It’s not a secret that pre- and post-workout nutrient consumption is the most critical time for anyone who lifts. And from all the nutrients there is one in particular that determines our energy and performance levels – carbohydrates. Today I am going to explain my view on carbs intake before and after workout. There are many theories on which is the most efficient way to take carbs and how their intake leads to optimization of fat loss and muscle gain. It is important to note that although protein and fat consumption may be rather fixed, carbohydrates are subject to great change, depending on your energy expenditure and basic metabolic rate (BMR).
While there is a perceived standard for protein intake for bodybuilders, there is no perceived standard for carbs. Why? Because different people require different amounts of carbs depending on how much energy they spend resting, training and performing everyday activities. Certain ectomorphs may need large amounts of carbs (over 4 grams per kg of bodyweight), while certain endomorphs may need only as little as 1 gram per kg of bodyweight. Now that we’ve passed through some of the basics behind carbs need, let’s focus on the most important time of the day when we should make the most out of their consumption.
For a period of 2-3 hours before workout I take very low amount of carbs with very low glycemic index. Yeah, you heard it right – I limit my carb intake before working out. Why? Because consuming carbs before training lowers your nervous system excitement, which automatically lowers your training focus and drive. Try it for yourself and you will see how different you feel when training. I suggest having a complex carb like brown rice minimum 2 hours before working out. After the last meal – only amino acids or pre-workout supplements. Consuming a large portion of carbs before working out will kill your workout and make you feel sleepy, lazy and slow. Follow my advice and see the difference for yourself.
Approximately 15 minutes after your workout you should consume a 30-50 grams of high quality whey protein combined with 30 to 100 grams of carbs. The amount of carbs you consume following the workout depends on two factors: volume of the workout and the total carb consumption throughout the day. If you were relatively low on carbs for the whole day or you performed a 40 sets leg workout, then make sure you load with a large amount of carbs post-workout. This will help with replenishing glycogen stores and speeding up recuperation. As to the type of carbs, I usually go with 2 bananas and a double protein shake (that’s around 45 grams of simple carbs). An hour after this I will have large portion of chicken or tuna with rice. Don’t hurry up to eat after the last working set. Let the body rest for 10-15 minutes and for the heart rate to drop down, so that your digestive system is ready to work. Another important note is that the lower your body fat is – the higher amount of carbs your should consume post-workout. The higher your body fat is – the lower amount of carbs you should consume. Individuals with above 15% BF should not take carbs post-workout.
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