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By now, most gym-goers know the advantages of consuming carbohydrates before working out. Carbohydrates provide the sugars our bodies need to exert energy and maintain movement. However, a look into the details of how different types of carbs interact with our bodies, along with the optimal timing for consumption, reveal some ways to use carbs both before and after your workout in a way that will maximize your progress. Here are some commonly found carbs and how to use them to your advantage.


This fruit is an excellent source of simple carbohydrates that is great for both before and after your workout. Bananas are also high in potassium, providing some aid to muscles movement during your workout. Being that it is a simple carb, along with the fact that potassium doesn’t store in the body for very long, bananas are best eaten about 30 minutes before a workout. The high glycemic index of bananas also makes them perfect for replenishment after a workout.


This is a great food to start the day with about 2 hours before a workout. The complex carbs present in oatmeal release slowly, allowing your body to feel full for longer throughout your workout, while providing a steady source of usable energy. Oatmeal also naturally contains beta glucan which has immunity boosting properties, allowing you to keep your workouts consistent.

White Rice:

Probably the most commonly found and cost-effective carb available, this simple carb is ideal for post-workout. The body needs sugars after a draining workout, and white rice will provide the fast-absorbing carbs needed. Due to the fact that rice tends to cook slowly, you will have to prepare it beforehand and heat it to consume right after working out. Another great option is to stock your gym bag with rice cakes you can eat on the fly.


Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries taste delicious eaten fresh, or blended together in a smoothie. Along with providing essential nutrients your body needs, they contain high amounts of glucose your body can use for quick energy. These are best eaten about an hour to 30 minutes before a workout.

Whole Grain Bread:

This is an example of a complex carbohydrate that is best eaten about 2 hours before a workout. Whole grain bread is a great food to start the day off as well, allowing your metabolism to be jump-started and preparing your body for movement. Try spreading some all-natural peanut butter for delicious source of protein as well. When using carbs for your workout, it is best to prepare by eating complex carbs a couple hours before a workout in addition to eating simple carbs closer to your workout. This allows your body to have quick working energy for high-intensity movement while being sustained with longer term energy that prevents muscle catabolism. These carbs are easy to find and can be used as a crucial asset to your workout strategies. So start stocking your pantry and see what carb combination works best to keeps you going.