T Nation

Carb Timing: Important or BS?

Hey Coach Thibaudeau,

I have been reading your stuff, especially your diet related articles. I am interested in hearing your take about everyone’s favorite macro, carbohydrates.

Some people, like Poloquin (and even our own Coach Carter) have advocated for NO CARBS pre workout and carbs post workout. Have you heard of this protocol before? Would like your thoughts on it, especially since you’re a self-professed high carb guy.

My goals are to keep bf gain down during mass gaining phase, using techniques such as carb timing. Idea behind eating carbs only post workout is they get stored as glycogen as opposed to fat. Does morning cardio “deplete” glycogen?

I’ve been trying this style of eating, and I’ve been feeling a bit tired as a result of high volume/cardio every morning, so I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.

My options I’m deciding between is either SMALL serving of carbs at first two meals (which are after cardio), train, and THEN eat more carbs, OR no carbs before lifting (even after cardio) and then eat carbs.

Pros of option 1 are I will probably perform better in the gym, cons are I might put on more fat. Pros of option 2 are better nutrient partitioning, cons are potential bad performance. Would like your thoughts/opinion on eating carbs before training.

Is it that some people do better on carbs than others?

CT just wrote an article on diet including carb timing.

Can you link the article? Or do you remember the title at least? Thanks

It’s not about carbs timing per say but it explains why taking carbs at some times is useful and when it’s better to go without them. It depends on the neurological state you want to be in.

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That was a good read thank you. Bit alarmed by the line about evening being the worst time to train for a natural, I can only really train at 7pm, all but 1 of my meals would be pre workout also so avoiding carbs in my earlier meals but still hitting carb targets would be pretty tough.

Thank you, coach!

If that’s the hand you’re dealt then you have to do your best with it. You’ll have to eat carbs throughout the day; just eat your protein first in the meal to reduce the insulin spike.

After reading this article I started eating evening carbs again via a bowl of oatmeal and it seems to have helped me break through a plateau for my weight loss.

I got pretty lean two winters ago doing Gironda’s steak and egg diet, and his 8x8 programme sometimes as late as 9.30pm. That’s zero carbs + late night lactate-inducing training = results. You can get away with plenty, if it’s not too crazy, over a shorter period of time. Longer term, it’s a different story of course. As a perennial low carb dieter, and if I’m being as objective as possible, targeted carbs are a huge help. I can see less reasons to consume them at other points in the day. Just my personal experience.

Yeah the only other option is getting up ridiculously early to eat and train which would mean losing a couple of hours sleep and being more stressed having another task to do in an already hectic morning before work, which themselves would not be optimal!

I’m currently eating 400-500g of carbs to gain weight so pretty much have to have them at most meals or it would just be a ridiculous amount all in 1 or 2 meals.

Not sure if I missed it, but with regards to evening time, you said that “for a natural it’s the absolute worst time to train.” Why so? And what hour would you consider “evening” in this context?

Apologies if the reason was already written there, I guess I’ll just have to read the article again.

Thank you!