Have you fallen for the low-carb craze? When the fast-food chains get involved you know a nutritional concept has made it big. Most restaurants are touting the fact that they have a low-carb menu and many people are
switching to this style of eating. Fat was the bad guy for years - now it is ' carbs. The low-carb diet made a brief appearance on the fad radar screen a few decades ago, then disappeared until just recently when it
returned with a gusto. Now everyone is obsessed with avoiding carbohydrates. Perhaps even you have switched to a low-carb dietary approach. When any new fad comes along, it is always wise to run it past the litmus
test of whether or not it fits with the bodybuilding agenda. If something benefits the muscles consider implementing it. If it harms the muscles, forget it. And if it is neutral, why waste time on it? So the ultimate
point for any new fad is whether or not it benefits the muscles.
Is avoidance of carbs a good thing? The answer is yes and no. Avoiding carbs can help you drop weight - even lose bodyfat - but there is no blanket approach to use that will work for a bodybuilding agenda. Bodybuilders
are on the forefront of nutrition and have used carb manipulation to control their physiques for years. Some of the more advanced bodybuilders from as early as the late 1960s worked with carbs to cut bodyfat. The key
in working with carbs is to manipulate them, not let them manipulate you. If you use a one-size fits-all approach, carbs will steer your body down a path you would rather not travel. Lower your carb intake too much
and keep it too low on a consistent basis and you will have no gas in your tank - which translates into gutless workouts.
Why won't a consistent low-carb diet work for the bodybuilder? Why is preaching a constant low-carb diet to a bodybuilder the equivalent of nutritional heresy? Nutrition guru Matt Fitzgerald pointed out in Personal
Fitness Professional. "The primary fuel for high-intensity exercise is carbohydrate in the form of muscle glycogen. There is a direct correlation between the amount of glycogen stored in an individual's working muscles
and how hard (and long) those muscles are able to work in a training session." The obvious conclusion drawn here is that lack of carbs for glycogen will cause a failed workout in both intensity and duration. Fitzgerald
points to a study which showed that carb-loaded subjects were able to attain an output 265 where near the required range to build big muscles. How do you spot a person on a low-carb diet in the gym? Easy. They are the
one struggling with light weights. Fitzgerald noted that exercise increases the glycogen storage capacity of muscles. However, if you are not getting adequate carbohydrate intake to fill up your tank some of your
training will be in Being well-fueled with carbs before a workout is a key to training success. Another key is a postworkout meal 15 minutes or up to two hours after an intense workout. Fitzgerald wrote: "Muscle growth
appears to occur primarily through muscle protein accretion in recovering muscles immediately following exercise." The best manner in which to fuel growth via nutrition is with a combination of carbohydrates and protein
after a challenging workout. Carbs are crucial to the process. Nutrition guru Chris Aceto pointed out in Understanding Bodybuilding Nutrition & Training: "Insulin is considered an anabolic hormone. Insulin allows amino
acids from protein foods to get into muscle ... if you don't have carbohydrates, you don't have an insulin release which makes it very difficult for amino acids from protein to get into muscle to cause growth."
Of the carb intake for post-workout replenishment, Aceto points to an intake of approximately 100 g of carbs, consisting of a ratio of 3:1 - three times as much complex carbs as simple carbs. For the best refueling,
mix carb intake with protein. A carb/ protein mix for postworkout recovery has shown to be the very best. Researchers have found that a low-fat milk product ingested after a resistance-training routine will bathe the
muscles in amino acids for quite some time.
Obtaining adequate carb intake is a prerequisite for hardcore weight training. Going low in carbs will not provide your physique with the fuel necessary to ignite an intense workout or recuperate and grow more muscle
After beating up on the low-carb approach, a caveat needs to be given. A low-carb diet can be beneficial to the bodybuilder at certain times. Many bodybuilders employ a low-carb diet to trim down precontest, then boost
the carb intake right before their competition. This approach is a proven technique that does work; however, don't expect to get in a lot of hardcore, maximum workouts as the time in the low-carb diet progresses. Another
use of the low-carb diet is for the bodybuilder who has accumulated too much fat around the middle, as it provides a quick drop in bodyfat. Again, don't expect training to be hot during this time frame. Read between the
lines - the low-carb diet is best as a cyclical tool, not a constant factor. Used occasionally the low-carb diet works great. Just don't get stuck on this fad or you will notice something besides fat lost - a loss of
Don't throw caution to the wind an totally buy into the low-carb craze. Us the low-carb diet as a temporary fix times to obtain a drop in bodyfat levels. Then return to a diet that provides the carb fuel you need to push
up heavy metal.