Nutrition

How Many Carbs Should You Eat to Build Muscle?

How Many Carbs Should You Eat to Build Muscle?

Добавить в избранное Убрать из избранного

Carbs for Muscle

Nutrition is a critical part of building muscle, losing weight, bodybuilding, and ensuring you live a healthy life. You’ve probably heard of low carb diets before, and probably even the carb-free ketogenic diet, but those are focused on weight loss, not building muscle.

How many carbs should you eat if you want to bulk up and build muscle? It depends on your goals, your starting position, and your overall body weight.

First: What Are Carbs?

Most people tend to think of protein as the key building block for muscle, and they’re not entirely wrong. Protein is used to heal and restore muscles after working out, but carbs are fuel. Carbs are like the gasoline you put in your car’s tank; you might have filled your car with all manner of performance parts, but without fuel, it’s not going anywhere.

Carbohydrates come in two forms: simple and complex.

Simple carbs are short molecules like glucose and sucrose, which you might recognize as scientific names for kinds of sugar. At the most basic level, that’s what carbs are: sugars.

Simple Carbs

Complex carbohydrates are longer, larger molecules that make up starches, which you find in foods like rice and potatoes.

Complex Carbs Rice

In general, for a balanced diet, you want to avoid most of the simple carbs, as they’re fast to digest and have little in the way of nutritional value beyond the energy they give you. Processed sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and other forms of added sugar commonly found in junk food are the worst offenders here.

Conversely, complex carbs are much better for you, for three reasons.

  1. Complex carbs digest much more slowly, which means they give you a lower level of energy spread throughout a longer time, rather than shorter bursts of higher energy.
  2. Many foods with complex carbs are also high in fiber, which helps keep you full and suppress your appetite, allowing you to more easily regulate your diet.
  3. Often, foods with complex carbs in them are also full of other micronutrients your body needs to remain healthy, including vitamins and minerals.

Certain diet plans have spent decades convincing people that carbs are bad. And, sure, simple carbs are generally pretty bad for your health. Processed sugars are added to everything these days, and it’s rarely good to consume too much junk food.

On the other hand, you know what else are carbs? Vegetables. It’s pretty difficult to argue that vegetables are unhealthy, right?

Aligning with Your Goals

Carbs fuel the body. The ketogenic diet is based around this idea to help you lose weight; by eating zero carbs, you force your body to turn to stored fat, converting that fat into energy instead. This helps you lose weight.

If you’re running low on body fat – like if you’re used to working out and you’re relatively lean, and you want to build muscle – you need to use carbs to fuel your body. If you don’t, your body turns to fat, and your body fat percentage is already low. Without those energy stores, it turns to the next best thing: protein. Specifically, it starts to break down muscle tissues. Indeed, if you don’t eat enough carbs, you’ll be more likely to lose muscle than build it.

Macros for Body Building

Thus, the amount of carbs you should eat depends on your goals.

Goal: lose weight. If your goal is to lose weight, you’re generally going to want to eat as few carbs as possible. A low carb diet helps stimulate your body to burn stored fat for energy rather than the sugars you’re eating, and that results in weight loss.

Goal: build lean muscle. To build muscle, you need to eat enough carbs to avoid jeopardizing the muscle you already have, while continuing to lose body fat. Eating a low level of carbs helps you fuel this process, but needs to be balanced carefully to avoid eating too much or too little.

Goal: build muscle mass. When you’re looking to build more muscle and don’t care about being lean, eating a higher number of carbs ensures that you’re fueling both your energy expenditure during workouts and your recovery.

The Risks of Too Many Carbs

So what happens if you eat too many carbs when you’re trying to build muscle?

The first risk is to your health. Carbs on their own aren’t necessarily bad, despite demonization over the decades. Eating too many carbs, though, means you’re more likely to gain weight in the form of stored fat.

Stored fat is a health risk in a variety of ways. Small amounts of it aren’t unhealthy, but larger amounts can cause insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes. It can also cause other health issues, both stemming from the presence of fat and from the weight that fat puts on your joints.

Too Many Carbs

The second risk is to your behavior. Carbs are generally quite tasty, and sugar in its pure form is close to addicting. Some people call sugar the most addictive drug that’s not illegal. When you’re in the habit of eating sugary foods, you’re more likely to crave them and eat more than you should. Moderation becomes very difficult. It’s extremely easy to eat more than your daily limit and throw all of your health goals out the window.

This tends to apply mostly to simple, unhealthy carbs more than healthy complex carbs. When you’re getting your carbs from vegetables, rice, and other healthy sources, it’s less bad for you than when you’re getting your carbs from ice cream, Starbucks frappes, and candy bars.

Always remember that just because a food item is marketed as healthy doesn’t mean it is. Plenty of “healthy” granola bars and energy bars are packed with sugars to give you energy at the expense of your goals.

Picking Numbers

Again, the number of carbs you want to eat in a day depends on your goals and your current state. As such, we recommend carb levels based on your body weight and based on your goals.

Goal: lose weight while building muscle. The more you want to lose fat, the fewer carbs you should eat. A full no-carb ketogenic diet is possible here and is a good idea if your primary objective is to lose fat. If you want to build muscle while you’re losing fat, eating a small number of carbs – less than a single gram per kilogram of body weight – is fine. Enough carbs to fuel your workouts, but not so much that you pull yourself out of ketosis, is the goal. This is also known as body recomposition, and it’s somewhat difficult to accomplish.

Body Recomp Example Plan

Goal: build strength and lean muscle. The goal of building muscle while reducing body fat requires straddling the line of enough carbs to fuel your workouts, but not so much that you don’t have the energy to work out. A good rule of thumb is somewhere around 1-2 grams of carbs (specifically complex carbs, not simple carbs) per kilogram of body weight. If you weigh around 80 kg (roughly 175 pounds), this means you’ll be eating 80-160 grams of carbs.

For reference, a single red potato contains around 30-35 grams of carbs, while a cup of spinach only has a single gram of carbs. You can eat a lot of vegetables and still stay within your intended carb range. On the other hand, half a cup of white rice is 20 grams of carbs, and a single slice of bread is closer to 50. Eating carb-heavy foods like bread and grains tends to use up your allotment very quickly. Likewise, a bottle of soda is nearly 40 grams of carbs on average.

Goal: build muscle mass. Building muscle mass means you want to do two things: ensure that you’re fueling your workouts and avoid any situation where your body might consume muscle for fuel. In fact, having a bit of fat in the body is important for bulking up. If you’ve ever wondered why the largest strongmen in the world are far from lean, that’s why. Having some stored fat – in the form of glycogen – helps your muscles recover, grow, and bulk up. That glycogen is crucial; without it, your muscles don’t grow as well.

Around 4-5 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight is a good point to use as a baseline. That’s more than double the lean muscle goal, and it can sometimes be difficult to reach that number of carbs just from vegetables alone. This is where bodybuilders start to add in grains, rice, and other complex carbs for additional loading.

Adjusting Numbers

No one number serves as the perfect number of carbs to eat. You’ll need to adjust the number of carbs you consume on a weekly basis, or even a daily basis, as your body changes and your goals evolve.

For example, if your goals are changing from getting leaner to bulking up, you’ll want to increase your carb load in conjunction with your exercise. In fact, in general, as you exercise more – both in the form of high impact cardio and in heavy resistance training – you’ll want to increase your carbs.

You may also consider dedicating some percentage of your carbs to a post-workout supplement. In the hour or so after working out, your body is more receptive to both carbs and proteins to use in repairing the damage you’ve just done. By loading a supplement of fast-digesting proteins and simple carbs, you can give your body the fuel it demands to build bulk right away.

Carb Intake Calculator

You can also use calculators like this one on a regular basis and adjust your carb intake as your weight changes. You have a surprising amount of flexibility, and you can both adjust carbs up and down as well as adjust exercise.

Bulking and Cutting

Some bodybuilders swear by a cycle of bulking and cutting. This is a cyclical adjustment in diet between two phases; the first meant to build up mass in muscle without regard for fat you put on along the way and the second for cutting that fat back out. Essentially, you get bigger, then you cut down the mass you didn’t want.

Bulking and cutting is primarily determined by your carbohydrate intake. During the bulking phase, you can consume more calories in general, and a higher proportion of complex carbs as part of the diet. You stay in this phase for around 2-3 months, or longer if your goal weight isn’t achieved yet. Once you’ve achieved a milestone, you then switch to cutting.

Cutting Cycle Lean Body

Cutting usually involves dialing back on the number of carbs you eat, and the calories overall to a lesser degree. You want to make sure you’re not cutting too much, because you don’t want to risk losing the muscle you spent so much time building, but you still want to lose weight in the form of stored fat. Again, this will be a personal adjustment based on your goals and your body’s state.

Calculating Your Own Numbers

If you want to determine what your numbers should look like, you can count macros and develop your own diet plan.

First, you need to calculate the number of calories you need to fuel your body overall. This should be the number of calories you’ll need when you reach your goal weight, adjusted for exercise. A sample might be “your goal weight * 12 = calories needed” when you work out for three hours per week. The more you work out, the more calories you’ll need to maintain.

Next, figure out protein intake. You’ll want, in general, one gram of protein per pound of your goal weight. One gram is about four calories, so that accounts for that number of your overall calories.

Do the same for fat. You should aim for about .5 grams of fat per pound of your target weight, though you can adjust this lower if you want room for more carbs. One gram of fat is around 9 calories, so that too is easy to calculate.

Finally, use the remainder as your carb intake. You have a total number of calories. Subtract the number of calories from protein and fat, and you’re left with your allowance of carbs. Carbs are around 4 calories per gram, so take your final calorie total and divided it by four to get your number of grams of carbs.

As you can see, there’s a lot of flexibility depending on your goals. The more mass you want to build, the larger your target weight, and the more you’ll need to eat. Load properly, and you can bulk up in no time.

See more

Didn't find an answer to your question?

Ask on the topic of the article here

Specialization:
Share this article with friends
0
already shared
twitter_blue
Go to
to questions and answers
Other related articles
You might like it
Questions and answers 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

visit
28 November 2021 в 00:00

Currently it sounds like Drupal is the preferred blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

Bluebird card activation
27 November 2021 в 08:22

Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

Muama enence translator review
26 November 2021 в 14:32

Definitely, what a splendid site and illuminating posts, I surely will bookmark your blog.Best Regards!

Read this
26 November 2021 в 13:47

Keep working ,impressive job!

Slabway Shiatsu Foot and Calf Massager Review
26 November 2021 в 10:19

I intended to put you a tiny observation to thank you as before with the precious solutions you’ve provided here. This has been simply surprisingly generous of people like you to make extensively what exactly many of us could possibly have offered for sale as an e book in order to make some profit on their own, especially given that you could possibly have done it if you ever desired. These thoughts in addition worked to become a fantastic way to recognize that other people online have similar keenness the same as mine to know the truth much more with regards to this problem. I know there are millions of more enjoyable sessions up front for people who examine your site.

Getmyollocard com
26 November 2021 в 05:25

Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Bless you!

Bessie Henrity
25 November 2021 в 23:18

Tolorosa href [url=https://nameblogtopp.com/] -tlm urll [/url] -ca4c

Read this
23 November 2021 в 10:41

My partner and I stumbled over here different web address and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.

Paramountnetwork activate
23 November 2021 в 08:04

I’m curious to find out what blog system you are working with? I’m having some minor security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find something more secure. Do you have any recommendations?

jetbluemastercard.com/activate
21 November 2021 в 19:37

You could certainly see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

read this
20 November 2021 в 15:13

There is apparently a bundle to know about this. I feel you made some nice points in features also.

Tntdrama on roku
20 November 2021 в 14:37

Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and appearance. I must say that you’ve done a excellent job with this. Additionally, the blog loads very fast for me on Safari. Outstanding Blog!

Tntdrama activate fire tv
20 November 2021 в 12:42

Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog. You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Cheers!

www yourvervecard com
20 November 2021 в 11:08

I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

Indigo apply personal invitation number
20 November 2021 в 06:48

Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Bless you

Indigo credit card offer
20 November 2021 в 00:48

With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any techniques to help stop content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

Aainflight.com login
19 November 2021 в 12:56

Good day I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by error, while I was researching on Google for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a tremendous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I dont have time to look over it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great job.

Aainflight.com login
19 November 2021 в 11:43

I really like what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve included you guys to our blogroll.

Tnt app
19 November 2021 в 05:35

I needed to draft you one tiny word to be able to thank you so much over again for these beautiful tricks you have shown in this article. It was certainly incredibly generous of you to present without restraint what a few people would’ve offered for sale as an e-book to help with making some cash on their own, notably seeing that you could possibly have tried it in the event you considered necessary. These points likewise worked as a fantastic way to understand that other people have a similar dream similar to my very own to see whole lot more on the topic of this issue. I believe there are a lot more enjoyable sessions up front for individuals who read through your blog post.

Tnt activate roku
19 November 2021 в 04:42

I needed to draft you this little bit of word to say thanks a lot as before for your personal beautiful methods you have discussed on this website. It is simply remarkably open-handed with you to make easily precisely what most people would have offered for an e-book to help with making some dough on their own, particularly considering the fact that you might well have done it in case you decided. These points additionally worked to be the good way to fully grasp most people have similar fervor similar to my own to figure out more pertaining to this issue. Certainly there are a lot more enjoyable moments ahead for individuals who looked over your blog post.

getchaseslate
17 November 2021 в 21:11

My developer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a number of websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard excellent things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

www.getinkpreferred.com
17 November 2021 в 00:10

I intended to draft you this tiny remark just to thank you again for your personal marvelous pointers you have discussed on this site. This has been quite open-handed with you to supply easily exactly what most people could have distributed as an e book to help make some money for their own end, even more so now that you could have done it if you decided. Those good tips additionally acted as the easy way to be certain that other people online have similar desire really like mine to know more with regards to this issue. I am certain there are numerous more fun times ahead for folks who look over your blog post.

Activate tnt on roku
13 November 2021 в 21:16

Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will often come back very soon. I want to encourage one to continue your great work, have a nice afternoon!

w88 bomb w88kpi
13 November 2021 в 19:07

I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to make such a wonderful informative website.

QHHT Therapy
4 November 2021 в 05:48

I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking everywhere for something like this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again! soyos

shorten url for twitter
28 October 2021 в 03:52

Wow, marvelous weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you made running a blog glance easy. The whole glance of your website is fantastic, as well as the content material!!