The take away:
Wouldn’t it be unreal if you could build muscle and always have your 6-pack showing? If you remain insulin sensitive you can! Ever seen that guy that is always lean and just keeps building more and more muscle? There’s a reason for that. You don’t need to pack on fat to build muscle! In fact, packing on too much fat is going to make building muscle harder!
- Your body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose, where it is then released into the blood stream
- Your pancreas is then responsible for removing the excess glucose out of the blood stream by releasing the hormone insulin
- Insulin then shuttles the glucose into your cells to be stored as either glycogen or converted to body fat
To build muscle you ideally want to keep your muscles as sensitive as possible to insulin to ensure your cells absorb as many nutrients as possible. Eating too many carbohydrates will not only reduce insulin sensitivity, but also result in increased fat deposits in adipose tissue (body fat stores). Therefore the most effective ‘bulk’ is one where you put on as little body fat as possible. Follow a well-structured nutrition plan that provides your body with an optimum amount of nutrients to build muscle; no more, no less. Keep in mind this will vary between everyone depending on your training intensity and frequency, the amount of muscle mass you have, your job, lifestyle, and many other factors including genetics. There is no one-size fits all approach.
In order to control carbohydrate intake, but still get enough energy out of your nutrition program, it means that you're going to have to start increasing something everyone is afraid of - fats. Fats are an excellent slow burning and highly dense energy source of fuel that your body can use very efficiently during low intensity activities, such as during the day. It doesn't effect insulin levels and when incorporated strategically into your diet, it will allow you to keep your energy levels high while moderating carbohydrate intake.
It's not rocket science, but it does take some strategic planning and constant changes to build significant muscle while staying lean. Carbohydrates need to be controlled to provide enough fuel to your body, but not so much that you are going to decrease your muscle cell's receptor's sensitivity to insulin. Achieve this by increasing your fat intake to balance your decrease in carbohydrate intake, and keep your protein high. Now you never have to sacrifice that 6-pack in an endeavor to get some gains!