when to have carbs – pre or post workout

by purelytwins

Hey luvs,

Today’s question comes from a blog reader Simone for another Purely Talk episode.

when is it best to eat carbs for working out


When is it best to have carbs, before you workout or after a workout?

As we mentioned in our healthy fats video, there are a lot of factors to take it when it comes to health and nutrition.

You cannot always just focus on one macronutrient, but consider the whole person’s lifestyle from diet to exercise to stress.

when to eat carbs pre or post workout

Carbs can be a HOT topic as there a ton of different views and opinions on carbs:

  • what are good source of carbs
  • good vs bad carbs
  • when to eat carbs
  • no carbs after 3
  • no carbs after 7
  • eat carbs only after working out
  • how much to carbs to eat
  • carb loading

And there are a lot more ideas… about carbs… but you get the point. It can be confusing!  Who do you believe? What do you believe?

There was a moment when we were scared of carbs, mainly due to our healing gut and acne.  We never thought carbs were necessarily BAD, we were just not sure if they were causing US inflammation or not. Well, over time we are learning how much carbs our bodies like.

 When is the best time to eat carbs?

  • pre-workout –> if you workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach that is fine, but if you were to workout later in the day having some carbs pre-workout would be good
  • post-workout –> we try to get most of our carbs post-workout, as well as a little carbs at other meals but majority post-workout. 
  • after 3pm? –> depends on your fitness goals, your fitness level, and when you workout. We feel if you workout at night, of course it is fine to have carbs afterwards even if that is at 9pm. 
  • so when is the IDEAL TIME to eat carbs? —> DEPENDS! We know vague answer but honestly it depends on your individual body and how it handles carbs. If you are training for something, if you are fixing your metabolism, if you are trying to maintain your weight, or if you are losing weight, if you are healing your gut, if you are healing your acne —> all these require different stance on what carbs and how much carbs to have.

So our little advice, take it as you will, is it try focusing on eating carbs around when you are most active. If you are someone who has an active lifestyle all day long you can probably have carbs throughout the day. And if you are intrigued by carb loading, experiment with it and see how your bodies do.

Don’t fear carbs! Carbs can are another important macronutrient. We are not getting into the details of what carbs do for the body, just sharing general thoughts on when to eat them.

It just might take some time finding what kind of carbs your body thrives on and what ones help reach your goals. Like with everything else we say here on purelytwins —> experiment. That is what we are doing with our carbs and documenting things along the way!

We sometime have carbs all day long then there are days when we just have it first half of the day. It really all depends.

Here are some more articles about what to eat before and post workout:

10 carbs to eat before and post-workout

What to eat before and after working out

Pre and Post workout nutrition

Facts and Myths about pre and post-workout

Post workout nutrition

Again these are just are thoughts. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion. And you might be a person who really thrives off carbs and that is great. But there might be a person who cannot handle a lot of carbs, and that is okay too. FIND YOUR BALANCE.

Twins question: When do you eat your carbs – pre or post or both? Do you see a difference with your carb intake at eating them at different times of the day? What is your favorite post-workout carb?

till next time,





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Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) June 20, 2013 - 11:04 am

That really is a tricky one and it depends on each persons’ individual goals. I don’t fear carbs, but I know I have to have a good balance of carbs, proteins and fats. After studying fitness nutrition, I really changed how I viewed my own eating and have since changed it to make sure I eat something within an hour of getting up. Some days I exercise early, some days it’s a little later. I eat the same thing every morning regardless of when I workout, but I may need a little extra boost if I workout a little later than I normally do. I guess the biggest part of the equation are your goals. For me, it to stay fit, but if were trying to lose weight, that would be a different story all together. Carbs! Such a tricky little macronutrient!

purelytwins June 20, 2013 - 5:41 pm

yes it is a tricky one; but sounds like you have it figured out for you 😉 we are still playing around our happy place haha

allison June 20, 2013 - 1:27 pm

I’m just wondering what you think about this: http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/belize-life-expectancy

I doubt there’s a single country in the world that uses more coconut oil than belize. They put/cook EVERYTHING in it. When you look at markets, they sell coconut oil, and if you want to fild other forms of oil it’s actually kind of difficult. Yet, their top causes of death are things you might expect the coconut oil to help with. Now, obviously their diet isn’t otherwise so perfect, but in the end it doesn’t seem that substituting a reliance on corn oil or soy oil (as neighboring and caribbean countries do) with coconut oil makes much difference in overall health outcomes.

Laury June 20, 2013 - 1:48 pm

It is definitely important to just experiment with your own body to find what works for you!!! I focus more on starchy veggies for carbs, like sweet potatoes in coco nut oil. I have trained my body to utilize fat more for fuel and so far so good!!!!

purelytwins June 20, 2013 - 5:43 pm

we hope to try out sweet potatoes in our bodies to see how it does, but for now we seem to be better without them 😉 we are training our bodies to utilize fats too!

Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile June 20, 2013 - 5:03 pm

I’m not sure what I think about carbs….I just know that I love them! 😉

purelytwins June 20, 2013 - 5:44 pm


amanda jewell June 20, 2013 - 8:30 pm

Hey ladies,
Kind of unrelated to this post, but what digestive enzymes would you recommend for someone trying to heal their gut and digestion? Also, would you recommend taking HCL (if so, do you have a brand that you’d recommend)? I really want to see it I can improve my digestion, gut, and metabolism! Thanks a bunch! <3

amanda jewell June 21, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Thanks ladies; I saw those posts, but recently you said you were taking the body ecology digestive multi and was wondering if you recommended that compared to the other separate digestive enzymes and probiotics you’ve tried?

purelytwins June 21, 2013 - 4:28 pm

no, we though they were okay but we kinda like other probiotics over it.

amanda jewell June 21, 2013 - 5:09 pm

thanks so much! <3 <3

Deanna Wilcox June 20, 2013 - 9:46 pm

You girls are so freakin cute! Lori, you look so happy in this video, smiling almost the whole time!

purelytwins June 21, 2013 - 9:23 am

thank you Deanna xoxo

Kaila (@MissSkinnyGenes) June 20, 2013 - 10:25 pm

The carb conversation is so hot right now. I think it’s one of those debates that will go forever unresolved specifically because carbs–and ideal macronutrient ratios in general–are so rooted in individual needs.

I personally went super low carb/high fat because injury/surgery/chronic pain forced me to cut my training to almost non-existent, and it actually seemed to help with my depression and anxiety. But, that said, I’m still struggling with acne, amenorrhea, and thyroid issues, so it may be time to reassess.

I love that you ladies advocate a more n=1 approach to the issue. I think it’s absolutely essential that you experiment to find what’s right for you. I’m finding, too, that experimenting on my own hasn’t necessarily given me the results I’ve wanted, which is why I’m going to seek help from a functional medicine doc, but the trick is to find someone who is willing to let me explore the different options for my body as opposed to prescribing one dogma or the other…

Wendy June 20, 2013 - 10:38 pm

I do carbs both pre and post. Post workout contains more and I usually do roasted Kabocha squash with some fruit mashed in along with coconut oil!

purelytwins June 21, 2013 - 9:27 am


Alyssa June 20, 2013 - 10:38 pm

This is great to know. I always try and limit carbs but too often I am too active to do so.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 21, 2013 - 8:31 am

I hate all the carb “rules.” I think the best time to have them is when your body says it’s time! 🙂

My favorites are a butternut or sweet potato smoothie or simply raw oats on a smoothie bowl. I love the contrasting textures! And I’m on a smoothie kick since it’s SO HOT.

purelytwins June 21, 2013 - 9:28 am

haha for no rules 🙂
and smoothies are sounding good lately!

Laura @ Mommy Run Fast June 21, 2013 - 12:14 pm

I love your balanced approach, as usual! I probably have most carbs post-workout, with some before and some throughout the day. I’ve never needed to restrict on cut them off by a certain time… but I definitely feel better and sleep better if I stop eating the last 2-3 hours before bed.

purelytwins June 21, 2013 - 4:29 pm

xoxo thanks Laura, we try not to restrict ourselves either and just eat balanced and listen to our bodies 😉 HUGS


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