UNDERSTANDING CARBS

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The evidence against the Atkins anti-carb craze.

April 23, 2008

Written by FLEX Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Dr. Robert Atkins and his frenzy of carb-free followers began the meat-eating movement in 2002, carbohydrates have become the most feared of all food groups—for bodybuilders especially. Although many believe that consuming just one egg bagel for their morning breakfast is enough to set back their fitness goals indefinitely, there is news on the contrary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The truth is, carbohydrates are not a destructive force sent to throw your diet off track; you just need to know how to work them to your benefit. Here, we give you a few tips on how to enjoy carbs, while still maintaining a lean physique, and packing on mass. Follow these eight simple recommendations and you'll be on the road to fitness without going through bagel deprivation.

 

#1 EATING BY THE NUMBERS
The 2-3 rule dictates that you consume 2-3 grams (g) of carbs per pound of bodyweight per day, spread over five or six meals. A 200-pound bodybuilder has to chow down on 400-600 g per day. Three g per pound of bodyweight (600 g of carbs) is the ultimate objective.

 

 

#2 DOWN FOR THE COUNT: FOLLOW THE 3-2-1 RULE
After completing a mass phase and moving on to a cutting phase, adjust the ratios according to the 3-2-1 rule: 3 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight on day one, 2 g per pound of bodyweight on day two and 1 g per pound of bodyweight on day three. Repeat this cycle as long as necessary to etch in the details. This cutting phase lowers calories and glycogen stores to burn body fat without resorting to extreme low-carb diets, which lead to a loss of muscle mass.

 

#3 MUSHY CARBS ARE MASS'S BEST FRIENDS
Soft-textured carbs (fast-acting high-glycemic carbs) such as Cream of Rice, Cream of Wheat, mashed potatoes, white bread and fat-free baked goods are ideal for mass building. A soft texture expedites digestion, which in turn increases insulin levels. Insulin-infused carbs help to drive amino acids—the building blocks of mass—into muscle tissue.

 

#4 LOW-GLYCEMIC IS LEAN-FRIENDLY
Favoring slow-burning (low-glycemic) carbs allows you to keep calories high to maintain mass gains while moderating insulin levels to get leaner. Low-glycemic choices include rye bread, yams, red potatoes, peas, corn, buckwheat noodles and artificially sweetened low-fat yogurt.

The evidence against the Atkins anti-carb craze.

April 23, 2008

Written by FLEX Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK
The two most important meals, in order, are posttraining and breakfast. These are ideal times to enjoy carb overload. It helps restock liver and muscle glycogen stores and promotes protein synthesis. Timing your carb intake correctly will prevent catabolism (muscle wasting) and minimize the risk that they will turn to fat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6 ENJOY FAST-ACTING CARBS AFTER TRAINING
Indulge in fast-acting (sugar-laden) carbs after workouts. Your goal should be to spike insulin levels to ward off muscle breakdown and increase in metabolism. The post-training meal should be consumed within an hour of the end of a workout, and should include .7 to .9 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight, with 50% of the carbs derived from easy-to-break-down high-glycemic sources: mashed potatoes, sports drinks, fat-free muffins and Cream of Wheat cereal are four cogent examples.

 

 

#7 THE CAFFEINE/EPHEDRA CONCOCTION
The negative aspect of increasing carb intake to build mass is the tendency to store additional bodyfat. The solution is to supplement with 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine (an amount equivalent to a small cup of coffee) plus 111 mg of ephedra—generally marketed under the name mahuang—before three of your daily meals.

 

A caffeine/ephedra mix primes the body to increase thermic effect (calorie burning), and the time-release carb intake should help stimulate insulin sensitivity. Remember, though, that thermogenics aren't recommended for people under 18.

 

#8 WHEN IT COMES TO FRUCTOSE, STARCH AND FIBER COME FIRST
Bodybuilders should be more concerned with storing glycogen inside muscle, and that's the primary role of staples such as potatoes, rice, pasta, yams, bread and high-fiber cereals. This means that high-fiber, complex carbs offer more benefits than fresh fruit when aiming for lean body mass. FLEX.

 

 

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