Carbohydrates are an important nutrient for our body. They give us energy and help us build our muscles. But many people wonder how many carbohydrates they should eat before and after training.
Carbohydrates and their effect on the body
Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient for the body. They are the main source of energy for the muscles and brain. Most carbohydrates are used in the body in the form of glucose (dextrose). During physical activity, more glucose is used to fuel the muscles. For this reason, it is important to have enough carbohydrates to support the body during physical activity.
Carbohydrates can come in two forms: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are simpler in structure and are therefore processed more quickly in the body. They provide the body with energy quickly, but the effect does not last long. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are more complex in structure and are therefore processed more slowly in the body. They provide the body with energy more slowly, but the effect lasts longer.
Choosing the right carbohydrate source is important to optimally support the body during physical activity. Especially in endurance sports, it is important to ensure a sufficient intake of complex carbohydrates, as they are processed more slowly and thus provide the body with energy for a longer period of time.
The amount of carbohydrates is also crucial. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that adults eat or drink moderate to high carbohydrates at 50-60% of maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes before endurance sports.
The best time to consume carbohydrates
Adequate carbohydrate intake is important both before and after strenuous exercise. However, the best time to consume carbohydrates depends on various factors, such as the type of training, the duration of the training and the individual metabolism.
If you exercise regularly, it is best to have a small meal that is rich in carbohydrates before your workout. This can be a glass of juice, a banana smoothie or a bagel with jam. Eating carbohydrates before exercise helps your body produce more glycogen, which in turn improves your performance and endurance.
After training, it is also important to eat enough carbohydrates. Especially if you have trained hard and intensively. A sufficient intake of carbohydrates after training helps your body to build up new glycogen stores and thus supports recovery.
So the best time to consume carbohydrates depends on both your training schedule and your individual metabolism. If you train regularly, it is best to have a small meal or snack with a high carbohydrate content before training and immediately after each workout.
Which foods are ideal?
Preferably, complex carbohydrates should be used here, as they supply the body with energy more slowly and thus keep energy production stable over a longer period of time. Whole-grain products such as whole-grain bread or pasta, oatmeal or rice are ideal. Fruit and vegetables also contain many different carbohydrates and are thus a healthy alternative to conventional “nutrient bombs”.
After training, it is also advisable to fall back on carbohydrates, but in the form of so-called “simple carbs”. These carbohydrates are processed more quickly by the body and can thus supply the muscles with energy more quickly. Juices or jelly bears, for example, are suitable for this purpose. Dairy products also contain many simple carbohydrates and can therefore also be consumed after training.
Conclusion – Carb-loading done right
In summary, good carb-loading is the optimal diet for athletes. By consuming carbohydrates before and after training, the body can optimally absorb and utilise the energy it needs. In this way, performance can be improved both in training and in competitions.