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.

4. CREAM OF RICE CEREAL

Benefit: Extremely easy to digest
Cream of Rice is easily digested and makes an excellent offseason food. Two-thirds of a cup mixed with water yields 65 g of easy-to-digest carbs. After cooking, add a banana, a cup of cottage cheese and some Equal or a few pinches of cinnamon, and you have a well-rounded meal with 30 g of protein and 90 g of carbohydrates.

5. MASHED POTATOES

Benefit: Strong insulinogenic carb
When you're trying to grow, you need fast-acting carbs in your postworkout meal because they generate a greater insulin surge and are great for rapidly restoring glycogen levels. At 42 g of carbs per cup, you can eat two or three cups of mashed potatoes without feeling overly stuffed or bloated.

6. WHITE RICE WITH RAISINS

Benefit: Nonfilling high-glycemic carbs
Two cups of white rice mixed with a handful of raisins provide 115 g of carbohydrates—an ideal postworkout combo to help resynthesize muscle glycogen. As with mashed potatoes, you can use white rice with raisins as a side dish with meals. The combo can also be added to a meat-vegetable-nut stir-fry for a tasty meal that's perfect for muscle building.

7. PASTA

Benefit: Condensed source of carbs
For bumping up carb intake, pasta has always been a great choice. Four ounces (dry measure) yield 90 g of carbs that are easy to eat and won't fill you up, so you'll be ready to eat again within three hours. Adding meat and vegetables to pasta makes a complete meal that is high in carbohydrates, protein and calories.

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