Your quick reference guide to the Why, When & What of Carbs - Diligent Fitness

Your quick reference guide to the Why, When & What of Carbs

17th July 2013 by Kieran Igwe Nutrition 0 comments

One of the habits we cover in the DF fat loss nutrition program is the timing of eating carbohydrates.

In short, if you want to lose weight to change your physique, you’ll likely need to firstly address the type of carbohydrates you eat and secondly when you eat them. This is the habit that provokes the biggest reaction from my clients – they all go out to eat and most love bread, pasta and potatoes! The good news is we’re not saying you can’t eat them, just that there are better times to do so if your goal is fat loss.

When’s the best time to eat carbs?

There are different schools of thought on the cycling of carbs but we like to keep it simple and the rule of thumb that we’ve found works best for fat loss is to save your carbs for after your workout.

Why after my workout?

When you eat carbs they break down into sugar prompting the release of insulin to transport it out of your blood stream and into storage. If you’ve just worked out, your body stores the sugar in the muscles and if you haven’t, it’s more likely to get stored as fat.

I’m going out for dinner, how long does my ‘carb-allowance’ last after my workout?

For performance and muscle gain, up to one hour and for fat loss, up to two hours after your workout. Working out in the morning doesn’t cut it when the bread basket and wine come out at dinner. However, you can always ‘earn’ your carbs – some of our members have a home workout to do when they know they’re going out for dinner – especially if it’s a friend’s dinner party and they don’t have control over the food being served.

Do I get extra points for skipping carbs after my workout?

No definitely not, your body needs some carbohydrate after exercise to replenish the muscle energy stores you just used up in your workout.

What types of carbs are best?

‘Good’ carbs as whole foods are always going to be the best choice for overall health – brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, beans and pulses, next best would be wholemeal bread and pasta.

Examples of 'Good Carbs'

Examples of ‘Good Carbs’

So called ‘bad’ carbs include exactly what you’d expect; bagels, muffins, pastries, alcohol, fizzy drinks and any other junk food that’s mainly sugary carbs and fat. If you include post-workout protein shakes as part of your plan then blending a banana and a tablespoon of oats in to it will work great.

How much carbohydrate should I be eating?

For women the rule is one handful with your post-workout meal, for the guys two handfuls.

What if I get hungry?

If you occasionally feel hungry when eating less carbs just add a bit more protein and veggies to your meals – but being hungry is OK – as a rough guide you should still be satisfied one hour after eating, after two hours you might be feeling a little peckish and after three hours expect to be about 7/10 hungry and ready for your next meal.

So in short, if fat loss is your goal then eat carbs within two hours of exercise and go for the whole food carbs in the right portion size for you.

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