The body relies on carbohydrates for energy especially during intense training sessions. It is classified either as simple (have only one or two sugar molecules) or complex (have three or more). This means that simple carbohydrates are metabolised quickly by the body providing a quick burst of energy. Complex carbohydrates are absorbed at a slower rate and gives the body a more sustained energy source.
Carbohydrates play a crucial role in any fitness bodybuilding program. Aside from providing energy to the muscles, they also prevent the conversion of protein to energy. This process is known as ketosis. By preventing the conversion of protein to energy, they allow protein to maximise its role which is to repair and grow muscle tissues.
Simple carbohydrates help with the post-workout insulin spike. A higher level of insulin is needed after you train to help transfer nutrients from the blood stream to the bodys cells. This increased insulin level actually speeds up the protein synthesis or muscle tissue building process.
Another crucial role they play is to ensure proper nervous system function. This is because they are used by the central nervous system as fuel.
For the serious strength training enthusiast or bodybuilder, a serving of carbohydrates must be included in every meal. Ideally, the complex variety must be consumed at least an hour before training and the simple variety immediately after. The pre-workout intake will provide the needed energy for the workout. Carbohydrates taken post-workout will replenish glycogen stores and create an insulin spike.