T Nation

Carbs.....Pre or Post ( a Discussion)


Before all the "search engine nazis" start telling me that there are a ton of articles on T-Nation about peri workout nutrition, which I already know about and have read, I am opening a discussion about this subject due to some new changes I've made and I would like to get everyone's opinions and feedback. PLus to see what you guys are doing and any experimenting that may be going on.

Recently I have made the change of moving all of my carb intake pre workout and only protein/fats/veggies post WO. I've pretty much always kept any carb intake peri workout anyways Pre/during/post but I have used to do the traditional oatmeal or quinoa before and the rice or simple carbs post. Since taking in my simple carbs pre workout now I have noticed a major increase in energy and strength along with incredible pumps. I no longer need my pre-wo energy drink to get going either. I've only been doing this a week, so I really can't comment on any physique changes.

It's a little hard mentally to let go of the "window of opportunity" thing post workout and not taking in any carbs to replenish glycogen like I've had pumped into my head for years. But I figured why not give it a try. It seems that the popular trend these days is pre workout carbs over taking it all in post workout. I've also read articles about carb back loading which is the complete opposite of the concept I'm talking about.

Any input is welcome guys. I'm not really asking a question here, just opening up a discussion and an exchange of ideas and experiences.


hmmm... well I've experimented with this a lot: Finibars pre-workout, no Finibars pre-workout, oatmeal in my pre-workout meal, SWF peri-workout, or just MAG-10/Anaconda peri-workout. However I always have rice or potatoes in my post-workout meal (~60 mins after) because it just feels right.

Anyways, mentally and physically, I always feel better with just plain old SWF during my workout, 2 scoops worth (64g). If I have a Finibar prior to my workout, I tend to have less mental clarity (kind of like a 'fog'), and I think there is definitely truth to where a big insulin spike prior to the workout messes with the neurotransmitters such as acetyl-choline. This is regardless of the type of workout I'm doing... whether it's Thib's Indigo workouts, or just straight Olympic lifting, I tend to have less focus and less explosiveness when I have a Finibar pre-workout. I've had enough experiences with this in workouts that I know it's not just 'placebo' or whatever.

HOWEVER, I do agree with having insulin increased DURING a workout because insulin can shuttle glucose and aminos the muscle. That's why I prefer to sip SWF fuel throughout my workouts, I feel like I get the best of both worlds (mental clarity and a gradual/sustained increase in insulin).

BTW in my pre-workout meal (breakfast), I am totally Poliquin about it: meat, nuts, and berries. This always works wonders for me in getting lean and having great focus.


I've found that having about 70% of my carbs peri and the other 30% post (in a meal 45 minutes after I'm done) is what works best for me.

Honestly though I think about it like a gas tank. If you've been going low carb for a couple days, your tanks going to be running low and your workout is going to suffer. However, if you've had a good amount of carbs in the last day or so, even if its the evening or night before your lifts, your tanks going to be full.

That's definitely some "bro science" right there, but it's definitely been true for me.


I personally abstain from carbs throughout the entire first half of the day, actually more. In fact, I do not consume ANY carbs really to speak of until AFTER training. Pre training I take 10g BCAA and during training I sip another 10g BCAA in powerade zero. I backload all of my carbs.

Yes, you are less sensitive to insulin later in the day/evening, but this also translates to fat cells too! The training, however, increases insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells and mediates glut4 translocation on it's own accord, just from the muscle contractions. Yet, fat cells remain insulin insensitive due to the natural accord of the body to decrease insulin sensitivity as the day progresses. Therefore, it is my opinion that you are creating an environment which allows the carbs to be put to best use.


someone's been reading John Kiefer... lol


For sure man...he's pretty cool.


bro science maybe but i agree. day after a carb up (tank is full) i get the best work outs

although for me, i usually have shitty focus/workouts when carbing-up


that's why I like a bunch of carbs post-workout in the evening... feel hydrated/full the next day, restore glycogen, and don't have to worry about carbs too much the next day in the pre-workout meals, etc.




I usually train 2+ times a day(counting sprint workouts), so I pretty much eat carbs all day long.
It's wonderful.


Carbs pretty much all day as well. But i do more pre/during/post workout. Never really noticed a diff haveing them pre/post/during. I have done the IF thing and no carbs before workout. NO difference to me but i dont know my body as well as some so maybe there is a diff. I just prefer having lots of carbs all the time.


Inkcreep, any updates on how the carbs are effecting you?


If on a low-ish carb diet, I have found carbs pre workout give me better workouts (better energy, better concentration, less rest times).

Fuel for the work you want to do, rather than have done.

I have done the opposite strategy and prefer this.


I have carbs right before (30-20mins before) and right after in a shake. 80-100 grams of carbs, in both the pre and post shake. I also eat carbs for almost every meal. Sometimes, my last meal won't have carbs.


It really just depends on how i feel. I can tell when i need some carbs and when i need to back off of them.

I usually always have them post workout though.