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  1. #1
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    General Info on Carbs in Bodybuilding

    Below is a clip from an article regarding the basics of carbs and their place in bodybuilding. I like most of what the article says, except for the parts I made blue as they are TOO general and blanket. However, the rest of the info should be decent information for people with no diet knowledge at all.


    Most bodybuilders focus on their protein intake and carbohydrates are left on the back burner. On this page we're going to go through everything you should know (and need to know) about carbohydrates and carbohydrate supplements. If you're serious about muscle building you need to be eating the correct diet, and carbohydrates are a very important piece of the puzzle.

    What are carbohydrates?

    Before we get starting into how carbohydrates help us build muscle we need a quick nutrition lesson to discuss the where carbohydrates come from and the different types. Basically, carbohydrates come in two forms; simple and complex.

    Simple carbohydrates are found in natural and processed sugars and are quickly absorbed into the body for use as energy. This energy is not long lasting and can often be followed by a dip in energy levels resulting in the person feeling tired and lethargic. Simple carbohydrates are generally not recommended for muscle building or keeping healthy.

    Complex carbohydrates make up the bulk of the bodies energy source. Complex carbohydrates come in foods such as wheat, brown rice, potatoes, bread and oatmeal. Complex carbohydrates take much longer for the body to turn into energy but this energy is long lasting. Regular servings of food high in complex carbohydrates is recommended for all athletes. Complex carbohydrates are known as "good carbs" because they give you long lasting energy to work harder and feel better throughout the day.



    Carbohydrates role in muscle building:

    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 10mins of energy from a chocolate bar but after that you're left feeling tired and run down.

    Second, 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 earlier on this page,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 serve 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.

  2. #2
    POPS's Avatar
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    classic info bro!!!!

    needs to be a sticky!!

  3. #3
    Dukkit's Avatar
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    Solid info for beginners

  4. #4
    gettingthere's Avatar
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    Great stuff, nice and simple for everyone to understand

  5. #5
    BJJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrice75 View Post
    Below is a clip from an article regarding the basics of carbs and their place in bodybuilding. I like most of what the article says, except for the parts I made blue as they are TOO general and blanket. However, the rest of the info should be decent information for people with no diet knowledge at all.


    Most bodybuilders focus on their protein intake and carbohydrates are left on the back burner. On this page we're going to go through everything you should know (and need to know) about carbohydrates and carbohydrate supplements. If you're serious about muscle building you need to be eating the correct diet, and carbohydrates are a very important piece of the puzzle.

    What are carbohydrates?

    Before we get starting into how carbohydrates help us build muscle we need a quick nutrition lesson to discuss the where carbohydrates come from and the different types. Basically, carbohydrates come in two forms; simple and complex.

    Simple carbohydrates are found in natural and processed sugars and are quickly absorbed into the body for use as energy. This energy is not long lasting and can often be followed by a dip in energy levels resulting in the person feeling tired and lethargic. Simple carbohydrates are generally not recommended for muscle building or keeping healthy.

    Complex carbohydrates make up the bulk of the bodies energy source. Complex carbohydrates come in foods such as wheat, brown rice, potatoes, bread and oatmeal. Complex carbohydrates take much longer for the body to turn into energy but this energy is long lasting. Regular servings of food high in complex carbohydrates is recommended for all athletes. Complex carbohydrates are known as "good carbs" because they give you long lasting energy to work harder and feel better throughout the day.



    Carbohydrates role in muscle building:

    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 10mins of energy from a chocolate bar but after that you're left feeling tired and run down.

    Second, 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 earlier on this page,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 serve 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.
    Be careful in posting this, some vet might get mad about that banana.
    Right .Bino?

  6. #6
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    agree with BJJ, bananas arent reccomended PWO. u give tht advice urself GB. good post for beginners though, still alot of guys fixated on protein intake and forgeting about carbs. nice job GB!

  7. #7
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJJ View Post
    Be careful in posting this, some vet might get mad about that banana.
    Right .Bino?
    Lmao, Bino and his bananas...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gucks View Post
    agree with BJJ, bananas arent reccomended PWO. u give tht advice urself GB. good post for beginners though, still alot of guys fixated on protein intake and forgeting about carbs. nice job GB!
    It's not that I advise AGAINST banana's PWO, but I do suggest that there are much better choices. I decided not to 'highlight' the banana part as it may be a viable option for some people. I don't think it's that bad in addition to some complex carbs... 1 cup oats and a banana for instance isn't the worst thing in the world.

  8. #8
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    I'm a big fan of PWO simple carbs. But alot of that is that when i get to inuldge my sweet tooth. Since I don't have the genetics to ever make my living from bodybuilding I'll never mess around with pinning exogenous slin so that PWO insulin spike is important to me. There have also been studies that 50 gram of protien PWO causes a small insulin spike on its own. As soon as i can find it online I'll post it

  9. #9
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    I'm realizing now that I'm a beginner and this is great info........thanks its simplified the whole "good" carb "bad" carb....world

  10. #10
    LatissimusaurousRex is offline Senior Member
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    If you know nothing, I suppose this could be useful to establish some sort of base of carbohydrate knowledge, however, it seems like the more you learn about BB nutrition, the more you stray away from the basics you initially learned (to a degree). A good amount of the info could be debatable, but you could find pros' diets with conflicting nutritional ideals, but they are all in the end successful. IMO, it seems that about a lot of the knowledge we could be splitting hairs to death or it is at least largely on a person to person basis how these foods affect someone's body. Like I initially said, it does provide a base of knowledge and everyone must establish some sort of foundation to build on before progressing further.

  11. #11
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    ^ ^ just about all of this is splitting hairs. There are people vehemently on one side of the fence, and of course the other.

    Like you said, and we keep saying over and over - at the end of the day, it comes down to how the individuals body reacts, as we are all different. The info above is a good starting point for somebody to build upon, but shouldn't be looked at as gospel.

  12. #12
    LatissimusaurousRex is offline Senior Member
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    should this be look at as gospel?


  13. #13
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    lol, unlikely!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotty51312 View Post
    I'm a big fan of PWO simple carbs. But alot of that is that when i get to inuldge my sweet tooth. Since I don't have the genetics to ever make my living from bodybuilding I'll never mess around with pinning exogenous slin so that PWO insulin spike is important to me. There have also been studies that 50 gram of protien PWO causes a small insulin spike on its own. As soon as i can find it online I'll post it
    '' ... The researchers got their test subjects to drink a shake every day for a week that contained as much whey or casein as one and a half litres of milk. One group of boys drank a shake containing 11 g of whey protein, the other group drank a shake containing 42 g of casein. The researchers analyzed the boys' blood before and after the trial.

    When the researchers used statistics to filter out the significant effects from the analyses, they noticed that consuming whey proteins on an empty stomach drove up insulin levels by 21 percent. Casein had no significant effect on the insulin level.''

    Source: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 May 27.

  15. #15
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    Thanks juicer, I completley forgot to come back and post that.

  16. #16
    Times Roman's Avatar
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    I'm bad. I have a squeeze bottle of honey after a workout, and I drink off that to get my simple carb fix. Then two scoops of protein powder, all within about 3 minutes after my last set.

  17. #17
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    ^^i've seen wose TR, One of the guys in better shape where i work out, keeps a huge bag of jelly beans in his locker for PWO

  18. #18
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    Well before coming here to this forum, I used to have........hmmmmmmmm......let's see.......

    P-NuT butter extra crunchy straight from the jar!

    no wonder

  19. #19
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    I would also emphasis the importance of including sufficient amount of EFAs in the diet. Fats are essential to body for muscle growth, fat metabolism, etc as these cannot be

    made readily by the body.

    I for one have made the mistake over the years of just focusing on carbs/proteins and not enough on my fat sources.

    For me with the addition of these (mega dosing fish oil, avocados, olive oil) I have personally seen a noticeable difference in the way I grow, recover etc. Noticeable I say.


    All the macros need to be lined up correctly in order for optimal gains. During offseason fats/carbs should be a primary focus with protein relied more on during cutting phases IMO

    I keep fruit in my diet during the offseason. Either a apple or grapefruit in the morning and a banana along with oats PWO. Just me and also I've been lurking around at other

    boards that are more geared toward the competitive bodybuilder and it seems that a good bit of national level competitors are starting to keep more simple sugars in there

    offseason diet....

    Just throwig it out there.

  20. #20
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    ^ ^ thanks Reed, good post and i've been paying more attention to my fat intake lately. I've always tried to keep it between 15 - 20% of my total calories, never going over 20%. Currently, fats make up around 25% of my diet, carbs the other 25% and 50% protein (i'm cutting).

  21. #21
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    Just curious,

    I am sure different people have different approaches, I have read in the guide by Baseline suggesting a 40/40/20 Protein/Carb/fat split. Do you feel this kind of split is ever appropriate, maybe when bulking? I am really curious about the various macros and how you vary them for different training goals.

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    LatissimusaurousRex is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Far from massive View Post
    Just curious,

    I am sure different people have different approaches, I have read in the guide by Baseline suggesting a 40/40/20 Protein/Carb/fat split. Do you feel this kind of split is ever appropriate, maybe when bulking? I am really curious about the various macros and how you vary them for different training goals.
    Yes that is appropriate for bulking. As someone said earlier protein is more important when you are cutting, for instance I'm cutting right now and I'm at about 50p/30c/20f. Depending on body type and other genetic factors it's always possible for people to respond to macro nutrients differently, but there are still general guidelines. The point is to get on some kind of diet and fine tune it based on how your body responds to it to better reach your goal.

  23. #23
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Far from massive View Post
    Just curious,

    I am sure different people have different approaches, I have read in the guide by Baseline suggesting a 40/40/20 Protein/Carb/fat split. Do you feel this kind of split is ever appropriate, maybe when bulking? I am really curious about the various macros and how you vary them for different training goals.
    There is no 'magic' split that's going to yield drastic results over another. I know people who have cut on 40/40/20 and gotten into single digits; for me personally, carbs are way too high with that kind of split. Generally i'd have carbs higher than protein on a bulk, and vice versa (obviously) when cutting.

    The longer I go on, the more I am finding that it has more to do with calories in/out than with haggling over 5% more protein or 5% less carbs, etc. Consistency is the key to this all. A completely dialed in diet with everything perfect except consistency will not yield results as good as a decent diet that the person is consistent with IMO.

  24. #24
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    good info, nice thread.

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