Are Carbs the Enemy?
As previously mentioned, carbohydrates are used when we increase our activity level or heart rate. Therefore, consuming carbs before and after workouts significantly improves performance. Studies have consistently shown this consistently over time. Our bodies are not efficient in converting fat to energy and at high intensities and therefore, performance will suffer.
One way to maintain healthy a diet but still improve performance is to know and understand how to time your carbohydrates. I personally use this method and keep my carbohydrate intake very low throughout the day and consume the majority of my carbs for the day around my workout time. For everyone the timing will be different and the diet will look different. I tend to workout in the afternoon or at night so typically my breakfast and lunch are low carb. For someone who works out in the morning it will be the opposite, low carb lunch and dinner.
Our bodies also digest food differently. I can personally eat and go straight into high intensity workouts without any problem. For someone else that may cause them stomach issues and discomfort. So in general, I like to say 30-90 minutes for working out you should consume some carbohydrates. A fairly easy way to estimate how much you should consume is take your bodyweight and multiply by .25 (thank god for smartphones). For example. 200lbs = 50g carbs, 150lbs= 38g carbs
Examples of 20g of carbs, then you have to do the rest of the math from there:
20g of carbs= ⅔ cup quinoa, mashed potatoes, sweet potato, ~½ cup of rice
Post workout it is also important to consume 20-40g carbs with 15-40g protein. This ensures your body has adequate fuel for the workout and then adequate fuel and nutrients to replenish your muscles for recovering from your workout. All this while maintaining a healthy balance of calories consumed throughout the day using the right fuel source at the right time.