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Post Workout Carb Amounts

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 08, 2013 at 3:52 PM

I know the subject of post workout has been basically run into the ground, but please bear with me-

So, for someone performing longer (1 hr or a little over) glycotic strength workouts 3x a week, what would you suggest for post workout nutrition? I don't lift heavy with low volume, I generally have about an hour long workout of lots of pullups, pushups, and higher volume lifting, and then I also have 2 days of 45-60 mins of HIT "cardio" in between strength workouts.

My goal is to improve my body composition, hopefully leaning out in my abdominal area.

What I've understood from reading Robb Wolf's blog is that when performing highly glycotic work, eating low carb is a bad idea, and leads to adrenal fatigue, yet when one is trying to get lean, they should go a low carb route, and particularly low carb post workout. As you can see, these two points contradict eachother, yet my goal is to lean out, and I am peforming glycotic work..... How should I approach carbs in order to reach my goals, particularly post workout? Should I have all of my carbs in one massive sitting, in my post workout meal(this would be only after strength workouts, 3x a week) or should I go low carb all the time, and have a massive refeed 1-2 times a week? Or is there something else entirely?

Lastly, I work out in the morning, meaning my carbs would be in the morning too, is this possibly a bad thing?

EDITS/UPDATES: I am Male, 17 years old, 118 lbs- also, had poor results in the past, what I did was zig-zag cals and kept carbs always under 150 grams, with carbs coming closer to 150 grams on heavy training days, and around 100 grams on HIIT-Cardio and rest days... I burnt out, felt terrible, etc, etc, was zig-zagging 4 days a week at 2200 cals, 2 days at 2800 cals, 1 day at 2600 cals, and I was losing weight during this time... I ate around 40-45% fats, and usually 200-245 grams protein, depending on my calorie levels for the day.

FYI: I use the Insanity/Asylum and P90x2 workout programs in conjunction with body weight(dip/pullup/plyometric/gymnastic strength work) they are the bulk of my workouts

Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

(559)

on June 04, 2013
at 04:07 PM

e for 3 to 4 days and now that's a thing of the past. Not to mention brain fog is gone, hands and feet aren't nearly as cold as before. Its obvious to me that my body needs carbs at least somewhat

Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

(559)

on June 04, 2013
at 04:05 PM

I'm finally getting over my carbphobia... I ate a .5 lb sweet potato PWO yesterday and a .25 lb sweet potato with dinner last night and this morning during my workout I had more energy and stamina than ever before. I was noticeably ahead of my class mates so much so that my instructor asked what I was on and I told him CARBS!. It was pretty profound to say the least I think I'm going to start out at .5 grams per pound a day on workout days and go from there. Probably keep it to 50 grams on off days. Also I am not hardly sore and my recovery is dramatically quicker. On a hard day I would be sor

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on June 02, 2013
at 03:17 PM

Given your stats, anything under 150 lbs (which is less than 1 g of carb per pound of BW for you) is unnecessary. Play around with it though, try .5 lb post workout, and see how you feel/if your performance improves. If it does, great, if not, UP the carbs until you find your sweet spot, it should take only a week or two if you really pay attention to your body... again, not trying to lecture you here good luck!

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on June 02, 2013
at 03:14 PM

You classify avocado as one of your "biggest" carb foods? No offense man, but Avocados are mainly fiber and fat.. I mean, they have some carbs, but none that will have any benefit for restocking glycogen, which from what you've said, is your goal with trying to increase carbs. I never went VLC, but after asking a ton of questions like this one (the page we're on) I've found that just jumping in really works. If you work out 4x a week, especially given the fact you're 160 lbs, 6 ft and male (all meaning MORE carbs than a smaller person) I'd say try eating 2 or 3x that amount.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 09, 2013
at 04:28 PM

Dude, you have to lift heavy things. Bodyweight alone will not send the signal you want sent. The workouts you describe are all cardio-ish, which ain't helping. Learn to deadlift, move heavy weights and then rest a lot. Maybe add some sprinting in here and there, but right now it looks like you are doing a lot of generalized damage to your body, raising cortisol, and then never giving it a chance to recover. Give yourself two days off and then learn to deadlift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjbvf0P0bas&list=UUnnB4zDBqZHhQ4uLTAX8eYA&index=30

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 09, 2013
at 03:30 PM

25g to 30g was the last recommendation I read, the point of consuming some carbs pre-workout potentially aids with strength/motivation due to the rise in blood-glucose. I think it rare to be heavily glycogen depleted unless you structure the workout as such, and have been low carb (<50g daily) days before. There is not much fat-loss difference between low-carb diets and nourished calorie controlled diets, but insulin levels effect fat mobilisation. Try 100g post-workout and see how you perform over the week. 150g daily comes from http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/ which I think is useful.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on May 09, 2013
at 12:27 PM

Thanks for great details! Would you say that the 50g carbs pre- and the 100g carb post-workout holds also for females who are trying to lose weight? Right now I am eating 25g carb pre workout, and it seems to be sufficient (I'm not burning out) but I'm not feeling like rock star either.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 09, 2013
at 03:14 AM

I wasn't switching back and forth between goals, I sort of gave up trying to get any leaner, and decided to attempt to bulk up a bit, given my very low weight.... Now I'm just back where I started, and I'm starting to get even WORSE body composition... I don't know what to do!

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 08, 2013
at 08:32 PM

I think I got that from Doug McGuff's first AHS talk. I think high end athletes can reach higher numbers, but most of us would be kidding ourselves. Here's the link-http://vimeo.com/27962168 You can tell me if my memory is correct. I can't think off the top of my head who else might have said it.

606f2967e2ada25eb0bc2ed677ec2845

(364)

on May 08, 2013
at 06:34 PM

Im sure ive read in quite a few places glycogen storeage for the average joe is about 400g in muscles and 100g in the liver

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Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 08, 2013
at 05:16 PM

Read: How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need?

Clearly the above represents a pretty drastic range of carbohydrate requirements, depending on the specifics. For a typical male with 160 pounds of lean body mass, daily carbohydrate intake could range from the physiological requirement of zero grams per day to a near maximum of 1120 g/day during a carb-load. Which makes it no wonder that people are confused. Simply, the question “How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need?” has no singular answer. The goals of the person, the amount and type of activity, their individual needs (e.g. insulin sensitive vs. resistant, whether or not they function well in ketosis or not), their individual goals all determine how many carbs are ideal in the diet.

I personally have come to the following conclusions about carbohydrate.

  • 150g per day provides potentially better health than none at all.
  • Carbohydrate placed around workouts (e.g. 50g before, 100g or more after) seems to me to be the best solution all round. Lower carbohydrate throughout the non-active hours keeps insulin release low and allows for better fat-oxidation, plus potentially up-regulates the use of fat as fuel over glucose. Eating carbohydrate post-workout takes advantage of the muscles increased insulin sensitivity, glycogen requirements, higher energy/calorie requirements (opposed to storing excess calories as fat).

In terms of how much carbohydrate...

I first work out my daily calorie requirement:

(24 x body weight kg) x 1.7

Use 22 instead of 24 if female. 1.7 is an average daily workout activity multiplier. Use 2.0 if you are doing some serious lifting/running, use 1.5 if you just walked around a bit.

Then I sort out my macros:

Protein: 15% of required calories
Carbohydrate: 20% of required calories
Fat: 65% of required calories

Which for 176lb (80kg) man who did a 30 min HITT workout with a warmup/cooldown and is not specifically cutting but rather maintaining body weight:

Required calories: 3600 kcal
Protein: 150g (or 480g of cooked meat/fish)
Carbohydrate: 200g (or 750g of cooked starchy vegetables)
Fat: 250g (dripping, coconut oil, butter, etc)

Soooooooooooo after such a long post...

In terms of carbohydrate I see there is little reason to go below 150g a day, and not much reason to go above 200g on a normal day. BUT if you are trying to slap on more muscle you WILL HAVE TO up the calories overall. Easy thing is just to get in another 20% more calories of simply aim for 500kcals more, which I don't think matters much from where. Spread it across everything if you like.

Choose something and stick to it for a few weeks and see how you do. Play with the carbohydrate levels depending on how you perform.

Or simply aiming for 1g of carbohydrate per lb of body weight, and 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight seems a pretty sweet deal. Fill in the rest of the calories with fat. Shazam!

Read: http://www.perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/03/protein-for-athletes/

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 09, 2013
at 03:30 PM

25g to 30g was the last recommendation I read, the point of consuming some carbs pre-workout potentially aids with strength/motivation due to the rise in blood-glucose. I think it rare to be heavily glycogen depleted unless you structure the workout as such, and have been low carb (<50g daily) days before. There is not much fat-loss difference between low-carb diets and nourished calorie controlled diets, but insulin levels effect fat mobilisation. Try 100g post-workout and see how you perform over the week. 150g daily comes from http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/ which I think is useful.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on May 09, 2013
at 12:27 PM

Thanks for great details! Would you say that the 50g carbs pre- and the 100g carb post-workout holds also for females who are trying to lose weight? Right now I am eating 25g carb pre workout, and it seems to be sufficient (I'm not burning out) but I'm not feeling like rock star either.

0
Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

on June 01, 2013
at 02:26 PM

I am trying to get my total carbs up due to poor side effects from VLC. After every single workout I am consuming a .5 lb baked sweet potato. According to my research that is roughly 45 grams. Is this enough for recovery for a 6ft M at 160 lbs? I also eat a medium sized avocado at lunch. Those are my biggest carb foods

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on June 02, 2013
at 03:14 PM

You classify avocado as one of your "biggest" carb foods? No offense man, but Avocados are mainly fiber and fat.. I mean, they have some carbs, but none that will have any benefit for restocking glycogen, which from what you've said, is your goal with trying to increase carbs. I never went VLC, but after asking a ton of questions like this one (the page we're on) I've found that just jumping in really works. If you work out 4x a week, especially given the fact you're 160 lbs, 6 ft and male (all meaning MORE carbs than a smaller person) I'd say try eating 2 or 3x that amount.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on June 02, 2013
at 03:17 PM

Given your stats, anything under 150 lbs (which is less than 1 g of carb per pound of BW for you) is unnecessary. Play around with it though, try .5 lb post workout, and see how you feel/if your performance improves. If it does, great, if not, UP the carbs until you find your sweet spot, it should take only a week or two if you really pay attention to your body... again, not trying to lecture you here good luck!

Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

(559)

on June 04, 2013
at 04:07 PM

e for 3 to 4 days and now that's a thing of the past. Not to mention brain fog is gone, hands and feet aren't nearly as cold as before. Its obvious to me that my body needs carbs at least somewhat

Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

(559)

on June 04, 2013
at 04:05 PM

I'm finally getting over my carbphobia... I ate a .5 lb sweet potato PWO yesterday and a .25 lb sweet potato with dinner last night and this morning during my workout I had more energy and stamina than ever before. I was noticeably ahead of my class mates so much so that my instructor asked what I was on and I told him CARBS!. It was pretty profound to say the least I think I'm going to start out at .5 grams per pound a day on workout days and go from there. Probably keep it to 50 grams on off days. Also I am not hardly sore and my recovery is dramatically quicker. On a hard day I would be sor

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 08, 2013
at 04:42 PM

Robb's advice is goal dependent.

If your primary goal is weight loss, then a low carb approach is good. Exercise should be limited to keeping whatever muscle mass you have.

Since you are working out three times a week, I suspect your goal is putting on more muscle, or at least more strength. In this case, you will need some post-workout carbs in order to see improvement. You can stay low-carb the rest of the time. The reason for doing this is that the muscles are primed to take up the glucose post workout, whereas at other times, your fat stores may be where they are going to.

I figure it is in the 100-200g range. I think the average human body has 270g of glycogen stores and about 70g of that is in the liver. So, a really hard workout will deplete some of your muscles of some of that glycogen.

Now the other part to this is that for certain goals in the gym, worrying about how lean you are is detrimental. You need extra food to build muscle. You may see success by switching back and forth between these two goals, but trying to do both at the same time may result in achieving neither.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 08, 2013
at 08:32 PM

I think I got that from Doug McGuff's first AHS talk. I think high end athletes can reach higher numbers, but most of us would be kidding ourselves. Here's the link-http://vimeo.com/27962168 You can tell me if my memory is correct. I can't think off the top of my head who else might have said it.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 09, 2013
at 04:28 PM

Dude, you have to lift heavy things. Bodyweight alone will not send the signal you want sent. The workouts you describe are all cardio-ish, which ain't helping. Learn to deadlift, move heavy weights and then rest a lot. Maybe add some sprinting in here and there, but right now it looks like you are doing a lot of generalized damage to your body, raising cortisol, and then never giving it a chance to recover. Give yourself two days off and then learn to deadlift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjbvf0P0bas&list=UUnnB4zDBqZHhQ4uLTAX8eYA&index=30

606f2967e2ada25eb0bc2ed677ec2845

(364)

on May 08, 2013
at 06:34 PM

Im sure ive read in quite a few places glycogen storeage for the average joe is about 400g in muscles and 100g in the liver

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44

(88)

on May 09, 2013
at 03:14 AM

I wasn't switching back and forth between goals, I sort of gave up trying to get any leaner, and decided to attempt to bulk up a bit, given my very low weight.... Now I'm just back where I started, and I'm starting to get even WORSE body composition... I don't know what to do!

0
Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

on May 08, 2013
at 04:18 PM

I am going through the exact same thing... I work out at 5:30am-6:30am 2-4 days a week but I do bootcamp. I have been getting in a max of 25 carbs a day. Today was the first day I introduced a butter smeared sweet potato into my post workout breakfast. I would start there if I was you. For months I have been fatigued, have been getting headaches all day and recovering slow. So far I am not tired at all which is unusual for me.

0
5edb9385e68c8f1fdc8b255f8748e725

(140)

on May 08, 2013
at 04:01 PM

I am in a similar situation to you with the same goals. I workout mornings meaning my first meal is around 12pm. I always make my post workout "breakfast" my biggest meal, today I had around 1000 calories including about 100 grams of carbohydrate. I will then have some carbs in the form of a sweet potato or similar for dinner tonight.

On days I dont work out I limit my carb intake to around 50g.

I have only just started doing this so cant really report on any results but I am following the advice of all the knowledgeable people on here so I'm quite confident in its effectiveness.

Edit: not sure if you are male or female but I'm a male so take my advice accordingly!

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