Eating carbs before working out? Just a little goes a long way
If you tend to load up on carbohydrates before working out, you may want to rethink your tactics. It turns out that eating just a small amount of carbs prior to exercising is actually enough.
According to experts, it is a good idea to eat some carbohydrates before working out, but that does not mean you need to gorge yourself. You should be eating small amounts of easily digestible carbohydrates. That means eating a few graham crackers or pretzels rather than a heaping plate of pasta.
What is the ideal serving size for this situation? Take a look at your fist – that’s the right amount!
Where did the idea of carb-loading come from?
Over the years, the main idea probably got a little lost. Eating a small amount of food about a half hour before working out is just fine. This helps to ensure that your body has enough fuel to get through the workout and that your blood sugar remains stable.
You should also be thinking about the type of workout you are about to do. The type of activity will usually determine what your body needs for fuel. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and just doing a little light exercise, you should take it easy on the carbs. However, if you are doing something a little more intense, like running a marathon or doing some strength training, you should eat a little more.
Keep in mind that during a workout, your body uses the glycogen that is stored in your muscles. Glycogen is a compound that builds up when you eat carbs. You do not need extra stores of glycogen; you just need enough to get you through the workout.
Another thing you should remember is that everyone is different when it comes to how we react to food. That means that some people may not need as much in the way of carbs before a workout, and it is easy to eat too many carbs without realising it. Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid fad diets focusing on carbohydrate intake or any trendy supplements. Always do your research and talk to your doctor or dietician.
Now that you know that you do not necessarily need to eat a huge amount of carbs before working out, you may be wondering what you should be eating afterward. Once you have used up all that glycogen and your workout is over, it is time for your body to recover and rebuild muscle. That is when you’re going to need protein. Have a glass of chocolate milk, a hard-boiled egg, or a handful-sized portion of lean meat.
No matter what carbs and proteins you are eating before and after your workout, do not forget to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day!