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By: Obi Obadike
Everybody has different theories in regards to diet and training. At times, there is no right or wrong answer because every year theories change and nothing is black and white. Many different variables exist it comes to attaining fitness goals. I’ve read a lot of blog posts lately about when to consume carbs and when not to, and everybody has different theories. I try to respect everybody’s opinion, even if I don’t agree with it.
First of all, I’ve always been a natural athlete ever since I was 5 years old and I still train like this. I can dunk a basketball standing underneath the basket and I can still run a 40-yard dash under 4.6 without being in track shape. I’ve competed and trained with Olympic medalists, some of the best track athletes in the world. One of my college coaches was a gold medalist in the 1976 Olympics and he is still considered one of UCLA’s greatest 400 meter runners ever.
So I have a lot of experience being around World Class Olympian athletes and how they ate, when they ate and how they trained. I happen to have a decent physique, but I’ve always been an athlete first and a physique model second.
My training has always consisted of building a functional body that allows me to still train and move as an athlete. I still want to jump over hurdles, sprinting, play basketball, run stadium steps and more.
I have never been an advocate of no carb diets, period. I have an article in this issue’s Inside Fitness magazine elaborating on this point. Carbs are beneficial and I’ve never said they weren’t. You need to use them depending on how you are training and your desired goals. Use them for their intended purpose: for fuel and energy.
If you are more physically active during the day—whether it is moving around a lot at work, training in the gym or just running errands—I advise you to consume your carbs during those active times. This will allow you to use those carbs for their intended purpose.
If most of your inactivity is at night, then I wouldn’t advise you to consume carbs before you go to bed. They will just store in your body and not be used as fuel. Also, everybody is different when it comes to consuming carbs. Some people are naturally lean or skinny and consuming carbs won’t do anything. Other people who are sensitive to carbs will balloon up if they daily consume more than 50 to 75 grams of them.
You have to figure out your body type and how it reacts to carbs. If you are a college, pro, or high school athlete—or just someone who plays sports every day—then you should consume more carbs than the average person. That fuel gives you the energy to function properly throughout your sporting events.
When I am doing sprints, stadium steps, plyometrics, playing basketball, I consume more carbs than my norm for that day. This is because I want to do these activities with the proper fuel and energy to finish them efficiently. I will consume more than 100 grams of carbs on days when I am doing any of these physical sporting performance exercises.
I can function reasonably well with low carbs, but some people can’t. Your fitness goals, your body type, your metabolism, how you train, your work schedule activity throughout the day will dictate how much carbs you should consume and when. Here’s an example: somebody that does labor work late at night should consume carbs late at night because they need that fuel and energy to get through their shift. If your fitness goal is to lose weight and you work a normal 9 to 5 job and go to bed early, don’t consume carbs in the evening as this contradicts your fitness goals. Those carbs you consume right before bed will just store in your body and not burn fuel.
If you are focused on bulking up, then you should consume carbs all the time with minimal cardio. I remember when I weighed 230 lbs and was eating all the time, I consumed a high amount of carbs because that was the only way to pack on weight. There is no “bible” in terms of rules. Instead, do your best to learn from everybody’s theories and see what works for you. I don’t know everything and I don’t pretend to. But I try to be open-minded to different theories. With yearly research, theories change all the time.
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