You need the right fuel to live an active lifestyle. Carbohydrates can be a quick source of energy to help you get through a workout. Carbohydrates are delicious and you might be curious about the best time to enjoy them for optimizing your workout routine.
What are Carbs?
Carbohydrates, along with protein and fat, are one of the three macronutrients we eat. Carbohydrates are also the primary and preferred energy source for your body and brain.
Carbohydrates are a food group that is often criticized for being unhealthy. Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient for overall health. Certain types of carbs have more benefits than others.
There are many foods that contain carbs. Carbohydrates can be found in grains, legumes and fruits, vegetables, and snacks like crackers or granola bars.
Carbohydrates and Workouts: When to Eat Carbs
Carbohydrates are the best fuel for your workouts. They are stored in a hierarchy in your body. Your muscle glycogen is the first source of energy. This is the stored form of carbs in your muscles. Next, you have liver glycogen and then your blood sugar (glucose). Your body uses glycogen and glucose to provide fuel. ATP is what your cells use to convert it into energy.
Carbohydrates are essential for energy and recovery before and after a workout. These are some tips to make sure you get the most out of carbs during your workout.
Slow-acting energy is best for preparing for exercise. Choose carbs made from whole grains, legumes, or other minimally processed foods rich in fiber. Fast-acting energy is best obtained from carbs that have been processed quickly. This includes snacks, crackers, and fruit. To increase muscle glycogen and decrease damage, you can combine fast-acting carbs and protein during resistance training.
Eat a snack or meal that is high in slow-acting carbohydrates two to three hours before you start your workout. For a balanced, energy-boosting, satisfying, and satiating combination, it should be paired alongside some fat and protein. Whole-grain toast with peanut sauce is one example.
It can be beneficial to have a quick-acting source of carbohydrates when you are closer to your workout. For example, 30 minutes before hitting the gym. A banana, an apple, or a banana mixed with some crackers or pretzels would be a good example. This energy boost can help you get through your workouts without feeling drained. You can also try caffeine.
After a workout, you can help your body recover by eating high-protein, low-carb foods. Carbohydrates replenish energy and protein supports muscle repair. A hard-boiled egg, a banana, Greek yogurt with strawberries and granola, and perhaps a glass of chocolate milk.
What about carb-loading?
Most people have heard of “carb loading” when it comes to workouts. It is sometimes misunderstood to mean that you should eat a lot of carbs before you begin your workout.
It is important to start consuming high-quality carbs at least two days before any major workout or event. To help increase your glycogen stores, these can be eaten in small but consistent quantities in snacks and meals.
Best Carbs For Exercise
Everyone needs carbs and they shouldn’t be ignored. Both slow-acting and fast-acting carbs can be part of an active lifestyle. They can also be used for different purposes. It is important to eat carbs in order to prevent fatigue while working out.
Carbohydrates can be included in your diet at any time. However, you should place a high-quality emphasis on carbs.
Here are some examples of high-quality carbs that can be used to aid exercise:
- Whole grains such as quinoa, barley and brown rice, whole-wheat toast, and legume pasta are all good options.
- Whole fruits such as bananas, apples and grapes, oranges, and pears, are also available.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, and corn are high-carb vegetables.
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Cottage cheese and yogurt
Do you eat carbs before or after a workout?
Carbohydrates are essential to fuel sources, especially if you live an active lifestyle. High-quality carbs are essential for muscle endurance and prevent fatigue. Both slow- and fast-acting carbs can support workouts. You can support your workouts with carbs such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, cottage cheese, and grains.