Being a good bodybuilder is a game of numbers. In order to achieve the desired muscle gain, fat loss and improved strength, you have to count the calorie intake, measure your muscles, track the pounds you lift and repetitions you’ve made. Numbers become pivotal companion to your training. Learning how to operate them – in terms of calories, nutrients, meals, weights – will help you improve faster, and expedite the muscle gaining process.
Many people who practice bodybuilding become, at one time or another, aware of the importance of counting carbohydrates. They are essential for producing the energy needed for training and growth. However, if you are trying to achieve leaner figure and decrease your waistline, they can become your worst nightmare.
For example, a 200 lb athlete who tries to cut fat, can get to a daily intake of 80-130 grams of carbohydrates. If we consider that each gram contains 4 calories, you can calculate that you consume 320 to 520 calories per day from carbs. This figure is considerably higher in athletes who try to bulk up. Also, people with lean figure need a higher intake of carbohydrates, while those with heavier figure should increase their proteins and fats, while decreasing the carbs.
The carbohydrate requirements are different for different athletes. If you are after strength gains and spend most of you day training in the gym lifting weights, then you’ll certainly need higher amounts of carbohydrates. On the other hand, you may want to lower your daily intake if you are a fitness athlete. Just keep in mind that your metabolism is a living thing, responding to the current circumstances, so you’ll have to keep up with these changes, and meet them accordingly.
Another important factor is the right choice of carbohydrates. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, rice and pasta abound in healthy nutrients, providing you with enough energy to support your training routine. Naturally, you should avoid junk food or candy. Although packed with carbohydrates, they lack all the other nutrients. If you choose carefully, the results will be swift.
One of the ways for handling the difficult task of keeping up with the rapidly changing numbers of your nutrition is to have a journal. Recording what you eat on daily basis will help you in the long run. It will allow you to compare how many grams of macro-nutrients you’ve had, and the loss or gain in weight each day.
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After a week, you average the grams and find out how many carbohydrates you’ve been eating daily in order to achieve your weight, strength and leanness. After this, test by reducing/increasing the number of carbohydrates on daily bases. Compare the results with those of the previous week, and adjust the carbohydrates intake to serve your goals.