Fuel Your Muscle Building Efforts With Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are something many bodybuilders are actively encouraged to avoid. However, carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source and by completely cutting them out of your diet, you won’t be able to lift weights with the intensity that’s required for successful muscle growth. This post will focus on the role carbohydrates have to play when it comes to building up your muscles, list some of the best healthy carbs for fuelling your workouts and determine how much healthy carbs are necessary for successful muscle growth.
How Carbohydrates Fuel Your Muscle Building Workouts
Carbohydrates act as a direct source of energy for your muscles when you lift weights and allow you to get maximum gains from your muscle building workouts. In addition to this, many healthy carbohydrates are rich in B vitamins which allow your body to produce energy more efficiently during your workouts.
Healthy Carbohydrate Food Sources
Fruits and vegetables are often the best source of healthy carbohydrates as they don’t contain any refined sugar and therefore provide your body with a steady, consistent flow of energy. They are also very nutritious and contain high levels of fiber, vitamins and minerals which further support your body’s energy production processes. The list below highlights five of the best healthy carbohydrate food sources:
- 25g of carbohydrates per medium apple
- 27g of carbohydrates per medium banana
- 21g of carbohydrates per cup
- 2g of carbohydrates per cup
- 41g of carbohydrates per cup
How Much Healthy Carbohydrates Are Required For Successful Muscle Growth?
When it comes to building up your muscles successfully, there isn’t a set amount of carbohydrates you should be eating. However, by following the steps below, you can calculate the amount of carbs that work best for you:
- Your BMR (or Basal Metabolic Rate) is a calculation that estimates how many calories your body requires to perform the essential functions that keep you alive. You can estimate your BMR using this calculator.
- Once you’ve calculated your BMR, you then need to work out your ideal daily carb consumption. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and the latest research suggests that getting between 20% and 30% of your daily calories from carbohydrates will provide you with just the right amount of energy to complete your weightlifting workouts efficiently. This means if you have a BMR of 2000 calories, you need to be getting between 400 and 600 of these daily calories from carbs (which equates to between 100g and 150g of healthy carbs).
- After you’ve calculated your carbohydrate calories, you may need to adjust the amount you’re eating to fine tune your results. If after two weeks you feel tired and lacking in energy during your weightlifting workouts, try increasing your daily calories by 200 (which equates to an increase of 40-60 carbohydrate calories or 10-15g of carbohydrates). Alternatively, if you feel full of energy during your muscle building workouts but are also packing on excess body fat, try cutting your daily caloric intake by 200. Then continue adjusting your daily calories every two weeks until your energy levels are just right and you aren’t gaining any weight.
If you’ve been avoiding carbs because you believed they would damage your muscle building efforts, now is the time to make some changes. By eating a moderate amount of carbohydrates each day, you can enhance your energy levels and ensure that you put the maximum amount of effort into every muscle building workout.