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How should I eat carbohydrates before and after my workout?

Knowing the right type of carbs to consume before and after a prolonged (more than 60 minutes) workout is critical for enhancing your endurance. Follow these general guidelines:
  • Take in slow-burning carbs before your workout. Slow-digesting carbs include oatmeal, whole grains and foods loaded with fiber (apples, cruciferous vegetables, etc.).
  • Eat fast-burning carbs after your workout. After exercise, you want to capitalize on the carbohydrate window -- the first 30-60 minutes after your workout when the muscles are primed to replace muscle glycogen. This is critical for endurance in your next workout. Immediately after you exercise, your muscles are like sponges. They are depleted of their glycogen (the storage form of sugar), and they are looking to fill back up. You need fast carbs to get sugar back into your muscles. Fast carbs include glucose, sucrose, maltodextrin (those found in sports drinks), Vitargo, sugary candy, sports beans, gummies and gels. That glycogen will then be present for energy and endurance during the next exercise session.
  • Consume at least 0.5 g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. Restocking your glycogen stores right after you exercise is one of the best strategies for having energy the next time you perform that same activity.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.