Carbohydrate is the key ingredient in your diet when you’re trying to build muscles. The calories from carbs should be given equal importance as that of protein. Carbohydrates are found in foods like vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy products. Here are a few reasons why carbs help you work-out better and help in gaining muscles.
1. Good source of Energy :
Carbohydrates are all about energy. The body uses carbs to make glucose, which is your body’s main energy source. Glucose is a type of sugar that can be used right away for energy or stored away to be used later. Carbs keep you fuller longer thus cutting down on binge eating and so you can concentrate on your fitness plan better. Before a strength workout, eat a carbohydrate-rich snack that includes at least 6 g of protein to enhance post-exercise muscle repair. You’ll find 6 g of protein in a hard-boiled egg, 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup nuts or 3/4 cup regular yogurt. And don’t skimp on the carbs since you need extra calories to gain muscle. Carbs can be in the form of oatmeal or fruits.
2. Add it to your post-workout snacks :
Post-workout snacks should include protein (10 to 20 g) and carbohydrate. Just some protein powder mixed with water is not enough. That’s because carbohydrate triggers an increase in insulin, a hormone that stimulates the uptake of amino acids by muscle cells. Options include a protein shake made with whey protein, almond milk and a banana, two cups of fruit salad and 3/4 cup Greek yogurt or a turkey sandwich.
3. Fuel your muscles :
One of the key ingredients that may be lacking in your diet is carbohydrate calories. Carbs should be the first nutrient you focus on since your muscles need to be fuelled to do the work that stimulates them to get bigger. Add a source of carbohydrate, such as whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, quinoa, pasta and sweet potato, fruit to all meals and snacks.
4. Include good carbs :
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which can add variety, color and flavor to meals. Whole grains such as whole wheat, corn tortillas, and brown rice are great sources of healthy carbohydrates. Check the nutritional label for carbohydrate information, including total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and sugars. Plan your meals wisely adding good carbs to all of them. Start your day with a breakfast of whole-grain cereal and fruit. Add an extra serving of vegetables to lunch and dinner. For easy between-meal snacks right at your fingertips, keep raw, cut-up vegetables in the refrigerator. Substitute beans as a main course in place of meat once every week. Eat a whole fruit as your dessert.
5. Concentrate on calories and nutrients :
Research suggests that between 45 and 65 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates. Good carbs are filled with fiber and so they are an important part of your meal. Set your daily carb intake goal according to your muscle gain and weight loss requirements.
So stop ditching the carbs from your everyday meals. Instead, choose fiber-rich carbohydrate foods and avoid added sugars. Making healthy carbohydrate choices while reducing calories and increasing physical activity, is the healthiest path to muscle gain.