There are a lot of different opinions of how carbs should be used to build muscle or lose fat. Depending on how you use your carbs, they can be your weapon of choice for building muscle mass and strength, or they can be your weak point and destroy your hard earned shape.
And to make the matter even more complicated, there are hundreds of different opinions on this subject. Here is a list of facts that can really help in handling the controversy around carbohydrates consumption and allow you to gain muscle with minimal fat percentage.
1. Low glycemic index over high glycemic index carbs
Carbs give you the fuel and energy for your workouts so you can’t cut them out completely. But, when choosing your carb sources, try to choose complex carbohydrates. For complex carbs, turn to sources like brown rice, oats, potatoes, yams and vegetables.
Why complex carbs?
Because they are composed of long chains of sugars and digested very slowly when compared to the high glycemic index carbs. This means that they help promote more stable insulin production (no insulin peaks) and blood sugar levels, which is a good thing when you are trying to build muscle instead and avoid the storage of excess fat under your skin. When trying to gain muscle an athlete can eat up to 3g/lb (2g/lb for women) of carbs on a daily basis.
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2. Eat high glycemic index carbs after your workout
High glycemic index carbs are easily digested and they tend to increase insulin very quickly. Although we said you should avoid “fast” carbohydrates in order to keep you blood sugar levels stable, there is one exception. You can eat “fast” carbs right after your intense workout. You see, insulin’s controls the storage of carbs into the liver and skeletal muscle. Higher doses of insulin result in storing the excess carbs as fat under your skin.
That’s why athletes usually try to prevent insulin spikes and avoid high glycemic index cabs. But after an intense workout, your glycogen supplies are almost depleted so an insulin peak can stimulate anabolism and the glycogen rebuilding process.
Some good sources of fast carbs include – white bread, white rice, sugar, honey and most of the refined foods.
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