A few weeks ago, I received my first order of Swolverine’s Clean Carbs. In short, Clean Carbs is a complex carbohydrate supplement made from 100% real ingredients – sweet potatoes, yams, oats, and blueberries. In the past, I’ve experimented with other types of carb supplements on the market. However, those have always been simple carb supplements loaded with sugar. The complex carb drinks that were (and still are) on the market were almost all made with maltodextrin, a powder comprised primarily of corn.
So, in pursuit of finding a good product, that offers the benefits of complex carbs, I tried out Clean Carbs, a product made of only real ingredients, free of GMOs, fillers, and proprietary blends.
First things first, carbs are not the enemy of the sport. If you’re looking for serious gains and the ability to produce your best results under the barbell, it requires a well-rounded nutrition that includes a decent amount of carbohydrate intake. Despite this, it’s important to note that there are different types of carbs to consume. And, the difference here is everything.
The carbohydrate is one of the body’s primary sources of energy. Yet, this energy source is often labeled a villain by diets and fitness trends promoting weight loss, giving most the wrong impression toward this essential nutrient. Even so, it’s valuable to note that eating anything in excess amounts will lead to unwanted weight gain- even the good stuff. Carbs are found in more foods than bread, rice, and pastries, showing up in dairy products, fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, etc. Fiber, starch, and sugar are the three elements of the carbohydrate.
Simple vs. Complex Carbs
There are two main categories of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbs refer to things like sugar, honey, corn syrup, bread, cake, etc. These foods are broken down in the body and used as a quick energy source. This type of carbohydrate does hold value in training and should not be avoided altogether. Simple carbs can be used right before a training session or immediately following to help restore what was lost in an intense workout.
Complex carbs, on the other hand, often hold a little more nutritious value, broken down slowly in the body. They show up in foods like brown rice, legumes, veggies, whole wheat, and corn. Such foods are rich in starch and fiber, resulting in a lengthier amount of time to metabolize in the body.
Complex Carbs for CrossFit
So, why should you look for ways to sufficiently supply your body with complex carbs if you CrossFit regularly? If you’ve been in the workout game long enough, you’ve probably tried multiple types of protein powder or BCAAs. And while those may be the blocks that build the house, without the proper fuel source (carbohydrates), that house will never get fully built. Your body needs complex carbohydrates for sustained energy and adequate recovery. Filling up on complex carbs in the day will ensure that your energy levels stay up and you avoid the common drop as the day and training progress. The slow release of the complex carb will fuel your performance in the gym.
The average athlete needs to get around 40-60% of their calories from carbs, a macro goal that often gets pushed aside and forgotten about when days are busy, and training is at high volume. Neglecting to replenish your body of this crucial energy source is common and detrimental to recovery.
My Thoughts + How I Used Clean Carbs
Here’s the main thing I loved about Swolverine’s Clean Carbs: Convenience. Being able to quickly get 24-48 grams (1-2 scoops) of good complex carbs was key for me. Especially on busy days, I often find myself heading to the gym, knowing that I didn’t fuel correctly throughout the day. I mostly used Clean Carbs in my morning and after my workouts. I like to keep my carb intake to around 35-40% of my caloric intake, and this simplified my macro planning.
My shake recipe:
1.5 scoops of Clean Carbs
2 scoops of vanilla protein
2 tbsp of almond butter
7 grams of creatine
1.5 cups of Pea Milk.
The sweet potato flavor of this product produced some skepticism at first. I like sweet potato and all, but in a shake? As someone who’s been using supplements all his life, I’m used to flavors like vanilla, chocolate, etc. However, the sweet potato flavor was actually a pretty big win. Clean Carbs gave my shake an amazing taste – sweet potato pie as promised. If sweet potato isn’t your thing, this shake probably isn’t for you either. For now, sweet potato is the only flavor they have.
If you’re looking to get on track with your macros and/or simply optimize your performance in the box, Clean Carbs might be a solid way to simplify the process and ensure that you’re getting sufficient complex carbs. Though the nutrient often scares fitness lovers away, carbs are tremendously important in any athlete’s diet to promote better recovery periods and overall energy. Best of all, it’s a clean supplement – made 100% from real food!