If you’re like most people, you probably think that eating lots of carbs before a workout is a recipe for disaster.
After all, isn’t that what all those low-carb diets are all about? Wrong
It turns out that eating high glycemic carbs before a workout can actually help you perform better.
A food’s glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises your blood sugar levels.
High glycemic carbohydrates are those that are quickly digested and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar.
Low glycemic carbohydrates, on the other hand, are slowly digested and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, when you eat high-glycemic carbs before a workout, your body has a ready source of energy to burn.
This can help you work out harder and longer. On the other hand, if you eat low-glycemic carbs before a workout, your body has to work harder to break them down, which can lead to fatigue.
So, if you’re looking to maximize your workout, reach for the high-glycemic carbs.
Power Sources In the form of glycogen, your muscles store carbohydrates for use as energy during exercise. It is usual practice to consume high glycemic carbohydrates to quickly replenish the glycogen stores that our muscles use up during exercise in order to prepare for the next training session.
High GI foods digest and absorb nutrients considerably more quickly. As a result, they don’t offer sustained energy. Short bursts of intense exercise can be sustained by high GI foods, but not for very long.
Carbs for Pre-Workout
- Eating before a workout is a good way to help you perform at your best.
- Choose simple carbs for quick energy, sports nutritionist to top athletes, Dr. Mike Molloy said.
- Good options are oatmeal, fruit, or white rice with some ground chicken.
It has been hypothesized that consuming carbohydrate foods with a low GI may result in a continuous energy release that may improve endurance exercise performance.
Baked beans, pasta, oats, and most fruits are a few examples of low GI food items.
When should you eat high glycemic carbs?
During the first 24 hours of recovery following an incident, moderate-to-high GI meals may be most helpful to quickly restore muscle fuel stores (glycogen).
What to Eat 2 Hours Before a Workout
- protein smoothie made with milk, protein powder, banana and mixed berries.
- Whole-grain cereal and milk.
- A cup of oatmeal topped with banana and sliced almonds.
- Natural almond butter and fruit preserve sandwich on whole-grain bread.
High Glycemic Carbs
White bread, rice cakes, the majority of crackers, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, and most breakfast cereals in packages have a high glycemic index (GI) of 70 or higher.
-High Glycemic Foods
- Processed foods: Corn chips, pretzels.
- Sugar-containing beverages: Soda, sweet tea, sports drinks.
- Fast food: Cheeseburgers, fried chicken, pizza.
- Bakery/grains: Doughnuts, white bread, cereals (unless whole grain).
- Potatoes: Mashed potatoes, French fries.
Are high GI foods good for athletes?
High GI carbohydrates are typically more processed, quickly digested, and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which causes a sharp increase in blood glucose levels.
For a quick glucose replacement and to reduce the amount of food in the intestine, high GI foods can be advantageous right before, during, or after exercise.
What Not to Eat Before a Workout
- Fibre-filled foods
- Fizzy drinks
- Spicy foods
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Refined sugar
Should You Eat Brown Rice Before a Workout?
Because white rice digests more quickly than brown rice, you can eat it up to an hour before going out, whereas you should eat brown rice a few hours beforehand.
Due to its relatively high protein content when compared to other grain sources and extremely low fat content, rice has two advantages.
Rice, chicken, and veggies Before exercising, fat, carbohydrates, and protein are your friends. This breakfast will provide you with all three of those nutrients, as well as amino acids that support muscle building and serve as a slow-release energy source.
It is ideal to consume this meal around two hours prior to going out.
Should athletes eat low GI foods?
As a general rule, athletes should concentrate on consuming low and moderate glycemic foods because they contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than high glycemic foods.
Whole grains, the majority of fruits, and numerous veggies are all good options. Foods with a high glycemic index include refined carbohydrates and are typically less nutrient-dense.
The Benefits of Low-GI Foods for Athletes There is proof that low GI diets help athletes prepare for competition. A low-GI food delivers a sustained, continuous supply of muscle fuel as opposed to a fast burst of glucose from a high-GI food.
Glycemic load enables you to simultaneously account for the quantity and quality of your carbohydrate intake. More than 20 is high; less than 10 is low.
Eat more whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables without starch, and other foods with a low glycemic index for a diet with a lower glycemic load.
High glycemic index foods should be ingested when working out. These foods will guarantee quick digestion and absorption, resulting in increased blood sugar levels during activity.
High glycaemic index carbs should make up post-workout meals.
Is it bad to eat carbs before you workout?
Complex carbohydrates are digested by the body more slowly than simple carbohydrates. A person should eat complex carbohydrates 2-3 hours before exercise and any simple carbohydrates 30–60 minutes beforehand to enhance energy.
Consume more carbohydrates and lower fat foods closer to your workout. It is advised to consume a high-carb, moderate-protein, low-fat snack before working out if you are eating 30 to 60 minutes beforehand.
How Many Carbs Should I Eat Before an Intense Workout?
How Many Carbs Should You Eat Before a Workout? The Academy, DC, and ACSM all recommend consuming one to four grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight in the hours before engaging in any extended exercise (defined as an activity lasting more than 60 minutes).
The bottom line
Contrary to low GI foods, foods with a high glycemic index (high GI or HGI) provide a rapid source of energy.
Foods with a high GI digest and absorb nutrients much more quickly. Meals with a moderate to high GI rating may be the most effective for speedy refueling of muscular tissue.
You can take both the quantity and quality of your carbohydrate consumption into account using glycemic load. For a diet with a lower glycemic load, eat more whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables without starch, and other low-GI items.
Post-workout meals should consist of high glycemic index carbohydrates.