So, if your goal in 2024 is to gain as much muscle as possible, you are going to need carbohydrates and more of it.
However, if your goal is to lose fat and get lean, you are still going to need carbs to help you RETAIN the muscle while you’re losing fat and getting ripped.
Either way, you do need carbs – no matter what anyone tells you.
Remember, your muscles and brain run on sugar or more specifically, glucose.
I’ll keep this simple, all carbohydrates will convert to glucose, which is basically sugar. So, keep this in mind.
It’s very hard, for the average genetic person, who is not taking steroids or similar drugs, to gain muscle on keto or carnivore-type diets and thus, no carbohydrate diets. Certainly not long term.
I’ve had competitive bodybuilder clients of mine, with great genetics and lots of drugs, not grow much muscle being on low-carb diets. The minute I manipulated their carbs and increased them, they gained between 10 or as much as 30 lbs of stage weight – which is basically all muscle.
And that’s what you’re going to learn today.
Because the truth is that carbohydrates are not evil.
Remember, your muscles and brain run on carbohydrates.
Even breast milk for a growing baby is primarily made of carbs, not protein.
You’ll hear some experts saying that your body or brain prefers ketones, but that’s false.
Ketones are for survival, not for growth.
There may not be any essential carbohydrates like there are essential amino acids and fatty acids, but carbs are utilized best by the body. Especially if you work out, lift weights, and want to grow muscles!
However, too many of the wrong kinds of carbs, eaten in excess are bad for you. But, this can be said about ALL macronutrients – including proteins and fats.
Also, and most importantly, you need to improve insulin sensitivity. The better the insulin sensitivity, the more muscle and less fat you’ll be.
Lifting weights and having more muscle will improve insulin sensitivity.
Taking specific supplements such as berberine, cinnamon extract, ALA, bitter melon, vanadyl sulfate a few others will dramatically promote healthy blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
I think the best all-in-one formula is Blood Sugar Optimizer, which is what I’ve been using for over 20 years.
Okay, so now that you know the facts, let’s talk about using carbs or sugars to gain muscle and lose fat.
Gaining Muscle With Carbs
I’ll keep this super basic and simple, gaining muscle is a two-step process.
- There’s an ANABOLIC process which basically means an increase in protein synthesis.
- Then there’s an ANTI-CATABLIC process which is the decrease in protein oxidation.
For example, testosterone is anabolic to muscle growth. It grows muscles.
However, the stress hormone cortisol does the opposite, it’s catabolic to muscle growth. Meaning, it breaks down muscle tissue.
So, we want to increase anabolism and protein synthesis, which is to increase testosterone.
But at the same time, we want to minimize catabolism from cortisol and thus, lower excess cortisol.
And one of the most potent, natural, anti-catabolic, cortisol-reducing nutrients is carbohydrates and sugar.
In fact, the rise in insulin from carbs and sugars is BOTH anabolic and anti-catabolic.
This is why bodybuilders and even long-distance runners or cyclists use injectable insulin.
However, that’s another topic for another video…
So, when it comes to gaining muscle, the most important times for eating the most carbs is:
Post Workout Carbs
After your workout, you want to fill up your glycogen levels since they just got depleted from the workout.
Also, you’re super insulin-sensitive after the workout, so the carbs and sugars get absorbed the best and have a much lower chance of converting to body fat.
Lastly, you want to lower the carbolic cortisol hormone after the workout to reduce muscle catabolism induced by hard training.
So… After the workout, you want to have faster digesting carbs that will increase your insulin and blood sugar levels more. This would be foods such as white rice, cereals, and fruits such as bananas and pineapples.
Carbs Before Bed
Another important time is the last meal of the day, before bed. More carbs lowers cortisol, which is what we want before bed. High cortisol levels mean more adrenal, so it’s harder to sleep.
Higher cortisol also doesn’t allow your sleep hormone, melatonin to be released.
However, before bed, we want slower-burning, lower glycemic carbs – such as yams, legumes, and berries. This way, there aren’t sugar and insulin spikes in the middle of sleep, which might wake you up.
Another important time for higher carbs is breakfast. After 8+ hours of sleep, we need to fill up the muscle glycogen stores again, so time to have carbs. I prefer slower-burning carbs in the morning – for example, Ezekiel bread or yams.
This also keeps my energy levels more stable. Having junky cereals, bread, muffins, juice, and other breakfast foods just makes you tired and you’ll crash a couple of hours later.
I’m working, so I don’t want this.
Of course, we can’t forget about the pre-workout meal. Some people like to have lots of sugars before the workout, fast-acting carbs. I’m not too fond of this because it’ll shoot up my insulin levels and I get tired and lethargic. That’s the last thing I want before a workout.
Also, remember how I said carbs lower cortisol?… that’s good after the workout or before bed. But, not BEFORE the workout. We want higher cortisol and adrenaline levels before the workout. You’ll be stronger and more motivated.
So, I like to have a protein shake before my workout. Something small. I have whey isolate mixed with a slower-burning carb, such as highly branched cyclic Dextrin.
This carb source quickly passes through the stomach. It’s easier to tolerate and typically won’t cause gastrointestinal discomfort like most carb drinks do.
And because it has a low glycemic index, it won’t spike up your blood sugar levels, unlike pure glucose/dextrose/maltodextrin. This means steady energy for the workout.
NOTE: I take 1-2 pills of Blood Sugar Optimizer with all of my bigger carb meals. Again, it helps promote healthy blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity – which means better utilization of carbs, which means more muscle and less body fat.
Losing Fat With Carbs
So, what if your goal is fat loss? Do you want to get leaner and get ripped abs?
Honestly, I suggest doing almost everything that I just suggested for gaining muscle, but just lower your total carbohydrate calories.
When it comes to dieting, the most important time for extra carbs is after your workout. We want to fill up your glycogen stores in the muscle. We want to lower catabolic hormones like cortisol.
Plus, your insulin sensitivity is super high, so the carbs will get utilized the best.
For the rest of the meals, just go lower total carbs and select more slow-burning, lower glycemic carbs.
I would also reduce or eliminate fruits…. Other than maybe a little bit of berries.
Again, I would take Blood Sugar Optimizer with all my carb meals.
What About Protein & Fats?
Today’s topic was about sugar and carbs. However, what about proteins and fats?
I suggest you eat 1 gram of protein, per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, eat 200 grams of animal protein. This includes dairy, such as whey isolate.
When dieting, and if you have very low carbs, you may increase the protein intake to 1.5 grams. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, instead of 200 grams, you’d eat 300 grams.
As for fats, I like to keep mine to a minimum. I have 6-8 grams of fish oil daily. And 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. That’s it – whether I’m trying to gain muscle or lose fat.
The rest of my fats will be from the lean proteins.
So, if you’re gaining muscle or losing fat, you’re mainly manipulating your carbs. More carbs when trying to gain muscle. Less when trying to get lean.
Carbs can either be good or bad for you, depending on the type and amount of carbs, as well as the time you consume them.
More carbs when trying to gain muscle and less when getting leaner.
The most important time for extra carbs is post-workout. Some people have almost 40-50% of their daily carb calories after the gym.
Make sure you take Blood Sugar Optimizer with all your carb meals and most importantly, get quality sleep.
You’ll be able to eat more carbs, gain more muscle, lose more fat, and be healthier in the process!