There are two common misconceptions about muscle building and diet. The first misconception is you need a low-carb diet to lose weight, and the second, increasing protein intake is the only way to build muscle. While there is some truth about these misconceptions, they are not absolute.
Reducing your carb intake is only one of the many other things you need to do to lose weight, including reducing your fat intake, strength training and making lifestyle changes. While protein is the most nutrient for muscle building, it works best when combined with other factors, including carbohydrate intake, resistance training, fat intake, and others.
Carbohydrates provide your body with energy, which is crucial for muscle building. Though protein will probably always be the star nutrient for bodybuilding, it won't be as effective without support from carbohydrates.
Depending on your fitness goals, you'll need to adjust the type and amount of carb you consume. But if you want to build massive muscles, then you'll need to load up a lot of complex carbohydrates in addition to protein.
Carbohydrates for building muscle mass
The body has a high energy requirement for powering through different forms of strength training for building bigger muscles.
And as a result of that, you need a high-calorie intake to make up for the energy need and restore depleted calories. And to get enough energy, you need a high-carb diet. For athletes, simple carbs are more suitable because they are broken down easily and provide a quick energy boost when needed. But if you are building muscle, you need complex carbs because they are healthier and provide calories for a longer period. The slow-release properties of complex carbs are why you need to make them an integral component of your daily calorie intake.
Carbs help regulate muscle glycogen, which you need to have enough energy for your next workout session. Also, carbs are said to be protein sparing, which means they prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue. Building muscle on a low-carb diet or a strict protein diet is counterproductive. Since your energy needs are high during exercise, your body will break down fat and muscle tissue to make up for low calories.
When it comes to muscle recovery, your body needs your glycogen stores for energy. That's why you need to replenish your glycogen by consuming a high carb diet to prevent its depletion. When your body runs out of glycogen, it will look for new sources such as fat and protein to compensate for the lack of glucose. When this happens, it simply means that you are too low on fuel.
Carbs improve performance
Another reason why you need a high carb diet is carbs are the most efficiently metabolized, therefore improving performance due to its energy availability. The Academy of Nutrition and Dieticians and the American College of Sports agree that high carb availability improves performance during a high-intensity workout.
Generally, the amount of carbs you consume depends on your body goals. For weight loss, low carb consumption does the job. But a 60% carb consumption is needed for serious muscle gains.