Nutrition Basics: Carbs Are Not the Devil


Carbohydrate guide to getting six pack abs

Here’s a quick explanation of carbohydrates – This macronutrient is very complex; but to keep it short, it’s basically a ton of sugar molecules tied together. There are two types of carbs:

  • Simple Carbs that your body breaks down super fast
  • Complex Carbs that your body takes hours to break down

If your fitness goal is to get six pack abs, you need to know how and when to eat carbs. They are a major player in the body’s essential functions – primarily for energy but also for regulating blood pressure, absorbing calcium and a number of other things. When your body doesn’t have adequate carbs for a long enough time, it is susceptible to freaking out and resorting to muscle tissue (protein) for energy…Therefore carbs aid in supporting and protecting muscle tissue. 


How Much Carbs Should You Consume?

What I’ve noticed when I don’t get enough carbs, my body lets me know. I can sometimes start feeling light-headed, groggy, tired, nauseous… Just really crappy. It can become hard to focus and you won’t be able to exercise as intensely as you need to. We discussed that lifting hard is important to support muscle growth – so if you can’t lift hard/heavy, it will become a whole lot harder to build the quality muscle mass you need for six pack abs. Now don’t get me wrong – there is a right and wrong way to do this. You can’t just gorge on carbs. You need to know which carbs are acceptable and which will end up making your fitness journey difficult.

The number of carbs you need daily is dependent on how active you are and/or how much fat you need to lose to reveal your six pack abs, so for an exact number I always tell guys to consult with a nutritionist or doctor.

PERSONALLY, I’ve found success in using the rule of thumb to having around 40% of calories per day from carbs for my weight loss, but again guys everyone is a little different. I have been using fist-sized portions twice a day of carbs to keep myself energized, but still have me on track to losing any stubborn belly and keep the six pack abs showing.

Carb Timing 

I try to have my carbs in the earlier part of the day. I have them in the morning when I’m heading to work or at lunch, but most importantly, around workout time. The sugars broken down from the carbs can help fuel you while you kick ass in the gym, then can be utilized after the workout to help replenish your muscle’s glycogen stores.

So now you know HOW: A couple of fist sized portions strategically scheduled in the early part of the day and the time that you exercise are crucial for six pack abs…but WHAT carbs should you be eating?

Beans, beans, the magical fruit......
Beans, beans, the magical fruit……

The Carbs I Use To Build Six Pack Abs:

High fiber complex carbohydrates are the universe’s gift to athletes and lifters everywhere: The fiber helps regulate the digestive system, improve weight loss and provide long lasting energy throughout the day. Sources of these carbs usually come from whole grains: Brown rice, buckwheat, whole wheat, oats, wild rice, whole rye, quinoa, and whole-grain barley. You can also get similar effects (minus the fiber, unfortunately) from red potatoes.

High fiber foods (that usually also have considerable carbohydrate values but will serve more to regulate digestion and improve intestinal health) include beans, vegetables, leafy greens, and some fruits – although fruits are also high in sugar, so avoid having too many if you want six pack abs.

Foods to avoid are candy, soda, high fructose corn syrup, syrups, white rice/pasta/bread, pastries and desserts. These have little to no nutritional value and the simple sugars will be absorbed very quickly by your body, which can make your blood sugar skyrocket and lead to fat storage.

So now you know…to help fuel your six pack abs you WILL NEED carbs – complex carbs high in fiber, at specific times of the day in smaller, fist-sized portions.

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My name is Henry, and I am a personal trainer who has been extensively studying health, fitness, fat loss, muscle building, and the steps that it takes to get six pack abs. My goal here is to provide you with the most up-to-date, scientifically correct tips and tricks to get the physique you want. I'm been in the Fitness Industry for 17 years now. I've been able to see the fitness world evolve into the massive industry it is today - especially in the past 7 years with new technology upgrades and the world being able to share and connect effortlessly through Social Media. Unfortunately, I grew up when the industry was more "analog" as a very skinny-fat kid and through my teen years. It was so hard/fustrating for me to gain any muscle. I played football and basketball in High school along with being a 1st Degree Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. I can say Martial Arts (Bruce Lee) actually sparked my interest in wanting a nice looking body and gaining muscle along with watching Arnold S. when he appeared as Conan "The Barbarian" and Conan "The Adventurer" in his hit movies. One of the biggest parts of success in any type of goal, is through hard work, discipline and consistency. I'm glad Martial Arts provided me that vessel because I can truly say without those characteristics, I would not have been able to be successful in Fitness and build the body I have today. It's such a rewarding feeling and I want each and everyone of you to have that feeling.