Carbs: What, When, How Many?

I have been having trouble since I’ve been lifting really getting my diet in an awesome place so to speak. I’d never really cared to put on a little extra cushion, so I always just made sure it was “enough” of each nutritional element and that was it. Well now I’m ready to take a step away from that. Here’s the deal.

I’m an endomorph and am very sensitive to sugars and the like. Therefore, my diet has to stay pretty clean. I give myself no cheat days and I eat only veggies for fiber, whole grain carbs, and lean meats for protein. I’m about 215-218, and I’m having trouble figuring out the magic number of carbs.

With my body type, I’m not sure how many I need or if that really changes between body types. Its pretty easy for me to put on muscle but not without fat also. If i eat too little carbs (below 1 g per pound of bodyweight), I rapidly lose muscle tissue. If I eat over 1g per pound of bodyweight, the fat starts to build. I don’t want to have to drastically bulk and cut for the rest of my life, and would rather spend a little time recomping, so here’s what I’d like to know:

  1. Is there a “magic” number of carbs I’m supposed to be taking in, given that I’m an endomorph (I think when most people give diet advice this is overlooked)?

  2. Is there a type of carb I should absolutely be staying away from (ie. starchy, etc.)?

  3. When should I be taking in the carbs for maximum efficacy?

  1. try just hitting 100-120g for a while and see what happens, I doubt you are “rapidly losing muscle tissue”, it’s most likely in your head.

  2. depends on the goal but I think you just should use common sense and stay away from shit food.

  3. Carbs are put to best use when you have them before, during, or after your workout.

It is hard to help if you don’t list your other Macro sources.

1 - no, it depends on you. from the sounds of it you’ve managed to narrow it down pretty well in that you know anything over 1g per lb is making you put on fat and anything under is losing you muscle.

2 - A lot of people have intolerences to certain types of carbs. I would have a look at this article and see what you think. Gluten can be a big one, contained in most grains and the like.

3 - also touched on in the article but the general consensus is in the morning (highest insulin sensitivity). Before and after training to replanish muscle glycogen.

hope this helps

My own theory on carbs is they have to be earned or used. So after depleting glycogen ie. Post weights workout. Or before any high energy activity like cardio/training.

Use them or lose them. The total amount required depends on how much your doing.

You are not “losing muscle tissues”. Your glycogen stores are probably getting a bit depleted with lower carbs, making you look flat instead of full. This is normal. Deal with it

  1. No there is no magic number and the carb number you will use depend on your other macros. Give yourself a starting point and adjust from there.

  2. Depends on your goal. Truth is if you’re dieting and are looking at it only on a body composition perspective you can eat any type. As far as health is concerned well… im sure you know the answer

  3. Depends on your goals. But pre/post workout are a given

To the guys saying I’m not losing muscle tissue trust me, when I starting lifting 3 years ago, I weighed 115-120lbs. I stand at 5’7" and used to be about 228-230 at the same general body comp. What I did may not be some epic feat, but it is definitely a measure of my body “not being used to the weight.” See an older post for further on this: My body, if I change even the slightest thing, miss a meal, lower one nutritional macro, will change drastically to try to get back down to a weight that it was comfortable. My body is COVERED in stretch marks, so I know I wasn’t “ready” to be this size, so to speak. For example, I had to take a week off last week to travel for work and was only able to work out in a hotel gym. Eating the same, workout just less intense. Lost 10 lbs. A visible 10 lbs. I’m not a natural bodybuilder, so… again, body is furiously trying not to be what it is.

I live by the tape measure too. Measure every single day. I have OCD, so unfortunately there’s no gettin’ around that. If I drop my carb levels as low as 100-120g will I not get super-gassed during my workout? I also don’t get a “pump” whenever my carbs are that low. I know, I know, pump talk. But truth be told, call it superstition or whatever, but it just doesn’t feel like I’m growing unless it happens. I feel like I haven’t done everything I could in the gym. That may be something I just have to get over though. My goal is body recomp for those who asked, so i guess I’ll phrase it this way, is there a range of carbs that is typical for that goal (like they say 2g per lb of bodyweight for mass gain is TYPICAL)?

How long have you been at your current body weight? Maybe think about maintaining your weight for 6 months to a year before trying to gain again, to give your body a new set point.

^^ Agreed.

I cycle my carbs, and even on a high day only reach about 250 grams most days it is under 70 grams. I train at least 6 days a week and play sports on the weekend and rarely if ever have issues with energy. I’m not you so I don’t know for sure, but I really thinks it’s in your head, the weight loss easily could have been some water and glycogen IMO.

Post the rest of your diet and supplements.