Carbohydrates For Muscle Building
Carbs are your muscles preferred energy source for short intense muscular contraction e.g. weight training. Carbohydrates provide the energy for weight training sessions as well as play an important role in recuperation as well as muscle growth.
When you ingest carbohydrates, it signals your body to release insulin that transports the amino acids and the carbs into muscle cells. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and their absorption by muscle is one of the core process of muscle growth and repair.
Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in your body muscle and it is this glycogen storage that gives the muscle their fullness. This is the basic idea behind carb depleting and then loading before a contest. The idea is simple, when you deplete your body of glycogen and then "carb up", your body stores even more glycogen then before in the muscle. This makes them look larger, tighter and more ripped than before.
Consumption of carbohydrates trigger another process known as 'protein sparing'. In protein sparing more of your protein is used for muscle building instead of being used for energy requirements. 'Protein sparing' plays a crucial role in your nutrition program.
Another key idea to understand here is that essentially all carbohydrates are broken down into blood sugar during digestion. When your body has excess of it, it stores some of it in your muscle as glycogen. As long as these glycogen stores have space they store the excess carb calories. Once this glycogen stores are full, the excess calories get stored in form of fat.
Carbohydrates are basically of two types
- Simple Carbohydrates- These kind of carbohydrate have simple molecular structure and release instant energy e.g. table sugar, dairy sugar. Too much of these kind of carbohydrates causes blood sugar peaks and valleys. Due to their "simple" molecular structure, they’re digested very quickly and they cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. Your body responds to blood sugar peaks by releasing large amounts of insulin. The over-secretion of Insulin activates fat storage enzymes and promotes the movement of triglycerides (fat) in the bloodstream into fat cells for storage. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that’s absolutely essential for getting amino acids into the muscles for growth and getting carbohydrates into the muscles where they're needed for energy. The problem is when there’s too much insulin and when resistance to insulin is produced by eating too many simple and refined carbohydrates. When your blood sugar and insulin levels are abnormally high, you're not in a fat-burning mode - you're in a fatstoring mode.
The natural simple carbohydrates are "healthy," but ALL simple carbohydrates should be used in moderation during fat-reducing programs. Avoid all processed foods. Processed foods are ’empty’ calories that do nothing for your health or your fitness.
Complex Carbohydrates- The second major carbohydrate category is complex carbohydrates, also known as polysaccharides. Complex carbohydrates are formed when thousands of sugar molecules are linked together in long chains. They are again divided into two important categories
- Starchy Complex Carbohydrates - Starch is the storage form of energy in plants, much like glycogen is an energy storage form in human muscle. Starchy carbohydrates are found in potatoes, cereals, grains, bread, pasta, rice, oats, wheat and beans.
Fibrous Complex Carbohydrates (Fiber) - Fiber is the indigestible portion of the plant and therefore passes straight through your digestive tract without all the caloric energy being absorbed. Fiber gives bulk to the intestinal contents, promotes healthy digestion and elimination, speeds the transit time of food through the digestive tract and provides protection from gastrointestinal diseases and colon cancer. Fibrous carbohydrates (green vegetables) help you lose fat because they have a low calorie density.
Key Functions Of Carbohydrates
When your body needs energy, it looks for carbohydrates first.
If you are not consuming enough carbohydrates, your body will look for other sources of energy, such as proteins found in muscle tissue. Proteins, however, are not efficient sources of energy for the body.
Carbohydrates also protect your muscles and help regulate the amount of sugar circulating in your blood so that all the cells get the energy they need.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and absorb than simple carbohydrates. They provide sustained energy levels without the highs and lows in blood sugar and energy levels produced by eating simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates contain fiber, which slows down their absorption and helps stabilizes blood sugar and insulin. Complex carbohydrates are more filling, allowing you to feel more full on less food. Complex carbohydrates from natural sources are also the most nutrient dense carbohydrates you can eat, whereas refined (white) sugar is nutritionally void. However, Complex carbohydrates are more filling, so if increasing your calorie intake is your goal then you will have to make a little more efforts, but its worth it.