Lost in Carb-Land confusion?
When to eat carbs, and when not to eat carbs, seems to be the number one question most people ask.
Why does it have to be so confusing!
The answer is, it really doesn’t need to be confusing at all. I’m going to give you a basic breakdown on this hot-topic to help you achieve your fitness goals.
- Simply put, carbs help with muscle tissue growth and recovery.
- Carbs can boost energy and even take away hunger.
HOWEVER (before you get excited and make a beeline for the pasta and bread) you must be aware that eating the wrong carbs at the wrong time can confuse our bodies. It could lead to storing those carbs instead of using them, and will ultimately turn them into fat… and we definitely do not want that!
Thus begs the question:
How many different types of carbs are there?
Answer: there are Three Kinds of Carbs:
- Fast-digesting carbs
- Slow-digesting carbs
- High-fiber carbs
In order to know which ones to eat, and when to eat them for maximum benefit, you’ll need to know how each carb is used by your body.
First up, the fast-acting carb.
These carbs are best consumed about 25 minutes before exercise because they supply your body with the energy it needs to get in the zone and get a great workout! The glycogen will return to your muscles, helping you to work harder.
These quick carbs include sugars and syrups, like energy drinks, gels and bars. You may also reap some benefit by consuming these quick-carbs after an intense workout.
Second, the slow-digesting carbs.
These give us a slow-burn energy, versus the jolt from the fast-acting carb. Insulin levels will not spike, and you can sustain the energy a little longer, without suffering that post-workout crash.
When looking for these carbs, reach for sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat pancakes. However, it’s important to keep in mind that timing consumption around your workout is key and is best utilized in your morning meals. Eating slow-digesting carbs in the evening will send them right to your body’s storage center and will turn into fat rather than burned as energy!
Lastly, there is the fibrous carb.
This high-fiber carb supports your total health system and has the smallest impact on your insulin level.
You won’t find that instant energy you get with the fast-acting carbs, so there won’t be much effect to your workout. Think fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils. We should eat fibrous carbs several times a day, but avoid them an hour before workouts, as well as 30 minutes post-workout.
Try to choose veggies over fruits later in the day to reduce the insulin impact.
So, now that you have a better idea of what carbs you should eat throughout the day, what will you reach for before your workout?