Roller skating – High carbs vs low carbs diet?
For any professional skater (and even for an amateur skater), it is no longer a secret that skating is a sport that puts the physical ability of athletes to the test. And as with most other sports which solicit to some extent the human body, nutrition plays a fundamental role in maintaining the organism in excellent physical shape.
There is no point in spending hours at the gym if your diet is not adapted to your needs. That is why, in this article, we will try to assess which of the high carbs and low carbs diets is best suited for a skater who runs a marathon or participates in ultra-endurance competitions.
The benefits and disadvantages of a low carbohydrate diet for roller
The low carbs diet consists in limiting, or even stopping, the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods, including naturally sweetened foods and fruits. And rather than substituting them for aliments riches in fat, the low carbs diet recommends the consumption of protein-rich food (eggs, fish and cattle meats, vegetables and legumes).
There are actually many varieties of the so-called carbohydrate-restricted diets (CRDs) but one in particular makes headlines in sport circles. It is the most restrictive, the ketogenic diet. The advantage of such a diet is that it keeps the metabolism under control. Indeed, as the French nutritionist Hugo Blanc claims in one of his articles, a low carbohydrate diet prevents disorders due to the metabolic syndrome. In other words, this diet prevents the accumulation of fats often implicated in heart diseases and weight gain.
As a roller skater, adopting the Keto diet will help you reduce the risk of digestive disorders, maintain a constant healthy heart rate, improve your endurance, and prevent weight gain (or even help you shed some kilos).
However, although it has a proven positive impact on the body, the literature also reports that this type of diet can sometimes have deleterious effects. By favouring this diet, muscles are also deprived of their main source of energy: carbohydrates. And, for endurance athletes, carbohydrate reserves are often limited because they are in high demand. However, if you are one of those athletes for whom this diet works, your body could also learn to draw the energy it needs from your fat storages instead of your carbohydrate storages.
The benefits and side effects of a high carbohydrate diet for roller skating
Unlike the low carbs diets, the high carbs diet recommends the consumption of any food with a high glycaemic index. Its core principle is very simple: balance the needs of the organism by bringing in a significant amount of energy. And because of its many benefits, it is an often recommended diet in sport; in this case roller skating. Indeed, according to some authors, the energetic expenses of an athlete who regularly trains for an endurance sport are enormous. To this end, the rebalancing, through dietary intakes, is an essential aspect to compensate losses. The benefits of such a diet come first and foremost from the fact that it conditions your muscles to endure the physical workouts of the pre-competition preparation. And later, in the midst of the competition, it allows the expression of exceptional performances. In addition, it can also help ensure you reach and maintain a healthy body weight composition.
However, as you may have guessed, this diet is not without consequences either. The side effects most often mentioned are linked to the energy balance. Indeed, if your intake of carbohydrates is higher than your body’s needs, side effects cannot be excluded. In some cases, we talk of tremors, palpitations, accelerated sweats and digestive disorders. And in other, rarer cases, the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weight gain, or even obesity.
Recovery and nutrition
In addition to stretching, massage, … nutrition also affects your recovery. A specific and quality food intake can help you recover better and faster. It is not trivial to see a tennis player consume a fruit such as banana between two sets. This means that, in both tennis and roller skating, the consumption of an energetic food can help the muscles recover. In addition, it is also recommended to consume protein foods and water.
In general, a good recovery diet will allow you to maintain your performance, avoid muscle injuries, expel metabolic waste, soothe sore muscles, etc.
To sum up
You may be tempted to adopt a restrictive diet, either to boost your carbohydrate reserves or conversely to deplete them and get into a state of ketosis. If the first method is well known to endurance athletes, the second is gaining increased attention. Both have the potential to provide the body with the necessary energy during a race. It is up to you therefore to test them and see which one, if any, works for you personally. You should also note that the Scandinavian dissociated diet is a combination of the two, since it recommends to completely deplete your carbohydrate storages one week before the race before renewing them about three days before the marathon.
Nevertheless, based on the information mentioned, you have surely understood that these diets are not intended to be followed continuously. Adopting an unbalanced diet can have real potential complications, and if you have doubts you should always seek the advices of your doctor or a nutritionist before you get started. Especially since the often neglected recovery period is essential and may require a different distribution of macronutrients. The ideal solution for an athlete is to implement these diets on a cyclical basis, according to his or her needs, trainings, competitions and recovery periods.
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