As many of you already know, I have been following a control carb diet for well over seven years now. Eating this way keeps me energized, lean, and strong for my workouts and day to day activities.
I divide my meals into two major categories:
FM– Free meals
These are meals that are low in carbs, mostly based around veggies, protein, and healthy fats. I enjoy FM meals any time of the day.
WEM– Workout Earned Meals
These are meals that I have earned with a high-intensity workout and tend to be higher carbs. These are things like fast-digesting starchy carbs (such as baked potatoes, rice, legumes, white bread or pasta), certain fruit, and alcohol. I tend to only eat these on days that I have done a high-intensity workout.
While there is now new research that shows eating carbs right after your workout is no longer as important as the number of total carbs you eat over the course of the day, you can benefit greatly when you save these carbs for the days you do a high-intensity workout.
After high-intensity exercise, our bodies are primed to accept and use nutrients (especially carbs) more effectively than on the days when we don’t work out. After an intense workout, our muscle and liver glycogen levels are running low. When you eat a WEM or a higher carb meal, these carbs get sucked up by your muscles, and it works to repair them and deliver nutrients more efficiently. When you eat carbs without depleting your glycogen stores, you are more likely to store these carbs as body fat, since muscle and liver levels are full.
Earning your carb-heavy meals with a workout is a great way to ensure you’re burning fat instead of storing it.
Rob Sulaver, Board of Advisors for Arnold Schwarzenegger, says, ”Eating a high carb meal when you work out will feed those hungry muscles without storing energy as fat. An influx of carbs will spike your insulin which will drive glycogen into your muscles and get you all prepped for your next intense workout. Plus, this carb/insulin spike helps with a cascade effect that returns your hormones to their happy pre-workout state, because while all those higher-stress hormones are great when you’re working out, you don’t want ‘em in your system all day.”
Earning your WEM meals with a workout will fuel your muscles, prep your body for the next workout, drive essential nutrients into your muscles, and help you burn fat instead of storing it.