T Nation

Too many Carbs Post Workout?

Hey guys. I have been (as I’m many of do) tweaking post-w/o nutrition and I was wondering how much would be too much carb post workout. In the past I’ve gone by t-mag articles on post-w/o meals and used about 60gC, 27gP, 5gF per meal 5-6 hrs post as per Massive eating. I had the thought the other day, how would be too much carb, for your first meal 2 hrs post surge? (Based on my weight of 165lbs 8% bf) You know, that amount that would go past the threshold for rapid digestion and cause a blood sugar low. I read an article recently that said that a post workout meal could contain like 150-250 g carb. Does that sound like too much?

Just wanted to get some thoughts on an article I read recently.

Hey, Mayfield. I wouldn’t worry about it too much – and that from someone who you probably know beats the details to death. (grin)

What’s really important with carbs is your timing and daily totals. If you only ate carbs once or twice a day (all other meals being P+F), say after your workout and/or at “break fast,” your body would suck up all it needed (into the muscles and liver) and store the remainder as BF.

As an example, on a daily basis I take in <30g of carbs per day. Carb refeeds are two meals, each at 100g of carbs. However, I would NOT want to take in that same 200g of carbs if liver and muscle glycogen were topped off. The result would be that nearly ALL of those 200g would be stored as fat.

So repeating, what’s important is the amount of carbs you consume and the timing. And the amount a person takes in is highly dependent upon their goals (cutting or bulking) and how insulin sensitve (or insensitive) they are.

Does that help, or did I just muddy up the waters?

Terry I’ve been meaning to ask you - do you do carb refeeds on days you workout or on non-workout days? I would guess it would make more sense on days that you do go to the gym as far as timing goes, but as you prescribed every 3rd and 7th day for a refeed, the 7th day wouldn’t necessarily be a carb up day for me. Advice?

(all apologies for the poorly written question, but there is loud music and people talking so I can’t fully compose my thoughts!)

Hollywood Hogan…I am certain that TX will reply with precisely the answer you are looking for, but I’ll bring in an additional thing to think about.

Yes, taking in a bolus amount of carbs after your training would be logical and ideal, given the heightened state of insulin sensitivity, glycolytic enzymes and nutrient partitioning and uptake. However, if you're in a relatively glycogen depleted state, which would probably be the case by the 7th day, your body is going to be in a very similar situation. That is, muscles will be particularly sensitive to insulin and glycolytic enzymes will be high--given that you're not completely depleted, as this can have adverse effects on the aforementioned states--so that your muscle will be like sponges to the carbs.

So, it would be my suggestion to go ahead on the 7th day to take in those carbs. Obviously, one good time to take them in would be your first meal of the day. However, I also see merit in continuing your diet throughout the day, as to not suppress fat oxidation by eating carbs first thing in the morning. Either way. That said, if you're not feeling like crap and totally preoccupied with carbs, then just put off the refeed for the next training day.

Hi, Hogan. Not poorly written at all!

Timbo took the words right out of my mouth. Adding to what he said, there are a lot of different ways (and frequencies) with which carb refeeds can be done. Day 3 and Day 7 is a common scheme. Once a week, say on Sunday, is also common. I like to do my carb refeeds every 4 days. Usually by Day 3 of the 4 days I’m where I was weight-wise before the carb refeed, leaving me another day for weight loss (if the diet Gods are smiling kindly upon me, that is).

My preference is to do a carb refeed after a weight-bearing workout. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. But worst-case scenario, I’ll do some cardio in a fasted state before I start my carb refeed.

Timbo’s right that by the time I do a carb refeed I’m so carb depleted that it doesn’t make much difference.

So yes, if you’re trying to fine-tune your carb refeeds, it is best to do your refeeds after a workout or when “breaking fast,” as these are times that the body is best able to process carbs (i.e., you’re the most insulin sensitive.)

Great info guys. I’m always sort of juggling the amount of carbs for a proper balance and I think what I’ve been doing has been working quite well, but it’s always wise to listen to the voice of experience.

I’ve been following ‘massive eating’, so would the P+C meals 6hrs post workout be ‘refeeds’ as Tampa-Terry does every four days?

Mayfield…Not exactly. Refeeds are really a whole other monster, and are utilized in fat loss programs. What you’re doing is simply common nutritional practice. And it’s all good!

Mayfield, a carb refeed is done in conjunction with a carb restricted diet. It has nothing to do with the Massive Eating protocol. When you take in less than a hundred grams of carbs per day (<30g, in my case) performance suffers because glycogen (i.e., stored carbohydrates) in the muscles becomes depleted. Since weight lifting is fueled by and heavily dependent upon glycogen, at a certain point things just fall apart. Thus the need for the carb refeeds. And carb refeeds are not to be confused with “cheat meals,” either. A cheat meal is just a free day (or meal) that one takes to keep their sanity and to keep from feeling too deprived.

Does that make sense?