The daily norm of carbohydrates in the bodybuilder’s diet


Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. They are necessary for the normal functioning of the muscles, central nervous system, heart, liver; they play an important role in the regulation of protein and fat metabolism. With sufficient intake of carbohydrates in the body, the consumption of proteins and fats is limited, and vice versa.

Carbohydrates of food products are divided into simple and complex:

– Simple carbohydrates include mono- and disaccharides (sugars). They have a sweet taste, easily dissolve in water, are well-absorbed, and are used to form glycogen.

– Starch occupies the main place among complex carbohydrates.

It is the main nutrient of plant products (especially cereals and legumes, as well as potatoes). The starch contained in food products is absorbed relatively slowly; due to this, glucose to be absorbed is gradually formed, which creates favorable conditions for its possible full use. Simple sugars are quickly absorbed into the blood and, if there are too many of them, can be excreted in the urine.

The daily carbohydrate requirement of bodybuilders is 9-10 g per 1 kg of body weight; at the same time, 64% is for complex carbohydrates and 36% is for simple ones.

There is still a misconception among some bodybuilders that consuming significant amounts of sugar improves performance. With the simultaneous introduction of a large amount of sugar into the body, its blood level rises sharply; as a result, it is excreted in the urine, which has a very negative effect on the work of some organs. Bodybuilders should use sugar mainly to give a sweet taste to food, as well as in various sweet dishes. Sometimes you can use the ability of sugar to be absorbed quickly into the blood. So, after a strenuous workout, in order to quickly regain strength, it is recommended to take 50-100 g of sugar.

It should be remembered that under certain conditions in the body, carbohydrates can turn into fats that are deposited in the body. Therefore, bodybuilders who are prone to fullness should not abuse flour products, sweets, and other easily digestible carbohydrates.

Honey is a very useful product for bodybuilders, containing easily digestible carbohydrates. The fructose contained in it is good nutrition for the heart muscle, so it is recommended to use honey after strenuous training and competitions. Honey should, as a rule, be taken at night; at the same time, the sugar content in the diet decreases accordingly.

The daily rate of carbohydrates for bodybuilders

An important step in optimizing the training diet is to ensure that the bodybuilder consumes enough carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. People who adhere to a general fitness program need about the same amount of nutrients as an ordinary person.

With a large and average amount of training, bodybuilders should include more carbohydrates and proteins in their diet. For example, bodybuilders who do an average amount of intense training (2-3 hours a day of intense exercise 5-6 times a week), as a rule, require 55-65% of the carbohydrate content in food to maintain proper levels of glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Preference should be given to complex carbohydrates with a low and medium glycemic index (for example, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, etc.). However, taking such an amount of carbohydrates together with regular food can be physically difficult, so many experts recommend drinks or other supplements with concentrated carbohydrates (for example, gainers). The consumption of such an amount of carbohydrates is not necessary for regular fitness classes (training 3-4 times a week for 30-60 minutes), but it is necessary for large and medium volumes of intensive training.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends taking 0.7 g/kg/hour during exercise as a 6-8% solution (6-8 grams of carbohydrates per 100 ml of liquid). With this approach, the consumption of carbohydrates per hour will be 30-70 grams for a b weighing 50-100 kg. Studies have also shown that consuming more carbohydrates does not increase the number of carbohydrates that the body has time to oxidize.

It was also noted that the rate of oxidation may vary depending on the type of carbohydrates consumed, as they are transported by different transporters. For example, the rate of oxidation of disaccharides and polysaccharides, such as sucrose, maltose, and maltodextrins, is high, while fructose, galactose, trehalose, and isomaltulose, on the contrary, are low. The combined intake of glucose and sucrose or maltodextrin and fructose contributes to the highest rate of oxidation among all studied variants of carbohydrate consumption.

Carbohydrate abuse

Frequent and high carbohydrate intake, as studies show, has a negative effect on the sensitivity of insulin receptors, leading to an increase in insulin levels. A chronic increase in insulin due to frequent carbohydrate intake during the day can increase insulin resistance by the end of the day. Reducing carbohydrate intake, as well as alternating days of low carbohydrate intake and days of moderate carbohydrate intake, can help stabilize insulin levels and ensure effective fat loss.

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