Most people have probably gone on to read articles about supplementing before and after a workout, what to take or what to eat. I would probably say that a large majority understand the importance of taking a protein supplement or eating a protein packed meal pre and post training sessions, but most people don’t understand the importance of ingesting carbohydrates at the same time.
It is important that you pair carbohydrates with protein at these two crucial meal times because you first need to properly fuel your system for the workout and then you have to properly refill the lost energy stores and replenish glycogen to provide continuous muscle building and recovery afterwards.
Carbohydrates are essential to eat prior to working out because this is the body’s primary fuel source of energy. In order to have long-lasting, effective workouts, it is recommended that you intake between 20-40 grams of a slow to moderate carbohydrate source within one to two hours prior to working out.
It is important to properly fuel the body with carbohydrates before working out because you want to make sure that your body does not tap into your muscle stores for energy during the workout and they also provide prolonged energy stores for grueling lifting sessions.
After your workout your body’s nutrient stores will be depleted; your blood sugar levels will be out of balance and glycogen stores depleted. Most workout enthusiasts realize that they need to ingest protein immediately following a workout, but you also need to take in a fair amount of carbohydrates as well to replenish these glycogen stores. Eating protein after your workout will help correct your blood sugar inbalance and spike insulin levels helping to speed recovery by pushing nutrients, such as protein, into the blood stream and muscles.
It is recommended that 50-75 grams of carbohydrates should be taken within 30 minutes of completing your workout. A large majority, if not all of these carbs, should come from high-glycemic carbohydrate sources. You want to ingest high-glycemic carbs because they enter into your system quicker and will spike insulin quicker than low-glycemic carbs.