Whether you are just starting out in the gym or maybe starting a cut for the summer, the first tip you will hear from the local gym trainers is to cut carbs from your diet. They are the main culprit for fat gain, but the truth is that this is just a myth and eating the proper carbs will help you build muscle and lose fat.
Carbs can definitely make one gain fat, but only if eaten in excess or from sugars. This “stay away from carbs” epidemic stems from nearly every processed food contains carbs or sugars. Eating these foods makes you gain subcutaneous fat and then blame it on carbs when they can’t eat properly.
Here are some of our tips regarding intake of carbs that will help you take them in the right way:
1. Cycle your carbs every now and then
Carb-cycling is one of the best ways to reduce your body fat. What you have to do is to limit the intake of carbs to a certain amount (<50g) on specific days and then eat double the carbs you normally would the day after that. Depleting the carb stores and then loading them the next day helps to make your muscles appear bigger and fuller as well.
2. Eat the majority of your carbs after your workout
The body’s metabolic processes are run mainly on carbs throughout the day. The body can use proteins and fats as its source of energy by a process called gluconeogenesis but this happens only when the carb stores are either depleted or very low.
When you eat carbs, your blood sugar levels rise, causing an insulin spike which is the main culprit of fat gain. If you get this insulin spike post-workout, your muscles get shuttled nutrients and help you build muscle. That’s how eating carbs and drinking post-workout supplements right after your workout helps you.
3. Carbs are needed for effective protein digestion
To increase muscle mass, you need to have sufficient carbs in your diet. By sufficient we mean around 2.5g per pound of bodyweight (if you want to build muscle). A shortage of carbs not only limits protein synthesis but also decreases the body’s natural rate of testosterone production.
If you are not consuming enough carbs, your body will begin to break down protein and start to use it for energy instead of building muscle.
4. Try to consume more low GI carbs
High glycemic carbs are the carbs that have a high amount of sugar present in them.
When you consume them, they give you an instantaneous spike of energy but within an hour or so, you become tired. This is called a sugar crash. On the other hand, foods with a low-glycemic index releases energy slowly which lets you have energy for longer durations. Maybe it won’t even matter so much in building muscle but no one wants to have crappy workouts and feel less energetic during the day.
It is also worthy to note that the spikes of energy spike insulin, causing fat gain.