In the last few years the debate between the pro carbohydrate and pro fat camps has reignited with many suggesting carbohydrates should be avoided at all costs. Meanwhile, scientists and sports nutritionists continue to advocate the significance of dietary carbohydrates.
So who’s right?
The fact is, many athletes have been misguided on ‘zero or low carbohydrate’ diets. These diets have been shown to be ineffective for anyone training to pack on muscle.
When consumed in appropriate amounts, carbohydrates provide better energy levels, support growth, prevent muscle protein from being broken down for energy, and promote faster recovery after training – all vital when you’re training to build size and strength.
Putting on quality muscle mass isn’t achieved just by lifting heavy weights. You need to have the proper nutrition. You have to eat the right types of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) at the right times and in optimal proportions to build the kind of physique you’re looking for.
Usually when you think about building muscle, you think protein, the building block of muscle fibre. Protein drives muscle growth and provides the body with the essential amino acids that it needs to repair damaged muscle fibres to support muscle growth and recovery. While protein is critical, carbohydrates and fat also play essential roles.
All carbohydrate containing food – whether it’s brown rice, apples, quinoa, gluten free or rye bread – are broken down to their simple sugars during digestion and absorbed into the blood stream, eventually being converted into glucose. Our body has a constant need for glucose as fuel for the brain and central nervous system, so it stores glucose in our muscles (as “glycogen”) and uses it as fuel when necessary. To maintain that supply as you’re trying to gain muscle, your carbohydrate intake needs to be on the plus side at each meal. This is the opposite of what most of us are led to believe.
Carbohydrates are often categorized as either “simple” and “complex,” Complex carbohydrates – the good guys – are unprocessed, nutrient dense and contain fibre such as wholegrain breads, while refined carbohydrates – the bad guys – such as white bread are processed, nutrient poor and stripped of fibre. Complex, low GI carbohydrates should make up the bulk of your daily calorie intake as they are slow digesting, which means you get longer lasting energy.
So, instead of avoiding carbohydrates, use them to build muscle faster and get the best outcome while training. Start each morning with one or two slices of Bodhi’s bread to include the necessary complex carbohydrates into your daily diet.