Yes, eating carbs benefits you after intense strength exercise by replacing muscle glycogen and spiking insulin to switch the body back to an anabolic state.
However, bodybuilders usually don't take carbs alone after exercise. They take it with protein. So you're really only asking them about part of the picture, and not the full picture. That might be why it isn't clear.
Basic theory. 1) Strength exercises (intense challenging weights) causes microtears to the muscles and uses up glycogen. Long enough exercise pushes the body into a catabolic state where it eats your muscles for the protein.
2) Bodybuilders take carbs to replace glycogen and cause an insulin spike to switch the body back to an anabolic state (so it stops using muscles for protein)
3) Bodybuilders take protein to provide the base nutrients to rebuild the body (and keep it from going back to a catabolic state for protein).
Additionally, after a workout, there's a "window" where you get a synergistic effect out of taking carbs with protein (and low side effects from the excess carbs).
Ordinarily, when muscle cells are full of glycogen, glucose from carbs get shuttled to fat cells when you have an insulin spike. However, after strength exercises, the muscles are depleted of glycogen, and the insulin spike will pump the glucose into the muscle cells instead (to be converted to glycogen), and not the fat cells.
If you have an abundance of the amino acids from protein, that gets shuttled along as well, pumping the muscle cells even fuller of amino acids than without the carb/insulin spike. More nutrients = faster repair/recovery.
The window varies, but runs from right after exercise to up to 24/48 hours later (I've read different things depending on the study). Usual recommendation I see is to take the PWO drink within 30 min of ending the exercise, and then having a light meal (with lots of real protein) an hour after that, to provide ongoing sources of nutrients for multiple hours.
I don't think there is one answer to this.
This podcast talks about the benefits of abstaining from carbs for hours after working out.
I think, though, it depends on your goals - performance or body composition?
It seems that the performance minded want to refill those glycogen stores and so they ten to do carb post workout. Traditionally, bodybuilders would do the carb + protein deal, but as the above podcast states, that's changing too. THere is some speculation that going low carb post workout increases lipolysis and growth hormone levels.
N=1. I lost alot of weight training fasted, eating low carb paleo, not alot of muscle gain.
I tested tubers. I gained 20 lbs of muscle in a matter of months. Not by themselves, post workout meals were usually 1-2 hours later and high protein high fat and 1-2 large potatoes/sweet potatoes.
Insulin is a GROWTH Hormone. dont forget that.
this is very intersting. i have accidentally lost about 13 pounds since going paleo and lifting 3x week. overall, im pleased because i needed to lose that slight extra bit and i didnt realize it. now i think i am very prepared to put on muscle from this point.
i've been essentially low carb/paleo but recently began eating tubers/white rice and upping my safe carbs by a significant amount, all while keeping my healthy fats and proteins up. i always do just the protein shake after a workout, but i think i might experiment with some added insulin spikes to force the growth. i know mark sisson posted an essay detailing how this is not necessary, but hey, i wanna try it anyway so i think i will.
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