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Harriet

Milk carbs for workout energy?

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Hi all. This may seem like a silly question, but: I know there are some carbs in milk. Are they the right kind/enough to give some energy for a workout? I have a class on Saturday morning which I need some energy for, but I have trouble eating a solid breakfast that early so I was wondering if e.g. a protein shake with 1 cup of milk would do the trick. 

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Not at all silly! Provided that your body produces enough lactase (enzyme), it can break down milk sugar (lactose) pretty easily into the constituent parts of galactose and glucose - both of which can be used by your body for energy.

 

However, 250ml of milk only has about 10-14g of carbs, and some folks recommend closer to 30-40g for workout nutrition. If after a few tries you aren't feeling sufficiently fueled by the milk + protein powder alone, you could try adding 1/3c of rolled oats to your blender (assuming that's how you make your shake) for a bit of extra oomph. 

 

At the end of the day, you won't know for sure if it works for YOU until you try! :)

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5 minutes ago, Defining said:

Not at all silly! Provided that your body produces enough lactase (enzyme), it can break down milk sugar (lactose) pretty easily into the constituent parts of galactose and glucose - both of which can be used by your body for energy.

 

However, 250ml of milk only has about 10-14g of carbs, and some folks recommend closer to 30-40g for workout nutrition. If after a few tries you aren't feeling sufficiently fueled by the milk + protein powder alone, you could try adding 1/3c of rolled oats to your blender (assuming that's how you make your shake) for a bit of extra oomph. 

 

At the end of the day, you won't know for sure if it works for YOU until you try! :)


Thanks, that's exactly what I needed to know. I usually eat oats for breakfast but it was a battle of will eating them early enough for the class. I'll experiment, as you suggest. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 10:10 AM, Harriet said:

I usually eat oats for breakfast but it was a battle of will eating them early enough for the class.

I also don't like eating first thing in the morning. Another thing to try would be pasta? Less fiber, may be easier to stomach. I know that I can happily nibble my way through 1/4-1/3c of cold broad noodles, they're pretty inoffensive. Fruit is good too, but I DEFINITELY don't want it first thing. 

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1 hour ago, Defining said:

I also don't like eating first thing in the morning. Another thing to try would be pasta? Less fiber, may be easier to stomach. I know that I can happily nibble my way through 1/4-1/3c of cold broad noodles, they're pretty inoffensive. Fruit is good too, but I DEFINITELY don't want it first thing. 


I love pasta and noodles... but aren't they evil refined carbs that will make my energy rise and crash, and then make me fat? This is a slight exaggeration, but still. I haven't yet given up on my dream of being strong AND lean AND having stable energy levels. 

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EVIL CARBS. :biggrin-new: But actually, no - carbs are useful (and, one could argue, necessary) to really fuel your workouts and to build muscle. And there's nothing wrong with refined carbs - in moderation and the appropriate applications. Actually, some pre-workout shakes use SUPER refined carbs (see: highly branched cyclic dextrin). For what it's worth, lactose can/will also spike your blood sugar - it digests faster than any kind of solid carb option would.

 

The trick is to make sure that you're choosing the right type, timing, and amount. There's a big difference in eating 1/3c of cooked pasta 30min before your workout and eating 3 slices of cake at your buddy's wedding at 9pm after a night of drinking. ;)

 

If you prefer, you could just add a banana; technically the banana isn't 'refined', but it has just as much/more sugar (also more fiber which makes it digest slower, and different trace nutrients, hence it being considered 'healthier'). A cup of frozen blueberries is another good choice, but I wasn't sure how 'not into food' you are first thing in the morning.

 

One of the reasons I don't like eating in the morning is because I can feel 'weighed down' by the higher fiber options; I don't like to ask my body to multi-task digestion at the same time as my workout. :PSome people prefer the slower digesting stuff though, like oats or sweet potatoes (which you can also steam & blend in smoothies - yum) for the slower energy release, so it all depends on the individual.

 

At the end of the day, you need to do what works best for YOU! With the exception of elite athletes (when they're really dialling stuff in), as long as you're getting enough protein, and at least some kind of carbs before you work out, everything else (ie. type & amount) can be moved around.

 

PS. If you want to boost performance without extra carbs, you could also look at adding some creatine.

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2 minutes ago, Defining said:

The trick is to make sure that you're choosing the right type, timing, and amount. There's a big difference in eating 1/3c of cooked pasta 30min before your workout and eating 3 slices of cake at your buddy's wedding at 9pm after a night of drinking. ;)


Seems fair. So, I might have to look into timing rather than restricting carbs.

 

3 minutes ago, Defining said:

 For what it's worth, lactose can/will also spike your blood sugar - it digests faster than any kind of solid carb option would.


Oooh. Really? Dairy is a major food source for me. I get through quite a bit of it with tea, protein shakes and oats. 

 

5 minutes ago, Defining said:

PS. If you want to boost performance without extra carbs, you could also look at adding some creatine.


Really? Instead of carbs? That would be useful. 

I'm trying not to be too obsessive about eating the right food. I'll try different options for that early morning class and see what feels okay. Thank you :)

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Creatine would help, but doesn't replace carbs - I just meant it could be a good option in addition to your milk+protein if you don't want to suck back an extra 30g of carbs first thing in the morning. ;)

 

RE: lactose in milk - liquids tend to be digested faster than solids. And it's a disaccharide (ie. two sugar molecules stuck together), not a polysaccharide like starch (where there are more than two sugar molecules bound together), so your body needs to do less 'work' to break it down into the constituent single sugar molecules it can use. But the speed at which your bodies absorbs it will all still come down to the amount, and what else you're eating with it - eg. with oatmeal, the fiber will slow digestion; and 1tbsp in your tea isn't enough to do anything wonky.

 

Don't stress the small stuff - you will FEEL it if you start to crash. Until/unless it becomes an issue, don't make yourself crazy.

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49 minutes ago, Defining said:

Don't stress the small stuff - you will FEEL it if you start to crash. Until/unless it becomes an issue, don't make yourself crazy.

 

Best advice I've gotten all day :D

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