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A Question of Carbs

By Marcus | In Nutrition | on March 12, 2014

Last week, Mike S. asked the following question in the comments:

Is it OK for an athlete to be eating complex carbohydrates from paleo sources such as sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, or squash? Does the quantity and time of consumption depend on the athlete’s goals (strength/performance/fat loss)?

Just to clarify one point, all of those are complex (aka starchy) carbs with the exception of carrots and some squashes. Those two are plain ol’ vegetables and won’t pertain to the rest of this discussion.

In short, yes — starchy carbs are quite appropriate for consumption by athletes. In addition to the types Mike named, there are also roots such as cassava (aka yuca) and taro as well as the distant cousin of the banana — plantains.

Also Mike is on the right track in that time and quantity will differ based on personal goals. The best time for any athlete to consume these starchy carbs is within 30 minutes post-workout. This is the time one’s body will be most primed to make use of the glucose from these sources.

For those striving towards fat loss, they might be best served by eating starchy carbs only in that post-workout window. Performance goals would allow for more starchy carbs, potentially at each meal, while monitoring recovery and workout results. As is probably intuitive, muscle/strength gain would call for larger servings and again they could be at each meal.

Mike, thanks for the question! If you have a nutrition question you’d like me to tackle, please post to comments!

Reminder: tonight is the deadline to order your J&J beef for March!

WOD 03.12.14

Bent Over Row 3×5

5 rounds:
240m Run
20 Kettlebell Swings (53/35)
40 Double Unders

One Comment to "A Question of Carbs"

  • Paul says:

    March 12, 2014 at 1:49 PM -

    Marcus: now that the nutrition challenge is done, what about the pre and post workout meals that were part of whole 30? It seems like taking those out would leave a pretty large calorie deficit on days we work out. Should we just be spreading those calories around the other meals by trying to eat a bit more with each?

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