The Big 3 with Exercise and Diet

What are the “Big 3” important to exercise?

Simple: carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. They are important because they provide the energy we need to do work, maintain structure and lean body tissue, and provide functional integrity!


· Used directly by the cell for energy

· Stored as energy in the muscles and liver for later use as “glycogen”

· What ever you do not use as energy, is converted to fat and stored as energy (which is why exercise is so important, to burn the excess carbohydrates leftover after the body uses what it needs to function daily and have lean muscle tissue work)

· The plant polysaccharide “starch” is a complex carbohydrate: your fruits and vegetables and unrefined (processed) whole grains

· Fiber helps lower cholesterol levels and keeps the nutrients move throughout the body and digestive system, aiding in absorption for optimal performance and excretion of waste by binding to the harmful chemicals

· Regular physical activity = 55-60% of kcals should come from COMPLEX carbohydrates. Intense Exercise: 65% of total kcals from COMPLEX carbohydrates

· Anaerobic (quick burst physical activity and weight training) look toward glycogen stores and glucose from consumed carbohydrates for a source of energy.

· Adequate intake preserves lean muscle tissue

· Low carbohydrate intake can result in weakness, hunger, dizziness, and reduce performance

· AVOID simple sugars and carbohydrates including high fructose corn syrup and added sugar foods for optimal performance, and not feeling as heavy during your workouts



· Saturated Fat (solid at room temp) are found primarily in animal products (beef, lamb, chicken, egg yolk, and dairy products). Make sure you go as lean as possible with your meat sources to reduce the amount of saturated fat intake. Exception of saturated fat is coconut oil, which have more health benefits than risk, still consume in moderation.

· Unsaturated Fats (liquid at room temp) are found in plant sources such as canola oil, olive oil, and peanut oil (monounsaturated fat); safflower, soybean, corn oil (polyunsaturated fat); Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil)

· MAIN DESRIED SOURCE IS FROM OMEGA 3 fatty acids, olive oil, and safflower oil.

· Try to go for omega 3 enhanced oils and avacado’s as much as possible: important in heart health and cardiac workload.

· Important for the functioning of the immune system, vision, plasma membranes, and hormone production

· Provide energy for aerobic physical activity for exercises longer then 30 minutes at a consistent heart rate look toward stored fat tissue and stored glycogen for a source of energy

· Protect vital organs

· Provide insulation from the cold

· Transport fat soluble A,D,E,K vitamins

· AVOID TRANS FAT, watch for “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients section

· Make 10-15% of diet come from unsaturated and omega 3 fatty acids



· Amino acids are the building blocks of protein

· Body breaks downs protein into amino acids for functional integrity and to build lean muscle tissue

· The body requires 20 amino acids

· 8 proteins cannot be synthesized (essential amino acids) so they must be ingested from food

· leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine

· Alanine plays a key role in carbohydrate fuel during prolong exercise.

· Protein catabolism (break down) accelerates when carbohydrates stores are depleted Strenuous exercise, Aerobic exercise of long duration

· Must maintain optimal levels of liver and muscle glycogen to minimize lean tissue loss and breakdown in performance

· BCAAs (leucine, valine, isoleucine) can assist in prolonging fatigue and tiredness, and improve concentration

· Found in meat, legumes (nuts, seeds, and beans), and supplemental BCCAs