Eating for Performance (Basics + Carbs)

Day 1️⃣  (4-5 minute read)

 

This is the basic series of eating for performance. I believe it is intermediate level knowledge to have a general grasp on basic performance nutrition.

 

Elite/professional level nutrition requires regular lab testing, upper-level knowledge of sport science, and most of these athletes have nutrition coaches and chefs preparing the foods, plus a lab formulating customized vitamins💊 based on their needs.

 

I just want to be clear on the differences and clear gap of basics➡️elite.

 

 

🚨Note: If your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or health/wellness I do not recommend following a performance-based plan as you will likely never reach your goals.

I also truly believe if you have metabolic issues or disease a performance-based nutrition plan could be dangerous, and you should always consult a functional medicine doctor accompanied by a Registered Dietitian focusing on integrative nutrition. I am neither of those.

 

 

 

📝Final note: Every sport has unique nutrition requirements. This is going to cover the basics of “CrossFit” as a sport or “Functional Fitness.”  We can assume that performance nutrition needs in this area will need to cover all bases. ✅

Strength, power, endurance, short, medium, long, gymnastics, weightlifting, etc. The energy needs of each of these demands differs greatly so there is no one size fits all model when combining all of these elements.

 

 

I prioritize performance nutrition requirements in this order:

 

1️⃣  Essential macros (carbs, protein, fats)

 

2️⃣  Essential micronutrients (electrolytes, vitamins, minerals) & fluids

 

3️⃣  Supplements & other factors

 

 

We kick this thing off with ESSENTIAL MACROS FOR PERFORMANCE which will be divided into 3 posts.

 

1️⃣  Carbohydrates 🍎🍚🍯🧃🍭

 

2️⃣  Protein 🥩🍗🍖

 

3️⃣  Fats 🥑🥜

 

 

ESSENTIAL MACROS FOR PERFORMANCE: CARBOHYDRATES

 

Carbohydrate demand for performance is primarily dictated by these 3 factors

 

1️⃣  Duration of exercise (sprint/short/medium/long/ ultra)

 

2️⃣  Type of exercise being performed (rowing/weightlifting/ gymnastics/ bodybuilding/ etc.)

 

3️⃣  Weight of the athlete (most of the world uses KGs… I will use LBs)

 

 

For carbohydrate basics I recommend going off a weekly average. This will simplify daily needs.

 

To understand what your weekly average is you will want to wear a device such as the Whoop, Fit-Bit, Apple watch, Garmin etc. that tracks daily expenditure and provides an easy to access “WEEKLY TOTAL.”

 

Alternatively, you could make an educated guess or “wing it…” and that’s not ideal but a good starting point would be to add 400-600 calories per 60 minutes of exercise. You would have to monitor how you feel during exercise and how the scale moves and make changes from there.

 

Note: a 60-minute class is not 60 minutes of exercise❌. Monitor the duration of the actual activity. ✅

 

 

I will use Marisa ❤️ as an example:

 

Marisa weighs 107 lbs with a base metabolic rate (BMR) of 1,262

 

Calories burned (week 2/1 – 2/7)

Tuesday – 1,883

Wednesday- 1,900

Thursday- 1,740

Friday- 1,939

Saturday- 1,896

Sunday- 1,676

Monday- 2,246

Total = 13,280 weekly calories -or- 1,897 calories per day

 

🚨🚨🚨I typically recommend 55-65% of total calories from carbohydrate while eating for performance. 😮😮😮

 

If this number scares you please keep in mind the type of exercises that are involved in fitness and their main energy supply. 🤯🤯

 

 

Taking 60% of Marisa’s daily average = 1,138 calories from carbohydrate.

 

Divide 1,138 by 4 calories per carbohydrate = 285 grams of carbs

 

 

A basic general guideline would be for Marisa to aim for a MINIMUM of 285 grams of carbohydrate per day. Some days would be over, and some would be under but over the course of a year it is unlikely she would be training overly depleted for risky periods of time (which could be damaging to her health) and obviously her fitness results.

 

 

 

📝Key notes regarding carbohydrates for performance: 📝

 

1.)  Starchy and simple carbs are best for pre/during/and immediately post exercise other than those periods complex carbohydrates are best utilized.

 

2.)  Carbohydrate depletion can lower blood sugar too much- causing mental fatigue. This can be combated with pre and intra workout carbs as well as adequate complex carbohydrate throughout the day.

 

3.)  Carbs are clearly the limiting substrate in athletic performance.

 

4.)  Carbs allow for muscle recovery post exercise.

 

5.)  Carbs are an energy source that help sustain blood sugar during physical activity.

 

6.)  Glycogen replenishment is more difficult if you are in a dehydrated state.

 

7.) “If you are scared of carbs you are scared of performing your best.” – My opinion.

 

 

👨‍🔬I do not believe there is enough data to support a low carb- performance based nutrition plan. People have been testing the waters but I have not seen a high level athlete successful on low carb.

 

 

This wraps up CARBOHYDRATES FOR PERFORMANCE. Next, we will cover BASIC PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS FOR PERFORMANCE.

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