It’s common knowledge carbs provide energy for our daily physical and mental function. However, consuming them in excess may cause a surplus in unused glucose which converts to fat. That’s why for many of us, the quickest way to cut weight is cutting back carbohydrate intake. While this is true, sometimes we forget the importance of carbs and how having them at the right time can actually promote weight loss and/or supplement our training!
After a full night of sleep without any food, it’s hard to imagine starting a day full throttle on an empty stomach. While a breakfast consisting of protein is better than nothing at all, protein itself isn’t going to provide energy to sustain activity for the next few hours. What’s our natural tendency when we’re hungry? I can’t speak for all of us, but for me I usually scavenge around for food like a squirrel or have a big meal to overcompensate for my hunger. When you combine complex carbs with your protein, not only are you increasing nutrient intake, you are supplying fuel for mental function and physical activity. But my point with this is, a breakfast with substance will make you feel full longer, so the need to overstuff yourself when you’re running on empty or opening the fridge every 10mins for a bite of this or that is unnecessary. If you feel guilty for eating carbs, just remember you have the rest of the day to burn it off!
The other optimal time to consume carbs is right after your workout. After intense training, our muscles are depleted of glycogen. Simple/high glycemic carbohydrates combined with hydrolyzed protein are the quickest combo to replenish that glycogen arsenal and help with muscle growth and repair (don’t worry ladies, you won’t sprout into She-Hulk overnight). So theoretically, you can have candy after your workout and that helps replenish your muscles without getting fat. But keep in mind you probably will notice getting “fluffier” if you train half ass and eat a bag of Sour Patch Kids day after day. You can have your cake and eat it too…but you have to work for it! To play on the safe side, what I do is for my post workout replenishment is to keep the carb to protein ratio to roughly 1:1 (because I am a 5’2” female at 108lbs). But if I’ve had a grueling leg day, then I up the carbs to 1.5-2. Generally though for an average man, a rule of thumb is a 3:1 carb to protein ratio. Instead of eating candy, I normally mix a carb supplement with my protein powder because it’s easier to measure and I won’t be tempted to go overboard with the Skittles.
While eliminating carbs may get you to your target weight quicker, the possibility if having a carb relapse once your goal is reached is a very common occurrence. With the right timing, one does not have to deprive oneself of those precious carbs to reach their physical goal. Even a couple servings of carbs will keep one sane while cutting on a low carb program!