In this second installment of “Workout Hard, Postworkout Smart” I am going to go into detail about why you should avoid carbs and if you should consider making fat a part of your post-workout strategy. In the last installment I covered the fundamentals of a post-workout strategy and defiled some sacred ground when I challenged the established notion that our bodies need carbs to increase protein synthesis (not true) and to replenish our glycogen stores (also not true). I went so far as to say that carbs should only be included in a post-workout plan under certain conditions and that anyone with the goal of losing body fat should never eat carbs post-workout.
4 Reasons to Avoid Carbs Post-workout
So that you aren’t following my recommendations in blind faith I will give you 4 reasons that you shouldn’t include carbs so you, too, can testify and walk in the light:
- Carbs trigger the release of insulin, the hormone responsible for fat storage. Insulin converts carbs into stored body fat. The higher your blood sugar levels the bigger the spike in insulin release and consequently the more fat your store.
- Our bodies store 3 grams of water for every 1 gram of glucose. Eating large quantities of post-workout carbs make you retain more water, giving you that swollen and bloated look. Don’t let water retention kill your definition!
- Intense resistance training and high intensity interval training creates a huge surge in growth hormone (GH). GH is a muscle building, fat burning and anti-aging hormone that cannot exist in the blood stream in any substantial amount when insulin is also present. The insulin spike from carbs effectively shuts down your GH surge erasing one of the best benefits of training.
- Chronically high insulin levels lead to insulin insensitivity, which can eventually lead to chronic disease like adrenal fatigue and even diabetes.
More Post-workout Myths: Fat
The same school of thought that has been preaching post-workout carb-loading to improve protein synthesis has also preached avoiding fat at all costs because it negatively affects protein synthesis. Research has now proven that moderate fat intake does not negatively impact protein synthesis. On the contrary, taking omega-3 fish oils will actually increase protein synthesis! Omega-3’s have several benefits in addition to improving the efficiency of protein synthesis:
- Omega-3 fish oils (EPA-DHA) are a powerful anti-inflammatory that help calm down inflammation caused by intense exercise. That means faster recovery for the next workout session.
- Fish oils turn on the lipolytic genes (fat burning genes) and turn off the lipogenic genes (fat storage genes). I could probably stop here, but I'll keep going...
- They are great for joint health. Your joints take a beating during heavy resistance training and especially plyometrics. Joint health is a key to longevity.
- The anti-inflammatory properties boost immune system function, which is often compromised by intense training.
- Bonus: Omega-3’s are great for clear, vibrant, youthful skin. Don’t you want the canvas you are stretching over all those rippling muscles and six-packs to look as good as possible?
Fish oils turn on the lipolytic genes (fat burning genes) and turn off the lipogenic genes (fat storage genes).
Summarizing “Workout Hard, Post-workout Smart, Parts I and II”:
Now you know why you should be avoiding carbs post-workout and why moderate fat intake is not the devil we once thought. You also know why you should include omega-3 fish oil as a part of your post-workout strategy. In the next installments of the series we will cover:
Part IV, Recommendations on the best supplement brands as well as additional supplementation that can augment your goals such as, creatine, branched chain amino acids (BCAA), L-glutamine, fish oils, Greens Powders and other high anti-oxidant blends, adaptagens, and much more.
Part V, Importance of central nervous system (CNS) recovery for the advanced/hardcore trainees and so your workouts don’t leave you bonking at work.