Are Carbs Important After Weight Training? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Are Carbs Important After Weight Training?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • It is important to understand proper nutrition in order to maintain good muscle function while weightlifting and exercising.
  • Carbs are important, but not more important, than other post-weight training foods.
  • Carbs, protein, and fiber are all crucial components of your post-weight training diet.
Diet is a crucial component of any weight loss or bodybuilding program. When and what you eat determines how your body reacts to exercise and how efficiently your body will work after certain exercises.

Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different in how it reacts to specific foods and exercise programs, and in this article, you’ll find general concepts that apply to most of us.

You may need to make adjustments in both your diet and exercise in order to effectively reach your fitness goals. A tool such as our exercise finder can be of great help to you as you assess your personal needs.

The advice of a professional trainer will also go a long way in helping you make any necessary adjustments. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, training logs, and more!

Is It True That Carbs Are More Important After Weight Training Than Protein or Fiber?

Carbs are not more important than protein or fiber after a weight training workout. The most important thing is to maintain a balance between all three.

So how important are carbs after weight training? 

Carbs are mainly used as fuel for performing muscle activity. Carbs are stored in the muscles as glycogen, and the more activity your muscles are engaged in, the more glycogen will be needed for proper functioning.

After a weight training session, your muscles require less glycogen, but they still require it nonetheless.

Immediately after a workout, your body continues to pump excess blood to your muscles for 20-40 minutes. Your muscles still work hard to deal with that excess blood, albeit not as hard as during your workout routine, and they still require glycogen.

You can increase the efficiency of your muscles after a workout by consuming a small amount of carbohydrates.

Just be sure to wait at least 60 minutes before consuming a full meal, as this will maximize the benefits of the exercise.

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So Carbs Are Important After Weight Training, but What About Protein?

Protein is the basic building block of muscles. Therefore, it is important after weight training to consume the proper amount of protein along with your carbs. During periods of rest, the body will convert protein into amino acids, thereby building muscle mass.

Be careful not to overdo the protein, however.

Many uneducated weight trainers believe more is better, causing them to consume more protein than their body can handle. This has been known to lead to heart problems, kidney damage, and other issues.

A good rule of thumb to calculate protein intake requirements is to multiply your body weight by 0.7. The formula is based upon a requirement of .06-.08g of protein per pound.

For the average person weighing in at around 150lbs., 100g of protein per day should be sufficient. For a person closer to 200lbs., 140-160g of protein per day will do the trick. As recommended earlier in this article, it’s a good idea to consult a professional in determining how much protein you need.

Now That I Know Protein and Carbs Are Important After Weight Training, Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?

There are three other things that need to be part of your post-weight training diet in order to maintain proper body function:

  • Fat
  • Water
  • Fiber

It may seem contradictory, especially if you’re employing weight training as a means of shedding excess fat, but fat is a substance your body naturally needs. Fat provides two essential services to the body which are amplified by the stress of exercise.

First, fat provides fatty acids which support future growth, mineral absorption, and regulation of some body functions.

Second, fat helps us feel full longer, thereby preventing us from overeating. Just make sure your fat intake consists of the unsaturated kind.

You also need to make sure you consume moderate amounts of water after your weight training program.

Proper hydration is essential for human survival because water is involved in so much of what the body does.

As you exercise you lose water through perspiration, so it’s necessary to replace that lost water by drinking fluids. A good rule of thumb is to consume 16 ounces of fluid after a moderate weight training session.

Finally, the last thing you need after your workout is fiber.

Fiber helps promote a healthy digestive system which, in turn, properly breaks down the various components of your food and distributes the nutrients appropriately. The digestive system needs to be operating at peak performance to take advantage of carbs, protein, and fat.

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