Carb Control

How many carbs can I take in and stay lean?

The number of carbs you need to stay lean is considerably more than the amount you should consume to get lean. Cutting carbs helps you reduce body fat, but it also impacts your ability to increase muscle mass. If you’re already lean—and you want to stay that way—but your goal is to add muscle mass, try the following:

Take in about 2 grams of carbs for every pound of body weight each day.

This means that a 150-pounder should get in 300 grams of carbs, and a 200-pound lean bodybuilder should take in about 400. But that doesn’t mean you can take in any carb you want at any time of day. Look at the following tips for guidance on which carbs to consume and when.

KNOW YOUR CARBS

Here’s a short list of the different types of carbs:

SLOW-DIGESTING

Yams, brown rice, buckwheat pancakes, oatmeal

FAST-DIGESTING

Sugar, honey, syrup

STARCHY

Pasta, wholewheat bread, white rice, potatoes

FIBROUS

Vegetables, beans, legumes, fruits

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

At certain times of day, you want slow-digesting carbs; at others, you want fast-digesting carbs. Fast-digesting carbs increase insulin release, which drives both muscle-building and body-fat storage, depending on when you take them in. Slow-digesting carbs provide sustained energy.

QUICK CARB GUIDE

Here’s how much and what types of carbs a 180-pounder should consume, especially when your goal is to keep growing without adding body fat.

BREAKFAST

100g of slow-digesting, fibrous carbs (Example: Oatmeal, orange)

MID-MORNING SNACK

40g of slow-digesting, fibrous carbs (Example: Brown rice, broccoli)

LUNCH

60g of starchy carbs (Example: Baked potato)

PREWORKOUT

50g of fast-digesting, starchy carbs (Example: Sugar, white rice)

POST-WORKOUT

50g of fast-digesting carbs (Example: Sugar)

DINNER

60g of slow-digesting, fibrous carbs (Example: Yam, spinach)

BEDTIME SNACK

No carbs

TOTAL CARBS

360g

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