At TeamWorx in Alexandria, VA, our goal is to help you become fit, which means focusing on both exercise and nutrition. During your time in the gym, we attempt to answer questions immediately, but when they are asked a lot, often answer in a blog, so you have more time for other questions. Recently, there’s a lot of talk about carb timing You may have seen it on TikTok, where people consumed Rice Krispie bars before going to the gym, but it has been part of marathons for years, but called carb loading.
Pre and post workout snacks are examples of carbohydrate timing.
Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein before and after a workout has its benefits. These light snacks can be as simple as peanut butter on an apple or cottage cheese and fruit. The concept is that the carbs provide instant energy and the protein to help retain muscle and for a longer energy boost. After your workout, the snack helps replenish glycogen and improves muscle repair and recovery.
Stick with food without added sugar.
If you’re going to time carbs, make them healthy. While loading up on pasta may work for marathons, it doesn’t for most carb timing. To help become your fittest, snacks need to be healthy and contain no added sugar. Fresh fruit is always a good choice and so is a sweet potato. You can combine it with protein like cheese, nuts or nut products, or even a glass of milk. Avoid junk food, like soft drinks, pasta, pretzels, desserts and candy.
You can benefit from carb timing even if you aren’t planning a workout.
Once you know that consuming some carbs before a workout can help, you can use that information when you’re not going to the gym. Are you going to be in meetings all day? Go easy on the simple carbs. If you’re not using them for instant energy, they convert to fat that’s stored. Instead, opt for lighter snacks and reduce your carbohydrate intake dramatically.
- The carbs provide fuel for exercise and if you workout without eating them first, you might not have enough energy in reserve in the form of glycogen in the muscles. Without the extra fuel, either your body breaks down muscle for energy, you don’t have as good of a workout or both.
- If you do choose simple carbs before or after a workout, use natural choices, such as fruit, which provides other benefits. The average American diet contains far too much added sugar to maintain a healthy body. Men should have 9 teaspoons a day or less and women should have no more than 6.
- If you choose a complex carb for carb timing, it can also improve your performance, while keeping blood sugar levels more stable. It can aid in boosting protein stores in the muscles. Whole grains are a source of complex carbs and when combined with a slice of cheese or turkey, a great snack.
- You may not need to do carb timing before a workout if your workout isn’t intense, but just moderate intensity. If you can talk while you’re working out, it’s moderate. If you’re gasping for air, it’s high intensity.
For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness