Even recreational athletes understand the importance of diet. They understand that ingesting junk food rather than healthy food diminishes performance, both in the long and short term. However, there is considerable confusion as you dig deeper, especially with the popularity of “fad diets”. Low-carb diets have given people the impression that carbohydrates are their enemy, and this has kept many recreational athletes away from them. This is unfortunate because most athletes understand the absolute necessity of this food group. While I’m sure the science of “pre-race carb in-take” has changed over the years, even 30 years ago, my racing buddies and I would go on carbo loading binges the day before ultra-distance races.
Training Peaks’ blog did a nice summary on The Importance of Carbohydrates and Glycogen for Athletes. In it, Dr. Millan insists that: “Nutrition is a key part of the training regime of any athlete. Not ingesting enough calories can result in a lack of important macro and micronutrients…especially true when it comes to carbohydrates.” As an example, Dr. Millan says the percentage of carbs in Kenyan runners’ diets is 76.5% and “even 20% of their total daily caloric intake comes from sugar!”. Dr. Millan explains that during exercise, skeletal muscles can use fat for energy purposes, but at higher exercise intensities fat cannot meet ATP demand (the basic unit of energy that enables cells to function), but carbs are able to synthesize fast enoughto meet the skeletal muscle fiber demands.
The apostle Paul used the analogy of food on several occasions in his writings. One of the analogies he uses is the term “solid food” which appears in his letter to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 3: 1-3). Paul admonishes the church saying: “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
The word “milk” used above is the Greek word gala. Strong’s Concordance (G1051) tells us that, as a metaphor, it refers to the “less difficult truths of the Christian religion”. The term “solid food” (G1033) is brõma and refers to “that which delights and truly satisfies the mind”. It refers to deeper spiritual truths. I’m not sure if it’s just the way I’m wired, but if I received a letter like the above from one of my mentors I’d be crushed, and I would want to make changes to my life. In fact, while I didn’t receive a letter, I did listen to a Christian speaker decades ago and the message he delivered basically said the same thing and it cut me deep. While I had been a Christian for decades, I was still sucking on milk rather than eating solid spiritual food. The issue was that I had to first do some serious spiritual surgery, admitting to, and removing sinful behavior from my life, and then commit to walking humbly so God could mould me and prepare me to be able to take in solid food. How about you? Are you stuck in the most elemental teachings (e.g. dealing with jealousy, arguments, sexual purity etc.) or are you working through deeper spiritual truths that take you beyond yourself and make you truly useful to God?