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So, Why Do You Need Carbs to Build Muscle?

There’s no doubt that carbohydrates and protein are 2 of the most controversial nutrients on the planet when it comes to body composition and dieting. Most people follow these 2 simple dietary rules:

  1. Decrease carbs, decrease weight
  2. Increase protein, increase muscle

BUT, these foolproof rules are not always the absolute truths. It turns out that if you want to build up your muscle mass, then both of these nutrients are really important. Even though protein generally gets the credit for those sweet gains, we just can’t forget about our carbs. Our good friends over at InbodyUSA explained it best:

"When someone wants to lose excess weight, the first thing they do—or the first thing they’re told to do by their friend who acts as their personal trainer —is to adopt a low-carb diet. This can definitely lead to fat loss, but cutting carbs shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule in body composition, especially when it comes to gaining muscle."

Let’s get back to the main topic of the article: Why exactly do we need carbs to build up muscles? Sometimes before an event, we’ll see an athlete munching on a candy bar. They aren’t doing that because of a sweet tooth, they’re actually getting a quick fix of carbs. Scientifically speaking, there are two kinds of carbs – simple carbs will give you that quick burst of energy that athletes look for, and complex carbs will provide steady energy throughout the day. This means that carbs aren’t just for athletes looking for a quick burst of energy, they’re actually your primary source of energy for all of your daily activities, including bodybuilding. So, now that we know that carbs can make the difference between whether or not we have the energy to head out to the gym, lets look at some other reasons why complex carbs help build up muscle:
  1. Carbs help regulate muscle glycogen repletion
  2. Carbs prevent muscle degradation
  3. Carbs help muscles recover from exercise
  4. Carbs prevent muscle weakness
There are many reasons why most professional athletes don’t adopt low-carb or carb-free diets. They know that those ‘good’ carbs are a necessary ingredient in helping them muscle through training sessions, resulting in overall growth and physique progression.