The major goal with pre-workout carbs is not necessarily to improve performance, although that is a nice benefit. Primarily, the goal is to provide enough carbohydrate to promote post-workout glycogen synthesis without interrupting ketosis for very long. That is, the carbohydrate taken prior to one workout is really an attempt to 'set up' the body for better performance at the next workout by maintaining glycogen levels.
Although experimentation is encouraged, most individuals find that 25-50 grams of carbohydrates taken thirty minutes before a workout enhance performance. The type of carbohydrate consumed pre-workout is not critical and individuals are encouraged to experiment with different types of carbs. Most seem to prefer easily digestible carbohydrates, either liquids or high Glycemic Index (GI) candies to avoid problems with stomach upset during training. A wide variety of foods have been used prior to workouts: glucose polymers, Sweet Tarts, bagels, and food bars; all result in improved performance.
One concern of many SKDers (especially those who are using a ketogenic diet to control conditions such as hyperinsulinemia) is the potential insulin response from carbohydrate ingestion on a TKD. Generally speaking, insulin levels decrease during exercise. Exercise training itself improves insulin sensitivity as does glycogen depletion (3,4). So hyperinsulinemia should not be a problem during exercise for individuals consuming carbs pre-workout.
However, following training, if blood glucose is still elevated, there may be an increase in insulin (1). This has the potential to cause a hyperinsulinemic response in predisposed individuals. Sadly there is no direct research to say that this will happen and the only data points available are anecdotal. Most people appear to tolerate pre-workout carbohydrates quite well, and very few have reported problems with an insulin or blood glucose rebound with post-workout carbohydrates. Once again, for lack of any strict guidelines, experimentation is encouraged.
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