Fat Loss

The 3 Optimal Times You Need To Ingest Carbs

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There is so much confusion when it comes to all the different diets out there! Some tell you that you should avoid carbs completely or at least limit them to a small amounts, and everything in between. I’m sure you’ve heard of at least one of them, or at least know someone who has tried a low or no-carb diet…

Are Carbs REALLY The Enemy?

The truth is, it all depends on what type of carbs you consume, when you consume them, and how many. But it also depends on how much body fat you have right now too, what your goals are and what type of workouts you’re doing.

There’s no one-size-fits all approach, but there’s some simple rules that you can apply for timing carbs and making them work for you:

Eat them at the right times, and they’ll accelerate your fat loss and get you

X Get the timing wrong and over-consume them, and you may keep falling short
of your goals as your insulin spirals out of control and keeps you out of a fat
burning state.

The Top 3 Times YOU NEED To Ingest Carbs

1.     Morning {But not for everyone!}

One of the best times to consume carbs is in the morning, right after you wake up.

Here’s why:

Overnight, while you sleep, your body fasts and goes through carbohydrates that it stores away, also known as glycogen. When you eat carbs first thing in the morning, your body uses these carbs to replenish the glycogen tanks in your liver and muscle, rather than storing them as fat.

One of the best things that you can do is to reach for some steel cut oats, granola, or even a little bit of fruit.

Remember to also consume protein in the morning with your carbs.

Now, this is NOT for everyone! Some people work very well on fatty breakfast meals with moderate protein in order to keep insulin levels low, which in turn, allows the body to burn and mobilize fat until they workout.

*If your body fat is under 12% for a male and under 20% for a female, I’d suggest carbs in the am.  If you’re over those percentages, I’d suggest skipping the carbs and adding a fatty breakfast. This will help you better burn and mobilize fat all day until the next 2 suggested times to eat carbs.

2. Pre-Workout

Because carbs are so critical to providing energy, consuming carbs before your workout is a must.

Why is this so critical?

Simply put, the more energy you have, the harder you train.

Think of it this way…Carbs are like “High-Octane-Fuel”, so use them when you need them, make sense?

Consume your carbs about 2-3 hours before you workout. Sources such as quinoa, sweet potato, yams, and rice are all great sources that can really fuel a killer workout.

3. Post-Workout  

The reason why it’s suggested to eat carbs after your workout is very much the same reason they’re recommended first thing in the morning – You’re Insulin Sensitive!

Those glycogen tanks are used up when you train hard via HIT Training or High Volume Hypertrophy workouts, and in order to replenish the glycogen (AKA High-Octane-Fuel we spoke of) and allow your body to shuttle nutrients for recovery, you need carbs in your post-workout shake and meal[1]. This will stimulate insulin at the right time and place your body in an optimal state for recovery.

This is where Carbs are your true friend! Carbs help shuttle insulin to the muscle cells, and this accelerates the delivery of nutrients such as protein to broken down muscle tissue.

This is so important! When it comes to making sure that you can perform day in and day out, and build muscle at the same time, without storing body fat, ingest carbs post workout!

Post workout carbs can’t be neglected! Do this and you’ll be suffering from poor recovery and potentially muscle loss.

As per carb choices post workout, I like to have higher glycemic carbs in my post workout shake to increase the recovery time and create a nice insulin spike. Many guys I know will put straight up dextrose in their shakes. I prefer low fructose fruits, honey and some carb drinks such as Waxy Maize, Karbolyn, and Vitargo.

Why Timing Carbs is the Key to Your Fat Loss Success


Dieting concept. Tape measure wrapped around slices of bread

The concept of manipulating your insulin levels to increase fat burning and mobilization is becoming more and more popular these days and it’s done in a variety of ways; Intermittent Fasting, Carb Cycling, Keto Diet, Carb Nite, Carb Back Loading, and more. They ALL work! But some are more optimal depending on what your goals are.

To shed that unwanted body fat, you need to time your carbs and make them work for you! The key is to do this while still maintaining your muscle mass and performing well.

Going without carbs for too long won’t give you the best of both worlds. This is why timing your carbs can be so critical.

This is why I like Carb Cycling as the best option for the following reasons:

You don’t end up cutting out carbs for so long, that you end up doing more harm than good.

By having an influx in carbs and calories on days when you need them most, it keeps your metabolism guessing and allows you to blast through plateaus of fat loss and even muscle growth.

I schedule high-carb-cycling days on my priority workouts like legs, or a weak body part like chest. This gives me the fuel I need to blast through the workout and be able to recover from longer, more intense sessions!

By strategically eating carbs at the most optimal times, you guarantee that when you do eat them, they’re properly utilized, and not stored as body fat.

As for the rest of your meals in the day, I recommend that you stick to a variety of protein sources from red meat, wild fish, wild meat, turkey, chicken and eggs. Balance out your meals with various fat sources too, such as avocado, olive oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, grass fed cow butter, and fish oils. And be sure to get your green leafy veggies of course 😉

Customized Carb Intake Is Always Best!

Following the guidelines I’ve provided in this article will surely help and be a great place to start. These rules around carbs and the timing of them work well with most individuals.

When it comes to diets, fat loss, performance programming, and muscle building, your meals should be personalized for the best results.

Why? Because there’s no one-size-fits all approach. Everyone has different goals, body compositions, and types of activity that they’re performing, and those can all have a massive impact on the nutrition plan you need.

My good friend and IFBB pro Matt Stirling put together the absolute best guide on carb cycling!

Check it out, and let me know what you think! This guy is an evil genius with this stuff.

The Customized Carb Solution



Peter Tzemis is America's Honest Fitness Coach and loves green juice, reading books by or about great men, long walks on the beach, Marathon Lego-building sessions, Pokemon, meditation and defending his undefeated push-up contest. He is on a mission to change the lives and bodies of 100,000 Badasses Worldwide. He’s been featured by the media on all 6 livable continents and is routinely referred to as “as the best fitness coach in the world” ; ” Peter’s just…on another level.” and “ He should be illegal, that’s how good he is.” Peter concurs.

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