Timing is Everything!
Just the word itself may stress you out because of all the confusion surrounding it. Nutrition guidelines don’t have to be complicated, but I think the nutritionists who set governmental guidelines actually make things more confusing when they try to oversimplify. But just because things aren’t as simple as we would like, it doesn’t mean they have to be overly complicated. Just because all calories are not equal (if you need a refresher go here), you don’t need to freak out. Just eat a bit more lean protein and healthy fats to elevate your Resting Energy Expenditure.
In the same way, it’s valuable to know it’s not only what you eat, it’s when you eat. I’ve read plenty of nutrition guidelines that advocate eating high amounts of carbs to support the higher activity levels required to lose weight. So how do the NOURISH guidelines we use at 212 lead to people losing body fat and having higher energy levels even when they cut back on their carb intake? The answer lies in timing.
The body does use blood glucose for energy, so it’s helpful to eat something before exercising. The body is also incredibly efficient at taking carbs you eat post-workout and converting them to glycogen, which is stored for energy in the muscle tissue. The more the time between exercise and eating carbs, the more the carbs you eat are stored as fat rather than glycogen. So it really pays to eat carbs immediately after working out-within a 2 hours is best.
So when you eat most of your carbs before and after exercise, you are really able to boost your energy in your workout, optimize your recovery and set yourself up for another challenging workout the next day, and you end up storing relatively little of those carbs as fat. You can also aim to minimize your carb intake throughout the rest of the day, since you’ve already consumed the carbs necessary for recovery in the post-workout window. Of course, if it was a particularly challenging workout, listen to your body and bump your carbs. Remember the saying “Earn Your Carbs”?
Don’t forget-Timing Is Everything!