Master Personal Trainer                         

Q & A:


Is it wrong to eat before going to bed, especially carbohydrates?

If you are counting calories and know you need to eat 1800 calories to maintain your weight and only have 1200 to 1500 earlier on in the day, you wouldn't gain fat if you ate 300 to 500 calories in the evening.  The issue for most people is that they are not aware of how many calories they consume and typically use the evening to snack or eat carbohydrates, fat and sugar laden dishes that ultimately pack on the pounds. 

Instead of calorie counting I coach my clients to use their hand as a guide to portion out food.  First and foremost calorie counting is usually a recipe for failure.  It’s impractical and research shows it can be up to 25 percent inaccurate on both sides of the calories in/calories out spectrum.

Despite what we know about food, all calories are not created equal.  That is why I am not a fan of “if it fits your macros.”  Just because you have 1800 calories “to spend” on food does not mean a donut or a soda a day should be a part of the equation.  Some calories are addictive, others healing, some fattening, some metabolism-boosting. That’s because food doesn’t just contain calories, it contains information. Every bite of food you eat broadcasts a set of coded instructions to your body—instructions that can create either health or disease.

I generally steer my clients towards eating carbohydrates only after they work it or their first meal of the day, especially if they are trying to lose weight.  Over the years I have noticed that when my clients eat their carbohydrates right after a workout they tend to be less likely to "treat" themselves outside of their weekly one or two treat meals.  Immediately after a workout, your body is fairly bulletproof to fat formation, meaning that a post-workout cookie or piece of chocolate is far more likely to get stored as muscle energy, compared to a candy bar consumed during a movie, which is far more likely to get stored as fat.  So if you have a sweet tooth, you might as well cheat after the workout rather than cheating later when it will most definitely be stored as fat.  Obviously I would prefer that you abstain until your treat meal on the weekend, but for those of you who must that’s your formal get around.