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All about carbohydrates

Here is a full summary on carbohydrates that will allow you to understand them and use them to your advantage.

Carbohydrates are those our body uses to rebuild its energy supply. It is a macronutrient. It is found in our daily diet such as in fruits and vegetables, cereals (rice, oats, pasta, sugar) etc. They are mainly stored in the muscles and in small quantities in the liver.

What is the role of carbohydrates?

They have a mainly energy role, these macronutrients are essential for the body. And especially the brain and the muscles which use them very quickly to function properly. They must constitute approximately half of our total daily energy intake. Thanks to them will be activated the protein metabolism. That is to say the reconstruction of our energy stock.

Two categories make up carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates: Sugars that are found in foods whose suffix ends in "dare": fructose, lactose, glucose, sucrose. Here are some examples: fruits, milk, yogurt, industrial products, cookies.
Complex carbohydrates: Sugars present in starch, in so-called reserve plants, tubers. Here are some examples: bread, cereals, pasta, rice.

When to eat carbohydrates according to anabolic windows?

The anabolic window is the "flagship" moment to reload your batteries in macronutrients (protein and carbohydrate) in order to make up for losses in the body. After training, muscles need to absorb proteins to regenerate and contribute to new muscle building.
The idea is to eat carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (GI) in order to boost the insulin level (relative to the blood sugar level) which fell sharply during the session. This is to better assimilate the protein intake ingested to boost muscle mass gain and build up a stock of glycogen in the body.
Here are some examples of high GI foods: honey, white bread, banana, dried fruit, maltodextrin (Gels or suitable sports drinks).

Avoid bad products with a high GI: cookies, sweets, industrial processed products, candies, sodas, etc.

When is the optimal time to eat carbohydrates?

After a workout, protein absorption is accelerated a few hours after exercise. Whether that be 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours after training, it will not affect muscle growth in the long term. However, you need to recharge quickly to benefit from the anabolic window promoting protein synthesis and providing carbohydrates to the muscles. This will allow better recovery. Know that carbohydrates are essential in protein metabolism.

The best timing is therefore to eat around training.

However, the anabolic window narrows with level. For high-level athletes, care should be taken to eat carbohydrates and proteins 1 hour after exercise to maximize absorption.
We recommend that you do not train on an empty stomach and therefore eat enough carbohydrates before training. And to be able to recharge again a few hours after the effort.

Good and bad carbs?

We advise to pay attention to the choice of your carbohydrates. Choose fruits (fresh or dried), whole grains, legumes or sprouted seeds.
Avoid processed, industrial products, refined sugars, confectionery, cookies, energy drinks and sodas. All of these products are filled with bad carbohydrates with a high glycemic index that promote fat gain.

Can we have « cheats meals »? 

A "cheat meal" is an unrestricted meal, the theory of low carb / high carb (little and a lot of sugar) is used a lot in the world of bodybuilding and fitness. It is simply a matter of allowing your body an unbalanced meal in terms of carbohydrate / protein / lipid ratio. You should only have one cheat meal per week so as not to interfere with good dietetics. But it is important because it is essential to show your body that we are not on a diet or in prolonged caloric restriction so as not to enter into a mode of protection of the body which would then come to amplify its stocks of fat due to this decrease .
Here, carbohydrates are mainly concerned. Treat yourself to carbohydrates and increase them during this feast! Respect the ratio of one "pleasure" meal per week to really optimize your diet.
We advise you to consult our food plan section for more information.

Conclusion on carbohydrates

Carbohydrates allow us to have and rebuild our energy. The more we have a high level of sport the more it is necessary to consume it quickly after training.
CAUTION: If you consume excess carbohydrates, the insulin level will be very high and will transform sugars into fat. Excess sugar is the main reason for obesity worldwide. Risk factors for many diseases (diabetes, overweight, cholesterol, heart failure) it is therefore essential to control them.

Our advices?

- Eat around 70% of your meals in complex carbohydrates (and supplement with slow carbohydrates like whole grains) 2 days before a competitive effort or prolonged efforts to build up an available and substantial stock.
- In the morning on an empty stomach and 1 to 3 hours after exercise are the two best times to ingest your carbohydrates and thus obtain the best possible assimilation for your body.