Do You Need Carbs to Build Muscle?

When building muscle, the more protein the better right? Well, not necessarily.

Unfortunately, we can’t just consume hundreds of grams of protein and expect our muscles to grow because our bodies don’t work like that.

How many carbs should I consume?

Consuming moderate amounts of protein at regular intervals throughout the day (20-30g w/ every meal and snack) is the best way to go.

carbs are key for muscle buildingCarbs are also essential if you want to gain muscle. Carbs provide us with our MAIN source of energy and fuel our workouts and exercise. They help replenish our glycogen stores (stored carbs in the body) and make sure the protein we consume and need for muscle repair doesn’t get broken down for energy.

Muscle growth also requires a training program specifically focused on muscle growth. This PLUS an abundance of carbs and moderate protein is where we are going to start to see growth.

And I’m not just talking about adding 30 more grams of carbs for a pre workout snack. I’m talking about enough to put you in a caloric surplus (eating more calories than you are burning throughout the day). In order to allow our bodies to grow, we have to feed it. And this cannot be done if you are consuming less than you are burning (caloric deficit).

I get asked a lot if carb loading is beneficial for building muscle and the answer is no. Carb loading involves eating carbohydrate-rich foods to maximize glycogen stores (stored carbs in the body) which provides individuals with the energy necessary to sustain an increased level of physical activity for a longer duration. This is most beneficial to athletes in endurance sports and the amount of carbohydrates that athletes should consume daily will depend on their unique needs.

If you have a really intense training session then I recommend consuming more carbs before and after to help with fueling and recovery. But if the goal is to gain muscle, eating a high amount of carbs consistently throughout the day is much more effective than carb loading.

If you are or have been trying to gain some muscle and have not seen success, you are more than likely missing one of these components.


Sam Wallace

I am a fitness professional Located in Los Angeles, California. Fitness for me is not only a hobby, it changed my life.