Gain Weight with Carbs

Jun 26 08:15 2008 Tony Schwartz Print This Article

Learn about why and how carbohydrates should be used in your nutrition plan to gain weight fast while limiting fat gain.  This information will help you gain weight fast!

Over the past few years carbohydrates have come under attack in the media.  It seems that everyone is going on a low-carbohydrate diet or at least “watching their carbs.”

While this focus on lowering carbohydrates may be warranted for those looking to lose weight,Guest Posting how does it fit-in to the nutritional strategy of someone looking to gain weight and build muscle?

In short, it is very difficult to build large amounts of muscle without eating carbohydrates.  Let’s look at some of the reasons why carbs are so important if you are trying to gain weight.

  1. During intense strength training exercise the primary fuel source for your body is muscle glycogen, which is stored carbohydrate. 
  2. Simple carbohydrates (sugars) cause a huge release of the hormone insulin, which stops muscle breakdown and shuttles nutrients to damaged muscles.
  3. Carbohydrates draw water into muscle cells, a process called cell volumization, which causes weight gain and makes your muscles appear larger.

As you can see, carbohydrates have some great benefits for those of us who want to build muscle.  However, excess carbohydrates can cause fat gain.  While we do want to gain weight, we want this weight to be muscle, not fat.

To optimize muscle gain and limit fat gain we need to pay attention to what type of carbohydrates we are eating and when we are eating them.

Most of our carbohydrates should come from complex carbs.  These can be found in whole grains like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and rice.  These carb sources will refill muscle glycogen and enhance cell volumization without causing a huge release of the hormone insulin, which can cause fat gain.

These carbohydrates should primarily be consumed in the first half of the day.  As it gets later in the day our bodies process carbohydrates less efficiently, and this can lead to fat gain.  For this reason we want to focus on a getting a good amount of complex carbs at breakfast and lunch, and then limit our carbs at dinner.

As mentioned before, we want to select complex carbs because they don’t cause as big of a release of insulin as simple carbs (sugars) do.  However, there is actually one time of day when we want to consume simple carbohydrates.  This time is immediately following a workout.  The huge release of insulin that we get during this time is actually a good thing because it stops muscle breakdown and shuttles nutrients to our starving muscles.  This is the only time of day that you should consume simple carbs (fruit juice, carb powders, Gatorade, white bread, cereals, etc.).

If you are trying to gain weight fast, remember that carbs aren’t the enemy, they are actually your friend.  If you eat the right types of carbs at the right times you can build muscle and limit fat gain.

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Tony Schwartz
Tony Schwartz

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