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The Carbohydrates Role In Building Lean Muscle Tissue

Posted Jul 28 2011 8:00pm



Carbohydrates play two key roles in muscle building. The first is energy. Your body needs maximum energy to perform at maximum level. If you don't get enough energy from complex carbohydrates you will not be working as hard as you can and this will limit your muscle building potential. Simple carbohydrates will not cut it either, you may get 10min of energy from a chocolate bar but after that you're left feeling tired and run down.

Insulin spike post workout. Insulin is the most anabolic hormone in the human body and drives nutrients from the bloodstream into muscle cells. When you finish your workout your muscles are desperately trying to repair and rebuild and are crying out for energy and nutrients. This is the only time when simple carbohydrates will benefit you for muscle building. A quick dose of simple carbohydrates post workout will raise depleted insulin levels which speeds up the process of protein synthesis (rebuilding of muscle tissue). Complex carbohydrates will not do the job here because they take longer to be absorbed into the body. An excellent source of simple carbohydrates post workout is a banana. Eating a banana will give you 25-30 grams of fast acting simple carbohydrates.

When you need carbohydrates
As mentioned, you need simple carbohydrates straight after your workout to increase insulin levels. But what about your energy levels throughout the day? You should kick off the day with a good serving of protein and carbohydrates. When you wake up your body has just had eight hours without any nutritional intake and is crying out for food. Another time when complex carbohydrates are very important is pre-workout for energy. Try and have a good meal filled with complex carbohydrates and protein about 1 hours to 45 mins before

your workout.

The thing you must remember with carbohydrates is that your body only uses what it needs and stores the rest as fat. This is why you need to spread your carbohydrate intake out over the day for optimum energy levels and minimal fat storage. Most bodybuilders eat between 5-8 meals per day consisting of a high amount of protein and moderate complex carbohydrates. The "3 meal a day" trend is starting to shift as people realise it's much better to eat less, more often, for both weight loss and weight gains.

Types of carbohydrate supplements
Carbohydrate supplements come in powdered form. There are two basic types that are used by athletes; blends and pure. Blends are your typical "weight gainers". They consist of mostly pure carbohydrates with proteins, fats and sometimes other supplements added. Pure carbohydrate supplements are exactly that, pure. 100% pure carbohydrates. Athletes often mix these supplements in with post-workout shakes for insulin spike. Pure carbohydrate supplements are much better because the bodybuilder can control the amounts he/she wishes to consume at any one time.

Supplements vs real carbohydrates
At the end of the day, nothing beats real food. And because good complex carbohydrates are readily available, cheap and easy to consume in large amounts. carbohydrate supplements are not as common as protein and creatine which are much harder to consume in high amounts. The best (and only) time you can really benefit from carbohydrate supplements are post-workout. Pure carbohydrate supplements are formulated to give you a maximum insulin spike.
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