1. How Many Carbs Should You Eat?
- The problem with this is that many of us either gain fat easily because of genetics or we're way past our teen years and having a fast metabolism is a thing of the past. What it comes down to is that you can't gain muscle without at least a moderate surplus in calories over what your body burns in a day including exercise. However, excess carbohydrates may not be the right way to go for gaining size and staying lean.
Now before you take all your bread, pasta, and rice and beans and throw them away, listen up: Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for our bodies... if you don't consume enough, your body will break down muscle for amino acids it can convert into glucose. Glycogen is the stored form of Carbohydrates in the body, and under normal circumstances, the body can store about 400 grams at a time.
So next time you crack open that Family Size bag of chips and dip and use the excuse that your "bulking", take that into consideration. When it comes to just weight lifting alone, your carbohydrate requirement is going to be based on volume (sets x reps x weight) and intensity (rest between sets, drop sets, free weight exercises like squats, deadlifts etc.)2.
Before You Start Feasting On Chips Remember Your Body
Can Only Store 400 Grams Of Glycogen At A Time.
2. When Should You Eat Carbs?
- Now, of the premeditated amounts of carbohydrates you're going to be taking in everyday, there is a timing issue with carbohydrates that must be taken into consideration to maximize its effect. The primary times to consume carbohydrates to take advantage of its protein sparing/anabolic capabilities is in the morning as soon as you wake up (because you haven't eaten for at least 6-8 hours and cortisol levels are elevated) as well as post workout (high glycemic carbohydrates after exercise causes insulin to spike which pulls amino acids from the blood and delivers them to muscle tissue).
Another important time for the consumption of carbohydrates is 1 to 1 1/2 hours pre-exercise. However pre-exercise carbohydrates suppress lypolytic activity (fats being metabolized during exercise)3. This is okay however, because in caloric surplus becoming leaner is almost impossible unless you're a novice weightlifter or you have good genetics. Just be sure to be wary of the glycemic index (a grading scale of how much different forms of carbohydrates spike insulin).
Your First Carbs Of The Day Should Be When You
Wake Up To Counter High Cortisol Levels.
3. How Do You Make Use Of The Glycemic Index?
- In general, lower GI foods are usually things like whole wheat bread, oatmeal, or anything else fibrous. High GI foods are usually those containing high amounts of sugar (regular soda, fruit juices, and fat-free yogurt, anything high in sugar). There is no evidence that sugar will make you fat (the concern is about total carbohydrates for the day and not necessarily glycemic index), but if you are trying to lose fat, the spike in insulin will prevent weight loss and the rush of sugar could cause you to "crash".
Have you ever heard someone say, "Ever since I stopped drinking soda and sugary juices I lost a couple pounds without doing anything"? For sedentary people (those who don't exercise on a regular basis) this can actually happen.
The fact is that the during the "low-fat" diet revolution that has been going on in the U.S. over the last few years, obesity rates have doubled (coinciding with "fast" and processed foods and also sedentary lifestyles). In an attempt to avoid fat, Americans have increased carbohydrate intake which has consequently increased their consumption of processed high glycemic foods (from high GI white bread, to high sugar fat free products)4.