The Best Carb Sources for Muscle Building

Illustration of muscular man at table of food with Carbs and fruits

Carbohydrates are an essential part of any diet, but they're essential for athletes and people trying to build muscle. That's because carbs are a significant source of energy for your body. When you lift weights or do any other strenuous exercise, your body uses energy. And if you don't replenish that energy with food, you'll feel fatigued, and your performance will suffer. That's why it's essential to eat a meal or snack that contains carbs before and after your workout.

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    What you eat significantly impacts your energy levels, recovery time, and overall results. But with so many different dietary recommendations, it can be tough to know what to eat and when. So today, I want to talk about carbs. In particular, I want to discuss the Carb Sources for Muscle Building that you can incorporate in your diet.

    What are the best carbs for building muscle: Top Choices for maximum gains

    When you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, like during a cut or if your workout routine is intense and stressful for an extended period without ample recovery periods in between sessions, it can lead to the body breaking down protein instead. This will result in less efficient workouts and lost muscle-building gains! But eating intelligent carbohydrates such as fibre-rich grains and fruit puddings made from Applesauce (or other high-quality sources) is very easily solved because they provide needed energy while preventing blood sugar spikes, which make us crash afterwards, so we have more consistent energy. Here are the most popular carbs for muscle growth:

    #1 Brown Rice

    Brown rice is a whole grain which contains all the essential nutrients needed for muscle growth. These include vitamins, minerals, and fibre. On the other hand, white rice is stripped of these nutrients during the milling process.

    Brown rice is also a good source of protein. One cup of cooked brown rice contains about 5 grams of protein. This may not seem like much, but it’s more than white rice. And since protein is essential for muscle growth, this makes brown rice a great option for bodybuilders and other athletes.

    Brown rice is also lower on the glycemic index than white rice. This means it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels after eating, leading to fat storage. Instead, brown rice provides a slow and steady release of energy, which is perfect for working out.

    #2 Bananas

    Bananas are a great source of carbs and potassium. They’re also low in fat and contain vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage.

    Potassium is an essential electrolyte mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure and muscle contractions. It’s essential for athletes because it helps to prevent cramping during workouts.

    Bananas are also a good source of resistant starch. This is a type of carb that acts like fibre in the body. It’s not digested and absorbed like other carbs, so it goes straight to the large intestine, where it acts as food for the friendly bacteria.

    Resistant starch has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, essential for muscle growth. It can also help to reduce fat storage and promote weight loss.

    #3 Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potatoes are good sources of carbs and fibre. They are packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, but they’re also low on the glycemic index. That means they won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels, making them an excellent choice for people with diabetes or prediabetes. Plus, they’re delicious! I love to bake them, mash them, or eat them plain. So look no further than sweet potatoes if you’re looking for a healthy and delicious way to get your carbs. They’re sure to become a staple in your diet.

    Sweet potatoes are also a good source of an amino acid called L-arginine. This amino acid is essential for muscle growth because it helps to increase nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide is a gas that helps relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. This is important for delivering nutrients to muscles and removing waste products from the body, such as lactic acid.

    L-arginine also boosts testosterone levels, another important hormone for muscle growth.

    #4 Quinoa

    Quinoa has long been touted as a superfood for a good reason. This humble grain is packed with nutrients that can benefit your health in various ways. One of the lesser-known benefits of quinoa is its ability to help build muscle. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle tissue, so consuming quinoa regularly can help you build lean muscle mass. In addition, quinoa is rich in iron, which is essential for carrying oxygen to your muscles. Quinoa is also a good source of magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is involved in energy production. Quinoa should be part of the diet for athletes and bodybuilders looking to boost their performance and build muscle mass.

    #5 Greek Yogurt

    Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for gut health. They can help to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, and they also support the immune system. Greek yogurt is also a good B vitamin, essential for energy production.

    Protein is essential for muscle growth. It’s the building block of muscle tissue, and it’s necessary for repairing and rebuilding muscles after exercise. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of high-quality protein, making it an excellent choice for athletes and bodybuilders. In addition, the calcium in Greek yogurt also helps to support bone health. Greek yogurt is a versatile food that can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be eaten plain or used as a base for smoothies, dips, or salad dressings. It’s also a great addition to breakfast bowls or oatmeal.

    These are just some of why Greek yogurt should be part of your diet if you’re looking to build muscle. It’s delicious and nutritious food that can help you reach your fitness goals.

    #6 Oats

    Oats are a type of cereal grain popular among athletes and bodybuilders. They’re an excellent source of carbohydrates and contain a good amount of protein. In addition, oats are a low-glycemic food, so they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This makes them a good choice for people trying to manage their weight. Oats are also a good source of fibre, which can help regulate digestion.

    Athletes and bodybuilders need carbohydrates for energy, and oats are a great source of complex carbs. The protein in oats is also beneficial for muscle growth and recovery. Oats are a versatile food that can be enjoyed in various ways. You can eat them plain or add them to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal. No matter how you eat them, oats are a nutritious food that can help you reach your fitness goals.

    #7 Whole-grain pasta

    You might be surprised to learn that whole-grain pasta is essential for muscle growth. That’s right – this humble food can help you build those coveted muscles! Here’s why:

    Whole-grain pasta is packed with complex carbohydrates, essential for energy production. The body slowly breaks down complex carbs, providing a steady stream of energy that lasts for hours. This is in contrast to simple carbs, which are quickly broken down and cause a spike in blood sugar levels. When working out, your body needs a slow and steady energy supply, and whole-grain pasta provides just that.

    In addition to complex carbs, whole-grain pasta also contains essential vitamins and minerals, including iron and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for cellular function, and they help transport oxygen to your muscles. Without adequate oxygen, your muscles can’t recover properly from exercise, and they won’t grow as effectively. So if you’re looking to bulk up, make sure you’re getting plenty of whole-grain pasta in your diet!

    #8 Legumes

    There’s no denying that protein is essential for muscle growth. But there’s another nutrient that’s just as important – legumes. Here’s why legumes are essential for building muscle mass.

    First, legumes are a great source of protein. They’re one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. And unlike some other sources of protein, legumes are also low in fat and calories, making them an ideal choice for people trying to gain muscle mass without packing on the pounds.

    Second, legumes are rich in vitamins and minerals essential for muscle growth. For example, they’re a good source of iron, which is necessary for transporting oxygen to your muscles. They’re also a good source of magnesium, which is involved in energy production and muscle contraction. And they’re a good source of zinc, which is necessary for cell growth and tissue repair – both crucial for muscle growth.

    Finally, legumes are high in fibre, essential for keeping your digestive system running smoothly. When you’re working out hard to build muscle mass, your digestive system can

    #9 Mashed potatoes

    Mashed potatoes are popular comfort food, but they can also be a muscle-building powerhouse; they’re packed with complex carbohydrates essential for energy production. They’re also a good source of potassium, which is necessary for proper muscle function.

    In addition to being one of the great clean carb sources and potassium, mashed potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C. This essential nutrient helps repair tissue damage and promote wound healing, necessary for muscle growth. And because mashed potatoes are easy to digest, they’re a great food to eat after a workout.

    About The Author

    Michael Collins

    Michael Collins

    Michael is a gym enthusiast with experience that spans more than 20 years. He started his exhilarating journey of keeping fit in his late teens, and over the years, he has immensely grown to become a resourceful gem in matters of fitness.

    He has been writing for many years, focusing on answering all the questions you may have on nutrition, muscle building and fitness. Keeping fit and staying healthy is his main passion, and this is evidenced in the articles he writes in a simple and understandable language out of intensive reading and real-life experiences.