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Carbs! Hot topic, right? There are all sorts of rumours, perceptions, tips and tricks floating around out there in this world of health and wellness regarding this single group of food sources. And I certainly cannot dispel, correct or answer them all in one blog post today. However, we can tackle one crucial element of carb consumption: Timing!
Timing is EVERYTHING!
And that begs the question: When are you eating your carbs?
Before you answer, let’s quickly discuss the purpose of carbs in our nutritional strategy. They are, in fact, necessary. At their basic level, carbs are our source for fuel. They provide the energy by which we are able to function effectively. Yet, these stealthy components of our nutrition can be our enemy as well as friend. Trouble enters the scene when carbs are consumed and not used: a common issue in a modern lifestyle. Why? Sedentary lifestyles. But instrumental is the fact that carbs are readily available, relatively cheap and convenient food sources. That means they have become a major, in many cases the primary, element of nutrition. They are also addictive. When refined as so many are today, they are like sugar or any other drug. Your body demands more, more, and then more. Problem is more is never used!
When those carbs, remember they are your fuel supply, are not used they are stored. Yep, right on your hips, thighs, bum and belly. I know, it’s not pretty but it is truth. Your body is not the culprit though. It’s just doing its job of self preservation; doing what it was designed to do for survival. But this is the modern world and your food supply is not limited. Your survival is not in jeopardy from starvation. Most of us can eat whatever we want whenever we want. So then, what is the culprit? You are eating carbs at all the wrong times.
Eat carbs when you need fuel!
Simple right? It really is when you stop to think about it. So, when are you active? The answer determines when you eat your carbs for the day. Here are 3 basic guidelines.
1. In the Morning
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is true. You have been in fasting mode all night, you have the whole day ahead and you need fuel. Now is the time for some quality complex carbs (examples:sweet potato, winter squash, whole grains) ! Eat hearty with a balance of lean protein (examples:egg whites, chicken, fish, turkey, beef tenderloin) and quality fats but eat up!
You are about to tax your bodies resources. This is not the time to starve it especially of its fuel supply. Eat a hearty helping of clean, quality carbs, again balanced with proteins and fats an hour before hitting the gym!
3. Post Workout
This guideline has 2 rules. IF your workout is cardio intensive, then wait one full hour before eating. Drink plenty of water but no food. Not one bite. Why? Your body continues to burn fat during that window of time. Food stops that process instantly. However, IF your workout is resistance based, then you need to eat immediately after as the body needs to refuel and recover. The same guidelines apply of complex carbs, lean protein and quality fats.
We can talk more in future posts about the differences in refined, simple and quality, complex carbs. For now though, know that there is no need and it certainly is not healthy to run away from carbs. Simply be mindful of timing and be assured your body will be much happier for it! Plus, you’ll like what you see in the mirror a bit better too!
Has this helped you, given you some relief from the worry of carbs and their negative impacts on the body of your dreams? Let us know in the comments below!