Carbohydrates Required For Exercise

September 1, 2013

Cutting out starchy carbohydrates from your diet is one of the fastest most effective ways to lose body fat for a variety of people particularly those who are obese, sedentary, type II diabetic, insulin resistant, or have other related conditions. For those who exercise, specifically serious strength training, or participate in sports requiring displays of strength, speed and agility you need to forget the first sentence.
During exercise, particularly high intensity exercise like team sports and strength training glycogen is a primary fuel source for the muscle. After exercise this glycogen must be replenished, and the best way to do that is through eating starchy carbohydrates like rice and potatoes. I am not going to go into the biochemistry or physiology of this, but in order to fully recover from one workout to the next and to experience muscle growth you need to eat your carbs. This is a little more difficult if you are on a low carb diet. The solution is in the timing of when you eat the carbs and the type of carbs.
White rice is one of the best, if not the best, sources of carbs as there is really nothing else in it to cause any gastrointestinal (GI) distress and it is easy to fully digest. Sweet potatoes (peeled and boiled) are another great source. The peel contains compounds that in high amounts are toxic to humans, and peels often cause GI discomfort. But the flesh of the sweet potato has not only carbs but vitamins also.
For the low carb dieters, work in the bulk of your carbs within the hour after your exercise session. This is the time frame where your muscles are most ready to take in nutrients and use them to recover and replenish their glycogen stores. Carbs essentially take one of two paths when you eat them. The first is as glycogen replenishment, the 2nd is to be converted to fat and stored. If you keep your carb intake low and time it right you can get most of your carbs to be stored as glycogen and not fat. Once your glycogen stores are replenished the excess carbs get stored as fat.


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