Carbs are your frenemy! They can be your best friend or your worst nightmare; it all just depends on how you chose to consume them. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy: they provide our muscles with the glucose we need to perform and recover. However, choosing the right types of carbs, and properly timing your carb consumption, can make or break your physique and performance.
The first thing you need to know is to be able to determine what types of carbs you need, and when you need them. A general rule of thumb that I like to follow is to always consume low glycemic carbs (slow digesting carbs) with every meal.
Here’s a list of some good slow digesting carbs:
The only exception I follow is to consume high glycemic carbs (fast digesting carbs) with my immediate post workout meal. This is because consuming high GI carbs within the first 15 minutes to 2 hours after training can help you quickly replenish the depleted glycogen levels in your muscle. High GI carbs cause your insulin levels to rise causing the proteins, carbs, and other nutrients to be quickly shuttled into your starving muscles.
Here’s a list of some good post-workout fast digesting carbs:
Another piece of advice I would give about carbohydrates is to eat most of them in the morning, and slowly reduce the amount you eat for the rest of the day. Yes, as long as you hit your macro numbers for carbs each day, eating carbs later in the day won’t hurt your physique goals, but this is just a personal preference of mine. If carbs give you energy, it just makes sense to eat more of them earlier in the day to have the energy to carry you through your day (and kill your workout).
Now that you have an idea of some good carbs, and when to consume them, you can optimize your carb consumption for your training goals! Just make sure you don’t overdue those post workout high GI carbs!