With the total calorie and protein requirements covered on a mass building diet, next we move on to the carbohydrate requirements for building muscle effectively.
This nutrient is not quite as cut and dry as protein tends to be and can vary widely from individual to individual depending on their own body, activity levels, and desired preference for rate of muscle building.
That said, there are a few guidelines you can be following that will help make things more clear.
While some individuals do do fairly well on a ketogenic diet for building muscle, for the better part, your best bet is to stay away from ketosis when packing on the pounds.
Due to the fact that insulin is what will help drive the protein and carbohydrates into the muscle cells, which are then used for recovery and rebuilding, and that insulin is very low if not non-existent on ketogenic diets, it's not surprising this is something you'd want to avoid.
So, in order to stay out of a state of ketosis, you should be consuming about a minimum of 100 grams of carbohydrates a day, not including those that around the training period.
Keep in mind we are talking bear minimums here. Most of you will have carbohydrate intakes higher than this.
Taking Into Account How You Feel
Next up, it's important to take into account how you feel on different diets. Should you eat a higher carb bulking diet or is a moderate carb diet a better approach?
in order to figure this out, there are a few questions you'll want to ask yourself.
First, envision you have just eaten a very carb-dense meal, containing little fat. Examples would be a large plate of pasta, a big pancake breakfast, two bagels, or a huge bowl of perogies.
Now, if you were to eat these, how do you typically feel?
Do you feel energized and awake?
Or do you feel tired, sleepy, and rather bloated?
If you're the former, then a higher carb diet is probably a good thing for you. On the other hand, if you feel the latter, you're best bet is to control your carbohydrate intake a bit more and opt for adding more fat in your diet.
Figuring Out Your Carbohydrate Needs
So, now in order to figure out how many carbohydrates you should be eating, you'll do a few things.
First, understand keto net carbs or total carbs how many calories you need to be taking in. This is typically about 15 times your body weight in pounds.
Next, you'll figure out your protein needs (one gram per pound of body weight, and then subtract the total protein calories (grams X 4) from your total calorie requirements.
This is how many calories you have left to divide amongst your fat and carbohydrates.
You should ideally have fat at no lower than 20% of your total calorie intake (fat has 9 calories per gram), so you can work that out and factor it in as well.
For those with a moderate carb intake, I'd recommend staying somewhere around 40% of your total intake from carbs, with the remaining of the left-over calories coming from dietary fat.
Out of that 40%, I'd place at least 20% of those carbohdrate calories around the workout period to maximize muscle glycogen resynthesis and workout performance.
Now, for those who are sticking to a higher carb approach while building muscle, aim for about 50-65% of your total calories coming from carbohydrates, placing similarly, at least 20% around the workout period.
To Sum Up
So, to summarize this, carbohydrates are a necessity for building muscle. Some of you will not react so well to high carb diets, and that's fine, but you should still be eating enough carbs to keep out of ketosis, provide fuel for working out, and leave enough carbs over for maximum muscle glycogen resynthesis.
Also remember that if you aren't gaining weight, you're going to need to bump the calories up higher.
This will mean adding more carbohydrates or dietary fat to the diet, as protein should stay relatively constant once needs are met.
The energy source for the muscles in your body is called glycogen. It is also stored in the liver. And the glycogen comes from carbohydrates under the form of glucose. When you can stack your muscles with glycogen, they look and feel full.
Glucose has many more vital functions. It also provides the brain with energy. Protein can also be a source of protein. But then there's actually something wrong because it means that body protein from the muscles is being broken down. So it's smart to eat enough carbs to gain muscle mass quickly, because otherwise your body will get the glucose from muscle tissue. So, what is the recommended daily carbohydrate intake?
For every human being and also a body builder, carbs have to be the majority of your caloric intake. Unprocessed complex carbs are the best. You can find them in brown rice, potatoes, whole grain breads and oatmeal. The body digests them slowly because complex carbs are made of long chains of sugar. Now comes an important sentence for the body builder. Your body should have consistent blood sugar levels to fight fatigue. The slow burning, complex carbs take care of this process and they also help releasing insulin which is the main anabolic hormone in the human body and very important in the muscle building process.
How much carbohydrates does your body need? There's a slight difference between men and women. Men should take their body weight and multiply that number by 3, women on the contrary multiply by 2. That's the amount of grams that should be eaten daily. In other words a man who weighs 150 pound has to eat 450 grams of carbohydrates. A woman of the same weight would consume 300 grams.
An excellent combination is to eat fiber (oatmeal, beans) together with carbs. Doing so will make it easier for the muscles to uptake sugar and amino acids which will bring them in an anabolic state. Also there will be more glycogen in the muscles and finally they will grow easier.
The total carb intake should be divided into 6 servings daily. Eating too many carbs at once will lead to more fat and that's definitely not what you want. The best time to eat simple carbs like sugar, white bread and white rice is after a workout. These carbs are digested fast and the insulin spike that follows will prevent muscle breakdown and at the same time stimulate anabolism. So you can easily eat more carbs after exercising because they will have a positive effect and there will be less chance that they will turn into fat. A general rule is to consume 25% of the daily carb intake at the post workout meal.
The second best time to eat carbs is with breakfast. After a night sleep muscle glycogen and blood sugar levels are usually low. The body must fill up this gap and therefore fat storage is unlikely. In any case avoid eating carbs in the evening. If you don't have any physical activity planned then these carbs will turn into fat.
A trick to lose fat and at the same time still increase muscle mass is to rotate carb intake. For example if you need 800 grams of carbs daily then eat 600 grams on day 1, 800 grams on day 2 and 1000 grams on day 3. Then you've had the total amount of carbs but the rotation process results in decreased fat and no loss of muscle.