By Myprotein Writer |
Carbohydrates have been getting a lot of bad press in the fitness world in recent years. There are a lot of low-carb diets and high fat, high-protein Paleo style diets that are becoming more and more popular.
While some of these diets have various levels of usefulness for those looking to improve their health, body and performance, they can largely make your fitness goals harder to reach.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are our bodies main source of energy. Carbs play a vital role in our ability to exercise; by using carbohydrates properly and effectively you can see positive increases in body composition as well as improved strength, speed and stamina in the gym or your chosen sport!
Let’s look at body composition first, a lot of people assume that a low -carb diet automatically means abs and single digit body fat – and while you may at first see great weight loss results by following a low-carb plan, a lot of this weight you lose at first comes from water.
When you exercise your body uses glycogen to power your workout. When your body uses up the supply of glycogen from the muscles and the liver it loses the water associated with this. Your body desperately wants this supply back and when you do finally eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, it fills the glycogen stores up again and you gain the water (and the weight) back.
However, by eating carbohydrates at the right times and in the right form and quantities you can start to see some great benefits!
Benefits of Carbohydrates for Performance
Carbs are fuel for your body; by eating the right amount of carbs you can power your training sessions more effectively.
This will enable you to see improvements in any high intensity activity you are performing, as your body has plenty of glycogen to fuel your muscles and nervous system.
The amount of weight you can lift should improve as well as how many reps you can complete, leading to strength gains, which should mean muscle gain.
As a byproduct, you’ll be able to lift more, gain more muscle – and therefore burn more fat (more muscle = increase of calorie burn at rest.)
The key is finding when to eat carbs and what carbs to eat to see the best results for you.
The Best Time To Eat Carbs
It can benefit your body to eat carbohydrates on a daily basis if you are a moderately active person.
Carbs could be used as a pre-work out, 25-50g around 1-2 hours before you train. For example: A small bowl of oats or a baked sweet potato.
Then again following your work out, within 2 hours of leaving the gym. For example: a protein shake containing carbs 3:1 or 4:1 being the recommended ratio of carbs to protein. Or even a tin of tuna and with a 75-100g serving of microwave rice or a portion of quinoa!
This combination of pre and post work nutrients should give you the optimum glycogen levels to fuel your work out
s and improve and grow after every gym session. It works the same if you train or perform more than once a day.
If you’re performing weights in the morning and then have a Ju Jitsu class in the evening or play football you need to adequately fuel your body for each of these sessions to get the most out of them.
Take Home Message
Carbohydrates are a source of energy that your body uses in order to perform to its optimum capacity, whether you train once a week or twice a day. You need to give your body the correct amount of fuel..
Ultimately, you need to find out what works best for you. Some strategy’s work great for some and not as well for others.
See what fuels your workouts best, but by using carbs correctly to get you through your training and promote recovery you should be able to see lasting improvements to your fitness, physique or sporting goals.