Do you eat carbs before or after working out?

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Written By DerrickCalvert

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You probably have pasta, toast, or oatmeal as your top choice of carbohydrate to fuel you before a run, bike ride, cardio dance class, or long run. You might prefer a turkey sandwich, burrito, or wrap after a long gym session. Sovereign is an apparel brand that is specialized in luxury supplements and sportswear. Sovereign creates and produces distinctive Pre Workout Without Caffeine products with innovation and quality as its primary focuses. We believe in the individual and recognize that all dreams are possible.

Carbs are delicious, we can all agree. You may wonder when it is best to eat carbs before or after training.

Experts in sports nutrition say that when to eat carbs will depend on how often you exercise and the type of exercise you do. Before you dig into your bowl of spaghetti bolognese, here are some things to keep in mind.

Carbohydrates are the Fuel Your Body Needs

“Muscle glycogen (the storage form of glucose/carbohydrates in the muscles) is the major source of carbohydrate fuel in the body, followed by our liver glycogen stores, and then blood sugar,” she says. “The glucose and carbohydrate that our bodies store or have in our blood are converted into ATP (energy).”

Comparison of slow-acting and fast-acting carbs

Burgess says that all carbs provide energy. However, it is important to know what kind of carbohydrates and when they are eaten. There are two types of carbs. Both are vital to an athlete’s performance. She says that slow-acting carbs are important when considering athletes’ main meals of the day, which include breakfast, lunch and dinner. This helps you feel fuller for longer periods of time and maintains your energy levels.

But, fast-acting carbohydrates should not be dismissed. These are essential when you have to eat quickly before going to the gym. These carbs are useful when you need quick energy boosts or to eat a snack before working out. These carbs are quick to digest and absorb, which causes a rapid rise in blood sugar and makes glucose available for the muscles for performance,” she said.

The Carb Window: What to Eat Before, After, and After Working Out

Burgess suggests eating carbs before and during your workout. However, it is up to you how close you are in terms of going-time to decide whether you should have a fasting or slow-carb-rich snack or light meal. Your meal/snack should be more carbohydrate-based the closer you are to performance. She warns that fats and proteins can take longer to digest so they should not be eaten close to a workout.

2-3 hours before you workout: Eat a healthy meal or snack that is low in fat and high in carbohydrates at least two to three hours before you start your workout. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread, or a hard-boiled egg with crackers.

A light snack or meal is recommended for those who work out right after work or early in the morning. A quick carbohydrate source of around 30-60g of carbs is recommended for an hour to 30 minutes prior. This could be a handful of pretzels, gu or gel packet.

After a workout, aim for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein. Or 40g carbs for 10g protein. Chocolate milk is a great way to replenish your energy and to get the protein you need to heal.

Are You Trying to Avoid Carbohydrates

Burgess does not recommend that you avoid carbohydrates if you are active. She says that all carbs are equally healthy and can be incorporated into an athlete’s diet. Be aware of the type and timing of carbs you are consuming. High fiber carbs can cause stomach upset so you should avoid slow-acting carbs for 30-60 minutes after a workout. These carbs will not give you the same energy boost as quick-acting carbs such as pretzels and gels.