Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
September 27, 2022

Simple Sugars and Bodybuilding
By Mo Mendez

Simple Sugars and Bodybuilding

The simple carbohydrates, or simple sugars, are most prevalent in our modern society. Tons of simple sugars in their various forms are consumed everyday. Sugar and highly processed refined carbohydrates comprise an estimated 60 percent of the total dietary intake of the average person. The calories from these foods are considered "empty calories," high in fat, and poor in nutrition, as they force the body to use nutrient reserves to digest themselves. The generous intake of simple sugars in the diet causes a lot of problems for the average American.

Notice what happens if you get too much sugar - it is stored as fat! When the average diet contains far too much refined, simple sugar, it is no mystery why the average person is fat. Too much sugar will make you fat. A lot of people try to avoid fat in their diet, and rightfully so, but sugar can also cause serious fat problems, especially when it is taken in high quantities. Does this apply to a muscle-building program? You bet it does! Super-champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger points out. "One thing every bodybuilder (or individual concerned with the ultimate welfare of his body) ought to do is cut highly refined foods and food products from his diet. Do yourself a favor. Start eating foods that will give you quality and vitality. Replace all refined sugar with honey. Avoid cakes, pies, candies, French fries and packaged snacks. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit." These highly refined sugars that Arnold mentions will hinder your muscle-building program because sugar does not build muscles! Excess sugar is stored as fat, which hides your muscles. It also ties up your digestive system which should be focused on protein instead of sugar. Sugar, which has four calories per gram, gets into your system rapidly and increases your blood sugar level. This is bad because it allows your fat cells to accept calories in the form of fat. Therefore, it is not good for you if you want to put on massive muscles instead of massive amounts of fat. Remember, we want to increase muscle size as opposed to just body size. Excess sugar will put on body size but it will detract from muscular production.

Simple Sugars and Bodybuilding

Is all sugar intake bad? Should simple sugars be eliminated altogether? No. There is a time for simple sugar intake. Right after a hard workout is the time to load up on simple sugars. It is necessary to repack the glycogen stores which have been depleted during the strenuous workout. Some research indicates that the ideal time for the intake of simple sugars is between 15 and 30 minutes after a workout. Others say that the "window of opportunity" is up to two hours after a workout. So if you have a sweet tooth, this is the time to satisfy it. It is a great incentive to get through a workout. A fitness writer notes that "immediately after a workout, and I mean immediately, a bodybuilder would do well to ingest something that is high on the glycemic index. A rapid insulin release, such as that elicited by eating a high-glycemic-index food, particularly after a workout, would be like giving yourself a shot of an anabolic hormone. You see, insulin has the capacity (and the process isn't completely understood) to stimulate protein synthesis in general and the utilization of glutamine and branched-chain amino acids in particular. Insulin also has the ability to block protein breakdown, which is exactly what you want after a grueling microscopic-tissue-tearing workout."

Simple sugars are effective right after a workout. They refuel the body and prevent it from using precious protein for energy replacement. Basically, the only time you should ingest simple sugars is right after a workout. Beyond that, the intake of excess simple sugars will be stored as fat and act as a deterrent to building massive muscles. Occasionally indulge yourself with a "junk food day" but make these treats rare. Remember, you are not training for the couch potato Olympics. You are trying to pack on muscle mass.

The diet of the average person is comprised of approximately 60 percent sugar and highly processed refined carbohydrates. These should comprise less than 10 percent of the bodybuilder's diet and should primarily be taken directly after a hard workout to refuel the depleted energy stores.

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