Slow Gains? Try Upping Good-Carb Intake Post Workout

More Carbs May Help You Add More Muscle

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that weight-training exercise can bring about a significant “glycogen-depleting” effect that, over time, if not corrected, could spell major bad news for lifters hoping to build muscle.

You see, glycogen is the principal storage form of carbohydrate energy (glucose), which is reserved in muscles and in the liver. When your muscles are full of glycogen, they not only perform better, but they look and feel full or “pumped.”

However, given what we know about weight training’s effects on muscle glycogen stores, many researchers believe “carbophobic” weight trainers could be sabotaging their own muscle-building success.

Among these researchers are G.G. Haff and colleagues from the Human Performance Laboratory at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. The researchers carried out a comprehensive review of the scientific literature regarding carbohydrate intake and resistance training and made a few insightful observations.

For one, growing evidence suggests that ingesting carbohydrate supplements prior to and during resistance training may improve lifting performance. Additionally, the ingestion of carbs following weight training enhances the resynthesis of muscle glycogen, which may result in faster recovery from resistance training, thus possibly allowing for greater training volume.

What this means to you: “On the basis of the current scientific literature, it may be advisable for athletes who are performing high-volume resistance training to ingest carbohydrate supplements before, during and immediately after resistance training,” the researchers conclude.

Good Carbs To Eat Before and After Resistance Training:  

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Blueberries

We understand that it isn’t always easy to eat good carbs and protein right before or after a workout.  We know it isn’t easy during a workout.  

So what are some other options besides getting those carbs from food?

The common alternative is a protein/carb shake or pre-workout shake.  Make sure you read the labels though before purchasing.  

When shopping for carb-containing pre- and post-workout supplements, watch out for the “sugar bombs” that are today’s most popular “sports drinks.” You might as well just mix up a jug of Kool-Aid. It’s basically the same thing: flavored sugar water.

Instead, look for protein/BCAA drink mixes that include high-quality carbs, not sugar.

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