Seven Best Carbs to Build Muscle

Some carbs may get a bad rap, but they're a great (and easy) way for bodybuilders to gain muscle and enhance recovery.

FLEX has compiled this list of seven great high-carb bites that bodybuilders--especially hardgainers--can use to enhance muscle recovery and pack on muscle mass. Keep in mind, these foods are best for bulking and aren't considered to be foundational carbohydrates for precontest bodybuilders or those trying to rip up.


Benefit: Convenient high-calorie food
Breakfast cereals with at least two grams (g) of fiber per serving can be converted into good offseason bodybuilding foods. Fiber slows digestion, making cereal a good source of energy that can be eaten at any time. For the best results, double the serving size, mix in one rounded scoop of whey protein and enough milk to bring the carb content to about 60 g and the protein content to 30 g.


Benefit: Versatile
Bagels are a concentrated source of carbohydrates (a medium-sized bagel has 40-50 g). They also make offseason mass nutrition easy—no cooking or serious food-prep time needed. For added benefits, choose varieties with more whole grains, such as pumpernickel and rye.


Benefit: A mass builder with fiber
You can determine a quality bran muffin by reading the label, but your best bet may be to make your own. Purchase any high-fiber cereal that has a muffin recipe on the side of the box. Substitute honey for sugar, add two or three scoops of whey protein to the mix, and you have a high-carb, protein-rich snack. Fiber in the cereal makes the end product low glycemic or "slow burning," which is ideal for bodybuilders who struggle to stay relatively lean while bulking up.