emember that carbs are only bad if you eat too many of them. You will be fine if you have a balanced diet that includes all three macronutrients. That being said, it is essential to be aware of how many carbs you eat and the type of carbs you eat. This will help you avoid overeating and having the carbs turn into fat.
One of the most common things you’ll hear in the fitness industry is that carbs make
Well, it’s true – they CAN.
But all you have to do is eat all your favorite carbs at the RIGHT times, and you’ll NEVER store them as fat.
If you eat carbs at the wrong times, you’ll be scratching your head, wondering why your belly isn’t shrinking. So here are three simple carb timing tricks you can use to eat loads of carbs without worrying about them “spilling” over and being stored as ugly fat on your belly.
First up – Good:
A good time to consume healthy carbs like non-processed starches and fruits is first thing in the morning or upon waking up — for a few reasons.
- Carbs replenish the glycogen stores during the night, allowing for the extra room because your muscles are depleted of glycogen. This is especially effective if you work out in the a.m.
- Your metabolic rate runs highest during the a.m. hours (or after you wake up from sleeping), then it will later in the day, so you’ll more likely use these carbs as energy.
- Insulin sensitivity is also higher when you wake up than other times of the day, which allows your body to utilize carbs and limit fat spillover.
Next up – Better:
A few hours before high-intensity resistance training (bodyweight circuits, metabolic resistance training, etc.) or a heavier weight training session is an even better time to consume starches and fruits.
This will ensure that you use these carbs as energy during and after the workout to avoid fat spillover – and provide sustained energy throughout the workout. Better performance equals more fat and calories burned during and after the workout.
During a bulking phase, people release extra insulin to prevent muscle loss and help increase lean muscle mass.
Last up – BEST:
The best time to consume carbs from starches and fruits is in your post-workout anabolic window of opportunity, which is anywhere from 1 to 3 hours after high-intensity training.
If you work out late at night, you could consume your LARGEST carb serving of the day right BEFORE bed and not worry about fat spillover.
This works best when you’re following more of a maintenance schedule, so I don’t recommend using this tip when trying to achieve rapid fat loss, but it does prove the point that eating late at night doesn’t make you fat.
That’s because when you work out intensely enough, you’ll set off several powerful metabolic triggers no matter what time of day it is:
- Increased metabolic rate and increased nutrient absorption
- Accelerated depletion of muscle glycogen
- Release of catecholamines (fat-burning hormones)
The result is increased fat loss and something called “super-compensation” through stimulation of Glut 4 (a glucose transporter).
This effect means storage capacity inside your muscles and liver is well above normal levels, greatly enhanced during the post-workout window.
Other benefits include increased insulin sensitivity, glucose uptake, and glycogen synthesis. Again, under these conditions, your body will store carbs (and other macro-nutrients) much faster and higher than usual.
This is why eating most of your impact carbs in your post-workout meals is crucial.
Regardless of whether your goal is fat loss, strength, performance, energy, improved health, or anything else, you must understand the process of carb timing.
Over time, you’ll improve your insulin sensitivity dramatically, enhancing your body’s ability to burn ugly fat as fuel daily.
~ Shaun Hadsall
Learn How to Cycle Your Carb Intake
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Rick Kaselj, MS