Thursday, 18 April 2013

The best times to eat carbs and not store them as fat

This is a dilemma everyone goes through, especially if you have been trying to lose weight.  Nine times out of ten I bet you've probably gone on one of those 'low carb' or 'no carb' diets.  And while you may have lost weight and the number of the scales may have reduced, that loss may have been from water or worse still muscle.  You may also have gained back that 10lbs plus a little more - now ask yourself, was it worth it!?

But stick with having your carbs both pre workout and / or post workout then carbs will both fuel you and replenish lost energy stores for next times activity.  This ensures you can have your favourite carbs while making them work for you and not storing them as fat.

Let's look at pre workout carbs first.  Working out on an empty stomach is not advisable (some may disagree) this may lead to fatigue, dizziness, fainting and low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia).  So to avoid any of these happening give yourself either a small meal of low to medium GI carbohydrates with a little protein (the protein will help to slow down the sugar release of the whole meal).  Have this pre workout meal 2 - 4 hours before your workout.  Some ideas include the following:
  • 1 sandwich (2 slices of bread), 1 or 2 rolls, 1 bagel or 1 wrap with a protein filling such as beef, ham, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese or pate.  Serve with leaves, tomato and cucumber.
  • A bowl of soup (check out my numerous soup blogs) with either a side salad or slice of bread or roll.
  • A baked potato with a serving of beans, tuna, cheese, chicken or coleslaw.
  • Bowl of porridge made with water or milk eaten with a portion of fruit.
  • Any of the suggestions at this blog
Experiment and find an energy source that works, You want to be able to find something that gives you the energy for a decent workout (by this I don't mean just a stroll in the park, think intervals of short intense bursts and recovery - otherwise known as HIIT and weights with overload).  On the other hand you don't want to feel lethargic and bloated before your workout.

The other option is to have a pre workout snack 30 / 45 minutes before your workout, something quick and easy such as:
  • 1 or 2 bananas
  • 1 or 2 portions of fresh fruit such as apple, grapes, orange, kiwi, pineapple, melon, mango etc.
  • A carb and or carb/protein shake
  • A fruit or vegetable smoothie
  • A cereal or sports bar
  • 2 rice cakes with chocolate spread or peanut butter
  • 2 chocolate covered rice cakes
  • Jam sandwich
Now to post carbs.  The best time to get your post workout carbs (and protein ideally) is as soon as possible so the process of repair and rebuild can begin.  And if you've been working hard the carbs you now take on board will be replenishing depleted glycogen stores within the muscles and liver.  Ideally you want to be taking on fuel within 30 minutes, certainly within an hour for optimum results and recovery.

Now I don't know about you, but I don't always fancy anything solid especially as during intense exercise blood flow is directed more at the muscles your working and less at your stomach and digestion system.  So I prefer to have a drink instead, in the form of a protein and carb shake made with water if at the gym, and soya, coconut or almond milk if I'm at home.  It goes down a little easier, then if I've had my workout in the late morning as usual its normally close to lunch time where 9 times out of 10 I'll be having my usual poached eggs and avocado on toast with baked tomatoes and beans.

But any of the suggestions listed would also work post workout.

I hope you've found this blog interesting and now know how to make carbs work for you.
Okay till next time, stay well and healthy.


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