Did someone say crab?!?! Pass the butter, wine, and claw crackers please!

Psssst…hey Summer, I think you misspelled something here! 
Oh whoops, did I write crab? I meant CARB! Hahaha. Crab is more Tamara’s thing anyway! Just wanted to get your attention!
I know, I know you’re sick of hearing about and worrying about carbs. All you want to do is dive into a big bowl of pasta with a loaf of French bread on the side! Let’s face it, so do I sometimes! Carbs can be a double edge sword to your training goals; But the truth is carbs really do matter, and it’s not as simple as not eating them at all. So let’s step up our carb knowledge, Soma Superstars!Rice, pasta, bread, alcohol, fruits and veggies (beets, carrots, bananas, strawberries, kale, brussels sprouts, asparagus etc.), sports drinks, candy, juice – are all carbohydrates folks! Some are considered simple carbs, and the others complex carbs, but they will all break down as some form of sugar (fructose, sucrose, glucose) and if you recall from last week’s lesson on amino acids, our bodies need some sort of fuel (glucose is #1 source) for energy especially when working out. If our body lacks dietary carbs, proteins, and fats, it will break down our muscle for stores fuel. Remember: this is bad! You can’t build a booty or have toned abs and right arms without muscle!  This means in order to prevent our bodies from catabolizing itself, we have to fuel it with proteins AND carbs. You read right – I’m anti carb-elimination!
Now, the type of carbs you eat are important. Vegetables and leafy greens contain soluble and insoluble fiber which help with digestion, control blood sugar, and reduce belly fat. Green plant veggies also contain phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals to give us energy, strengthen our immune system, and fight sickness and disease. Fruits like bananas, apples and blueberries are great pre and post-workout carbs on days that you lift, since the quick digesting sugar will give fuel to the metabolic system that is responsible for muscle synthesis and repair.
So what about that “cheat day” yesterday where you indulged on pizza for lunch and an In-n-Out double double animal style for dinner? Processed foods and enriched, bleached flours don’t contain the fiber or nutrients that brown rice, organic corn tortillas, or sprouted whole wheat have so think about that before you nosh next. In the meantime, hit the weights hard today! Your body is full of carbs (aka fuel) and it’s prime time to use that fuel as energy to build muscle. More muscle = less body fat so lift, and lift heavy!
When you eat your carbs is also key. Unless you plan to run 6+ miles after work,  or throw around some heavy metal in the gym, avoid carbs in the afternoon (folks that are bulking to gain serious mass can skip this part). If you train in the morning or around noon, steel cut oats and quinoa are great breakfast and lunch options, while keeping your afternoon and evening meals more protein, veggie and fat based. Your body burns calories all day long, even if you did nothing but lay in bed all day. Add in normal things like getting ready for work, cooking, cleaning, chasing after kids and you’re burning even more calories (we didn’t even include if you throw in a workout, too!). In a nutshell, carbs throughout the day – veggies and light fruits on non-workout days, and grains, starches, fruit and veggies on workout days – will give your body the energy it needs to kick butt and be productive.
So about those carbs… eat up! Now that you’re equipped with what kind of and when to inhale your carbs, no need to eliminate them from your diet! We’d love to see some of your smart carb meals. Tag us using #somafoodlabs to share your yums with your fellow Soma Superstars!

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