Nothing but some well-earned carbs after a workout! Well that’s not so simple to start with. This blog topic by CRB Tech Reviews discuss the truth about post workout Carb feast.
Traditional gym wisdom says that if there’s a perfect time to eat carbs by the carton, it’s right after a workout, when your muscles act like sponges and absorb nutrients faster. But stuffing your mouth with cookies or gummy bears post-workout might not be the best solution.
Yes, carbs play a major role in replenishing glycogen, the carbogydrates stored in our liver and muscles. But because our bodies use stored muscle glycogen during a workout, it’s easy to get way too much of a good thing.
Here’s how to get in your intake to get all that you need without going overboard.
How Many Twizzlers do You Burn per Hour?
The average person stores around 100 grams of carbs in their liver and 400 grams in muscle. Research has shown that even after a hard workout, the same person burns only about 25 percent of that muscle glycogen. Similar researches into both high-volume resistance training and high-intensity interval training shows about the same level of depletion.
You might consider something like 5 sets of back squats, front squats, leg presses, and leg extensions to failure would give you the green light to demolish an entire box of Twizzlers. But at 10 grams of carbohydrates per stick, it wouldn’t take more than a handful to replace that 100 grams of carbohydrates you just used up.
Carbs Are Not Your Only Source of Fuel
This is partly to the fact that your body uses stored fat along with stored carbs, mainly during higher-intensity exercise. One study noted that a group of bodybuilders performing heavy resistance exercises burned an average of 28 % of their muscular glycogen, but burned 30 % from fat.
It takes your body about 24 hours to replenish muscle glycogen stores from a normal diet—that’s one without post-workout carbs. If you need to replace only about 100 grams a day—suppose you work out once a day, and even less if you have a lighter workout—then you’ve got all the time in the world to do it.
What’s An Ideal Post-Workout Carb Intake?
You might also wonder how much carbs to eat post-workout to optimize muscle recovery. Well, that depends on your size, nutrition goals, training goals, program, and schedule. If you crank out two-a-day workouts, you follow an ambitious CrossFit protocol, or you do one or two daily cardio sessions plus lifting a la Kris Gethin, there’s definitely a case to be made for some targeted post-workout carbs.
Assuming you do just one hard workout a day, you can replace the carbs you burned up exercising by consuming 0.25-0.50 grams of carbs per pound of body weight after your workout. But if you do more than one workout per day, consume the carbs within about an hour of the end of your workout. That way, your body will have a chance to digest them before you exercise again that day.
On the other end, a banana and a couple of handfuls of pretzels or a scoop of carb powder in your protein shake. If you’re at 200 pounds, you’re looking at more like 50-100 g. If your daily workout is on the lighter side, you need far less.
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