To ensure maximal output during workouts, it is important to “Carb up” before any heavy session. The timing between carbohydrate consumption and weight training is dependent on whether or not protein is consumed with the carbs. If this is the case, a 90-120 minute period between the last bite of a meal and workout is advised in order for the body to take full advantage of the nutrients consumed.
Types of Carbs
There are two types of carbohydrates, complex carbs and simple sugars. Complex carbohydrates are slowly digested into the body and provide energy over an extended period of time. Simple sugars instantly cause a spike in insulin levels providing a very quick and short lived energy hype, often followed by a crash in blood sugar levels.
Examples of Complex Carbs
Complex carbohydrates include rice, yams, and oatmeal. Vegetables are categorised as fibrous carbohydrates and still fit the complex profile. Simple sugars include bread, candy, fruit juice and potato chips. The key is to avoid the simple sugars and consume quality complex carbohydrates in order to get the most from any training program. For the early morning trainer an example of a typical pre training breakfast may include a bowl of oatmeal and a high quality Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) shake or protein shake of choice. This will allow training to take place roughly an hour after consumption. If you lead a busy lifestyle and work long 8-9 hour days then chances are it is convenient to train after work. If this is the case, it is important to ensure adequate carbohydrate intake throughout the day in order to keep the body fuelled so that come workout time you can hit the gym with intensity. By ensuring the consumption of high quality complex carbohydrates pre workout, you may notice a significant increase in gym session intensity and greater gains due to harder training sessions and better recovery rates.
Harris, R., Real Bodybuilding: Muscle Truth from 25 Years in the Trenches