Carbohydrates and Muscle Building


Is your muscle building diet helping you gain the largest amount of muscle, or is it sabotaging your efforts? Often times we have no problem eating carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are found in many of the foods that we already eat, such as: fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.

The problem is that we are not eating the right type of carbohydrates at the right times to build muscles. Eating the right source at the right time is as important as how you work out!

Too often, most of us consume too many calories from carbohydrates. How does that happen?
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates have only one or two molecules, whereas complex carbohydrates have three or more molecules.

What does this mean?

It means that simple carbohydrates are absorbed and metabolized quickly by your body providing a fast, short burst of energy. Eating an excess of these will result in extra fat being stored on your body.

Simple carbohydrates consist of: white breads, pastas and cereals, non-starchy vegetables and fruit.

Complex carbohydrates are absorbed and metabolized at a slower rate and provide a more sustained source of energy. Complex carbohydrates consist of: legumes, whole grain breads and pasta, and starchy vegetables.

A muscle building diet should consist of complex carbohydrates as they provide you with energy over an extended period of time. Eating a simple carbohydrate is great, but only immediately after a workout. The reason that this is true is because your body needs to absorb more nutrients following a workout and the simple carbohydrates are able to replenish your glycogen level and insulin levels quickly. After your workout, insulin is responsible for transferring nutrients from your blood to your cells. This process is extremely important as it speeds up the process of protein synthesis, building muscle tissue. The insulin spike helps drive more nutrients into your bloodstream and helps feed your muscles.

The carbohydrates that you eat are stored in your muscles and liver. During your workout, your body converts these carbs into energy. Because your body relies on carbohydrates to burn as fuel, it is important to consume adequate amounts so that your body does not convert protein, not carbohydrates, into energy. Your body is unable to distinguish between protein that you eat, and protein in your muscle tissue, so, again, you can see how important it is for you to eat the right kind of carbohydrate.

What are the best sources of carbohydrates?

Ones that are of the complex variety, low in fat, high in fiber and contain protein. Kidney beans, brown rice, oats, mixed vegetables, whole grain breads, whole grain pastas and whole grain cereals are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Be sure to choose whole grain breads, pasta and cereals, as the traditional white breads, pastas and cereals are simple carbohydrates and are not an efficient source of energy.

Eating a serving of complex carbohydrates before you workout will provide your body with the energy that it needs to fuel your workout. Eating a simple carbohydrate after your workout will help your body to replenish glycogen and create and insulin spike which will encourage your body to absorb more nutrients. Following your awesome workout schedule and consuming the proper amount and types of carbohydrates will help your body look its best!

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