Building Muscle Mass By Eating More… Carbs? Why Gluconeogenesis Is Your Enemy

By: May 5, 2009 23 Comments

Alright, so you work your ass off in the gym, and know that protein is the fundamental element that you need to eat to build rock hard muscles, and carbs are something you should cut down on to avoid getting fat. Right? Well I can see where you’re coming from, but if you’re really kickin’ it in the gym and aren’t taking in a carb to protein ratio of at least 1.5 : 1… You are wasting your time and money.

Bold claim? You better believe it. Most guys (or girls) know that to gain serious mass, taking in a ratio of 1g of protein per lbs of body weight is the MINIMUM that you need. But what they don’t know is that if you eat massive quantities of protein during the day without taking in a decent amount of carbs, you will not gain mass. Or if you do, the process will be tedious and slow. The reason? Gluconeogenesis.

So what is it? Well gluconeogenesis is the process where your body will convert the protein you intake into carbohydrates to meet its needs. You cannot trick the body by eating lots of protein and no carbs… It’s too damn smart. Your body’s PRIMARY source of fuel is carbs and it will do whatever it takes to get some… Get it? And if we scrutinize protein and carbs from a financial stand point (damn economy)… carbs are cheaper. This means that every gram of protein that you take in should do EXACTLY what it’s supposed to — build lean muscle mass without interference.

To guarantee that this happens, make sure your carbohydrate intake is sufficient and gluconeogenesis is something your body never resorts to. Not only will this help your make the most out of the protein  you take in, but I can gain mass much faster from a carb/protein ratio of  1.5:1 Vs. 1:1.  Go figure!


Now that you know why carbs are so important, the next question that should jump to your mind is whether to primarily eat simple carbs or complex (low-glycemic) carbs. The answer is not that black and white, but it’s not super complicated either. Say you eat 6 meals a day, out of those 6 meals a MAXIMUM of 2 should include simple carbs, and that’s because they are probably the post-workout protein shake or meal. The rest of the time, stick to stuff like: brown rice, whole wheat grains, oats etc.

The reason being is simple, low glycemic carbs don’t spike your insulin and release the sugar slowly, evenly and constantly throughout your blood stream. This means there is no spike and crash in your energy levels, just a constant stream of juice to keep you going.

And one last thing, if you ARE planning on using simple carbs for your post-workout shake, buy a shit load of maltodextrin. It’s inexpensive, quick digesting and VERY useful. In fact, if I was personally short on cash, I’d pick up 5lbs of maltodextrin over whey protein any day… THAT’S how much of an impact it will have on your results. I can get my protein sources elsewhere, like from fish, chicken, beef, ostrich or turkey.

Hope you had an “AHA” moment in there somewhere. Here’s to being lean, solid and sexy.

About the Author:

Turns fat asses into good looking bad asses. Also a National deadlift record holder and the undisputed flip-cup champion. If you want to train under him, Click Here to fill out an application, and he just may consider working with you.

Comments (23)

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  1. Food is such a major part of the equation! I learned that late but not too late! Most people don’t realize how important it is.. Good post!

  2. Kellie says:

    It’s good to read an article that doesn’t present carbs as the ‘enemy’! Good description of how low GI carbs release their energy. I find a low Gi lunch helps prevent the energy crash in the afternoon.

  3. Leo says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. This sounds interesting. I think I will try this.

  4. Helene says:

    A balance between carbs and proteins is always best. Thanks for your submission to Take Charge of Your Health Care Carnival.

  5. James Lund says:

    This is an excellent article with very practical advice. The only thing that I would add is that you also need to watch the fat content of the food that you are eating as well. It is one thing to eat more carbs (which give you energy you need) but increasing your fat intake will slow your muscle building efforts.

  6. GREAT ARTICLE, i am a fitness writer and i must say, this is a very untouched subject. Very good, thanks!

  7. Carbs are especially important if you are a hardgainer. In my opinion this isn’t mentioned enough. Great post!

    -George D

  8. “AHA” indeed. I’d be interested in more of your thoughts on maltodextrin.

    • - Fit Jerk - says:

      Love it, and personally been using it successfully for years. But use it post workout… no reason to use it anytime else. It’s basically sugar.

      • Thanks for the lead to research this topic further. I found the reason for post-workout carbs: to restore muscle glycogen which was depleted during the workout. And that the body will break down muscle for this purpose if carbs aren’t readily available. Interesting stuff.

  9. chrid says:

    would it be ideal to put maltodextrin in my post workout protein shake? about how much should i use after a workout?


  10. Weight Gain says:

    I use a three to one ratio of maltodextrin to whey protein powder in my post workout shakes.

  11. In my opinion, diet affects body fat percentage- your leanness. Yes, you need nutrients to build muscle, but focusing on micro shifts of this much or that much really is a fitness industry marketing scheme.

    Having said that, I do have a protein shake from time to time but it is because I like it to satisfy a craving for a chocolate treat and drink it in lieu of eating sweets.

    You build muscle by progressive overload and enough rest for them to compensate for that work. Lift heavy to build muscle, work your diet to be lean.

  12. Carbs is vital for a balanced diet and many bodybuilders are scared of it. Great Post!

  13. Carbs are really beneficial but they must be consumed at the right time. For instance simple carbs should be consumed before, during and right after the training while complex carbs are fantastic if consumed at breakfast.

  14. You need carbs to have energy. I normally do carb cycling but for only short periods. I will go normal carbs, low carbs and then no carbs then start over. You can’t do this for long periods or it will mess with your body too much.

  15. I heard a lot of good things especially about carbs which can benefit a lot when you’re on the process of motivating yourself in going on a workout daily. Eating is one of the most important thing to consider and is the most valued habit when going on a workout.

  16. Tom Yates says:

    This is new knowledge for me. Carbohydrates are the most important energy source for the body in the activities. Thank you for information…

  17. Marsha says:

    This is seriously new information that most other people don’t even talk about. Thanks for sharing. I going to load up on the stuff you say.

  18. Interesting article, and ideas in it … There is stack of different ideas out there about what diet what ratios e.t.c

    But pretty much, eat a well balanced diet and lots of it. And lift big… you will get results…

  19. Eating more and mostly protein definitely can add up muscle size and protein is the best for muscle repair after workouts.

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