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Carbs to Muscle

Seven ways to enhance muscle glycogen stores without increasing body fat.

5 | SUPPLEMENT WITH ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant supplement that also improves muscle glucose uptake by mimicking the action of insulin on muscle cells. The benefit is that carbs are more readily removed from blood and stored in muscles as glycogen. Greater glycogen storage translates into more energy and muscle growth, and it also staves off bodyfat storage. Try taking 100-200 milligrams two or three times a day with higher carb meals.

6 | TRY ACETIC ACID

Acetic acid is found in vinegar. Yes, what you use on salads and vegetables. Touted in folk remedies, vinegar actually does have some benefits. Through the ages, vinegar has been used to increase appetite, offset fatigue and boost mineral absorption. Vinegar increases the absorption of calcium and, in animal studies, vinegar has been shown to augment glycogen formation — therein lies “offsets fatigue.” Vinegar may help prevent fatigue by improving the body’s ability to load carbohydrates into muscles (rather than allowing the carbs to flow into fat-storing pathways, which contributes to a lack of energy and vitality). Try adding three or four tablespoons of vinegar to your pre- and posttraining meals.

7 | USE OMEGA-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are the fats in fish oil and flaxseed oil that help muscles become more receptive to the anabolic effects of insulin. Your body releases insulin when you consume carbohydrates, and insulin has an anabolic effect, helping to push carbohydrates into muscles. At the same time, insulin also has a bodyfatstoring effect. It can push those same carbohydrates toward fat storage and increase enzymes that help manufacture bodyfat.

Omega-3 fatty acids can help create an anabolic effect by allowing muscles to “pull” carbs in — with the help of insulin. This not only increases glycogen storage, but it also minimizes the ability of insulin to store carbs as bodyfat. Take 5-6 g of omega-3s per day.

CARB CONUNDRUM

Carbohydrates present bodybuilders with their biggest dietary dilemma. It’s virtually impossible to get muscles to grow without carbs, but it’s hard to keep bodyfat stores from swelling with them. Bodybuilders sometimes need a little help to coax their bodies to use carbs for muscle building rather than for bodyfat. If you follow the seven suggestions presented here, you’ll be able to make much more muscle — and far less bodyfat — out of the carbs you’re consuming on your bodybuilding diet. – FLEX

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