It is often a rule of physiology that in order to have a quality bodybuilding figure, you need to have carbohydrates. The reason being that carbohydrates are a particularly useful fuel for the body. However, there are times when a low-carb diet actually enhances a body builder’s overall physique and appearance. Just like with any diet, the low carbohydrate diet can be altered, avoided, or partaken in both general rules or due to a specific need of the person. Knowing if and when you are right for a low carb diet is key. Make sure to take into consideration all the factors that can help you make the proper decision. Entering a low carbohydrate diet can cause for negative side effects if used at the wrong time.
Endomorphs and Carb Sensitivity
There are three major body types called the endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph body type. Most people fall into the middle of two of the spectrums. Endomorphic individuals tend to be what we consider husky or rotund individuals. An endomorph usually has a higher percentage of body fat than the other two body types. Even with proper dieting and muscle-building exercise, the endomorph tends to look more round than the ectomorph or mesomorph. Because of the endomorphs natural physiology, they do not respond well to regular dieting without carbohydrate restrictions. Most studies show that 20-30% of individuals fall somewhere within this endomorphic category. The double-whammy of bad luck comes in the form of endomorphs that also have a particularly high sensitivity to carbohydrates. What is meant by sensitivity is that the intake of carbohydrates pushes up the level of blood sugar. When blood sure levels rise, the body attempts to hold onto more fat than other individuals do. The metabolic rate simply does not hold up well to the intake of carbohydrates as a whole. Thus, a high protein and low-carb intake level can usually help these individuals. The fat and protein found in the lean-protein diet can help regulate the insulin levels and keep the body’s metabolism and fat-burning capability up.
Ending a Plateau Phase
No matter how hard or strict a diet and workout regimen is, the body can adapt. When the body adapts to a particular level of intake versus output level, you will see a plateau in the body’s progression. In other words, a plateau is the body settling into to a particular routine. When this occurs, it is the body telling you, “This is the barrier for the weight I will lose given this many calories in and out.” When this occurs, you can begin a carbohydrate cycle. Notice that the word cycle entails that there is not a universal and permanent stop to carbohydrate intake. Your metabolism simply needs a jump-start sometimes. When you diet, it can degrade your metabolism no matter how stringently you care for it. When this occurs, an upgrade in your protein intake and a downgrade in your carbohydrate intake can be exactly what your body needs. Protein burns off slowly and at a higher thermic rate. This means that more calories are burned through the absorptions and digestion of meat than with carbohydrates. Your metabolism is naturally kick-started when you begin to cut out carbohydrates and replace them with healthy amounts of protein. It is important to be careful to cycle, however, because too long without proper levels of carbohydrates will also wear the body down.
Getting the Body “Cut”
Bodybuilders often want that shredded look going into competitions. There are also times where it is simply good to test the body’s reactions to a lower carb diet cycle. Carbohydrates facilitate some water retention. When you begin to cut out carbohydrates at their normal levels, you are likely also cutting out some of the water weight. This will naturally help you gain a more toned or shredded look. In general, when the muscles are not overly hydrated, the tone is much more apparent. Of course, dehydrating one’s self is not a healthy idea for any extended period of time. But, when one cuts out carbs and adds protein and healthy fats to their diet for certain cycle periods they can look more ripped.
Important Factors to Remember Regarding Low-Carb Diets
When you are attempting a low carbohydrate diet for bodybuilding, remember that you should attempt to cycle the low carbohydrates. The exception of course depends upon sensitivity to carbs and general body type. Still, even endomorphs with carbohydrate sensitivity will need some form of carbohydrates when not attempting to cycle into competition shape. Low carbohydrate diets have important hormonal advantages associated with them. They also carry some important metabolic reactions to them as well. But always keep in mind that carbohydrates are a fuel for the body during high-intensity workouts. And remember to keep in mind that carbohydrates do not simply mean white bread, rice, and candy bars. Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes as well. Lima beans, winter squash, and sweat potatoes have high counts of carbohydrates. Each also as fantastic levels of nutrients and vitamins that can be used as fuel for the body. The natural sugars in fruits are also high quality for the body.
These are just some simple facts to keep in mind. A low carbohydrate diet can be very useful for bodybuilders when they are preparing for a competition or attempting a weight-cut. However, it is important to know when and how to enact the weight cut in a healthy manner. Otherwise, your low-carb diet could end up a low-carb disaster. As low carb diets are often a source of weight-rebound and mental fatigue if done improperly or for too long of a period of time. By following general rules of cycling and working with a nutritionist or specialist, you can find the perfect balance for you.