Nutrition plays a HUGE role in making the necessary changes to your body to reach any goal. More often than not, in ANY case, many are not eating enough. This is true for weight loss, gaining muscle/size, etc. Food is literally our fuel and if we are not taking advantage of the amazing benefits, then your goals will go right down the drain.
When to eat carbohydrates is a question I am asked often. There is more controversy over this one nutrient in the fitness world, than anything else! To benefit the most from your workouts and to feel the most energy, timing them around your workouts is important! Now, I am not saying that this is the ONLY time you can have them, but again, if looking to change a bit more with your physique and utilizing them at their best times, this is your route!
Lets begin with your pre-workout nutrition…..
So, you want your glycogen stores to be full during your workout because the carbs is what is going to give you the energy. I am speaking in terms of a good lifting workout, NOT just cardio. When you lift, you burn more calories and deplete your glycogen stores quicker. So, what do I eat then to make sure my glycogen stores are fueled up!?? Well, stick to a complex carbohydrate, one that is slow digesting. So, in this case, you want to eat your pre-workout meal 45 minutes to 1.5 hours before your workout! The slow digesting carbohydrate allows time for your body to digest the carb and have it ready for fuel.
Side note: Do not eat just a carb for breakfast! Make sure you pair this with a lean protein such as eggs or egg whites! Greek yogurt and whey protein are great options too!
Examples of complex carbohydrates: Think of your grains!
Oatmeal (or any hot cereal!)
Multi-grain/whole grain breads
Just to name a few….
Soooo, then what!???
As you are doing your thing and lifting heavy things, your glycogen stores are beginning to deplete. As they deplete you may notice that you are starting to run out of energy! So, immediately after your workout, you need to refuel! In essence, your simple carbohydrates would actually be great here. They digest quickly and restore your glycogen levels much faster. So, this would be the window of opportunity to have foods such as sugary cereals, a doughnut, pop-tarts, etc. Now, I am not saying to just go eat these things after every workout. You really have to earn it! Doing just cardio does not count! Also, it does not mean to go eat as much as you want. It means to eat a donut or a pop-tart. Personally, I only do this when I know my workout is going to be crazy, insane and that my body will be crying afterwards. If this is something you do not want, then other simple carbohydrates are foods such as white rice (sushi is a perfect post workout treat!) and fruits! I love bananas right after a good lift!
Another side note: Make sure you have a lean protein such as whey isolate protein powder post workout as well! It is important to pair nutrients together instead of having just one!
Nutrition is a science and utilizing it correctly can make you great gains! Everyone has different goals, so how they are used for each person is going to be different. If you are looking for something more individualized, I would love to help you! Everything I do is customized according to your needs and goals!
Check out my packages page for more detail and shoot me an email! I would love to help you get started!