Too Few Carbohydrates Will Leave Your Tank Empty
In recent years, carbohydrates (carbs) have gotten a bad rap by health and nutrition experts around the world. As a result, fad diets with not enough carbohydrates have sprouted up everywhere – with some going so far as to cut out as many carbs as possible.
That’s fine and dandy if you’re looking to shed some temporary pounds fast without having to do any physical work. But over the long-term, low-carb diets are just bad for you – doing more damage to your body than good.
For us athletes, low-carb diets aren’t an option in rider nutrition. That’s because carbs are essential to providing our bodies with the energy we need to maintain optimum performance levels when competing. We need carbs more than any other nutrient. They’re our fuel for our bodies, and when we race, we need all the fuel we can get.
The problem is a lot of riders don’t realize this. Or they do, but still, aren’t able to reach their daily recommended intake of carbs. That, in turn, translates into a loss of energy, focus, and stamina in the latter stages of an event, which could mean the difference between a 10th-place and 1st-place finish.
Below, you’ll find out why it’s so important to get enough carbohydrates each day, along with what can happen if you don’t. You’ll also find some helpful advice on how to make sure you’re getting enough of the good carbs in your diet.
Why Are Carbs So Important?
As I stated earlier, carbs are your main and most powerful source of energy. They take less oxygen to burn than protein or fat. So they allow your body to be more efficient without expending excessive amounts of energy.
And when you’re not spending as much energy, you have more on reserve. The energy that can be used while racing or training.
Without carbs, your body begins burning fat and then protein. If you’re looking to lose weight without exercising, then fat burning might be a good thing. But when you’re riding competitively, you don’t want that to happen. And you never want your body to start burning protein for energy.
What Happens When Not Enough Carbohydrates Are Consumed?
If you don’t get enough carbs, you will not have sufficient energy to perform the tasks that need to be completed. You’ll feel more sluggish and have slower reaction times. Also, you will not be as clearheaded – all of which are important factors during a race.
How Much Is Considered Enough?
Most motocross nutritionists state that a diet that includes 60% carbs is ideal, followed by 25% protein and 15% fats. The reason why the percentage of carbs is so high is that of the increased amount of energy our body requires for the types of things we do on the track. However, too many carbohydrates could cause you problems off your bike
So, you’ll want to take a good look at your diet and make sure you’re getting enough carbs each day. But not just any carbs – complex carbohydrates. The good carbs that are high in fiber and digested at a slower rate.
How To Ensure You’re Getting Enough Carbs Daily
This little trick is extremely simple and effective…
One of the most surefire ways to help make sure your body is meeting its daily carb requirements is to follow the “half-plate rule.”
What this means is that with every meal you have (3-5 meals a day, right?), make sure that half of the plate is filled with carbohydrates.
But again, you don’t want just any carbohydrates. You want complex carbohydrates. That means loading your plate with things like brown rice, whole-grain pasta, vegetables, and legumes as part of your ongoing rider nutrition plan.
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