Carbohydrates & Your Muscle Growth

Could What You Think About Carbohydrate And Muscle Growth be ‘Wrong’?

What you need to know about carbohydrate

In my experience most, if not all, bodybuilders tend to focus far too much on the amount of protein they have in their daily diet, believing, because that’s what they are told, that protein is the most singular important muscle building foods, and ignore ‘Carbohydrates’ at their own peril.

What most people tend to be afraid of is weight gain, but carbohydrates are very important when training hard and for ‘Protein’ synthesis, more on this subject later. Diets like the ‘The Atkins Diet’, has left lots of people very bewildered over whether or not to eat carbohydrate, which must be bad for you.

The American Dietetic Association also has concerns about the Atkins diet. Gail Frank, PhD, former spokeswoman for the organization and professor of nutrition at California State University in Long Beach, says, “The body needs a minimum of carbohydrates for efficient and healthy functioning — about 150 grams daily.” Below that, normal metabolic activity is disrupted…source http://www.webmd.com/diet/atkins-diet-what-it-is

I know it’s true that if you need to control your weight, then you may need to control your carbohydrate intake, but if you want to gain muscle mass, then it’s important to ensure that you’re consuming enough of the right carbohydrate within your diet and at the right times.

Unfortunately, this is a huge and very complex issue, so I will do my best and concentrate on the three main reasons ‘why’ carbohydrate is important for muscle growth…

1.‘Why’ is carbohydrate so important

First, it’s important to know that carbohydrate is stored within your body’s muscles, called glycogen, and when you train hard this stored carbohydrate get’s used by the muscle as energy.

As you continual to train hard, the glycogen stores in your muscles becomes depleted, this is because your muscles can only store a limited amount of glycogen. As the glycogen starts to run out, your body starts to consume protein, and fats, for energy, which is also stored in your muscles too!

This is the reason ‘Why’ we loss energy if we haven’t eaten at least one hour before we train. If it’s normal for your energy levels to drop during your workouts or if you are left feeling a bit lethargic towards the end of the week, then try this little trick, which will help to keep your energy levels up for your next workout. In turn helping you safeguard against muscle lose too…you will notice a massive difference in your workouts.

Don’t worry about storing this carbohydrate as fat, because your body will use the carbohydrate in the drink burning it off as you train. The important thing here is to stop your body’s carbohydrate levels from crashing, leaving you feeling lethargic when you train next time around.

2. ‘How’ does carbohydrate help build more muscle

‘Now’ this is probably the most miss-understood or unknown fact, among bodybuilding’s today. But did you know that carbohydrate and protein need to work together to help stimulate muscle growth…’Yes’ suck on that fact one more time…”Carbohydrate and protein need to work together to help stimulate muscle growth”.

It doesn’t matter which one you cut out, by doing so you will seriously jeopardise any real kind of muscle size progress. 

‘Now’, listen up, because this is the real exciting news…’Carbohydrate helps to lower ‘Cortisol’ levels’!

Cortisol is known as a stress hormone and is the number one killer of muscle growth. So ‘what’ is cortisol and ‘why’ is it a nasty hormone to promote when training.

Well cortisol as an important role to pay to help repair body tissue. You see when cells brake down; cortisol eats the damaged cells so your body can replace them with newly created ones.  

Ok I here you saying, so ‘How’ can that be a bad think, one of the things I do, as a bodybuilder, is brake down muscle tissues during training so that when they are fully repaired they grow. The problem starts when your body over produces this hormone and at a consist level, because when there is no damaged cells to consume they start consuming muscle fibres…therefore, a lot of cortisol will stop any muscle growth!

Some Japanese researcher as shown that when your blood sugar levels drop during exercise, cortisol levels go UP also! But by consuming a carbohydrate drink during your training these levels are kept in check, even lowering cortisol levels.  

Some interesting research published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine’, indicated that drinking carbohydrates when exercising dramatically strengthened the immune system. This helps to keep infections or illnesses at bay, as these slow down your training periods and healing times.

So next time you train, make sure that you keep up your carbohydrate levels and the more muscle you will build!

3. Will Excess carbohydrate get stored as fat

The answer to this question is an easy one to answer…no…’Not’ if you take it during you training session!

Normally, when you eat food that is high in carbohydrates this prompts your body to store any surplus carbohydrates in the fat cells, but when you exercise this activity prevents any release of the fat-storing hormones.

Therefore, it’s very unlikely that drinking carbohydrates during your training session will lead to any form of fat gain.

In fact, take another look at the above 3 main points again, which  clearly show that drinking carbohydrates as tons of advantages, more energy, more power to lift more weight for more reps, or maintain far higher levels of intensity during aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, especially toward the end of your session, for example.

Remember that protein can’t work without carbohydrates; therefore, you shouldn’t shy away from a-least giving it a go.

Getting your timing right

How to time your protein intake for maximum muscle growth – just when should I eat?

If you intend to train to purely build muscle mass without gaining any body fat, then you need to pay close attention to the timing of your meals. This is also a very hit & miss affair among many bodybuilders.

One thing is for sure, you must learn to feed your muscles 24/7, because muscle can take anywhere from 4 to 7 days to repair and a constant supply of nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates, are required to active that goal…so aim to eat 4 – 5 small meals a day.

Some very interesting studies have thrown up some extraordinary results, they discovered that consuming protein and/or carbohydrates directly before’, and straight after’ exercise, dramatically increased muscle growth…something we older bodybuilders kind-of realised some years back.

In one study scientists supplied bodybuilders with either a protein or carbohydrate drink either right after their training session or up to three hours later. There was a far greater muscle growth when taken IMMEDIATY after their training session, compared to those who consumed it up to three hours later, as general rule you should take a protein or carbohydrate drink within 30 – 45 mines of training

‘Now’ if you think that’s good news then think again, because still further research done by the University of Texas, has conclusively shown that taking a protein drink along with a carbohydrate drink ‘Before’ you train as a greater effect upon muscle growth.

This they believe is due to the increased blood flow during your exercise session, compared to the lower volumes during rest, transporting more blood faster to the muscles during training, helping to start the repair process quicker.

What you really have to bear in mind is this; by combining pre-exercise protein with post-exercise protein and carbohydrate, you are infect delivering a very powerful anabolic boost, virtually guaranteeing you much quicker muscle growth.

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