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Top 5 Carb Sources For Bodybuilders

Top 5 Carb Sources For Bodybuilders
Writer and expert8 years ago
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One of the most important nutrients when it comes to bodybuilding are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy and are used by the muscles for contractions, recovery, and growth. Just like everything else though, there are bad carbs, as well as good carbs. Bad carbs are items like soda, ice cream, anything with sugar basically. Good carbs are starchy carbs that are slow digesting, like oats, sweet potatoes, etc. There’s a saying that Men’s Physique Competitor Sadik Hadzovic said, “There is a good time to eat bad carbs and a good time to eat bad carbs.” I will explain more on that later. I am going to list out the best carbs to eat and why.

Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast is on this list because it is a convenient, high-calorie food. Breakfast cereals with at least two grams of fiber per serving can be converted into good offseason bodybuilding foods. Fiber slows digestion, making cereal a good source of energy that can be eaten at any time. For the best results, double the serving size, mix in one rounded scoop of whey protein and enough milk to bring the carb content to about 60 g and the protein content to 30g.



People who consume oats regularly are less likely to become obese. In fact, studies show that children who eat oatmeal regularly lower their risk of becoming overweight adults by 50 percent. The soluble fiber content of oats forms a gel in your digestive system, causing you to feel full longer and eventually helping you with weight loss. The gel that forms inside you also traps bad cholesterol and helps minimize its absorption into your bloodstream. You need calories to give you the energy you need for your workout.

Oats are a good source of carbohydrates to do this job. There are studies that when someone consumes oats about an hour before exercise, metabolism is altered in a positive way and results to an enhanced performance during the training. Oats are a good source of many other nutrients needed for a well-balanced diet and a stronger immune system. As it slows down your digestion, it also controls the levels of your blood glucose – slowing its increase after eating and its decrease before meals.

In addition, oats contain phytochemicals that have been discovered to minimize the risk of getting cancer. The dangers of contracting cancer of the breast, prostate, endometrium, or the ovary are significantly lessened when someone eats oats regularly. Oats are also an excellent source of essential vitamins like biotin, folic acid, thiamin, and vitamin E, as well as elements like iron and zinc. These nutrients and all the other nutritional elements found in oats have the capability to increase the speed of your body’s response to infection and makes you heal faster in case any illness hits you.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a top source of carbohydrate, meaning they're a good source of energy for anyone hitting it hard in the gym. In addition to the carb content, sweet potatoes have numerous other benefits for bodybuilders. The average-size serving of sweet potatoes has fewer calories than an average-size serving of white potatoes, containing 112 calories versus 168. Additionally, the carbohydrate content is a little lower in sweet potatoes -26 grams compared to 38 grams in white potatoes.

carb sources

This difference can benefit bodybuilders who are dieting. Eating lower-calorie sweet potatoes makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit and burn fat. Glycemic index, or GI, is a measure of how quickly a food raises your levels of blood sugar. Eating lower-GI foods tends to sustain your energy levels as these foods digest more slowly. Since sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index and glycemic load than white potatoes, they're a better choice for your pre-workout meal to help give you that boost needed to push through a hard session.

Brown Rice

Rice is a cheap, easy-to-prepare, rich carbohydrate source for bodybuilders. Bodybuilders typically eat five to six small meals each day that include lean protein and whole-grain carbohydrate sources. Rice can easily be prepared in large quantities ahead of time, so bodybuilders don't have to cook it for each meal. For bodybuilders who are going through a bulking phase, rice can be a high-calorie food source to help put on mass. Brown rice is also high in fiber content.


For bumping up carb intake, pasta has always been a great choice. Four ounces (dry measure) yield 90 g of carbs that are easy to eat and won't fill you up, so you'll be ready to eat again within three hours. Adding meat and vegetables to pasta makes a complete meal that is high in carbohydrates, protein and calories. Pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrates, the benefit is that because it is complex, it takes longer to digest it which means a longer release of energy into the bloodstream which means less will be stored as fat and you'll have energy for a longer period of time then if you took a sugar (simple) carbohydrate.


Take-Home Message

Including these carbohydrates into your bodybuilding diet will leave you with a lot of energy and great pumps in the gym. Slow digesting carbs are always ideal for bodybuilders, except for post workout. This is where the quote I talked about in the beginning comes in to play. There is a bad time to eat good carbs, and a good time to eat bad carbs. The bad time to eat good carbs would be directly pre-workout or post workout. The reason being is those complex carbs take a lot longer to get into the bloodstream and transferred to muscle tissue for recovery and growth compared to faster absorbing carbs like dextrose, white rice, or higher GI carbs.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Writer and expert
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