Carbs or no carbs?
At rb5 we get clients, old and new, coming to us and asking questions about their diets and what foods they should be eating. One of the biggest misunderstandings in altering client’s diets for them is:- How many carbohydrates should I be eating and when?
Well, many factors affect the amount of carbohydrates you should be consuming such as activity levels, body composition and overall goal (e.g. weight gain vs weight loss).
With carbohydrates being the body’s fastest energy source, it’s important that the body’s glycogen stores are full. Over eating carbohydrates can result in the body storing fat. You see when the muscle and liver glycogen stores are full; the body converts the excess in to fat and is stored within the body.
Body composition plays a big part in the amount of carbohydrates that you eat. Ectomorphic (skinny) should aim for around 55% carbohydrate intake in their daily diets, whereas mesomorphic (muscular) should aim for around 40% and endomorphic (broad and thick) should aim for around 25%.
Carbohydrate timing can affect the way the body responds to this macronutrient. With carbohydrate tolerance being much improved after exercise (due to the body’s glycogen stores being depleted), this would be the best time for somebody with a fat loss goal to be ingesting then – whole foods (minimally processed).
Generally, if you want to lose fat, aim to eat carbohydrates when you earn them, and eating them when the body best tolerates them (after exercise). No exercise = no carbohydrates (other than fruits and vegetables, of course).
If you want to gain muscle or support intense exercise activities (carbohydrate dependent), eat carbohydrates within 3 hours of exercise. If you’re having a hard time gaining weight, include unprocessed carbohydrates with meals throughout the day.
The answer to the question is dependent on how your body tolerates carbohydrates and your overall goals. Do not be afraid of eating carbohydrates, but choose healthy unprocessed food at all possible times.
Below is a generalised view of what your plate should look like anytime and post workout. If you’re a smaller person, base it on a smaller plate, – a bigger person, a bigger plate.