy for the body. The end result for many who are not consuming enough carbohydrates is an overall weakened condition and less energy to actively engage in the sport of their choice.
An important consideration is who is giving you the advice on your dietary needs. Many coaches do not always know the most up to date nutrition information. This makes it highly risky to simply take a coaches word about how much you should be consuming each day in calories and carbohydrates. In order to achieve the best results possible, you can consult with your coach as well as your doctor to work out the best possible solution that has both your fitness goals, athletic goals and your health goals in mind.
Keeping your own personal health as the top priority is vital to ensure you are as healthy as possible. Remember, it is sometimes necessary to adjust your carbohydrate consumption, however; it should always be done with a doctor’s supervision to ensure that you are not potentially damaging your body or your overall health. Your physical safety is a much greater consideration that reducing your carbohydrate intake.