Carbohydrates are the most important source of fuel in an athlete’s diet; however, there is a common misconception that all carbs are bad. In fact, there are many types of healthy carbs that should be included in everyone’s daily nutrition.

Here are the top five reasons why these types of carbs are beneficial and why you shouldn’t fear or avoid them!

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1. Carbohydrates fuel the brain and muscles.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our brains and are the fastest way for our bodies to produce energy. Carbs act for our body as fuel acts for your car. As with a car, we have limited stores of carbs in our bodies, and since they help to sustain you through workouts or sports, it is important to consume adequate carbs through your training.

 

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2. Carbohydrates prevent muscle breakdown.

By eating enough carbohydrates throughout the day, protein is free to do its main job: repair and rebuild muscle tissue. If we limit carbohydrates, protein will be needed as an energy source and not be utilized to build lean muscles. While it is very common in sports to see athletes only consume protein after a workout, the combination of protein plus carbs is actually the key to recovery.

3. Carbohydrates should make up the majority of the diet.

For athletes, a high-carb diet is needed in order to sustain the daily demands of training and exercise. While the needs will vary based on the individual and the type of exercise or sports they engage in, carbs will always make up a majority of calories.

 

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4. Carbohydrates before a workout will boost your performance.

Fueling up with adequate carbs 1-2 hours before exercise helps maintain optimal levels of blood glucose for our muscles.

Choose pre-workout snacks that are easy to digest, such as bananas, an English muffin with jam or a granola bar, or Herbalife24 Formula 1 Sport.

5. Carbohydrates accelerate recovery.

Consuming carbohydrates after exercise helps replenish the energy stores that were just utilized during strenuous exercise.

Muscles need protein and carbohydrates to properly recover and become stronger. Herbalife24 Rebuild Strength is a great option for any workout, but for higher intensity or endurance exercise, you can blend it with fruit for extra carbs

 

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Read this article if you want to learn more about calculating carbs and macros.

Dana Ryan

Dana RyanPh.D. – Director, Sports Performance, Nutrition and Education

Dr. Dana Ryan is the director of Sports Performance, Nutrition and Education at Herbalife Nutrition. She completed her doctorate in physical activity, nutrition and wellness at Arizona State University. She earned an MBA from USC and a master’s in kinesiology from San Diego State University. Dr. Ryan is also certified in nutrition for optimal health, wellness and performance.

Before joining Herbalife Nutrition, she taught exercise physiology and related courses at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), and conducted research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),* on the impact of community-based nutrition and physical activity programs on heart disease risk. A passionate athlete, Dr. Ryan enjoys all water sports, especially rowing. Her favorite Herbalife Nutrition products are Herbalife24® Liftoff®, Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength and Enrichual Hemp Facial Serum.

*The University of California does not endorse specific products or services as a matter of policy.