Carbs, sleep & happy hormones

Happy Friday!! 

A little progress update and some info on increasing calories and carbohydrate (carbs) intake.

I’ve had another solid week of training into my 2nd week of a new program that my bf gave me that he does too (I’m aiming to change my program every 4 weeks so my body doesn’t adapt). It’s intense (heavy lifting, supersets, little rest and high rep finishers) and I’ve pulled up so sore each session but I love it. Also…I hit PBs on deadlifts this week!! (80kg x6, 85kg x3, 87.5kg x1 for my 4-6th sets). 100kg is in my sights! :) I did however strain my hamstring from deadlifts and sprints thanks to my unbalanced pelvis :( So today’s leg session was painful but I pushed through with slightly lighter weights for hamstring exercises.


Next week I’m going to increase my carbs intake each day. Why? Because I want to be able to increase strength again but I’m finding my energy fades towards the end of my workout, my recovery has been a little slow, I’m hungry, I’ve lost 0.5kg this week and even after a big burger last night (yes I eat burgers occasionally) I haven’t had much of a pump during training (i.e. I didn’t eat enough and my poor little muscles didn’t have enough glycogen storage). Maybe I should have gone harder on the burgers?! Haha joking.

So why a carb increase? My protein intake is more than adequate and fat intake is adequate for my needs. My carb intake isn’t exactly high and the weights and HIIT training I do utilises a lot of glycogen for energy which I’m lacking at the moment and I know my body tolerates carbs well. Don’t be afraid of eating carbs as they are our preferred fuel source, just be wise about what type, when and how much.

I already utilise optimal nutrient timing by eating the majority of my carbs pre and post workout in the AM. I’m going to add another serve of complex starchy carbs into my evening meal because the carbs will:

  1. improve the quality of my sleep;
  2. help my body recover whilst I sleep;
  3. give me a little extra energy for training the next morning (I do eat prior as well)
  4. the starch & fibre will feed the good bacteria in my gut. Healthy gut = better digestion and elimination of toxins and waste, improve body composition (lean mass), stronger immune, higher serotonin levels, lowered cholesterol and inflammation.

On the topic of eating carbs in the evening – carbs stimulate your pancreas to release insulin, which clears the way for more tryptophan to enter your brain. This then triggers your brain to manufacture melatonin and serotonin, which help you to feel more relaxed and sleepier. Just make sure you eat it with a serve of protein and a little healthy fats at night to help slower the rate of digestion and keep your blood sugar levels steady and stable. If you eat a large portion of carbs alone you will raise your blood glucose too high, then when it drops your cortisol levels raise keeping you awake!  The protein not only slows digestion but also contains tryptophan which is the precursor to serotonin.

If you find your energy, workouts & recovery are affected like mine have been, it can often be due to either lack of sleep or nutrients (or both) & an increase in calorie intake or change in diet will help. This doesn’t need to mean fat gain either if it’s done effectively. Depending on your lifestyle, goals & what your current everyday diet looks like will determine what your needs are & whether you need an increase in calories or maybe just a change in what food & when you are eating it. Feel free to send me through an email to if you want some guidance here.

Train hard, eat well and stay healthy xx



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