Posted on February 06 2018
IFBB Pro Coach Fakhri Mubarak Contest Prep Specialist
Carbohydrates Yay or Nay?
There’s still question in 2015 about carbohydrates. Questions such as if they are needed? How much are needed? Do they get you fat? Are they the enemy? Let me start by asking how many of the top bodybuilders in this year’s Arnold that just past were on very limited carbs during their offseason or even the early to last part of their prep? I guess that question in itself kills the whole low carb concept if the best in the world are eating carbs that means you should be eating carbs as well. When you answer this question ask yourself why gym, regional and some national level bodybuilders still think low to 0 carbs is the way to go if the greatest bodybuilders in the world don’t do it? Can you imagine Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren or Justin Compton on low carbs? When I worked with Justin he ate 500 grams of carbs daily almost to the show. Phil Heath Mr Olympia eats carbs, if Mr. Olympia is eating carbs then I think everyone else should be thinking of doing the same thing and eating carbs. Branch Warren who just finished second at the 2015 Arnold Classic in Ohio eats many different carbs. He even eats fruits and bread. Why? Because they are all champion bodybuilders and bodybuilders on every level need to eat to gain muscle, size and strength. Carbohydrates keep your muscles hydrated and full. You need them to grow!
I’m not sure why carbs got such a bad rap for being the enemy in gaining fat or in the fat burning process of pre contest or offseason. I guess a few people needed to be different and you can’t write the “same book” over and over and expect to make money so of course new “methods and ideas” are created to sell “more books” to more people. Book knowledge does not always apply to the real world. Yes, low carbs to zero carbs make you lose weight (fat and muscle). Unfortunately losing muscle tissue and dehydrating your body isn’t what we as bodybuilders want. It’s hard enough to build muscle now why would you want to become the mini you (like in Austin Powers) and still be in similar condition just 20 – 30 lbs lighter. Carbs promote the release of insulin. Insulin is a very anabolic hormone because it shuttles amino acids (protein) into the cells. Carb antagonist will say that insulin causes you to gain fat. Yes it will if you don’t eat like a bodybuilder BUT since we are all trying to build our body and insulin is the body's main "storage" hormone we need the anabolic effect from it to gain muscle tissue. It’s simple don’t eat bad and don’t get fat. Carbs also promote protein synthesis which promotes muscle tissue growth which is why IFBB Pros are freaky looking because we eat and we eat a lot of food! Let’s not understate the importance of carbs post workout. Carbs replenish glycogen storage in the muscle and thus protein synthesis is achieved to repair and increase muscle mass. You want a carbohydrate that offers a rapid gastric emptying time based on its low osmolality and high molecular weight, thereby allowing for faster absorption of nutrients and increased recovery post-workout that activates the signals that turn off muscle protein breakdown and set off a massive influx of anabolic nutrients into the muscle. I add 50 grams of protein to my PWO shake as well as 10 grams of creatine. I’ve been doing this for over a decade and a half.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy used by the human body including your muscles! All of you have seen great bodybuilders in MD magazine and MD.com that train like intense beasts all the way up to the show. If your carbs are low you feel like hell, how can you train hard to keep your muscle tissue while dieting and even gain muscle in some instances if your carbs are low? You can’t!