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Tag Archives: carbs

  • Do You Need Carbohydrate (Carbs) To Build Muscle and Bulk Up?

    It's very widely accepted that protein is a necessity when aiming to build muscle. After all, muscle is a highly abundant source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein), so it makes sense that in order to build substantial muscle mass, you require an above average intake of protein. Science too confirms this. Yet when it comes to your carbohydrate consumption, there is a lot of confusion on the topic. Do you need carbs to bulk up?

    The answer is yes, you absolutely, unequivically require carbohydrates to build muscle. Reducing or even attempting to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet will impede muscle growth and most likely result in muscle loss. Carbohydrates are not only required to build (and maintain) muscle, they are required to facilitate proper brain function and maintain energy levels.

    The question now becomes - if amino acids (which form proteins) are a primary constituent of muscle tissue, why are carbs necessary if they do not play a direct role in the structure of a muscle fibre? Let's consider why.

    Protein synthesis is the act of creating proteins. When muscles are developing, protein synthesis is occurring by connecting amino acids together into proteins and thus into muscle cells. This is what causes muscle growth, or hypertrophy. In order for this to happen, muscle cells must be able to source amino acids from the blood stream. This is not possible without the presence of insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Insulin acts as a blood glucose regulator. In order to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high and becoming dangerous, insulin is secreted to reduce blood glucose levels.

    Now the question becomes, if hypertrophy requires amino acids, and amino acid uptake is only possible with the presence of insulin, how then do we increase insulin levels?

    Carbohydrates

    Upon ingesting carbohydrates, our body's attempt to break them down into glucose, a simple sugar. Too much glucose in the blood stream can lead to hyperglycemia, so insulin comes along to maintain a healthy blood glucose level.

    Ultimately, eliminating any nutrient from your diet is a mistake. Proteins, carbs and fats are all required for optimal muscle development. Removing carbs is a big mistake for anyone seeking to gain muscle tissue.

  • Stay Away from CARBS!

    Have you been fooled into thinking that carbohydrates are "evil"? That you should avoid these nutrients at any expense so you don't experience unwanted fat gain? Have low-carb diets taken over your life?

    Well, think again. Carbohydrates are in fact a nutrient; something that is required for the normal functioning of the human body. By eliminating carbohydrates altogether from your dietary intake, you significantly increase the risks of problems such as:

    • Malnourishment
    • Initiation of ketosis, a potentially dangerous condition resulting in breakdown of bone, damage to organs, amongst other things
    • Lack of energy
    • Constipation
    • Bad breath
    • Loss of concentration
    • Kidney stones
    • Kidney infections
    • Reduced kidney function
    • Gout
    • Diabetes
    • Osteoporosis
    • Cancer
    • Irritable bowel syndrome, severe abdominal pain or cramps
    • Vertigo, dizziness or light-headedness
    • Nausea
    • Severe menstrual problems
    • Diarrhoea

    I could continue, but I think you get the idea. Carbohydrates are in fact a requirement for a healthy body!

    But how did carbs become associated with such a negative stigma of being the nutrient that makes everyone fat? Here's an extract from our free weight loss course:

    Carbohydrates, commonly referred to as "carbs" have been assigned a very negative connotation over the past couple of decades. One could trace this back to the Atkins Diet which gained significant exposure in the early 1990's following it's revitalisation as a result of the Robert Atkins' (M.D.) best selling book, "Dr. Atkins". This diet is an extremely low carbohydrate diet. In actual fact, the Atkins Diet was developed in the 1960's - so it's nearly 50 years old! (And here I was saying that the food pyramid was outdated!)

    Many people have lost a significant amount of weight as a result of a carbohydrate depleted diet. This then paved the way for many new "low-carb" diets and products to be marketed successfully, promising weight loss in a short period of time. But unfortunately the health, wellbeing and long-term sustainability of such low-carb diets are often not contemplated when the words "FAST WEIGHT LOSS" are flashed in front of consumers eyes. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, many low-carb dieters have experienced problems [such as those listed above].

    Especially if you want to lose weight, build muscle or improve your fitness in a healthy and sustainable manner, it is imperative to balance your nutrition! I highly recommend that you sign up to our free weight loss course for more information!

  • I would like to lose weight after I give birth in a few weeks. Should I focus on carbs or calories for weight loss?

    I'd be concentrating on looking after yourself and your baby and just eating nutritious foods - a good balance of protein, carbs and fats, with plenty of vegies and dairy included. Reduce sugary and highly processed foods to a minimum, but allow yourself the occasional treat. Assuming you'll be breastfeeding, you will need more calories than usual to ensure an adequate milk supply and make sure you have the energy to keep up with two little ones.

    Carbs aren't actually bad - it's just that most people have their protein/carb ratio WAY out of whack, and also eat a lot of rubbishy processed carbs. Choosing mostly whole grains, root vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit and dairy, rather than white flour or sugar-laden products will make a difference.

    If you haven't been exercising regularly, ease into it gradually, and make sure you get a medical checkup first. Find activities you enjoy, and incorporate some sort of resistance training. Perhaps something you can do at home might suit you, like some DVD workouts, or just walking outdoors with the baby in the stroller.

    There's lots of info around - try searching websites. This one is a good place to start: http://www.pregnancy-info.net/pregnancy_weight_gain2.html

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family - I hope all goes smoothly for you. :)

  • I have tried all sorts of low carbohydrate diets to lose weight and can never last more than 2 weeks without binging!

    Yeah I know exactly what you are talking about and have written a few articles on the subject. Dieting through self-deprivation is, in my opinion, very self destructive. Sure you can lose a lot of weight in a couple of weeks...but the urge to binge builds and builds until eventually you will crack. This is the biggest problem with fad diets - something I do not recommend...ever.

    Low carbohydrate diets are one example of a fad diet. Unfortunately carbohydrates are completely misunderstood as a result of the media attention given to such diets as the Atkins diet. Recently, it is as if fat has been replaced with carbs as the "evil" nutrient in foods...this could not be further from the truth.

    I'll take my eating habits as an example. I consume far more carbohydrate than I do fat or protein on a weight for weight basis. The reason that I have a very low level of body fat is not because I have cut out carbs. It is because I monitor what I consume in a healthy, well-rounded eating plan that I actually enjoy.  Carbohydrates actually play a very important role in my fat loss, fitness and muscle building efforts - contrary to popular belief.

    If you are serious about losing weight long-term in a healthy and far more enjoyable way, I would strongly suggest that you consider undertaking the services of a personal trainer.  Please click here for more information on the personal training services I provide.

  • After a very intense initial workout, I was nauseous and shaking. Should I eat carbs? Won't this cause fat gain?

    Ouch!  Sounds like you had a pretty tough workout!

    Often if you push your body too hard, it can react quite adversely - typically if your body isn't used to the physical stress it has been placed under.  Whilst intensity is an excellent tool to stimulate changes in your body, if you do have limited recent exercise experience and conditioning, it is often wise to slowly build up intensity levels so your body has time to adjust.

    Post workout nutrition is absolutely vital - particularly following an intense workout.  Your body has reacted in this way for a reason - it is run down and needs to recover.  Recovery is greatly assisted through protein, carbohydrate and fat intake (at the correct times).  Recovery is also encouraged by physical, stress-free rest.

    A high glycemic index (GI) means that the carbohydrates will get absorbed into your system extremely quickly.  This is very important after your workout - essentially you want nutrients back into your system ASAP so your body has a chance to recuperate.  There have been countless studies on post-workout nutrition and the benefits of high glycemic index carbohydrates with regards to recovery.

    And I wouldn't be too concerned with fat gain following your workout.  Within approximately 2 hours from the completion of your workout, your body "soaks up" carbohydrates for storage within your muscle cells.  This is part of the recovery process.  Exercise is the catalyst for these flood gates to open up.  We store carbohydrates as glycogen in our muscles - a form of fuel required in order to provide energy for exercise.  The body will only convert macronutrients (ie. protein/carbohydrates/fat) into adipose tissue (ie. the fat you see) when there is a surplus of unneeded calories going into your body.  Following your intense workout, your body is in a significant caloric deficit.

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