Many bodybuilders pursue ‘bulking’ with reckless abandon, in that they will eat whatever they can lay their hands on to make the calories up – and carbs (carbohydrates) can often form a disproportionately large portion of their diet.
For decades there have been arguments for and against high and low carb diets in muscle building, and health in general. It’s often said the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. I think it’s wise to include carbohydrates in the muscle building diet, but, under strict criteria.
Before I go any further, I’d just like to say this: the simple facts are, there are only ever guidelines, generalisations and rules of thumb when it comes to bodybuilding. Specific, laser targeted dieting has to come down to the individual themselves. Every person’s body is different and responds differently. It’s your responsibility to closely monitor changes and act accordingly.
Ok, that out of the way, let’s talk more about carbs.
The reason why many advocate low carb diets for muscle building is simple: carbs are the worst offender when it comes to adding fat, simply because, they are the bodies number one source of energy, in that the body finds it easiest to utilise carbs for energy, neatly storing away any excess away as unsightly fat.
It shouldn’t therefore, take much imagination to understand how having a consistent high carb diet can lead to excessive fat gains.
So, for this reason, many opt for low carb diets, instead making up their calorie needs with fats and protein. Some feel the need to cut out carbs altogether, whilst others simply lower them.
Carbs are best used an hour before workout, to provide great energy to allow you to break down your muscles the best you can. Also, as a recuperative post-workout meal to give your muscles the energy they need to begin recovering and repairing.
This way, the carbs are burned off and not stored as fat.
As I say, it’s difficult to recommend any number of carbs to a person as everyone is different. What I do suggest is you experiment. If you feel like your energy levels are lacking during a workout, add more carbs pre-workout.
The most important thing to look out for is excessive fat gains. If this happens, you may need to lower your overall calorie intake by lowering your carbs.
Overall, bulking with a low carb count will save you the hassle of having to spend months and months losing fat – time which you could be using to build muscle.