Is The Low Carb Bodybuilding Diet An Effective Muscle Building Method?

By: Francesco A. Castano


A critical factor in achieving bodybuilding excellence is muscle definition, which is directly linked to body fat percentage. In the hunt for the perfectly defined physique, bodybuilders contemplate various diet techniques, and carbohydrates receive significant criticism in the bodybuilding world, with articles regularly written on how carbohydrates lead to excessive body fat levels, and because of this overwhelming negativity, many bodybuilders pursue muscle building with a higher fat, lower carbohydrate approach, with hopes of sustaining a reasonable body fat percentage. But is there a point where carbohydrate grams can decline excessively, reaching a level where muscle gains become very difficult, if not impossible? For those riding the current bodybuilding bandwagon, the answer would seem to be no, but reality is often substantially different than what popular bodybuilding notions will have us believe.

There is truth to the claim that excessive carbohydrates will cause body fat levels to rapidly increase, blurring muscle definition, and many battle a rotund mid-section and love handles due to larger than necessary carbohydrate ingestion. But stripping carbohydrates to very low levels with the hope of circumventing the common bulge battle is a serious blunder, as although body fat will certainly decline using such a technique, the potential for muscle gain will inversely follow carbohydrate reduction, with dramatic declines in future muscle size improvements, to the point where no additional muscle building will soon be possible. Obviously, a bodybuilder not only has the goal of controlling body fat levels, but also excelling in muscle gain, therefore bringing carbohydrates to either extreme will prevent one of the two goals, leaving the bodybuilder with a frustrated, bitter experience as he or she attempts to produce a sustained balance between muscle size and low body fat levels.

What proponents of the low carbohydrate diet fail to realize is that muscle building relies upon carbohydrates to fuel individual hormones in the body, especially insulin, which offers amazing anabolic properties, leading to significant muscle increase, but also fueling quick body fat gains when implemented improperly. Because insulin is a byproduct of carbohydrate consumption, in order to produce the most dramatic muscle gains, carbohydrates must be available in the diet, but to prevent body fat from spiraling out of control, both the quantity of carbohydrates and timing of such nutrients must be systematically implemented in order to provide muscles with sufficient carbohydrate nutrients for muscle gain, while minimizing the negative impact on body fat levels.

In addition to stimulating insulin for anabolic impact, carbohydrates offer an immediate energy source, and since the body must generate explosive output during weight training workouts for muscle gain, carbohydrates offer this energy source for maximum effort. When following a low carbohydrate diet philosophy, the body is unable to put forth maximum torque during each weight training set, and therefore muscle gains are negatively impacted, and muscle which has already been built is also at risk of being lost. Those who follow low carbohydrate diet plans tend to lose weight training workout motivation, as a lack of sufficient carbohydrates can adversely impact mood, leading to very poor weight training performance, which clearly impacts muscle growth in an extremely negative way.

Yet another detrimental factor when adopting a reduced carbohydrate diet philosophy is metabolic reduction, and although initially a low carbohydrate diet system may shed body fat and enhance definition, the long term impact of such a diet plan will not only burn muscle, but will also reduce metabolism (the speed at which the body burns calories), meaning that you will require less food to maintain a specific body fat level. Because of this, fat percentage will begin to climb when food reaches the required quantity for muscle building due to this metabolic slowdown, and the net result is a more noticeable fat level than will occur through properly balancing fat and protein with carbohydrates.

When your goal is to improve muscle size and definition, please reject the misconception suggesting that carbs are the evil enemy that interferes with success, as by eliminating this critical nutrient from your weight training diet routine, you will produce far less muscle size and definition than is otherwise possible, but by integrating carbohydrates at specific times during the day and in correct quantities, you will allow the body to gain muscle mass without the customary body fat increase that accompanies popular weight gain strategies. Carbohydrates, when used wisely, are one of the few fat loss and muscle building keys to success.

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Francesco Castano owns IncrediBody.com, an online fitness superstore selling fitness equipment at guaranteed lowest prices.

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