T Nation

Why Carbs Immediately Pre or During?


I'm just interested why that is being recommended on here.

What is the reasoning behind it?


Setting up a hormonal profile whereby your body's response to training will be optimal for recovery and hypertrophy.



You have glycogen stores in your muscles and liver. Those stores turn from glycogen to glucose. Those get exhausted during training. Drinking simple carbs will give you have glucose surge to not get into those stores. After training more carb drink will replace anything else that may have been used from the stores.


can anyone else chime in on the type of hormonal response that occurs?

is it just insulin? or is it other things occuring?


For the systemic hormones, Insulin is the main one.

There are other benefits with system hormones that also come from insulin (ie. there is more free test during periods of excess insulin).

Then there are downstream effects of insulin, such as activation of mTOR (one of the genes that signals for protein synthesis, why leucine is so ballin') and GLUT4 transport. With more nutrients in the cells themselves, even further downstream metabolic signals occur (the presence of excess heat from metabolic reactions can increase the conversion of IGF-1 to a local derivative dubbed 'mechano-growth factor' which can increase protein synthesis; more glucose in the cell means more ATP which also can increase mTOR expression, etc.)

Essentially, insulin and glucose cause a shit-ton of downstream effects in cells which are conducive to muscle growth, either by activating the shit on it's own (mTOR, GLUT4) or potentiating a similar anabolic compound (test, IGF-1).

And that's just the signalling aspect. More Glucose --> pyruvate --> energy production can mean more work done, and insulin also increases the rate by which this degratation occurs (Glycolysis)


In a nutshell, if you're dieting, when nutrient timing matters the most, you have to pay attention to these things more. For ME, when dieting I get worn out from day to day activities. SO, when it's time to hit the gym, and I'm inevitably dragging ass, I just down my 2 scoops of Surge Recovery on the walk over to the gym instead of after lifting. The reason - because the surge releases a huge amount of glucose into the bloodstream and the pancreas shoots an insulin load all over! Then, I'm ready to go!

And, Fuzzyapple is right - when you're training at a high intensity level, your body's main energy source is carbohydrates (ie glucose). When your body runs out of the glucose immediately available, it turns to muscle glycogen and breaks it down to glucose. Glycogen --> glucose is a
"catabolic" reaction, and we all know how scary "catabolism" is lol!

Simple sugars (such as 2 scoops of Surge Recovery, a pop tart for Stu, some choco milk, whatever) will pretty much guarantee that your precious muscle glycogen will be left alone given that you're not drastically overtraining. Don't be afraid of simple sugars during the workout period, and make sure that all simple sugars are consumed before or during training. A lot of guys argue, also, that if you consume simple sugars post-workout, then you'll hinder fat loss by "capping" the process after training. For me, the only reason I drink my Surge before is simply to give me the energy to lift hard while dieting. Teh rest of the day I drag ass, but NOT during precious training! I also drink 2 scoops of whey post-workout, which helps too!

Rant - OVER!


It feels good, man.


for teh pump


i can understand carbs during if you train with a lot of volume...

i guess i don't understand immediately pre wo...idk i just feel lethargic eating carbs immediately pre...maybe it is the carbs i'm using idk...


Well, what carbs are you using?

I can see lethargy coming from either hypoglycemia (not so likely without a sugar buzz prior) or possibly if your carb choice is digestive intensive. Or if you just have a shit-ton of carbs or water and make your stomach upset.


I'm doing carbs at breakfast, and then not again till post workout.. Breakfast I like to get the complex in, i.e. oatmeal. Post workout, a banana.


or maybe your eating too much . for me i have 60g cheerios (about 20/30 mins before trainin)this give me 50g hi gi carbs and ill have another 60g pwo.


and it helps you to stick to your diet when you can have dem CHEERIOS twice a day nearly every day . do like me cheerios


Stu nailed it... Silverhydra's first response explained it in great detail.

From a practical stanpdpoint, the type of carbs is incredibly important. You've got to learn what type AND amount gives you the best energy.


carbs preworkout can help prevent muscle catabolism during intense training. thats really it without getting to sciency. protein and amino acid ingestion stimulate protein synthesis which is building of new muscle cells, which is good, carbs help prevent breakdown of pre-existing muscle cells which is also good. penny saved is a penny earned kind of deal