Muscle Sport Magazine


By Leigh Penman – 

Last week we took a look at the concept of low carb dieting and its affect on performance levels. What we discovered on our trip to the ‘ketone state’ was that, contrary to popular propaganda; we do not need a diet high in carbs in order to achieve a high level of performance. In fact, the body responds remarkably well to a low carb situation as long as fats and protein are kept at optimum levels. It is only the initial transition to such a diet that may cause a little discomfort as your body gets used to utilizing its new fuel source. However, there are times when ‘a little icing is necessary on the cake’ and this is during an off-season building phase. So, this week we are going to take a look at those times when a little extra carbohydrate can be your friend rather than your foe…




In the off-season, when you are trying to gain extra muscle mass, carbohydrates are needed to fuel intense workouts. Too little carbs in this case could compromise your endurance levels and your ability to perform at maximum intensity. Carbs are also important when it comes to recovering from intense training sessions as they spare the protein and fats you consume for the process of repair and growth.

The trick here is to give your body enough fats and protein to build muscle and then just add enough carbs to fuel this process. Products such as CARBOLYZE from Species Nutrition(  can help you to eliminate the guesswork when it comes to pre and post workout carb intake. CARBOLYZE was formulated to address the needs of bodybuilders who were tired of traditional carbohydrate sources leaving them feeling bloated or with incapacitating stomach cramps. The waxy maize starch in CARBOLYZE, due to its high molecular weight, rapidly passes through the stomach without causing indigestion or stomach discomfort. In order to get the maximum results from your workout it is highly recommended to take 40 grams of CARBOLYZE mixed with 50g Whey Protein Isolate before your workout and then after your workout take another 40 grams CARBOLYZE and 50g Whey Protein Isolate. These ratios have been used by many top athletes and have been found highly effective when it comes to gaining quality muscle mass in the off-season.




The key to successfully using carbs is to control your carbs and not to let them control you! This is especially important when it comes to using carbs during your pre contest phase. During this time your carb intake will be significantly lower and, as a result of this, your insulin levels will fall. Last time we addressed the importance of a once weekly ‘cheat meal’ to increase insulin levels enough to regulate levels of thyroid hormone. This once weekly ‘re-feed’ should not be treated as if it was your last day on earth, with you consuming so many carbs that moving out of your armchair becomes as hard as benching an overloaded barbell. Remember, the cheat meal is ONE meal and it is an exercise in scientific nutrition not advanced gluttony!




When it comes to building mass a basic guideline would be to consume 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight. The rest of your diet should be based around 1.5g protein and 0.75g fat per pound. Taking most of your carbs earlier in the day is also a good idea if you tend to gain weight easily.







Once you understand the concept of using carbs as an agent to spare protein and fats for the process of building muscle it becomes almost instinctual as to how to use them and not abuse them in your diet. Healthy protein and fats should never be overshadowed by carbohydrate in your diet and anyone who suggests that you cannot build muscle without large amounts of carbs in your diet should be treated like the Joker in a pack of cards!

When it comes to the manipulation of macronutrients it is all about successful synergy. Learning to choreograph your carbs to dance smoothly with your protein, rather than treading on their toes and stopping them performing their number one task – repairing and building muscle!


Leigh Penman began her writing career in 1980 when she started her own weekly music column in a Scottish newspaper. From there she went on to writing for all the major music publications in the UK at that time, including ‘Record Mirror’, ‘Sounds’, ‘New Musical Express’ and ‘Number One’. Her work included interview such celebrities as Madonna, Cher, Tina Turner and David Bowie.

The late 80’s saw her moving into writing for nutrition companies and eventually bodybuilding magazines. She rapidly gained a reputation as being one of the top female writers on the bodybuilding scene and was a contributing editor on ‘Muscle & Co’, ‘Bodybuilding Monthly’, ‘Strength Athlete’, ‘Health & Fitness’ and ‘Fit Body’. She was also a major contributor to the Arnold endorsed magazine ‘Bodypower’ –where she went on to establish the position of ‘Show business Editor’. In addition to this she held the position of Ladies Editor for ‘Physiques International’

In between all this she has written for Personal Development magazines and organizations –including Tony Robbins UK division. Has collaborated on book projects with Leslie Kenton –the original Raw Food and female empowerment guru – and written for computer magazines…..and now she is with Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness magazine,, RX, Species Nutrition and of course!

She is a certified personal trainer, hypnotherapist and has been working out since the age of 15.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *