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Do Bodybuilders Eat All Complex Carbs for Breakfast or Simple Carbs?

by
author image Sirah Dubois
Sirah Dubois is currently a PhD student in food science after having completed her master's degree in nutrition at the University of Alberta. She has worked in private practice as a dietitian in Edmonton, Canada and her nutrition-related articles have appeared in The Edmonton Journal newspaper.
Do Bodybuilders Eat All Complex Carbs for Breakfast or Simple Carbs?
A plate of chicken and rice. Photo Credit HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

If you are a bodybuilder or athlete you need a constant source of energy to load your muscles and protein to build and repair your muscles. Breakfast is very important for stocking your body with nutrients that promote muscle building but discourage excess fat storage. Complex carbohydrates are the better choice for if you want to remain lean and have sustained energy until the next meal.

Building Muscle

Building muscle requires loading your muscle tissue to the point of fatigue, which slightly tears the fibers and forces them into repair mode, according to a report from the University of New Mexico. During the process of repair, your muscle fibers become larger, which enables them to lift greater weight. Over time, the cumulative effect produces a defined look. If you don't challenge your muscles, they lose their strength and become smaller, a dynamic called atrophy. Daily workouts require plenty of energy, and breakfast is an important time of day to get that energy.

Choose Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are foods that have longer-chain sugars that take more time to break into glucose, which is the simplest sugar the body uses for energy. As such, complex carbs have a low-glycemic index, which is the measure of how quickly sugars are reduced into glucose or blood sugar. Complex carbohydrate metabolism releases glucose slowly into your bloodstream and doesn’t cause a spike in insulin. Good examples of complex carbs include oatmeal, bran, whole-grain cereals and breads, yams, potatoes and beans, according to “Contemporary Nutrition: Functional Approach,” by Gordon Wardlaw,

Limit Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates, such as sugary foods and refined flour products such as doughnuts and muffins and even fruits are metabolized quickly and initially raise your blood-sugar levels. In response to too much blood sugar, your body secrets insulin, which reduces glucose levels and promotes fat storage. Insulin spikes are usually followed by tiredness and lethargy or energy crashes because of the quick removal of glucose from your bloodstream.

Bodybuilder Breakfast

During the night, your body enters a fasting state because it hasn’t gotten any nutrients for many hours. As such, eating complex carbohydrates in the morning replenishes your depleted glycogen stores and very little is turned to fat, according to “Metabolic Regulation: A Human Perspective,” by Keith Frayn. Good breakfast choices for bodybuilders include oatmeal, all-bran cereal, whole-grain bread with butter and hash-brown potatoes. Fruits contain fructose sugar, which is considered a simple carbohydrate, but some varieties have low-glycemic indexes, such as cantaloupe, most berries and bananas that aren’t overly ripe. Dried fruit has a high-glycemic value and should be avoided, unless eaten roughly 90 minutes before or immediately after a workout, according to BreakingMuscle.com.

Other Good Breakfast Foods

In addition to complex carbohydrates, as a bodybuilder or athlete you need protein for breakfast. Good sources of low-fat protein include cottage cheese, scrambled egg whites and some varieties of nuts. Bodybuilders frequently take protein and creatine powdered supplements in the morning, as well.

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