Body Building Resources

Are Carbs Good For Muscle
Building? 6 Reasons

We all need carbs for our bodies to function properly. Carb is an essential nutrient which is needed by our bodies everyday to perform our daily activities. For bodybuilders and athletes, carbs play a vital role for training and they usually need to increase their intake more than the average joe. Here are 6 reasons why carbs are good for muscle building:

Provide energy for your workouts

Let's face it, without energy you're are not going to give the best in your workout. Muscle building requires energy to push you through your sets and complete them. If your carb intake for the day is too low or you don't have enough carbs pre workout, your training will vastly suffer as well as your muscle building goals. The truth is lack of carbs will hinder your muscle gains since you won't be able to train as effectively as you should if you had adequate amount of carbs. If you feel lethargic at the gym, there is a great chance you're not eating enough carbs.

Prevent muscle loss

Having a carbohydrate deficiency can actually trigger muscle loss since your body will use protein and fat for energy when you're low on carbs. Using your fat stores for energy is ok but utilizing protein is not as you'll experience muscle catabolism which is muscle loss. Don't forget muscle is made up of protein, so it's vital to have enough carbs in your body while you're exercising so that you don't deplete your protein storage thereby triggering muscle catabolism.

Keep your metabolism active

Having enough carbs will prevent lethargy and fatigue and as a result, your metabolism will be more active making you more prone for muscle building.

Give fuller muscles

I hate to burst your bubble but if you have always thought protein is the only thing you need to build muscle, you've been misinformed. Carbs and fat too are important for optimum muscle growth and a buff body. Carbs particularly will give your muscles a bigger and fuller look. If you have only protein, your muscles will look rather flat as if deflated.

Supply vitamins and minerals

Carbs have a plethora of vitamins and minerals, don't think they are just used for energy. Complex carbs in particular which are the healthier carbs are loaded with vitamins and minerals which are essential nutrients your body needs for optimal muscle gains. Sweet potatoes for example are complex carbs and they are one of the best carbs for muscle building with an immense popularity in the bodybuilding world as they have excellent nutritional value. Another example is bananas which are rich in potassium and very effective for muscle recovery and muscle building.

Recharge your muscles post workout

Having carbs post workout is crucial to replenish your depleted muscle glycogen stores(sugar storage cells to provide energy) and help shuttle protein and amino acids to your muscle cells for repair and rebuild. For post workout in particular, you can have some simple and fast-digesting carbs like dextrose or waxy maize with some whey protein and one hour and a half later, have a solid meal with complex carbs, protein and healthy fats.

What kind of carbs should I eat?

You should focus more on complex carbs instead of simple carbs. Complex carbs are slow-digesting and provide energy gradually so there is no spike in insulin levels followed by a crash later on. You'll feel energetic throughout the day and during your workout. List of complex carbs includes but not limited to, sweet potatoes, brown rice, wholegrain oats, oat bran, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, rye, yams, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread, bananas, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils and so on.

For bodybuilding recipes, I highly recommend Anabolic Cooking which is the ultimate guide for bodybuilding nutrition.

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