Should you eat carbs if you're trying to lose fat?
Trying to lose fat and wondering what your carb intake should be?
Have you read that you shouldn’t eat carbohydrates after a certain time of day? Or, that if you’re going to eat carbs, they should only be in the morning?
Let's clear up some of those myths and misconceptions!
So here's the deal. Yes, you should be eating carbohydrates following your workouts. This holds true regardless of the time of day you train. The suggestion to cut carbohydrates off at a certain time comes from the idea that insulin sensitivity is highest in the earlier parts of the day and falls as the day progresses. According to a number of research papers, carbohydrate metabolism is rather poor in the evening.
However, exercise, and weight training in particular, is the great equalizer. Exercise creates a ‘carbohydrate window’ where your body is very responsive to carbohydrate intake. The post-workout period is characterized by a period of heightened insulin sensitivity and therefore positive nutrient partitioning. What that means in layman's term is that any carbohydrates consumed in the post-workout period, regardless of time of day, are preferentially stored in muscle, where we want them to begin with.
Nutrient timing is based on the idea that Carbohydrates and fats are simply consumed during the times they are most advantageous or preferred by the body. For carbohydrates this means the early hours of the day, and the peri-workout (around your workout). So to answer your question again, yes, make sure that you’re consuming sufficient carbohydrate in your post workout meal even if you’re training in the evening. While glycogen replenishment isn’t really a priority of the post workout meal, since average volume weight training isn’t especially glycogen depleting, you’ll still get some glycogen replenishment due to the sensitivity of your muscles to carbohydrates at this time. The big reason for taking in carbs around your workout relates to halting the catabolic processes and kick starting recovery. Basically, you’re looking to put the breaks on protein breakdown and the gas on protein synthesis and you want a combination of quickly digesting carbohydrates consumed in your post workout meal or even a pre- workout meal to accomplish this.
Here's the deal, How much you need will always depend the volume of your session and your goals. The more volume you do, the more carbohydrates you can eat and the less volume you do, the less you can eat. For example, if you’re doing a traditional bodybuilding-type workout with a fair number of sets and reps in the standard hypertrophy range, you can have more post-workout carbs. If you’re doing more a strength-based/neurological workout with low to moderate sets and reps in the 4-6-rep bracket, you’re not going to need a ton of carbs.
Remember what builds muscle, is what keeps muscle!