Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, alongside protein and fat. There is a misconception that “cutting carbs” is healthy… No, it is not. Our body requires carbohydrates, it requires fat, and, it requires protein – all macronutrients are essential.
The only time you should ever consider cutting carbohydrates out of your diet is when you are close to stepping on stage and can’t seem to lose more fat – it’s a last resort option, it is NOT a diet or lifestyle, it’s when you push your body to an extreme. Cutting carbs is a tool for weight loss, not muscle growth and not maintainable over a long period of time.
Through bodybuilding, I have learned to look at carbohydrates in a different way than I have before. I used to try and eat a no-carb or low-carb diet. It didn’t help me lose weight, I hit a plateau and due to the low carb diet my energy levels kept decreasing, workouts got less intense and I couldn’t put on muscles at all. I know that I am not the only girl that has tried that approach in order to lose weight. So let me clarify the whole purpose of carbohydrates and how they can help us gain LEAN body mass.
Implementing carbohydrates after a workout; they replenish the depleted muscle-glycogen stores and help you to recover and gain lean muscle mass. The muscle-glycogen is the stored glucose that is used as fuel during a workout in order to generate ATP (=energy), which is used in order to contract our muscles. During a workout you are depleting these stored glycogen over and over again.
After a workout you need to replenish these stores in order to let the muscles grow and recover. The glycogen in the muscles pulls water into the muscle cells. When you get the workout pump (increase of water in the muscle cells) and you deplete your muscles of the glycogen, then it’s necessary to refuel these stores. This will allow for a greater muscle cell volume and long-term muscle growth.
What carbs are good carbs for post-workout?
I personally eat 2 bananas immediately after a workout. In combination with a high-protein shake this is exactly the right thing to do in order for your muscles to grow and recover as quick as possible. I wouldn’t worry too much about what type of carbohydrate it is, try to keep it clean, fast absorbing carbohydrates and pair it with a protein shake. Don’t be scared to eat carbs, especially after a workout they will HELP to recover, get toned and stay healthy.