Carbohydrates primarily provide the energy that your muscles need to perform during a hard workout. And hard workouts build muscle. Glycogen, which is the stored form of carbohydrate in your muscle, is the primary source of energy used during a workout and without it, your intensity will be low and performance will suffer. In terms of body composition goals, your carbohydrate intake is second in importance to protein.
NOT JUST FUEL FOR MUSCLES
Carbohydrate in the form of blood glucose is also the preferred source of fuel for your nervous system. Your nervous system regulates things like fatigue, muscle recruitment and motivation. It is not just your muscles that get tired during a long or intense bout of training, but also your nervous system. Adequate carbohydrate intake allows optimal nervous system functioning.
If you are looking for gainz, your body must have enough stored carbohydrate to grow new muscle. Without enough carbohydrates you are at risk of muscle loss regardless of how hard you hit the weights. The effect of carbohydrate on insulin secretion, in the presence of enough amino acids from protein, has a powerful anabolic effect on muscles. But the right carbohydrates, in the right quantity, and to some extent the timing of their intake is also important as insulin has an anabolic effect on fat too!
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
Just like protein, the right amount of carbohydrate is an individual determination based generally on two factors, your body weight and training volume. There are other considerations like health conditions and specific body composition requirements that may also be taken into account but as a guideline for generally healthy individuals who are fairly active and engage in purposeful training, daily carbohydrate intake can range from 1 – 2 grams per pound of body weight. However this amount drops to around 0.5 grams if you are sedentary.
By Coach Lisa
Picture by: Ivan Torres