“Food timing is overrated” – That’s what I keep hearing all the time. Smart people even say, “A study showed that food timing is overrated.”
Well, it doesn’t really have a massive impact, but with proper food timing you can be more productive and active and therefore it’s beneficial for weight loss. Carb timing especially is something to think about because the wrong timing can mess up your energy levels and lead to permanent hunger.
But when should I eat carbs?
You have to find out for yourself what carb timing works best for you. There are too many different approaches and “studies showed” that can all be successful in a weight-loss context. Maybe that’s why people conclude that food timing is overrated.
Eating carbs is very debatable. When I talk about a carb meal I always mean a moderate amount, like a few tablespoons or half a cup. It’s not something we want to overeat.
On a weight loss diet I like to eat at least three carb meals a day and I time it right to use it for fuel.
I have tried the ketogenic approach to avoid carbs in the morning to keep insulin levels low and stay in a “fat burning state.” I felt shit during my training sessions.
After fasting all night, your body is in a catabolic state with slowed metabolism. You can break this state by simply refilling carbs in the morning.
Eating carbs in the morning will give you a kick-start boost to your day. You will be able to do more physical work like training and moving around. Being more active also means burning more.
Try a moderate amount of carbs in the morning and you will notice a mood elevation.
Stick to complex carbs like non-gluten grains, legumes or apples if you like fruit for breakfast.
- Before Training
I eat a moderate mix of complex and simple carbs about 2 hours before training to fuel a productive session. The closer to training time the simpler your carbs should be.
Eating carbs before training will help you train longer with focus and train harder.
When on a low-carb diet, I gas out after 1 hour. When I eat carbs for breakfast and before training, I can go for 3 hours. Not that I recommend training longer, but for me a productive training session is also a productive weight loss.
- After Training
The post-workout meal is important and should be the biggest carb meal of your day. A post-workout meal shouldn’t be a protein shake in a rush.
Within 45 minutes after training you must eat carbs to refill your glycogen storage.
Avoiding food after training to use the “afterburn effect” to break down more fat is a myth. You’ll break down fat anyway, even when you eat. Not eating after training will end in high levels of stress hormones and muscle loss.
The first thing I eat after a workout is a simple carb from (dried) fruit (e.g. dates or banana), a smoothie or a sweet potato as they contain quickly digestible and absorbable carbs.
Doing this will help you recover faster and your metabolism will work more efficiently.
These are my three carb meals of the day. Sometimes I cut my carbs in the morning to cycle them, but I only do it when I don’t have hard training ahead. I avoid carbs at night unless I train very late and feel depleted. In that case, a late-night carb meal can help you sleep and recover better.
Try this carb timing and adapt it to your diet. Don’t be scared to eat carbs in the morning. If you eat a clean carb source with complex carbs, protein and a bit of fat, you shouldn’t have energy crashes or hunger attacks later in the day.
Let me know how you feel it.
Take it easy,