Being a fitness freak, you need not avoid carbs totally. Here are some methods to add carbohydrates in your diet with no guilt attached. 

For complete fitness and muscle strength, if you are avoiding carbs in your diet, you need to rethink and know some serious health facts and myths about the consumption of carbohydrates.

The most common misconception about muscle building is that the carbohydrates are the biggest enemy, but that’s not true. Along with the right proportion of proteins and fats, carbohydrates are equally significant in muscle building. Avoiding carbs is a serious crime against your health. To simply further, all three segments – protein, carbs and fat can be broken down into sub segments i.e. amino acids, glucose and fatty acids, respectively. And, the consumption of amino acids and fatty acids further generates carbohydrates, which seems to be the major reason to eliminate carbohydrates from the diet. But that’s the unhealthiest attempt that might add deterioration of muscle and overall health.

Here are a few health nutrition facts that you must understand while eliminating carbohydrates from your diet plan:

1.       Muscles need more carbs than you think

In your muscle tissues, glucose is stored in the form of glycogen. Most of the glycogen is stored in skeletal muscles and remaining in the liver, in a ratio of 5:1, respectively. During the workout, when glycogen starts to deteriorate from the reserve of carbs, the focus shifts to the next source of fuel i.e. lean muscle, which is a reserve of amino acids. This shift to lean muscles is quite unhealthy and hampers muscle strength. Therefore, restricting the carbohydrates diet can lead the body to catabolic mode, which depletes muscle growth.

2.       Boost up muscle strength with carbohydrates

Many of you might not know that carbohydrate is a substitute of creatine, as carbohydrates give you energy the way creatine offers, especially during a workout. With appropriate addition of carbohydrates, muscles automatically get a push. After protein and water, carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the muscles. Due to this, bigger and stronger muscles are built with 2.7 g water per gram of glycogen stored in the muscles. 

3.       Mandatory for lean muscle mass

If you are looking for a healthy way to increase muscle mass, you need more carbohydrates as they help in recovering and boosting up the muscle strength. To substitute carbohydrates, amino acids are not enough to enhance muscle mass in a healthy way.

List of rich carbohydrate meals/foods

The sources of carbohydrates are different and their contribution varies. For instance, carbohydrates can be categorized as simple and complex. Recently, new terminology for carbohydrates is used in the sports nutrition industry, such as low and high glycemic index (GI). To simplify further, classifying carbohydrates can be easy to understand, such as high-fat, nutrient-dense, and nutrient-poor.                                                                                  

Dense Carbohydrate NutrientFood or meals that are rich source of nutrients like Protein, vitamins,minerals, fiber and antioxidants along with carbohydrates Cereals, pasta, rice, bread, fruits, potato, sweetcorn, sweetened dairy productsHelps in building base for athletes/ bodybuilders diet
Poor Carbohydrate Nutrient              Food that contain minimum carbohydrates or any other nutrientSoft drinks, energy drinks, candies, etc.These should not be consumed too much
High – fat Food with carbohydrates that is high in fatCake, chips, chocolateConsume rarely but not before, during or after the workout
Rich Carbohydrate Nutrients

Note: There are few rich in carbs sports nutrition drink that you can consume during the workout session, as they are not harmful at all. Rather, meant to add energy level when essentially required by an athlete or bodybuilder.

In-take time for carbohydrates

The time of having carbohydrates is important in terms of results, particularly for an athlete or fitness enthusiast. Here, are some directions as per the timeline:

1.     In the morning – After you wake up, your body needs carbohydrates immediately. Due to the long hours’ gap at night, the cortisol level is high, which can lead to muscle breakdown. Hence, to help that prevent you should eat high carbohydrate food/meal

2.     Before workout – Make sure you have a dense carbohydrates meal at least 1 to 1 ½ hour prior to the workout.

3.     During Workout – If the workout is an hour-long or more than that, you are suggested to have your carbs after 30 minutes of exercise. These can be easy to digest carb food, such as fruits, energy bars, sports nutrition drinks.

4.     After workout – Consume high glycemic carbohydrates after a workout, as it allows amino acids to enter into the muscle tissues that repairs them and boosts strength. 

However, carbohydrates’ consumption varies on the type and intensity of the workout. Approximately, 30 to 60 percent of carbohydrates are a must in the diet while following a workout schedule regularly. Minimum 130g or 520 kcal per day of carbohydrates is required in a human body to survive, whereas for an athlete it is at least double of it. For extreme level sports athletes, it reaches up to 70 percent of the minimum carbs’ consumption. 

Bonus Tip: Apart from the diet, carbohydrates must be consumed in the form of a sports drink or high-energy supplements so as to recover the muscles instantly. These energy drinks are safe to use, and mandatory for long hours workout sessions.

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