Best Bodybuilding Staple Foods: Carbohydrates

Bodybuilding Staple Foods - CarbohydratesThose who think that muscles are built on protein alone are sorely mistaken (no pun intended). Good sources of well timed slow-burning carbohydrates are mandatory for muscle growth as well. For adding serious mass to your muscle frame, you need to get away from the thought that carbs are the enemy. While all carbs are not muscle building friendly, the right carbs are crucial in your quest for adding lean muscle mass to your body.

While I say that carbs are not enemy, carbohydrates can be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how you choose to use them. Well timed carbs fuel your intense training and boost post-workout recovery. Carbohydrates also provide fiber for enhance health and fitness.

Slow Burning Carbs

Slow burning carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, yams and brown rice, are crucial building blocks for muscle growth. Take advantage of utilizing these carbs before your workouts to gain the energy to get you through your tough workouts. My favorite version of oatmeal are steel cut oats. Give them a try for a different variety. Of course, Ezekiel bread and wheat bread are nice options as well.

When you exercise, muscle glycogen, carbs stored within your muscles, becomes the main source of fuel. As you train hard, your glycogen levels decrease causing your intensity level to decrease. As your glycogen levels decrease, your body begins to tap your muscles for a source of energy causing them to degenerate. For this reason, you need a consistent source of fuel, which is why slow burning carbs are so important.

Beans and Legumes

You simply cannot ignore the power of beans and legumes if you are looking to add mass. Fiber is essential to maintaining regular bowel movements as well as maintaining proper insulin responses, which are critical to muscle growth.

Some of the best beans and legumes are red lentils. Of all legumes, red lentils have the highest amount of protein per serving while being very low in calories and saturated fat. Kidney beans are also a great choice as they provide 14 grams of protein and fiber per cup.

Fiber is essential to maintaining a regular and normal healthy bowel movement as well as proper insulin response – which is critical to muscle growth as both functions aid in absorption and use of various nutrients and supplements ingested by bodybuilders.


I love my fruit, so thankfully, most fruits are great for a bodybuilding diet. Some are better than other though. Berries are great for their antioxidants. Bananas are great for a post workout carb. Just keep in mind that fruit can digest quickly, so they are best used in the morning or as a pre or post workout snack.


Vegetables are amazing. They are another great source of fiber and most are loaded with vitamins. I like to have green vegetables with every meal as they tend to be lower in calories and net carbs.

At the end of the day, it is all about making better decisions. Adding quality muscle is not as simple as lifting a few heavy objects off of the ground. It is all about working out hard and eating the right foods to grow muscle.

2 Responses

  1. Have to be careful with oats, quick cook/instant are digested much quicker than steel cut or traditional oats. Have to know the difference if you are looking for slow-digesting carbs only. Good read!

  2. Mike Guerreiro says:

    You are spot on with that. I enjoy steel cut oats practically every day.

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