Hey, guys! Sorry we’ve been a little MIA with our Fit Club Posts! Things have been crazy around here prepping for the launch of our new book! But we’re back today, and Trainer Jani is here with a simple workout challenge, plus a really great post about something that has become kind of a dirty word in the weight-loss world–carbs–and why they’re nothing to be afraid of!
One of the most controversial topics when it comes to weight loss is whether or not you should include carbohydrates into your diet. Carbs have kind of gotten a bad rap over the last several years and have caused many people to become “carbophobic.” There are many low carb diets that have become very popular. One reason that they are so popular is because people generally do lose weight, but only initially. If you think about it, when you eliminate carbs from your diet, you are eliminating both good AND bad carbs which means you are eating LESS CALORIES. Of course you are going to lose weight. But ever noticed you suddenly have no energy to exercise? And once you add the carbs back into your diet, the pounds WILL come back as your body replenishes its carbohydrate stores. And then many will get caught in a vicious diet cycle that causes more harm than good.
Why are carbohydrates important?
Carbohydrates are our bodies’ main source of fuel. Think of carbohydrates as the gas needed to fuel a car. Without gas, a car won’t run. Likewise, without carbohydrates, your body will not have the fuel it requires to support your daily mental and physical activities. In addition to providing our bodies with energy that we need to live, carbs also improve digestion, promote heart health, and lower our risk for certain cancers. There are, however, certain types of carbs that can make us gain weight and raise our risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Know the difference between good and bad carbs
Many Americans consume the majority of their carbohydrate calories in the form of foods high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars such as white rice, potatoes, white bread, sweets, soda, and fruit juice. These “bad carbs” are generally high in calories and offer little nutritional value. They are rapidly digested, which makes your blood sugar go up and down quickly. This leaves you feeling hungry and low on energy soon after a meal.
“Good carbs” are high in fiber, which slows digestion. This helps you feel full longer, keeps your blood sugar stable, and gives you energy for a longer amount of time. Plant-based foods are full of good carbs and fiber. These foods are generally lower in calories, saturated fat, and added sugars yet provide many nutrients our bodies need. Look for good carbs in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Whole grain foods include brown and wild rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, rolled oats, whole grain barley, quinoa, whole rye, and whole wheat. Be sure to look at the list of ingredients in the grains that you buy. A food that is truly whole grain lists the word “whole” before the name of the grain and is the first or second ingredient. Refined grains are disguised by the names “enriched flour,” “wheat flour,” “stoned wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “100% wheat,” and “multi-grain.”
How many grams of carbs should I eat per day?
Unfortunately, even if you choose to only eat good carbs, if you are consuming too many, you will gain weight. Carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of your daily calories (even if you are trying to lose weight). Check out this handy online carbohydrate calculator here which takes into consideration your height, weight, frame size, and activity level to give you an ideal daily intake of carbohydrates in grams.
Remember, your body needs the nutrients found in healthy carbs to perform better physically and mentally. Be cautious of any diet that eliminates food groups. If you eliminate carbs, you will only last so long and then what happens? You end up at the Krispy Kreme drive thru buying a dozen of those devilish little circles, and inhale the whole box before you even get home! Okay, maybe not that bad, but let’s be honest, who can eat just one Krispy Kreme? Bottom line: Healthy carbohydrates should be a part of a healthy daily diet.
For a quick, yet very intense workout this week, try this workout challenge. You can use it as your workout alone, or top off your regular workout with this exercise pyramid. No equipment needed!
40 Mountain Climbers
50 Jumping Jacks
60 Second plank
50 Jumping jacks
40 Mountain Climbers