We have all seen all the low carb diets and how well they work, but those diets have given carbs a bad name. This just isn't right. Carbs in and of themselves are not evil. Carbs play a huge role in the diet of a bodybuilder as we will see shortly. Thus, we are going to answer the question “Are the evil things you've heard about carbs true?”
What Are Carbs Anyway?
Many of us in the fitness and bodybuilding wold assume that everyone understands what a carb is. Most people really have no clue. A carb is essentially sugars, starch, and/or cellulose. Vegetables are carbs, but I never count them in my count of carbohydrates for the day. In fact, I use vegetables for other purposes in the fat burning process.
Carbs can get converted to fat if not handled correctly. Some carbs are definitely preferred to others. It is all about what you eat and when.
Carbs for the Bodybuilder
A bodybuilder needs good carbs to build muscle. He can eat complex carbs (those that digest slowly like oatmeal, brown rice or sweet potato) or he can eat simple carbs (those that digest quickly like sugar, dextrose, etc.) For the bodybuilder it really is all about the timing.
There is a new rage that says carbs should be excluded from the post-workout shake some bodybuilders consume. This is completely the wrong idea. Carbs definitely must be in the post-workout shake in order to help build muscle. Simple carbs like dextrose cause a beneficial insulin spike when included in the post-workout shake. This insulin spike helps shuttle the protein into the muscles to aide in recovery.
Timing of Carb Intake
I am now a big believer in nutrient timing. I have read a few books on the topic and it just makes sense. Rather than restrict certain nutrients (like carbs) from your diet, get them when the timing is right. Carbs are perfect before and after a workout. The body is primed to utilize them.
Low Carb Diets vs. Carb Cycling
Low carb diets definitely work to burn off fat. The problem is that they also drain the energy your body needs to train with intensity. This is why carb-cycling was developed. With carb-cycling you would do a certain number of low carb days followed by a certain number of high carb days. There are numerous plans available if you want to read about it. The fact is that carb-cycling is how most bodybuilders get as lean as they do. It keeps the body constantly guessing.
Carbs are Not Evil
As you can see, carbs need to be respected and used at the right time, but they are not evil. They play an important role in your nutrition plan. Be sure to include carbs at the right time and you will see amazing results.