This week our question comes from Matt Gilbert from Boston, Massachusetts and pertains to nutrition, specifically in the workout window.
Curious on nutrition. If you're eating carbs before a workout, would you prefer rice or a pasta. Also, post workouts, is it bad to have darker meat opposed to a chicken or turkey? Any alternative meals or items to eat for both questions would be awesome !!"
This is a great question and an aspect of training and nutrition that is often overlooked. Utilizing nutrient timing can be extremely beneficial to not only your workouts, but also your body composition goals.
The first part of Matt’s question deals with the type of carbohydrates to specifically consume. Now, in terms of rice vs. pasta, it really does not matter what type of carb you consume, just more so that you consume them within 1-2 hours of your workout. However, if you have gluten sensitivity rice is a great alternative to use as a carb source. Simply put, your body’s main source of energy for training comes from glycogen stores. That is, carbohydrates produce blood glucose and once you deplete your body’s glycogen stores it will turn to the carbs you have given it as additional energy. So, to avoid the loss of valuable muscle tissue it is imperative that you give your body this secondary energy source once your glycogen is depleted. If not, you can place yourself in a catabolic state. Essentially, there are two states, anabolic and catabolic. An anabolic state promotes muscle growth while a catabolic state is the product of muscle breakdown due to your body not having necessary glycogen to fuel itself. As a result, pre workout carbs and even an intra-workout shake filled with amino acids and a carb source can go a long way in promoting an anabolic state! If your goal is fat loss, you can simply fuel yourself with amino acids during your workout and push your body to seek fat stores for energy instead.
For post-workout nutrition, it is also imperative to consume your carbs and protein within 30 minutes to one hour after your workouts. Again, if you miss this “anabolic window,” your body will begin to break down muscle tissue for recovery, which is a catabolic state. Properly timed post-workout nutrition can generate muscle growth and recovery via protein and also replenish your glycogen stores that you depleted throughout your workout. Basically, to ensure that your carbs are used as an energy source and not transferred to fat it is imperative that you utilize this window. Starchy carbs are a great way to achieve this. The higher a carb is on the glycemic index the better it is for glycogen replenishment. Sugary and starchy carb sources are great for athletes or those seeking muscle gains. Furthermore, for those who have the goal of fat loss, this is a great way to ensure that the carbs you consume do not turn into fat. Lastly, protein sources that are lean like chicken are preferable because they can reduce fat that will be idly stored. A protein powder that can be consumed once a workout is completed is ideal.
Gerry DeFilippo: ISSA CPT- CPPS, AAPS. Founder/Owner: Challenger Strength.