Understanding the Three Types of Carbohydrates and When to Eat Them

Carbohydrates are a main fuel source for the body and are one of the three central components of the human diet, along with fat and protein. Muscles rely heavily on the dependable supply of energy from carbohydrates and the brain is completely dependent on carbs and lives solely on blood sugar. Without sufficient blood glucose the brain is starved and any part of the nervous system can be affected.

Clearly, carbs are an integral part of a balanced diet. Any fad diets that suggest completely eliminating carbs are downright dangerous. The keyword, however, is balanced diet. While carbohydrates are a critical component to good health, it is very easy to overdo them. Improper carb consumption is perhaps the leading factor in fat gain.

Here’s how eating too many carbs can make you fat. After eating, enzymes in the digestive system break down carbohydrates into blood sugar, or glucose, which is used as energy for the body. This blood sugar is then stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles where it is used to maintain blood glucose availability to the body throughout the day. It also serves as an energy reservoir to provide emergency fuel during times of high energy demand.

This glycogen energy reserve is much like a cup. It can only hold so much. Any excess that overflows beyond the capacity of the cup gets promptly stored as fat. This is an important concept to grasp. After intense physical activity your glycogen reserves are most likely depleted so it is important to eat a healthy dose of carbs to restore your energy reserves. However, if you’ve been sitting on the couch all day watching TV, your glycogen reserves are probably filled to max capacity. Eating carbs now will be excess and thus stored as fat.

There are three different types of carbs and each provide energy in a different way. Let’s learn how to eat the right carbs at the right times to maintain high energy without fat gain.

Starchy Complex Carbohydrates

starchy complex carbohydratesWhole grain bread, oatmeal, grits, pasta, brown rice, beans, potatoes, yams, and corn are a few examples of starchy complex carbohydrates. These foods have complex chemical bonds that are slowly broken down by enzymes in the digestive system and gradually absorbed into the bloodstream bit by bit. For this reason, starchy carbs provide long lasting energy. These are the foods marathon runners rely on for sustained energy.

Because our bodies are restoring themselves during the night, our glycogen stores get burned up a bit for energy. Upon waking up in the morning it will be important to restore these energy reserves. Some complex starchy carbohydrates for breakfast will help restore our energy as well as provide sustained energy throughout the early day.

It is important to have starchy carbohydrates prior to physical activity. Ultimately, carb intake throughout the day will vary greatly from person to person based on their energy demands and body type. Some people will need to avoid carbs almost entirely, while other people will require some carbs at every meal. Carefully consider your activity level, for eating more carbs than you require will lead to fat gain. Some people will gain weight at only 100 grams a day, while other will require over 500 grams.

Fibrous Complex Carbohydrates

fibrous complex carbohydratesSome carbohydrates have chemical bonds that simply can’t be broken down by the enzymes in the body. These indigestible substances simply pass through the body and are known as fiber. Fibrous carbs provide virtually nothing for energy, but are very important to digestive health and the cleansing of the body.

Fibrous complex carbohydrates are very good not only for getting fiber into the body but also for weight loss. On a high-fiber diet you are much more likely to reach the point of satisfaction before eating too much. As these foods are chewed, large amounts of saliva and gastric juices are produced. This additional liquid mixes with the food in the stomach and causes swelling of the fibers in the food. This distends the stomach and gives prompt and lasting feeling of fullness. It’s even been well established that those who consume a high-fiber diet actually excrete more fat in each bowel movement than those on a low-fiber, low-roughage diet.

Fibrous complex carbohydrates can be eaten any time of day without limit. Because fiber cannot be digested, the body will burn lots of energy attempting to process it. This is a dieter’s dream come true. It is something that can be eaten without limit and without risk of gaining even an ounce of unwanted weight. A celery stick for example contains about 5 calories. The body will burn about 10 calories just breaking down, assimilating, and eliminating the celery stick. This is called negative calories. So for people dieting, use as much leafy green vegetables as possible.

High fibrous foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Whether you are seeking to lose weight, gain weight, or build muscle, eat lots of fibrous complex carbs for their fiber and nutrients.

Simple Carbohydrates

simple carbohydratesSimple carbohydrates are also known as simple sugars. They are easily digested and enter the blood stream almost immediately. These foods provide an instant burst of energy, also known as a “sugar rush”. These are also the foods that need to be used very sparingly. Used correctly, simple carbs serve a great purpose, but taken at a time when your body has no demand for high energy output, these simple sugars quickly overfill the glycogen energy reserves and get stored as fat.

Simple carbohydrates should only be eaten during and immediately after an intense workout. After intense physical activity, the body has burned through it’s glycogen energy reserve and is desperate to replenish it. Simple sugars are the best thing for quickly getting energy back into the body and back into the depleted muscles.

Even ladies trying to lose weight, this is the time to eat the sugar you want as it will replenish your glycogen. Immediately after an intense workout is the one time you can get away with it. Be wise though. Cookies would be fine, but cheesecake would be terrible as it is loaded with fat. Only sugars, not sugars and fat, should be eaten.

Some examples of simple carbs include milk, white bread, white pasta, table sugar, corn syrup, and most packaged cereal.

Evaluate Carbohydrate Intake Based on Your Energy Needs

You need to evaluate carb intake for yourself. Two weeks is a good time for testing this. Monitor your protein, carb, and fat intake over two weeks. If you gain fat, it means your energy intake is greater than your energy expenditure, so reduce your carb intake. Likewise, if you lack energy and are losing weight, up your carb intake.

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Free Online Documentary – World’s Strongest Man

This video features a fascinating look into the strong man competitions and the various competitors fighting for the title of strongest man in the world.

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Jim Cordova Explains the Importance of the Negative in Weight Training

The gym is one of the few places where focusing on the negative can make you twice as successful. To understand what I mean, you first need to know what lies behind every repetition that you perform.

Every repetition consists of three phases. The concentric phase which is lifting the weight to transition or peak contraction phase, which is the midpoint, and eccentric phase which is lowering the weight. In other words, each repetition consists of a positive, midpoint, and negative.

The positive portion is easy to identify as it’s what you’re most familiar with. It’s the primary action of the exercise that you perform. For example, during pulling movements the positive portion of the rep occurs when you pull the weight toward your body. The negative occurs when the weight moves away from and back to the starting point. During pushing movements, the positive portion of the rep occurs when you push the weight away from your body and the negative occurs when the weight moves towards you.

Most people tend to focus only on the positive portion and pay little mind to the negative. You want to do the complete opposite. Generally, the negative portion of every repetition should move slower than the positive. At the very least you should move at the same pace as the positive. Never should you move faster by allowing the weight to fall back to the starting position. Doing such is asking for an injury simply because you’re allowing the muscle to relax and then suddenly contracting it to catch the weight.

Whenever you perform an exercise you’re going to want to focus on the negative especially since it is just as beneficial as the positive. Arguably, even more so. You may have noticed that when you perform a slow controlled negative repetition it tends to burn more and is very intense. That should tell you something. It’s very effective in terms of stimulating muscle growth and development. In fact, the negative portion of a repetition has been shown to have a greater impact on the hormones that lead to muscle growth and development, even more so than the positive. The negative has been shown to produce more micro trauma in the muscle. In other words, it breaks the muscle down more. The whole objective of resistance training is to break down the muscles so that they grow back stronger and more developed.

Lastly, by focusing on the negative you become twice as efficient during your workout since you’re essentially doing twice the work. Focusing on the positive is only half the repetition. So focus on the negative and I guarantee it will have a positive impact on your results.

Bodybuilding Video

Shoulder Training with Jim Cordova and Strengthening the Rotator Cuff

Jim Cordova is a world-ranked drug-free bodybuilder that demonstrates excellent intuitive wisdom in his workouts. In this video he details his secrets to massive delts and powerful healthy shoulders.

He sticks to the basic exercises when training shoulders and mixes a variety of factors, such as rep range, frequency, volume, and exercise order, just to subject the muscles to new forms of tension.

He starts most shoulder workouts with presses, though occasionally starts out with the side delts first. When performing presses, he sticks to the standard upright angle. High incline presses really hammer the delts as it’s a very natural movement. Generally, he does not lockout when performing presses but rather keeps the weight moving maintaining constant tension on the sweet spot of the muscle. This blasts the muscle and brings it to failure much earlier. He does this for many sets to failure. Keeping the weight moving subjects the muscle to even more stimulation than locking out or squeezing does and will cause you to fail much quicker.

Cordova might train his shoulders only once every two weeks during a power building phase. At other times when focused more on development and a good pump he will not go so heavy and workout shoulders twice a week.

A excellent overlooked exercise is the single armed upright row with a dumbbell. It’s an outstanding exercise for a great pump in the side delts. It’s also easier on the rotator cuff as there is less of a chance of shoulder impingement and is much more natural.

Jim Cordova claims that working the rotator cuffs has helped not only his shoulder training, but the training of every other part of his upper body as well. When using a lot of power and force in the major shoulder exercises, the major muscles tend to really assist in the functions that the rotator cuff would ordinarily perform. This in turn causes the rotator cuffs to weaken and atrophy. This puts you at jeopardy of tearing a rotator cuff muscle even during the most mundane tasks of daily life. To prevent this Cordova does 4 or 5 exercises for the rotator cuff muscles. He claims this has worked very well and that his shoulders feel much stronger then they did prior to rotator cuff training. Those tiny muscles need to be worked thoroughly just as the larger muscles do. Strengthening these tiny muscles will make you stronger in the all the core lifts which will allow you greater progress.

Bodybuilding Video

Dorian Yates Blood and Guts Training Routine

Six time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates shows us a real mass building training routine. This is high-intensity  training at its best. Typically, for each exercise there are two warm up sets to get the blood flowing and prevent injury, followed by one all out set at max intensity.

Nutritionally, Dorian recommends 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Generally, you will need about twice the amount of carbohydrates as proteins to ensure that the body uses the carbs for energy and the protein for tissue repair. If you don’t have enough carbs, proteins will then be used for energy. This is not only a more inefficient form of energy, but it robs the proteins of doing their muscle building work. If, however, you start gaining too much body fat, back down on your carb intake.

Complex carbohydrates are always best, except after a workout. Following a workout, simple carbohydrates are best for quickly restoring your energy stores and promoting an insulin spike. Don’t forget you still need to consume fats as well. A good ratio for fats is approximately 30% of your daily protein intake.

Episode 1 – Chest and Biceps

Episode 2 – Back

Episode 3 – Dorians Tips

Episode 4 – Delts and Triceps

Episode 5 – Legs