The role of carbohydrates


carbohydrates and sports

Protein is the most determining macronutrient in terms of muscle building, because it is precisely it that delivers the essential amino acids for muscle anabolism and hypertrophy. When muscles are subjected to a training session, they are damaged and rebuilt during the recovery phase by capturing all the essential amino acids available. However, there is another macronutrient that is especially important for building muscle: carbohydrates. How do they work in the body? How do they help us perform better and optimize muscle building? The answers in this article specially dedicated to carbohydrates.


Carbohydrates in our body

Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of fuel. Glucose is the source of energy that our brain uses and we need a certain amount of it to fuel all of our metabolic processes. The digestion of carbohydrates begins in our mouth with salivary enzymes and in the stomach with the help of digestive enzymes and B vitamins.. Their journey ends when they have reached their simplest form, glucose, which is absorbed in the small intestine. Once in the liver, it can be redistributed throughout the body. Our cells primarily use the glucose they need for energy: for the muscles and all the tissues. Unused carbohydrates are directed to the liver to be stored there as glycogenthe excess is then stored as fat : in the liver and in the fatty cells of the body. It is worth remembering that excessive consumption of carbohydrates harms our body and can lead to chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes.

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Carbohydrates and athletic performance

Glycogen production

During physical exercise, we expend our muscle glycogen, which implies a higher need for carbohydrates. For children and adolescents who participate in high-intensity sports activities, it is very important to eat a certain amount of carbohydrates before, during and after a sporting event. Often, young bodybuilders mistakenly believe that low-carb, high-protein diets will help them gain significant muscle mass. This is not true. In effect, a low carbohydrate diet not only decreases muscle potential but also affects overall athletic performance.

Nervous system support

During strength training, our central nervous system tells our muscle fibers when and how hard to contract. And guess what? Carbohydrates are also the main source of fuel used by our nervous system.. Consuming complex carbohydrates therefore ensures that the latter functions at its maximum potential. As our nervous system becomes more efficient, our strength increases and as a result we perform better in our weight training sessions.


Carbohydrates and muscle mass

Spare protein

Without a sufficient amount of stored glycogen in the body, other macronutrients such as fats or proteins are requisitioned to produce energy. With an adequate amount of carbs available to the muscles, protein can be freed up to do its primary job of repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, which maximizes muscle gain.

Promote mass gain

Muscle cells need protein and essential fatty acids to function, but also carbohydrates for energy, recovery and reconstruction of these muscle tissues destroyed during exercise. Have you ever considered a bodybuilder’s diet? It does not eliminate its healthy carbohydrate sources for any purpose. Brown rice, oats, quinoa, sweet potato and other quality carbs are commonly eaten by athletes and bodybuilders because of their low glycemic index which promotes muscle building.

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Optimize muscle recovery

After strength training, it’s important to get nutrients into our system and “feed” our muscles. The best way to do this is to ingest simple carbs within an hour of our workout.. During this period, our body is in the anabolism phase, which means that our muscle cells are very receptive to nutrients to initiate muscle reconstruction. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin which pushes amino acids into muscle cells to begin the repair process. In addition, after intense training, the immune system is temporarily weakened. Research shows that carbohydrates fight this immunosuppression and promote the regeneration of immune defenses


Energy inputs

Success factors for weight gain

The training program for muscle building

Morphotypes and muscle development

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