Is It Healthy To Eat Carbs After A Workout Session? Here Is What To Know

Learn more about ‘Is It Healthy To Eat Carbs After A Workout Session?’ Sometimes the extra forethought required to re-fill an empty tank after a workout—whether it be a challenging HIIT session or a protracted yoga flow—seems more difficult than it actually is.

You may have heard that the combination of macronutrients in a post-workout snack matters. But there has been some uncertainty around the precise calibration of your macros, particularly carbohydrates.

 

Is It Healthy To Eat Carbs After A Workout Session? Here Is What To Know
Is It Healthy To Eat Carbs After A Workout Session? Here Is What To Know

 

Although some discouragement regarding the ingestion of carbs after exercise may have been heard, both scientific evidence and professional opinion encourage consuming carbohydrates to speed up recovery.

In conclusion, it’s a good idea to consume carbohydrates after exercise. Learn how, when, and why you should reach for them in the following paragraphs.

Is It Healthy To Eat Carbs After A Workout Session?

You probably don’t need to refuel with carbohydrates after a light workout like a quick walk or stretching session during your lunch break. However, if your exercise was more intense, it probably depleted your glycogen reserves, which is the body’s preferred energy source for intense exercise.

 

Is It Healthy To Eat Carbs After A Workout Session?
Is It Healthy To Eat Carbs After A Workout Session?

 

Muscle tissue starts to break down when the muscles’ glycogen stores are low. Eating carbs is essential for supporting the body’s repair and regrowth. According to dietitian and personal trainer Anthony DiMarino, RD, CPT, of Eat Move Improve, “Carbohydrates post-workout help the body release insulin, which in turn restores the glycogen stores that were just used during your training session.”

Pairing carbs with protein improves how well they accomplish this. The rate at which the body stores glycogen is accelerated by the combination of proteins and carbohydrates. 1

Tangible Benefits Of Post-Workout Carbs

A crucial macronutrient for post-exercise recovery is carbohydrates. Here are four wonderful reasons to enjoy a dish of potatoes or a bowl of pasta after a strenuous workout.

Carbs Help Prevent Post-Workout Fatigue

You might feel as though you’re running on fumes when you’ve depleted your stores because the body prefers to use glycogen for energy during vigorous activity. Reintroducing carbohydrates to your diet can make you recover more quickly and with less fatigue.

Additionally, studies show that eating carbohydrates after exercise increases one’s capacity for endurance during subsequent workouts. 2 Having a high-carb snack today could help you perform better tomorrow.

Carbs Help Blood Sugar Control

Your blood sugar levels drop when you exercise in most cases. 3 Never hold off on grabbing a snack that is high in carbohydrates to get your glucose back in the positive range. By doing this, you can avoid unpleasant hypoglycemic symptoms like trembling, headache, fogginess, and a rapid heartbeat.

Carbs Promote Muscle Recovery

Although you may believe that protein is the only macronutrient that helps you gain muscle, carbohydrates also play a supportive role in this process. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and carbohydrates help them reach muscles more quickly, accelerating muscle growth and recovery. Additionally, they aid in boosting protein synthesis and reducing protein breakdown. 4

Carbs Help Reduce Cortisol

In response to low blood sugar, cortisol—often referred to as “the stress hormone”—increases. 5 It’s possible that replenishing your carbohydrate reserves to maintain a stable blood sugar level will also lower cortisol levels.

Carbs To Reach For After A Workout

You may ask whether all carbohydrates are created equal when it comes to post-workout eating now that you are aware that they are okay to eat after your cool-down. Not quite. Complex carbohydrates would be ideal since they are easily converted to glycogen, according to DiMarino. Complex carbohydrate foods include whole grains, vegetables, beans, and potatoes, which are also high in fiber.

That said, eating high-fiber foods soon after engaging in vigorous exercise may occasionally cause digestive issues. Simple carbohydrates may be tolerated better after exercise, according to DiMarino. To find the foods that are most effective for you, it is crucial to experiment with different combinations while training.

In terms of the ideal carbohydrate intake, DiMarino suggests the following suggestions: “Typically, 15 to 45 grams of carbohydrate (with more carbs after harder sessions) would be reasonable after a workout. It has been demonstrated that a ratio of 3–4 carbohydrates to proteins is advantageous. By replenishing the glycogen stores depleted during exercise sessions and repairing muscles damage, this combination enables your body to recover.

Post-Workout Meals And Snacks

After working out, think about these meals and snacks that combine protein and carbohydrates:

·     Turkey sandwich on whole wheat

·     Crackers and hummus

·     Peanut butter and banana

·     A smoothie with Greek yogurt and berries

·     Tuna salad with apples and almonds

 

How To Time Eating Carbs After A Workout

It’s crucial to eat carbohydrates within a specific window of time after working out to benefit from them. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises consuming carbohydrates an hour after a strenuous activity. 6 Just be mindful of your own tolerance for eating right after exercise; some people may prefer to consume full meals, whereas other bodies function best with a snack followed by a meal a little later.

Takeaway

After a workout, eating carbs (in conjunction with protein) is a healthy decision that helps with recovery, muscle repair and rebuilding, and glycogen replenishment.

Meeting with a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition could be very beneficial if you’re trying to optimize your post-workout meals and snacks. These experts have received training in the specifics of designing meals based on macronutrients for every type of physical activity, from strength training to endurance sports.

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