Back to why you shouldn’t be eating as many carbs as you may think:
What you do now affects your body down the road. If you cram yourself full of carbohydrates on a daily basis, regardless of type of carb (even low GI carbs), your body must process these carbs and your insulin sensitivity will be decreased. Over time, insulin resistance (the inability to use carbohydrates) is inevitable for 98% of the population. Your cells just won’t work as well as when you were younger and it has little to do with “age.” It has to do with the level of abuse you have put on your pancreas and the cells of your body with high sugar foods and massive carbohydrate consumption.
Emulating your favorite IFBB pros’ carb intake is not always an advisable approach. Pro athletes alike are typically not only gifted physically, but also in their ability to utilize carbohydrates.
Yes, carbs are absolutely necessary for growth and optimal performance.
Yes, massive amounts of carbs in the short term will make you grow at faster rate than lower carb protocols, but this growth rate will be short lived.
Eventually, fat will start to accumulate as cells will start to become resistant to insulin and growth will slow down dramatically. The unfortunate part is that sometimes you may never be able to gain that same sensitivity back again.
Typically, once your cells stop functioning optimally or loses the ability to efficiently utilize insulin, your pancreas is forced into overdrive and pumps out more insulin in response to elevated blood glucose (if your cells are resistant to insulin, your blood glucose remains elevated because the cells wont “accept” the glucose). Your cells simply won’t take up anymore glucose, so you store it as fat.
Depending on the level of insulin resistance, it may take a very long time to regain sensitivity again.
I wont be so bold to say you may never gain it back, because all of you reading this are obviously intelligent, active, and hard-working people. Diabetics aside, with hard work and intelligent nutrition you can absolutely regain insulin sensitivity. It just may take a really long time, and typically only last as long as you maintain the strict regiment of exercise and low/moderate carb that you used to gain it back.
So, what do I do about it?:
Exercise is a great way to improve insulin sensitivity in the short term, but cramming a bunch of simple sugars into yourself post workout and out the window goes insulin sensitivity again. (This is why taking in Scitec whey protein or BCAA without carbs has become so popular).
Now, of course, the amount of carbohydrate that is necessary to cause insulin resistance is completely variable from person to person. For some people it may be 20g at a time while others may need 100-120grams. Some may take 1 year while others 10 years. A lot of that is genetically correlated, or dependent on your youth (blame your parents).
An extended period of low carbohydrate intake is also a great way to improve insulin sensitivity. Anywhere from 4hrs to 3 days on low carb has been utilized by intelligent people with great results. Any longer than that and you could be looking at some metabolic shutdown.
Carbohydrate cycling, or varying your intake from day to day, has become an effective method for fat loss because it allows people to optimize carb sensitivity and maximize carb uptake and utilzation, all while seeing minimal metabolic shutdown(metabolic damage).
A common example of carb cycling is: two low carb days, followed by one high carb day.
Please comment below. Sound familiar? Maybe your story can help somebody else.