The When? What? Why? of Workouts and Carbs

Poor carbs. Everybody is talking trash about them these days. Atkins, Dukan, even the Paleo people are really putting it to your body's favourite fuel for high intensity workouts. But wait, if carbs are your body's favourite fuel, then why all the hate? It's a tough one. Mae West may have said that too much of a good thing can be wonderful, but she wasn't talking about bagels and getting lean. While the body loves these accessible bits of energy, too much can leave you fatter than ever, disrupt your body's ability to regulate blood sugar, and potentially leave you susceptible to gluten intolerances. The journal Sport Medicine recently showed that carbs not only benefit long-distance runners but HIIT exercisers as well. Not only does your performance suffer without them, but you feel the workouts more intensely, with less results. “Without carbs, you perceive that you’re training at a high level, but your actual energy level output is low,” says Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D., author of Power Eating and a sports nutrition consultant to top NFL, NBA, and Olympic athletes. So what can an athlete or fit person do to make sure to strike the right balance? Plan for two grams of low glycemic carbs per pound of body weight every day. 90 minutes before your workout: 1g of carbs per kilogram of your body weight per hour of planned exercise. 30 minutes before: In this case, you need quick fuel, so go for the white carbs. Yes, normally you would avoid those, but you need the energy quickly and because it will be used right away, you need the access.  Also, sports drinks and gels work here. Again, if you're planning a short workout, under 20 minutes in length, don't worry too much about carbing up. white bread After the workout: The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritio reports on a study that in addition to protein loading within half an hour of your workout, insulin, which your body releases when you eat carbs, helps protein build muscle more effectively. Does this information relieve your carb phobia a little? What do YOU fuel with? We want to know!  

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