The Carb Coles Notes
Thursday, June 10, 2010
A number of my SP friends found the last blog a bit dense, others enjoy the details. But it is always a good practice to provide a summary up front so in the future I will do so. Thanks to all for your input, it is much appreciated. So here is what I’ve learned from the research for the last two blogs:
1. The harder and longer you workout the more you deplete your body’s energy stores (glycogen) and start breaking down muscle for fuel.
2. The optimal time for replenishing your glycogen and putting the brakes on the breakdown of your body’s protein is within 30 minutes of your workout.
3. Speed is important so you want to ingest food that creates a spike in insulin which will then help transport glycogen and other nutrients to feed muscles in need of glycogen and protein, creating an anabolic process from a catabolic process.
4. The carbs ingested at this time won’t be stored as fat … unless you overdo it of course!
5. While I now know what Maltodextrin and waxy maize are and know what they do when I see them listing in ingredients for various sports drinks and bars, I really have no great burning need to use them, simple carbs are definitely my preference and all most of us need.
6. Avoid fructose. I didn’t get into this last time but all the research I’ve read puts fructose at the bottom of post-workout recovery carbs. It is absorbed more slowly and is slower to prompt the release of insulin. The good news is it doesn’t mean avoiding some forms of fruit … especially the dried variety. The list of good sources of glucose includes foods such dates, dried apricots, raisins, plums/prunes.
7. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Just because eating carbs after a good workout is a good time to ingest carbs doesn’t mean they don’t count. Your post-workout meal/snack should be part of an overall plan and not a free pass. Ideally you should already know how many calories you are targeting given your goals (maintenance, loss, muscle gain) and the amount of exercise you are doing on various days. Your calorie intake and balance of protein, fats and carbs should all be based on these considerations. Then take a good portion of your carbs and have them post-workout. Don’t add to them, just distribute them differently on days when you have a good hard workout. No need to be having carbs late in the day when you can nicely consume them post-work out and have them go to your muscles rather than your hips. Carefully monitor you goals to make sure you are consuming the right amounts of carbs/calories given your exercise levels and fluctuations in activity during the week. Adjust your intake of carbs overall and post-workout accordingly.
8. Courses for horses. This old racetrack is applicable to so many situations. Basically some horses run great on short tracks, other on longer tracks, some love muddy tracks, etc. Pick your horse according to the track conditions. Post-workout nutrition will vary from person to person and day to day. I used to hunt for nutrition bars that were low carb and high protein. That was probably a good plan for days when I was stuck at the office and needed a snack to boost protein without overloading on calories. But now I have a new admiration for a bar like Labarar bars like Peanut Butter Cookie that I avoided previously because it was relatively low protein and high carb. Now on days when I’m doing a lot of cardio I now look at it as a near perfect food with very simple pure ingredients … dates and peanuts packing 23 g of carb and 7 grams of protein. But for someone pumping heavy iron, bigger guns may be necessary. But don’t overthink this. Honestly, if you are doing a moderately intense workout than just about any snack out of the fridge with a bit of protein and carb will be sufficient.
9. If you are ever in urgent need of glucose fix and are craving a Haribo gummie bear fix, just drop by Woody’s house.
10. Chocolate milk rocks and I love bananas. Neither have a lot to do with the blogs I posted but both are true.
And finally, this website rocks …
Right now it is aimed at the top 200 sources of glucose but you can pick a wide range of nutrients and find the best sources very quickly. For example the mouse and I were working on figuring out how to get more potassium into her diet. Before I knew 200 ideas were at my fingertips. I haven’t verified the accuracy of this site in detail (I checked a couple of items out and they were indeed very acurate) but when in doubt you can always go to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: