Bodybuilding has become ever more popular in recent years with more and more people looking to bodybuilding to carve the perfect physique. Though most of bodybuilding involves growing muscles, there is an element of fat burning and weight loss involved. The lower of a body fat content you have, the better defined your muscles will look.
Many bodybuilders look to weight loss as a means not to lose weight through muscle mass, but lose weight through the burning of body fat. Hence, when it comes to weight loss for bodybuilders, protein intake and muscle maintenance are integral. It is rather tricky how to go about approaching weight loss for bodybuilders, for, at the end of the day, you want to build muscle not lose it.
One of the best ways to burn the stored fat in the body and attain weight loss is by controlling the amount of carbohydrates consumed. Though carbohydrates form an integral part of bodybuilding, they aren’t as integral for success as protein. Carbohydrates are thought to be the supplementary nutrient that works to help the work of protein in attaining gains as a bodybuilder. Though carbohydrates are important in the success that you would observe as a bodybuilder, they are also the means to shed body fat. By controlling the amount of carbohydrates consumed, you could look to lose weight and build a leaner muscle mass.
In order to understand how carbohydrates help you lose weight, you first need to understand why bodybuilders need carbohydrates, to begin with.
Why Do Bodybuilders Need Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are an important aspect of muscle building for they allow proteins to perform their function. This means carbohydrates, which are stored in the body as glycogen, will be the means for your body to provide energy without the need to break down muscle tissue to provide energy.
Carbohydrates facilitate the function of protein in muscle building and provide the necessary energy that is required by cells in your body to build, repair, grow and maintain muscle. This is why carbohydrates are an integral part of success. Without sufficient carbohydrates in the body, you stand to ineffectively maintain muscle mass, leading to slow muscle growth and in certain cases, the loss of muscle mass.
When on a low-carbohydrate diet, your body can do one of two things. It can burn the stored fat in the body to produce energy or otherwise resort to breaking down muscle tissues to provide energy. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout can help you prevent muscle loss and will work to aid in the repairing of muscles, leading to more growth.
This is why it is tricky to understand exactly how much carbohydrates you should eat as a bodybuilder to allow for weight loss and fat burning without the loss of muscle. The amount of carbohydrates you consume and when you consume them will define the success to notice with weight loss as a bodybuilder. Remember, when we speak of weight loss, we refer to weight loss through burnt fat, not through muscle loss.
How Many Carbohydrates Do Bodybuilders Need?
Typically, bodybuilders who are looking to add bulk should look to be eating 4 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight. This roughly translates to about 270 to 480 grams per day for a 68 kg individual.
Carbohydrates are the primary means of fueling the body hence, the time at which we consume this fueling nutrient is crucial. You would want to eat your carbohydrates before and after a workout. Eating them before a workout will allow you to maintain good energy levels during your workout. Eating them after a workout will allow the carbohydrates to work to provide the body with sufficient energy to repair muscles and grow them.
When growing and bulking in size, carbohydrates are as important a part of the equation as protein. However, when it comes to losing weight and burning fat, carbohydrates tend to take the back seat.
Carbohydrates and Fat Burning
It is by creating a carbohydrate deficit in the body that you as a bodybuilder will be able to build a leaner physique. If you are working on lowering your body fat content, you have to ensure that the energy that you consume is less than the energy that you burn.
Due to the lack of access to a high amount of carbohydrates in the body, your glycogen reserves will be running low. This means that your body will have to resort to other means to attain the energy requirement for muscle maintenance. The primary means through which this energy is attained is through burnt fat.
If you have a lot of stored body fat, maintaining a carbohydrate deficit will allow you to burn the stored fat to provide the necessary energy. The more energy burnt during the workout and the lesser the carbohydrate intake, the more fat will be burnt.
However, you have to be careful not to starve yourself of carbohydrates for this runs the risks of developing low blood sugar, which could lead to weakness and a host of other issues which includes the general loss of motivation and muscle loss.
Hence it is important that you control the amount of carbohydrates that you consume and ensure that you consume enough carbohydrates to maintain bodily functions. However, you should ensure that you are maintaining an energy deficit through carbohydrates consumed to allow for weight loss and fat burning.
So how many carbohydrates should you eat as a bodybuilder to lose weight? What is the right amount?
How Many Carbohydrates Do Bodybuilders Need to Lose Weight?
The amount of carbohydrates that you should consume as a bodybuilder to facilitate weight loss depends on the intensity of the exercise and workout. The more intense and frequent your workouts, the more carbohydrates you would be able to consume and still attain weight loss.
In general, a low carb diet will mean about 2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight on a moderate level of activity. This means an 80-kilogram individual should limit their carbohydrate intake to about 160 grams.
The typical macronutrient breakdown of proteins, fat and carbohydrates for weight loss will require you to consume 40 per cent of your calories from protein, 30 per cent of calories from fat and 30 per cent of your calories from carbohydrates.
However, when on a low carbohydrate diet, the amount of carbohydrates that you consume could be substantially less than the recommended percentage of carbohydrates with a greater percentage of calories being awarded for protein.
Many bodybuilding you are looking to bulk and gain muscle concentrate too much on protein and forget the importance of carbohydrates. Unless you are looking to lose weight, you should really be consuming between 4 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. This will allow for effective energy management and results.
However, when looking to lose weight, the low-carb diet becomes the only means to create an energy deficit and you should thrive to eat a low-carb diet of about 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, which will lead to burning of stored fat and the building and maintenance of lean muscle.
Can a Low-Carb Diet Lead to Muscle Loss?
There are various consequences of consuming a low-carb diet when combined with high-intensity exercise. ‘Exercise flu’ is the term best used to define the consequences of high-intensity exercise on a low carb diet. This includes limited performance and muscle loss through gluconeogenesis.
Gluconeogenesis involves the breakdown of muscle for the creation of energy. This happens due to the lack of glycogen reserves caused by a low-carb diet. This phenomenon is probably the most crucial when it comes to bodybuilders.
Though a bodybuilder looking to add bulk would be looking to consume 4 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, when on a low-carb diet, you would be looking to consume around 2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight.
The consumption of a low-carb diet does run the risk of increased muscle loss. However, this is a sacrifice you would have to make in order to attain a lean and better-sculpted physique. As opposed to bulking muscles, you are looking to cut muscles and shred them, which will involve a small amount of muscle loss.
The primary energy reserve after glycogen reserves is body fat, which means your body will turn to burn body fat first instead of breaking down muscles to attain the required energy. However, after prolonged periods of starvation, the body will use the proteins within the muscle tissue as a fuel source.
Hence, in order to prevent muscle loss, it is important that you maintain a low-carb diet as opposed to a zero-carb diet. You should consume a healthy amount of carbohydrates to maintain healthy glycogen reserves which when depleted will lead to fat burning. This will prevent muscle loss as the element of starvation isn’t necessarily a reality.
How Many Carbohydrates Do Bodybuilders Need to Gain Muscle?
The primary nutrient for muscle gain is proteins, however, carbohydrates run as a close second. It is difficult to resort to energy through fat-burning to bulk up as a bodybuilder. This is why, when looking to burn fat, on a low-carb diet, it is more likely that you will notice a small amount of muscle loss as opposed to muscle gain.
Those bodybuilders who are looking to gain muscle and add bulk simply don’t require a low-carb diet and neither is that recommended. When looking to gain muscle, you should look to consume between 4 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight. This will ensure you have sufficient glycogen reserves to provide energy for repairing and building muscles, which will lead to increased muscle mass.
The amount of carbohydrates that you consume for muscle gain also depends on the intensity of the exercise. A low-intensity workout will require fewer carbohydrates while a high-intensity workout will require more. It is for you to understand how many carbohydrates you should be consuming based on your level of activity.
If your activity levels are low and carbohydrate consumptions are high, this could lead to the build-up of fat as opposed to muscle. The best way to sculpt the perfect physique is by controlling the carbohydrate content consumed and ensuring that you are on the lower end of the scale to allow for more fat burning, which thereby will lead to a lower body fat content.
Fat burning as a bodybuilder is important in building that lean and well-sculpted physique. In order to burn fat, a control on the amount of carbohydrates consumed is essential. Though many people believe that you should consume less fat to burn fat, this isn’t the actual truth of the matter. Though fat is part of the equation of weight loss, it is the glycogen reserves that define whether your body goes into fat burning mode or not.
A low-carb diet is the best way to attain weight loss as a bodybuilder. That being the case, you don’t want to go on a too low of a low-carb diet, which could lead to your body turning on survival mode due to starvation, which could lead to muscle loss. The aim is to maintain muscle mass while at the same time burning fat to give you a more defined physique.
We hope after reading this word to word, you have a better idea of how to approach carbohydrates for weight loss. We hope you have a better idea of how many carbohydrates you should consume to allow for weight loss.
We aimed to provide you with an informative article that will ensure results. Remember, do not restrict your carbohydrate intake too much, as this could lead to muscle loss, something that you really don’t want.