Eating carbohydrates at the right time during the day is the most effective way to shed unwanted body fat and insure adequate energy for exercise. Deciding when to eat carbohydrates is simple: only eat large doses of carbohydrates after you workout! The science behind this idea makes perfect sense, and not doing this is a common mistake made by a very large percentage of our population.
During digestion, carbohydrates are turned into glucose. Upon the ingestion of carbohydrates, insulin is released and binds to muscle tissue cells to shuttle glucose into the cell to be stored as muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen is the body’s stored source of carbohydrates. Muscle glycogen is stored by skeletal muscle and used as an energy source during exercise – this is especially true for Crossfit style workouts. When muscle glycogen is depleted during a workout, it is imperative that carbohydrates are ingested to ensure the recovery of this muscle glycogen for future workouts. The common mistake made by most people (and the primary reason for the obesity epidemic) is eating large doses of carbohydrates all day long. The body can only store a limited amount of carbohydrates as muscle glycogen. Elite athletes have the ability to store more than the average Joe, but there is still a limit. Once muscle glycogen has been restored to capacity, all excess carbohydrates must go somewhere else. If you are not actively using these excess carbohydrates for energy, they will be turned into fat.
As previously stated, the consumption of carbohydrates signals the body to release insulin. Insulin is a peptide hormone that promotes the absorption of glucose from the blood to muscle and fat tissue. Eating large doses of carbohydrates too frequently can cause cells to respond poorly to insulin. This poor response hinders the ability of the cell to remove glucose from the blood stream, and leads to excess body fat and type II diabetes. Eating large doses of carbohydrates only after workouts is the perfect way to get the carbohydrates you need, while guaranteeing insulin sensitivity.
The best thing is, as long as you don’t go too overboard (eat more carbohydrates than needed for restoring muscle glycogen), it really doesn’t matter if you are choosing simple or complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates will actually help to restore muscle glycogen faster, and insure energy for two-a-day workouts.
Cupcakes after a hard workout? You earned them, go for it!