One question I get a lot is “what carbs should I eat?” Platformers know that most high-gluten carbs with little to no nutrients are off limits. But for many people white starchy carbs make up a large portion of their daily diet.
Typically Americans eat toast, muffins and cereal at breakfast, sandwiches at lunch, and pasta and burgers at dinner. The breads and pastas and heavy carb foods in these meals are all high in gluten and low in nutrients--a double whammy to all but guarantee you won’t achieve your health and fitness goals.
So by removing the aforementioned carbs, you’ve cut out the crap but what do you add in their place? We’ll come back to which carbs you should eat later on, but for now let’s just look at when you should eat them. Carbs are made of various types of sugars--and nearly all of them are eventually converted to body fat...unless they get used.
One way to ensure you use your carbs is to have them after a workout when your body is primed and ready to receive them. Post-workout your body can use them to fuel your recovery and adaptation. During high intensity exercise you deplete your muscle glycogen (stored energy in the form of broken down carbs, aka, sugars), which can be replenished with carbs.
Also, eating carbs after a workout will increase your blood sugar levels and subsequently your insulin levels. Insulin will help deliver nutrients to your muscles so you can come back better in the next workout. Making sure you accompany your carbs with nutrient-rich foods that have plenty of protein and micronutrients will also improve your recovery and results.
Now that you know when to eat your carbs, let’s go over which ones to eat. The best ones after a workout are starchy complex carbs high in polysaccharides. These contain both slowly digested starches and rapidly digested starches, which will keep you full and also promote recovery and rebuilding. Sweet potato, squash, zucchini, and rice are all whole foods that pair nicely with a lot of foods.
One potential downside of starchy carbs is that they tend not be very nutrient dense, at least compared to more nutrient-dense carbs like raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. To remedy this potential problem, a dessert of berries is excellent, particularly these tart ones, because they are high in antioxidants and vitamins.
Remember, having a starchy carb and some tart berries is only recommended post-workout, otherwise your body is much more likely to store these foods as body fat rather than use them.
Navigating through what to eat and when to eat to build muscle, burn fat, feel better, and get healthier can be a bit daunting. This is why Garrett and I created The Full Body Lift Off, a 12-week program that includes the right foods and exercises for optimum results. Not only will you exercise just 47 minutes a week, but you’ll also have us their every step of the way for support and guidance.