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What a year 2022 was and 2023 is looking just as good. We are so grateful to be able to do what we do and helping people from all walks of life brings us so much joy. January is the time of the year when New Year resolutions are made and when most people kickstart their nutrition or fitness routine, and why not? It’s a new year, a new month, a new week! However, in a January when the internet is telling you to reduce calories, go low carb, try keto, try intermittent fasting, try HIIT, try fasted training etc, on top of your new fitness regime. We are telling you to pause.

Today’s monthly email is about carbohydrates –

January is a fantastic time to take control of your own health and to set some fitness goals, however, we are not here to tell you to try xyz diet, to limit calories, to slash carbs or what goals you should set – that is up to you. We are here to educate and inform you, and we are telling you to eat your carbohydrates!

Time and time again we see clients reduce carbohydrates because they are trying to drop body fat. However, most of these people are heavily involved in some form of sport where carbohydrates are needed for peak performance.

  • Carbohydrates are needed for the brain, nervous system, and muscular work.
  • They are the body’s preferred source of energy, especially during moderate to higher-intensity work.
  • Carbohydrates are stored in the liver and muscles.
  • High carbohydrates are linked to improved performance.
  • Reduced carbohydrate intake is associated with early fatigue.

The amount of carbohydrate you need depends on a number of factors such as what sport, how many times per week, duration, intensity, you as a person, your preference, day-to-day life.. and much more!

However, one thing we can guarantee is that if you are picking up a new hobby such as running, cycling, swimming, or gym work, making sure you are adequately fuelled with carbohydrates is essential.  Below is a rough guide of how many carbohydrates you need in a day based on the type of training session you are doing.

Training Load Type of session Carbohydrate requirements per day (gram/kg/day)
Light Low-intensity/skill-based 3-5g/kg/d
Moderate Moderate e.g., 1 hour per day 5-7g/kg/d
High Endurance e.g., 1-3 hours per day 6-10g/kg/d
Very High Extreme e.g., >4-5 hours per day 8-12g/kg/d

Guidelines for daily carbohydrate intake.

Looking at the numbers they may seem quite high for some people but perhaps low for others. This is where you as an individual come into play. You need to adapt these to fit your training schedule, lifestyle, and your individual calorie requirements. If you are someone in a calorie deficit it can be difficult as you will need to adapt these numbers and be strategic in your approach in order to lose weight.

One final thing, carbohydrates in the post-workout window are also advised. When you are training you are using up stored glycogen, but you need to refill these stores in order to have enough energy for the next session after that.

As with everything, it is individualised! These are rough guidelines about your total daily intake, but you can get into more detail around intra-workout carbohydrates for endurance-based sports, or you can be more specific with pre- and post-training carbohydrates too.

Take home message – eat your carbohydrates this January!

Check out our website for more information and to book your nutritional consultation, VO2, or metabolic test HERE.

Yours in Health and Fitness,
The Health Matters Team


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