Sunday, September 4, 2011

Carbs for Competition

Bodybuilders continually strive to "eat clean" during pre-contest dieting to have a lean physique. Each athlete's body is different, so the dietary needs will vary. Some athletes can get away with eating a Fiber One bar or banana each day. On the other hand, others won't eat as much as an apple for fear of not being lean, or because of carbohydrate sensitivities and dietary restrictions.

Pre-contest diets are restrictive, but there are several complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and oats which are staples. Each is easy to prepare in advance, and also low on the Glycemic Index (GI). Although there is some skepticism about the use of low GI foods to lean out, the majority of bodybuilders choose these foods over high glycemic carbohydrates.

Brown Rice

Unlike white rice, the nutritional value of brown rice is not reduced from the milling process. Only the hull is removed, which is the outer most layer. Brown rice is full of vitamins such as manganese, selenium and magnesium, and low in cholesterol and sodium. Oats, Oats, Oats

Oats are a complex carbohydrate that bodybuilders often eat. There are different forms of oats, with the most common as oat meal, oat bran and oat bran cereals such as Cheerios. Do be careful when eating oats though. Specific brands dictate if the oats are gluten free or not. This is dangerous if you have gluten allergies or gluten sensitivities.


Although quinoa is a "new" grain, it was used many years ago by the Incas. There is some argument that quinoa is not a whole grain, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it one. When cooked it has a full, fluffy texture with a contrast of crunchiness. Although it's a grain, it also serves as a complete protein because it has all nine essential amino acids.

Quinoa is also found in different colors. Golden is the most common, but red, black orange, pink and purple shades are found in specialty stores. There is a small difference between the taste and texture, as well as a small difference in the nutritional value.

Sweet potato

These bright orange to purple tubers are easy to cook and store. As a complex carbohydrate, sweet potatoes offer health benefits with beta-carotene, fiber, Vitamin C and other antioxidants. It is also a great natural anti-inflammatory. Bodybuilders commonly suffer from aching joints because of the dietary restrictions and heavy weightlifting, so this is one carbohydrate you should not exclude from your diet.


Black, kidney, peas and lentils are good sources of complex carbohydrates. When added to a carbohydrate such as brown rice, beans create a high protein, clean meal.

Lisa White is a Certified Personal Trainer with an emphasis in pre/post natal weight training, as well as a figure competitor and fitness consultant. She was previously a health club and sports nutrition store owner.

By Lisa White, Yahoo!

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