Carbohydrates: The Bodybuilders Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

Carbohydrates, otherwise known as carbs in the bodybuilding circles, are a very important constituent of a bodybuilding diet. The main function of carbohydrates in the human body, among body builders and none-body builders alike, is to provide energy to the body. This energy is vital in the efficient functionality of the body in such processes as pumping the blood, transportation and breathing mechanisms.

Besides this cardinal and unconscious body functions, energy is needed to fuel the performance of work, work in this case referring to the engagement of body muscles in movements, lifting, pulling and pushing loads. And this is where bodybuilding relies on carbohydrates.

It is the carbohydrates that are broken down to yield the kilojoules necessary in the performance of exercises, and the more intensive the exercises are the more carbohydrates are required in the body. The supply of carbohydrates to the body ought to be at par with the body requirement of energy, especially for body builders who lead a hyperactive lifestyle. Whenever the carbohydrates fall into short supply, the body digests the available fats to yield energy. If the fats are not available, and the exercises demand more and more energy, the body automatically switches to anabolism, a state in which muscle tissues are digested to yield the much-needed energy.

That is why carbohydrates are so important to a body builder. Adequate supply of carbs ensures that the body can fully meet the demands of a training routine, without resulting to anabolism. A shortage in the supply of carbohydrates might cost the body builder some muscle mass that have taken intensive training to accumulate in the first place.

Carbohydrates are of two types. The first and most important type of carbs is the complex carbs. Complex carbs accrue from such wholesome foods as milk, eggs, meat, wheat, maize, potatoes, arrowroots, cassava, yams, millet, barley and other tropical seeds and roots. These carbs are slow in both digestion and absorption and therefore take a while in the digestive track before the muscles can synthesize them into energy. This particular characteristic works as both as an advantage and as a disadvantage in that, they provide a sustained, ever-present source of energy for a long duration after the meal while in the other hand, they cannot be eaten as emergency energy supply.

The bulk of a body builder’s diet ought to contain complex carbohydrates, if at all the body demand are to be constantly met. The second type of carbs are the simple carbs, simple being an adequate description. They are easy to brake down and in fact, most are already broken down in readiness for the absorption and synthesis in the muscle metabolism sites. Again, the ease with which simple carbs are ingested and utilized by the body works both as an advantage and as a disadvantage.

As an advantage, simple carbohydrates are very effective in emergency supply of energy because they require but seconds to be transmitted to the muscles after ingestion. In instances such as after an intensive work out, the body builders has totally exhausted the energy reserves in the body and simple carbs come in hardy in restoring the depleted glycogen levels before the body results to anabolism. This is even more important during the training workouts themselves, when the body demands emergency supply of carbs. At these times, complex carbs would just not do.

On the other hand, however, simple carbs give a momentary reprieve and are easily depleted, meaning that they cannot offer a dependable source of energy for the body builder.

Dane Fletcher –
About the Author:
Dane Fletcher is the world-wide authority on bodybuilding and steroids. He has coached countless athletes all over the world. To read more of his work, please visit either or

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