Pre vs. Post Workout Carbs

This is post by NoBull Author, Mike Boyle

Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy.  Carbs come from a wide variety of foods: breads, pastas, dairy products, potatoes and even pop-tarts.  Sugars, fiber and starches are the most common and abundant forms of carbs.

Simple carbohydrates like the ones found in fruits and dairy products are easily digested by the body.  Your body breaks down simple carbs to be used as energy, your body uses these up very quickly.  Complex carbohydrates which are found in foods like whole grain breads and brown rice, take a longer time for your body to digest.  Complex carbs give you a longer lasting energy.

Their is a newer system of classifying carbohydrates, its called the glycemic index.  The glycemic index ranks food on how they affect your blood glucose level.  Low Glycemic foods are taken into the bloodstream slowly allowing levels to remain stable.  High Glycemic foods cause a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels.

Pre-Workout Carbs:

Your pre-workout meal is one of the most important meals of the day.  If order to provide the necessary fuel to your workout, you need a slow digesting carb.  This will provide you with the intensity and strength needed to push yourself to the limit.

A Low Glycemic slow releasing carbohydrate (complex carb) will help you sustain your energy level throughout your workout.  Complex carbs take longer to convert to glucose, which will keep you blood sugar levels consistent and will provide you with the necessary energy needed to power through your workout.  A High-Glycemic carb or fast digesting carb is not the right choice for a pre-workout carb.  You will use this energy up very quickly and leave you burned out before your workout is complete.

Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, but on average most people should take in about 30-40 grams pre-workout.  Consuming a carbohydrate-rich food along with fast-digesting whey protein shake pre-workout, will help you perform better during your workout.  You should consume your pre-workout meal 1-2 hrs prior to working out.  This will ensure your food is fully digested.  Here a list of some Low-Glycemic carbs.

Low-Glycemic Pre-Workout Carbs:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Old fashioned oatmeal
  • Bran cereals
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Sweet Potato

Post-Workout Carbs:

Your body uses what called glycogen (stored carbohydrates) during your workout.  Glycogen is the primary energy source your body uses to fuel your workout.  It is very important to replace that glycogen as soon as possibly after your workout.

During your workout you are breaking down and damaging the muscle cells.  Your body needs to replace the glycogen used up during your workout, to help repair the damaged muscle cells.  To replace you muscle glycogen and avoid any further damage to your muscle, you should consume a high glycemic carb.

Consuming the proper post workout meal, will help your body repair and build lean muscle. While a whole food meal is fine post-workout, you may benefit more from a post workout shake.  Getting the necessary nutrients in, in the right amount of time, the post-workout shake is your best bet.

A post-workout shake should consist of whey protein along with a dextrose or waxy-maize supplement added in.  You also could just drink a Gatorade with your protein shake.  This is a great way to get a good amount of carbs in your body to help spike your insulin levels.

A good rule of thumb is to get a ratio of 2 to 1 carbs to protein, in your post-workout shake.  Most people need to get in around 40-80 grams of carbs post-workout.  You should consume your post-workout meal no longer then 60-90 minutes after you workout has been completed.  Here a list of some High-Glycemic carbs.

High-Glycemic Post-Workout Carbs:

  • Dextrose
  • Waxy-Maize
  • Gatorade
  • Brown rice pasta
  • White rice
  • White potatoes
  • Bananas

NoBull Author Mike Boyle

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One Response to "Pre vs. Post Workout Carbs"

  1. Kate:
    July 15, 2014 06:02 pm

    Well, usually I add l-glutamine powder to my whey protein shake to help my muscles recover faster. Awesome tips!

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