T Nation

Carbs in the Evening



I have been reading through John Berardi's book "Scrawny to Brawny". This is a great book. In the book he talks about nutrient timing and what sort of meals to consume and what they should consist of.

I train in the evening so most of my meals throughout the day are P+F meals. Just before my workouts they become P+C meals then directly afterwards a few more P+C meals. Now I understand this but on non workout days he suggests that you eat in the same way as you do on your workout days minus the P+C shakes of course. Isn't having a high carb meal close to bed time a bad idea if trying to minimize fat gain?


In terms of minimizing fat gain, I would say you definitely want to minimize late day carbs.

I too workout late in the evening (start at 8:30, usually done around 10:00), and I have had great success with a P+C meal before workout, P+ simpleC meal directly after workout, and just protein after that leading up to bedtime.

On non-workout days, my carbs after about 2 p.m. are almost non-existant. If I'm not doing anything requiring large energy stores during that day, I really don't feel the need to eat so many carbs, especially late in the day, which I think will quickly be stored as bodyfat when not used for energy.

Bulking up or focusing purely on strength gains is a whole other issue, but you said in terms of minimizing fat gains, and that's what has worked for me in that regard...


Thanks for the prompt reply. I would prefer to consume my P+C meals during the first half of the day (When I?m using the most energy). But because he said to follow the same pattern of eating as on workout days it made me wonder if I?m just not understanding something. Should I switch to eating my P+C meals during the first part of the day on non workout days?


That's exactly the right idea. On non-workout days, when you don't have a specific time of high-energy expenditure, as you would if you were working out that day, there is no need to load your body with glycogen from eating carbs, especially late in the day.

You obviously need some carbs on non-workout days, but putting them primarily at the beginning of the day will ensure that your activity, whatever level it may be on your non-workout day, will use up that glycogen as the rest of the day winds down, instead of storing that extra glycogen as bodyfat as it would if you were to eat it late in the evening, where you have almost no energy demands remaining.


Although many people have their own ideas - and books in which to sell their diet plans, I agree with Bauer97. Choice of a personal best approach is up to each individual consumer, always using a critical eye.

To me, consuming large amounts of carbohydrates in the evening isn't a great idea for a number of reasons. Try a search for "Temporal Nutrition" to see my logic.

Will carbs actually hurt you on non-exercise evenings? Unlikely. But when muscular activity is low and glucose tolerance is poorer due to hormonal reasons, there's little reason to consume carbs at this time - a time when they're not as likely to end up stored in muscle tissue where they belong.

I personally try to limit carbs to no more than 50g of the low-glycemic variety on the three evenings per week that I rest and recover.



I am by no means shredded, ripped, or hyooge. My physique does not qualify me to make assertions on what works and what doesnt. I've done high carb low fat, even splits, low carb high fat, P+C mornings and P+F nights and vice versa.

Honestly, of all the methods I've tried (and there is no scientific evidence to support this other than the way I feel) I preffer eating mostly P+F during the day, and P+C at night. The only exceptions to this is some fruit near mid-morning midday and PWO.

I found it nearly impossible to eat moderate size higher carb meals upon waking; I feel as if I can't wake up. High carb meals within 2 hours pre-workout have always led me to decreased performance and occasionally moderate GI distress.

After midday, however, I seem to deal with carbs much better (steady energy levels, no rushing roller coaster feeling). I also find it much easier to wind down and get to sleep soundly with carb meals later in the day.

According to everything I read this is entirely backwards, but I feel better; go figure. Another completely unexplainable phenomena is an intense craving for milk and bananas PWO, when any other time they make me feel a little sick.


I am in the same exact boat as you. I also have a hard time consuming most of my carbs in the am; so I don't. I also feel better doing it this way. Milk and bananas are always in my PWO as well.


One thing that affects AM carb sleepiness is the intake of large portions or high-glycemic index carbs along with relatively little physical activity (that some people experience) at this time. There have been days that I ate a large bowl of cold cereal and sat on the couch, leading to sleepiness. It's not surprising.

Mornings with oatmeal, whole fruit and physical activity (not exercise, per se), though, are much different for me. No sleepiness at all. And I want my muscle glycogen replenished, even on non-exercise recovery days.

A reason that glucose tolerance is so much better in the first half of the day (that is, blood sugar ends up in its preferred target: skeletal muscle)is that the insulin response (and the muscle response to insulin) from a meal is higher. Fortunately, staying active and choosing lower-glycemic carbs usually corrects overt sleepiness. And we need to recognize that some people (with a family history or otherwise) are not good carb metabolizers in general. Hence, a low-carb (call it P+F or whatever you like) diet is more helpful in general for these people.