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Creating energy

We have 3 places we get our energy from - Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein. I’m just going to tell you a little about why all 3 of these are important and what we should be consuming:

Carbs - This is the most readily available energy source. It’s converted into glucose and stored in the muscles as glycogen. We need carbs for our brain as it’s the only energy the brain can use. Moderate exercise will deplete stored in 1.5 hours. We should be aiming for 50-60% of our diet being carbs. However, there are of course good and bad carbs. Refined ones (white bread, pasta, rice etc) will give you a quick shot of sugar and energy, but will be short lived and you’ll be craving the sugar again in no time. Better options are those using whole grains, which will be slower release, but will last longer.

Fat - these are stored as triglycerides and when they breakdown they metabolise into fatty acids. The body will use these when exercise is moderate to low such as when we’re doing endurance work (long period of running). It takes a while for the body to get going with fats, so we need the carbs to help us in the initial part of our run. We should be getting 30% of our diet from fats (broken down into 11% saturated, 13% monounsaturated, 6.5% polyunsaturated)

Protein - the last source the body will use and equates to only 10-20% of overall energy production. If glycogen is low (from the carbs) then the protein will be broken down. This will kick in during prolonged activity or could be down to malnutrition. We need 10-15% of our diet to be protein.


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