The Conventional Carbohydrate-Rich Bodybuilding Diet
For decades now, the conventional bodybuilding nutrition approach has been to eat a well-balanced carbohydrate rich bodybuilding diet that contains enough muscle building protein but is also low in fat. This approach falls in line with the "low-fat" craze of the 80's and 90's.
Proponents of this style of muscle gain diet (and I have been one of them over the years) argue that in order to train with the proper muscle building intensity level, you must have a continuous supply of energy. Since this diet is carbohydrate based, the majority of your energy for weight training will come from the carbohydrate sources you consume throughout the day.
The trick to making this style of bodybuilding diet work for you is to select from a variety of different high-quality carbohydrate sources meticulously. As with any type of diet, the quality of the nutrients you select is more important than the sheer quantity of the nutrients.
If you decide to get all of your carbohydrate calories from low quality high glycemic carbohydrate sources like; sugar, white bread and tortillas chances are you will not have a lot of muscle building success with this style of diet. While these type of carbohydrates are great "comfort foods" they have relatively little nutritional value beyond simply providing calories. Diets high in these types of carbs typically lead to unstable blood sugar levels and correspondingly unstable energy levels. Think of the typical sugar crash!
When you follow this type of muscle building diet, focus on getting your carbohydrates from high quality low glycemic sources like...
- Whole grains
- Brown Rice
- Bread and pasta made from wheat flour
- Oats (including oatmeal)
- Some Fruits and Vegetables
Watch the amount of high glycemic sources of carbohydrates you eat each day. Limit your intake of low glycemic sources to your post workout meal. Some sources of simple sugars are...
- White rice
- White potatoes
- Anything made with white flour
- Table sugar
- Fruits and Vegetables
The Structure Of The Conventional High Carbohydrate Bodybuilding Diet
Conventional carbohydrate-rich muscle building diets are all laid out following a similar outline. Not all high carb bodybuilding diets recommend eating the exact same nutrient profile, but everything should break down close to ...
- 25 - 30% of your daily calories from muscle building protein
- 10 - 15% of your daily calories from fat (with an emphasis on heart-healthy fats)
- 50 - 60% of your daily calories from a variety of carbohydrate sources.
Gain Muscle Mass Fast!
1 - Making sure that you are eating enough calories to build muscle mass. When it comes to gaining weight and building muscle mass, everything begins and ends with calories. If you don't get this right, it doesn't even matter what type of diet you are following - you will not build muscle mass!
2 - Eating 5 - 6 meals spaced out every 2 - 3 hours throughout the day. Regardless of the style of bodybuilding diet you choose, this is a must! This is the most efficient way to consume your calories and ensure that your muscles are constantly flooded with the right nutrients throughout the day.
3 - Eating a minimum of 1 gram of protein per lb of body weight per day. Protein is responsible for muscle growth and repair so make sure to eat enough of it. If you are having a hard time consuming enough protein think about using whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate. Not only are these bodybuilding supplements convenient and high quality, but they really aren't very expensive anymore!
4 - Drinking a minimum of 1 gallon of water each day. Stay hydrated so your body can work properly - this is a must if you want to build muscle mass!
5 - Eating a nutrient dense muscle building meal within 20 minutes of completing your heavy free weight training sessions. This simple nutritional trick will allow you to pack on some serious muscle mass!
Bodybuilding Nutrition Tips
In addition to the general bodybuilding nutrition tips listed above, there are some high carbohydrate specific guidelines that you will need to follow like...
Eating between 30 and 60 grams of heart-healthy fats each day while trying to minimize your intake of saturated fats. The high carbohydrate nutritional approach is all about eating a clean and healthy traditional diet. If you're following this type of muscle building nutrition outline, stay away from fatty meats and dairy products.
Use Carbohydrates To Help You Reach Your Daily Calorie Target
Eat complex and simple carbohydrates to make up the rest of the calories that you need to hit your daily target. With most of the high carb muscle building diets, carbohydrates are used a calorie filler to help you get the calories you need.
When it comes to muscle building nutrition, it's really all about eating enough calories to fuel the muscle growth process. If you fail to get this right, you won't build muscle - plain and simple.
This article walks you through the process of estimating your muscle building calorie needs!
Example High Carbohydrate Diet
Here's a quick example of what a high carbohydrate muscle building menu might look like...
- 2 cups oatmeal Morning Snack
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 Banana
- 2 Slices of wheat bread
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 Apple
- 1 Cup oatmeal
- 1 cup of cottage cheese
- 1 Chicken Breast
- 1 cup of oatmeal
- 1 banana
- 1 Chicken Breast
- 1 cup of 2% milk
- 2 Cups of Broccoli
- 1 Cup of whole wheat pasta
This is more or less the same outline that I personally use when I implement a high carb bodybuilding diet. I have experienced a great deal of muscle gain while burning body fat at the same time by following an outline similar to the one above.
What Does It Feel Like To Go On A High Carbohydrate Muscle Building Diet?
To be honest, it kind of sucks! Even though this style of diet is effective for helping you pack on lean muscle mass, it can be difficult to stick with. When you go on this type of diet, it's critical that you eat your meals when scheduled - every 2 - 3 hours no exception!
If you skip a meal or eat a meal even 30 minutes late while on a high carbohydrate diet, I guarantee you'll feel it. you'll become shaky and weak, not to mention irritable and unfocused. Often, skipping meals while on this type of muscle building diet leads to binge eating sugary carbohydrate-laden foods later in the evening.
In my opinion, the possibility of the "late night energy crash" and the corresponding binge eating is the major downside to this approach to bodybuilding nutrition. If you are not disciplined enough to a) make your food, b) take you food with you and c) eat your meals when scheduled, you will not last long on this type of diet.
This is why so many people will start a diet hit hard for a few weeks or months, and then simply give up on it - it's hard to be disciplined when you are restricting your calorie intake in any way, but it's especially hard when you're on a high carb bodybuilding diet.
On the other hand, if you are disciplined with your diet and you make it a priority to eat the right foods at the right times throughout the day, then this approach may be a good a fit for you. You'll be able to eat a variety of carbohydrates throughout the day which will allow you to eat a more "normal" and socially acceptable diet while keeping the focus on packing on a serious amount of lean muscle mass!
I have personally experienced the power of eating a well-rounded carbohydrate-rich muscle building diet. While I had a hard time sticking with the plan, the results were undeniable. I was able to gain 10 lbs of lean muscle mass and reduce my overall body fat levels by an impressive 5.5 % in just under 2 weeks!
The downside to all of this was that I was constantly hungry and I had to use a great deal of willpower to fight off the early evening and late night sugar cravings and energy spikes and crashes that are common with this style of eating.
One thing I have figured out over the years is that both the cravings and unstable energy levels can be managed by paying attention to the quality of the carbohydrates that you eat. If you stay away from sugars and high fructose corn syrup, you can go a long way to minimizing the potentially negative side effects of this type of nutrition outline.
If you're in it for the long haul and you have a fair amount of discipline, the more conventional high carbohydrate approach may be for you - read through some of the other articles on this site to get a good understanding of the basics of a well-rounded muscle building diet and start implementing the suggestions today!