Category: Muscle Building

Understanding the Role of Carbohydrates

When I first got started with improving my physique much was said about the importance of high protein consumption for building muscle. If you ask any bodybuilder about why you should have a high protein intake if you want to build muscle mass, you will get a detailed response explaining the way protein builds muscle tissue. However, not much is said about the very important nutrient, carbohydrate.

Carbs, which are converted into glucose or glycogen in the body, is the only macronutrient which can provide an immediate source of energy, which is essential for any type of weight training. Just because you are consuming a lot of protein for building muscle doesn’t mean that you should exclude carbohydrates in your muscle building diet. Not only do carbohydrates provide the best source of energy required for intense weight training sessions, but they are also protein sparing because their availability allows the body to use protein for it’s primary function, which is to build muscle tissue instead of having to rely on protein to supply energy which is not as efficient.

Carbohydrates are often overlooked when planning a muscle building diet. If you want to optimize your diet for muscle gain it’s important that you know how to integrate carbohydrate foods into your diet and training. It doesn’t need to be complicated you just need to follow a few simple rules.

Eat plenty of complex carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are basically of two types. Simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Most of your carbohydrates should come from complex sources because they supply muscle glycogen, the long lasting fuel that your body needs to train hard. The amount of carbohydrates which are stored in muscle tissue can influence whether or not your muscles remain in an anabolic mode, which is essential for muscle building.

Just how important are muscle glycogen stores? Consuming more protein then what your body requires for building muscle tissue is not the answer and won’t increase muscle mass if glycogen stores are too low. On the contrary, if muscle glycogen stores are full it can promote muscle growth.

Good sources of complex carbs include whole foods like whole meal bread, whole grain cereal, potatoes, brown rice, pasta, fresh and tinned fruit and dried fruit.

Eat plenty of carbohydrates post workout

Post workout nutrition is very important if you want to build muscle. When you are training hard you need to replenish muscle glycogen stores. Eating a large amount of carbohydrates and at least 1 gram of protein per lb. of body weight. directly after a workout session provides your body with an insulin spike. This insulin spike puts your body into an anabolic state as it will promote a spike in growth hormone. The reason for consuming a lot of protein with the carbs post workout is that insulin increases protein synthesis by a very substantial margin.

Eat smaller amounts of carbohydrates more frequently

The best approach for gaining weight in the form of lean muscle mass is to eat smaller meals with carbohydrates more often. Instead of having 3 large meals throughout the day, make a habit of eating 5 or 6 smaller meals, and make sure you get plenty of carbohydrates with each meal to release a steady flow of insulin into the body. If you eat large amounts of carbohydrates in one sitting your body is much more likely to store them as fat.

For natural bodybuilders, carbohydrates are very important because you have to rely on the maximum efficiency of food for your energy production and muscle growth instead of using steroids. If you follow these simple rules it will enable you to build muscle faster.

Basic Muscle Building Stacks

What to include in basic muscle building stacks

Since we are on the topic of building muscle without equipment in these tough economic times, I thought it would be a good idea to list the essential ingredients you should include in a basic muscle building stack which you can take pre and post workout to increase strength and gain some quality muscle.

First of all, let me just say that as a beginner your focus should not be on supplements. You first want to understand and follow a good nutrition and training program, however it must be said supplements if used properly can give you a boost.

With so many bodybuilding supplements on the market begging for your attention, you are bound to be confused with exactly what is the best muscle building stack for putting on lean muscle mass. The aim of this article is to include the most essential ingredients which you should include in your muscle building stack without having to break the bank.

In bodybuilding circles a “stack” refers to the different products used in a bodybuilder’s steroids cycle, but the term is more loosely referred to using multiple supplements or products in the one “stack” or daily supplement regimen.

There are pre-packaged muscle building stacks such as Muscletech Musclebuilding Stack (the same manufacturer which makes the pre workout supplement naNO Vapor), but the focus of this article is not to recommend the best muscle building stack product, instead we want to discuss the best ingredients to include in a stack when on a budget. It can be preferrable to make up your own stack because that way you know exactly what ingredients you are putting in your body.

Basic Muscle Building Stacks

What to include in an effective muscle building stack?

In other articles I have already discussed what I feel to be the most effective bodybuilding supplements, so it should come as no surprise when I say that the basic muscle building stack should include protein, creatine, carbs, and a good multi-vitamin supplement.


Protein should form the foundation of your muscle building stack. Heavy resistance training increases the demand for protein (more specifically amino acids) so make sure you are consuming some protein before and after working out. Whey protein powders are one of the most convenient ways to consume protein. It can easily be added to weight gain shakes and it contains a high percentage of protein with every scoop.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is another supplement you must include in a muscle building stack. This is a proven supplement with many scientific research studies to backup it’s claims. Creatine is particularly useful to increase explosive strength, gain lean muscle mass and gain weight. Here is how much daily creatine you should include in your stack.

High Glycemic Carbohydrate

A quick absorbing high glycemic carbohydrate is a nice addition to a basic muscle building stack. It’s important to combine carbs with protein for your post workout meal because carbs help transport nutrients to muscle cells and increase protein synthesis, which is the main objective. Carbohydrate also helps to prevent muscle catabolism (break down of muscle tissue) and jump starts the recovery process. The complex carbohydrate source can come from raw foods such as oats or you can use supplemention for convenience.


Taking a good multi-vitamin is also very important. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be determinental to muscle gains because your body is not performing to its full potential.

How should you take the muscle building stack?

You can take the daily multi-vitamin in the morning and combine the whey protein, creatine and carbs to form a great post workout shake.