To many people, carb is a four-letter word that's completely off-limits in their diets, but the bad reputation that carbohydrates have gained in the world of sports nutrition is rather undeserved.
The truth is that carbs can be an important part of any post-workout supplement plan when used properly.
Benefits of Carbs After a WorkoutThe primary benefit of getting a healthy dose of post workout carbs is its effects on glycogen, the form that glucose takes when it's stored in your muscles. Glycogen is the primary fuel source that your body uses during workouts, as it can be rapidly broken down to create the ATP needed to produce muscle contractions. When you fail to replace the glycogen that was consumed during a workout, your muscles simply can't fully recover, which can limit muscle growth and stymy your progress toward building mass. Plus, the intake of carbs will quickly re-energise you, so that you can continue with your daily activities without feeling drained.
The Kind of Carbs MattersCarbohydrates truly can be beneficial after a workout, but not all carbs are the same. The best carbs for use post-workout are those that can be rapidly digested and absorbed to replenish glycogen at the quickest possible rate. These types of carbs are also known as high-glycemic carbs. Dextrose, a form of pure glucose, can give your body the fastest increase in glucose levels possible. This is because the glucose doesn't have to be digested. It can simply be absorbed right into your bloodstream and put to work.
Do Carbs After a Workout Make You Fat?
If you're working out to burn body fat and build muscle mass, you may worry that taking in extra carbs will undermine your weight loss benefits. When consumed after a workout, it's highly unlikely that carbs will be converted into fat, as the glucose that they contain is so sorely needed by the muscles. Even if you're limiting your intake of carbs from your other meals, consuming some after your workout is more likely to further your efforts to reduce body fat rather than conflict with them. Experts recommend post workout carbs to complement all weight loss diets, except for any in which carbohydrates have been 100 per cent eliminated during the rest of the day.
Best Practices for Post Workout CarbsTo get the absolute best results from post-workout carbs, follow these tips:
- The best time to consume post workout carbohydrates is as soon as you're finished working out.
- Most experts recommend 20 to 60 grams of dextrose and high glycemic carbs following a workout.
- If you feel sluggish when you consume only high glycemic carbs after a workout, try splitting the dosage in half with 50 per cent high and 50 per cent low gylcemic carbs.
- Most people should consume roughly 40 grams of protein along with carbs immediately after a workout.