When's the best time to consume carbs for training?
I’m sure most people are sick and tired of reading posts related to carbohydrates. This informal article will take a slightly different approach and explore carbohydrate intake timings for bodybuilders and physique athletes. We all know that carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and need to be utilised effectively rather than feared.
Who hasn’t had a bowl of oats for breakfast? We are brainwashed into starting the day the right way and being fuller for longer by clever big budget commercials and advertising campaigns. Often starting the day with oats or even worse a sugar packed breakfast cereal.
Did you know that by eliminating carbohydrates or keeping them below 10g in our first meal of the day will reduce insulin stimulation. Controlling the insulin response creates a favourable hormonal environment to reduce body fat by increasing fat oxidation; adipose fatty acids will be used as an energy source to support the bodies’ activity requirements. If you consistently follow this breakfast principle enzyme activity to transport fat into the mitochondria of the cell is increased. Therefore, increasing the long term capacity to reduce body fat.
Other benefits of a carbohydrate free breakfast include improving the body’s ability to utilize carbohydrates and improve overall physical and psychological sporting performance.
Another common misconception is pre training carbohydrate consumption. Many choose to consume a meal high in carbohydrates pre training. Have you ever questioned why? Carbohydrate intake can lead to tiredness, bloating and lethargy during the session. Perhaps more importantly, consuming carbohydrates pre training reduces your growth hormone levels which is key to building muscle and reducing body fat.
We suggest you consume simple carbohydrates (Dextrose/maltodextrin) intra workout. Intra workout carbohydrate intake will reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Reducing cortisol will help prevent significant muscle breakdown.
The perfect window of opportunity for carbohydrate consumption is post training. A large bolus of carbohydrates will trigger a significant insulin response, priming your body to absorb the much needed nutrients. Insulin is storage hormone and will kickstart your recovery process driving nutrients present in the blood stream and pushing them into the surrounding cells. For this reason you want to avoid the intake of fats around your workout. It is likely that fat circulating in the blood stream from the meal prior/post training will be stored as body fat.
In summary, carbohydrates can be a very useful tool despite the bad press they have received over the last few years. Consuming them at the right TIMES when we need them rather than when we want them or THINK we need them is the key.