Carbohydrates Not So EvilMarch 28, 2021
Carbohydrates, and water, give muscles their fullness. Limiting carbohydrates can be detrimental to overall muscle development. It also takes away from the presentation of the muscles during a show. The carbohydrates stored in the muscles also give the needed power and energy for those intense workouts. Carbohydrates are essential to the bodybuilding diet.
It is important to distinguish between quality, complex carbohydrates and junk, simple carbs. Carbohydrates with value are there in vitamin, mineral-rich foods, and HGH products, such as vegetables, enriched whole-wheat pasta, oat cereals, other complex carbohydrates supplements. Sugars from candy, cakes, pastries, juices, and syrups should be avoided for the most part. There are a few times when they may come in handy, which will be explained later.
Rice, pasta, potatoes (especially sweet potatoes), whole-grain and whole oat bread and cereals, and most vegetables, are important staples of a bodybuilder’s nutritional plan. They provide vital nutrients and provide a solid base for much-needed energy. The carbohydrates in these foods are broken down slowly and release their energy over time, resulting in an even supply of energy throughout the day. They also help to put the glucose (glycogen) back in the muscles after a strenuous workout. Mix these with high-quality, lean protein sources and you have a good meal to feed the muscles and replenish energy stores.
Many bodybuilders use the depletion and then loading of carbohydrates to pack the muscles full and bring out their shape. They start at 4 to 6 weeks out from the competition slowly reducing the number of carbohydrates taken into a low of 50 grams at about 2 weeks out from the competition. This is meant to deplete the stores of glycogen in the muscles and make them want more. Then at about 1 to 1 ½ weeks out you increase your caloric intake slowly, watching the muscles to see how they fill up, being careful not to increase too much. If the muscles begin to be covered with definition hiding water the carb amount is too high. It takes close supervision and a vigilant eye on the muscles. Once the peak of fullness is achieved it must be maintained until competition day. Minor adjustments might be required along the way.
The depletion phase is also important because it shifts the body into fat-burning overdrive. When the body does not have enough carbohydrates to fuel your workouts it must dig into the stored energy. It will start with the glycogen stored in the muscles, then the liver stores of glycogen, and finally the fat stores. This helps bring out that last bit of definition that is vital to success on the bodybuilding stage.
Carbohydrate loading will also help during the off-season training to help improve leverage and energy within the muscles. A trick that has been found to be helpful when trying to direct those carbohydrates into the muscles involves the ingestion of simple carbohydrates right after an intense workout. An energy drink, or simple juice, can be used for this purpose. The muscles are primed for sucking up those glucose molecules. To help control the insulin spike and help shuttle those molecules into the muscle instead of fat stores, some light aerobic activity may help. Hop on the bike or treadmill and start going, after about 8 to 10 minutes start sipping the carbohydrate drink. To keep the insulin under control keep the intake to about 10 grams per minute. The body will have a hard time storing the glucose in fat stores if the body is in a fat-burning mode.
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in media lately, but they are essential to bodybuilding success. They supply the body with the energy used during intense workouts and, more importantly, provide fullness and shape to the muscle. Muscles with poor glycogen stores appear flat and do not have the strength of those with good stores. So, don’t fear carbohydrates, learn to use them to your advantage.