There is a lot of bad advice out there when it comes to health and fitness. Two common misconceptions about body composition and diet exist:
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake to lose weight.
- Increase protein only for muscle growth.
These two rules of thumb, however, are not absolute truths. Carbohydrates and protein are nutrients that both play important roles in body composition, but they both have inaccurate stereotypes.
Yes, if you want to gain muscle mass, you will need a lot of protein. However, you will require a fair amount of carbohydrates, which should not be shocking or frightening.
Protein is naturally credited with helping to build strong muscles, but don't overlook your carbohydrate intake.
You'll need to adjust the amount and type of carbohydrates you consume based on your body composition goals.
When someone wants to lose weight, the first thing they do — or are told to do by a friend who acts as their personal trainer — is adopt a low-carb diet. This will undoubtedly result in fat loss, but cutting carbs should not be a hard and fast rule in body composition, especially when it comes to gaining muscle.
Carbohydrates are usually not restricted if muscle growth is the goal. Weightlifters and athletes appear to understand something about carbohydrates that the general public does not: carbs are not the enemy of achieving your body composition goals.
There are carbs that will help you reach your goals and carbs that will keep you from reaching your goals, just like there are carbs that will keep you from reaching your goals. Complex carbohydrates, among the various types of carbs, play a significant role in muscle mass development.
Carbohydrates and Building Muscle Mass
Researchers discovered that carbohydrates are the primary source of energy in the human diet, out of all the energy sources for the human body. Carbohydrates aren't just for athletes, after all. Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy for all daily activities, including exercise.
Complex carbohydrates, due to their slow-release properties, should constitute the majority of daily energy intake.
Complex carbohydrates can help you build muscle in a variety of ways, including:
1. Carbohydrates aid in the regulation of muscle glycogen repletion.
You've probably heard of glycogen stores. Glycogen is a type of glucose that is stored in the body for later use. When the body requires energy, glycogen kicks in and serves as a ready fuel source.
Carbohydrates and glycogen are inextricably linked because carbs are stored as glycogen. When carbohydrate stores are depleted, glycogen stores are depleted. When carbohydrates are consumed, glycogen stores are depleted.
Because glycogen is used for energy, it is critical to replenish those stores. This is why researchers recommend eating carbohydrates right after exercise; it replenishes glycogen stores for future use.
2. Carbohydrates keep muscles from deteriorating.
One issue with low-carb diets is muscle loss.
A Dutch study compared a low-carb diet to other diets and discovered that restricting carbs causes protein loss. This is due to the fact that restricting carbs causes an increase in the amount of nitrogen excreted by the body. Because nitrogen is a component of amino acids (the building blocks of muscle proteins), nitrogen loss indicates that the muscles are breaking down.
3. Carbohydrates aid in the recovery of muscles after exercise.
Carbohydrates' role in recovery is linked to glycogen stores. Athletes must replenish their glycogen stores immediately following exercise to avoid glycogen depletion.
Gluconeogenesis is caused by glycogen depletion, which occurs when glycogen stores are depleted. This is the process by which the body creates glucose from non-carbohydrate sources to compensate for the lack of glucose from carbohydrates. When this occurs, the body seeks to meet this need by utilizing sources such as fat and protein. When energy is required, protein acts as the last line of defense, implying that energy accessibility is extremely low.
When the body breaks down protein to produce more glucose, it depletes muscle, causing it to waste away.
Gluconeogenesis is more common in carbohydrate-free diets, so eat healthy carbs to avoid it.
It is critical to replenish glycogen stores with complex carbohydrates in order to avoid protein breakdown and muscle wasting.
When to Eat Complex Carbs for Muscle Building
The amount of complex carbohydrates you consume is determined by your body composition goals. In general, very low carb consumption (5% of total calories) is used for weight loss, while adequate carb consumption (55-60% of total calories) is used for muscle gain.
The timing of carbohydrate consumption has an effect on athletic performance and muscle building.
It is critical to consume complex carbs prior to an intense workout so that glycogen stores are sufficiently replenished to fuel the training. Consuming complex carbs right before a workout may cause digestive distress, so try to limit complex carb consumption to a few hours before an intense workout. If you're running low on energy before a big event, go for simple carbs.
It's critical to consume complex carbs after exercise to replenish glycogen stores for later use.