Enough!! I’ve had it!! Whoever is to blame for the “carbphobia” that permeates the minds of so many people struggling to lose weight, it’s time to track them down and hold them responsible for the biggest most ill-conceived and irresponsible marketing ploy in the last few decades. Plain and simple…CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY!
Whew, I feel much better now that I’ve got that off my chest. But there’s more. Simply saying this is not going to cut it and I know that. You’ve had years now of hearing the exact opposite, and one article is not going to suddenly switch your entire belief system, so let me explain a bit more why they are more friend than foe…especially if you are trying to build muscle!
Carbs Are Fuel!
First, let me start by asking you a question. Would you try to run your car without gasoline? Why not? Well, it’s probably pretty obvious. Do this for a little while and you’ll get by. Extend this risk for too long and you’ll wind up stranded on the side of the road somewhere when your car finally gives up.
Well, if you wouldn’t do this then why the heck are you trying to build muscles, burn fat and workout without carbs? It’s the same thing. They are the primary FUELS, the gasoline equivalent, for everything I just mentioned. But for some reason…you’re fearing them instead of cheering them. Let’s change that right now.
Carbohydrates are literally the engine that makes the muscle building process run. During the workout, they supply the immediate source of fuel to get you through and allow you to work out at a high intensity. Glycogen (carbs stored within the muscles) is easily broken down and utilized as the preferred fuel to energize muscle contraction.
Consume too few carbs (or none at all if you’re following some of the terrible fad diets out there!) and the body will steal protein that would otherwise have been used for repairing and building muscle. After the workout, their role gets even more important. It’s at that time that carbs stimulate the release of insulin which pushes amino acids into muscle cells to begin this process of repair.
How Much And What Kind Of Carbs?
So how much and what kind you’re probably wondering? For simplicity sake you should aim to consume 2 to 2.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight each day from foods like sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, oatmeal, couscous and whole wheat bread.
Now, of this 2 to 2.5 gram total, it’s important to know that about half of this should be in the form of fibrous carbs (like salads, veggies, beans, carrots, asparagus, etc) and the other half in the starchy carbs. For the best metabolic effect at each meal, it’s most beneficial to combine equal parts starchy and fibrous carbohydrates (with some high quality protein as well) for a complete meal.
Do this and you’ll be well on your way to kick starting the stubborn muscle growth that had been self induced by your ill-advised carbphobia.
So if you find that you’re total caloric intake coming from carbs is somewhere around 10-20%, realize that your tank (and your muscles) are sputtering and you’re close to running on empty. You simply cannot fuel the “machine” by restricting it from it’s primary source of fuel.
Instead, stop fearing the carbs, bump that total up to more like 50% and realize that when it comes to building muscle, not only are they not to be ignored, but they are largely responsible for how you look and the ease with which you build muscle. Weigh the facts about carbs (the REAL facts and not what the diet industry would have you believe in order to sell an ineffective diet!) and see for yourself why these misunderstood muscle growers make a better ‘friend’ than ‘foe’ when working out is one of your passions and looking great is an even bigger one!
For more information on the specifics behind the type of carbs you should be eating, when exactly you NEED to be eating them throughout the day, and the specific type to avoid if you want muscle definition as well as size…check out the AthLEAN-X Factor Meal Plans that come in the AthLEAN-X Training System. You can find both by CLICKING HERE.
Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.