Does Carb Timing Matter? | Legion


Carb timing refers to the way you schedule your carbohydrate consumption round your exercises, and it’s a subject that spurs furor within the health house.

Some individuals imagine consuming carbs instantly earlier than and after you prepare is of prime significance as a result of it’s the one method to maximize your efficiency and restoration.

Others disagree. They are saying consuming pre-workout carbs lets you prepare longer and tougher, which boosts muscle and power acquire over time, however post-workout carbs do little to facilitate progress. 

Nonetheless others have the alternative opinion, claiming pre-workout carbs are of little account, however post-workout carbs replenish your vitality and prep your muscular tissues for future exercises.

Sussing the info from the fallacies could be difficult, too, as a result of each argument appears believable at face worth.

On this article, we’ll name on science to assist reply this straightforward query. 

When is the very best time to eat carbs?


What Is “Carb Timing?”

For many years, scientists, athletes, and bodybuilders have tried to pinpoint the excellent time to devour every macronutrient to maximise efficiency and outcomes. That is referred to as nutrient timing.

Carb timing is one a part of nutrient timing that includes discovering the very best time to devour carbohydrates to gas your exercises, increase muscle development, and speed up restoration.

Most frequently, individuals “time” their carb consumption round their exercise schedule. For example, they may eat a high-carb meal within the few hours earlier than and after they prepare.

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Why Is Carb Timing Essential for Weightlifters?

Your physique breaks down a lot of the carbs you eat into glucose, the principle vitality supply for the mind, central nervous system, and cells.

While you feed your physique extra glucose than it wants, it shops the excess in your liver and muscular tissues. This saved type of glucose known as glycogen, and it’s the first gas reserve on your muscular tissues throughout intense train.

Many weightlifters imagine that consuming carbs at particular instances helps to maintain your muscular tissues brimming with glycogen, which lets you prepare longer and tougher and recuperate quicker, resulting in extra muscle and power acquire over time.

Does Carb Timing Matter?

Let’s check out what the science says about how pre- and post-workout carbs have an effect on your weightlifting efficiency and restoration.

Pre-Exercise Carbs

A standard chorus inside weightlifter circles is that you must devour carbs earlier than you prepare to prime off your glycogen shops and provides your self the vitality you might want to carry out nicely in your exercise.

And whereas this looks like an inexpensive slant, analysis on the efficiency influence of pre-workout carbs is surprisingly combined.

For instance, scientists at The Worldwide Scientific Analysis Basis for Health and Diet just lately carried out a meta-analysis investigating how carbohydrate consumption impacts weightlifting efficiency.

As a part of the research, the scientists dug into the analysis on pre-workout carbs to see which manner the load of the proof sways.

They discovered that in 11 out of 19 research, consuming pre-workout carbs had no impact on efficiency. Of the 8 research that confirmed carbs had an impact, 2 discovered that consuming a small quantity of pre-exercise carbs was extra useful than consuming a big quantity, whereas 6 favored greater carb intakes.

That is uncommon since, if carbs enhance efficiency, you’d anticipate greater doses to have much more advantages, however that’s not what occurred.

Moreover, within the six research that confirmed loading up with carbs was advantageous, the members who consumed extra carbs additionally consumed extra complete energy. This makes it unimaginable to know whether or not the additional vitality or timing of the carbs precipitated the efficiency enchancment in these research.

The one different time pre-workout carbs gave the impression to be a boon for efficiency was in research when the members have been hungry. 

Even then, there didn’t appear to be something particular about ingesting carbs. The members skilled an analogous efficiency increase whether or not they crammed their stomachs with a carb-rich gel or an similar low-carb various. In different phrases, it wasn’t the carbs that made the members carry out higher, it was the sensation of fullness and lack of starvation.

Thus, consuming a ton of pre-workout carbs in all probability isn’t vital. Making certain you’re not peckish may, however you would do this by consuming any macronutrient. The truth is, fueling up on protein is probably going a greater resolution since some analysis suggests pre-workout protein has a small however constructive impact on muscle acquire over time (and would assist dampen starvation, too).

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Submit-Exercise Carbs

The primary argument for consuming carbs after your exercises is to replenish your diminished glycogen shops in order to not hamper your restoration and efficiency in future exercises.

Regardless of this stance seeming smart sufficient, analysis doesn’t agree. And that’s as a result of weightlifting exercises merely don’t deplete glycogen ranges sufficient to necessitate fast replenishment.

For instance, in a research revealed within the European Journal of Utilized Physiology, weightlifters who did 5 units every of the entrance squat, again squat, leg press, and leg extension, all to failure, solely diminished glycogen ranges by ~26%.

In one other research performed by scientists on the Swedish College of Agricultural Sciences, bodybuilders who alternated between 30-second bouts of heavy leg extensions and 1-minute relaxation intervals for half-hour solely drained their glycogen shops by ~28%.

Different research present that comparatively high-volume exercises (9-to-12 units) for a single physique half may deplete glycogen ranges within the skilled muscle by as much as ~40%, however that’s nonetheless not sufficient to warrant concern, particularly since weightlifters in the actual world probably wouldn’t prepare that muscle once more for not less than just a few days.

Within the interim, consuming even a reasonable quantity of carbs can be sufficient to replenish all the pieces that was misplaced. Furthermore, the physique intently regulates glycogen ranges, so the extra you lose, the extra shortly it’s changed.

At backside, weightlifting doesn’t deplete glycogen shops like endurance train, reminiscent of biking, operating, or soccer. As such, topping up your glycogen shops with post-workout carbs isn’t of paramount significance.

One more reason individuals imagine consuming post-workout carbs is essential considerations insulin.

Insulin performs a significant function within the muscle-building course of as a result of it shuttles amino acids to your muscular tissues, will increase muscle protein synthesis charges, and decreases muscle protein breakdown charges, and many individuals imagine that one of the best ways to amplify its advantages is by consuming insulin-boosting post-workout carbs.

Nonetheless, research present that consuming post-workout carbs is no extra efficient at maximizing insulin’s anabolic results than consuming post-workout protein, and since protein stimulates muscle constructing and carbs don’t, it’s in all probability smart to prioritize protein and solely devour carbs if you wish to.

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Many individuals get mired within the minutia of carb timing, however they needn’t. Research present that when you eat carbs has little influence on how productive your coaching is or how nicely you recuperate. 

What’s extra necessary is that you just eat the correct quantity of every macronutrient and variety of energy to help your long-term physique composition and efficiency objectives. 

And in case you’d like particular recommendation about how a lot of every macronutrient, what number of energy, and which meals you must eat to achieve your well being and health objectives, take the Legion Weight loss program Quiz, and in lower than a minute, you’ll know precisely what weight loss plan is best for you. Click on right here to test it out.


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