High Carbohydrate Muscle Gaining Diet: How Does It Work?

What is a high carbohydrate diet? As its name suggests, it is a food program during which our body obtains the necessary energy, especially through carbohydrates. Therefore, the consumption of fat and protein is significantly reduced. This is why the high carbohydrate diet is also called HCLF (high carb low fat). The concept is based on a simple principle: by training, the energy provided by the carbohydrates consumed is converted into muscle mass.

We lose body fat and gain muscle, but only when the diet is combined with exercise. Without enough exercise, the extra energy will be stored as fat and your weight will increase but in an unflattering way. How exactly does the weight gain diet muscle with high carbohydrate content, it’s up to you to find out in the article!

Distribution of nutrients in the carbohydrate-rich mass gain diet


The right “formula” for HCLF nutrition has several variations. Previously, the nutrient distribution was determined as follows: 80% carbohydrate, 10% fat, and 10% protein. But for many people, these percentages turn out to be unhealthy due to the lack of enough essential fatty acids.

This is a pretty serious question because such a deficit can lead to problems with hormones and metabolism. For this reason, experts today recommend a new distribution of nutrients, namely: 60% carbohydrate, 20% fat, and 20% protein, which is considered more balanced.

The glycemic index of foods is of paramount importance

muscle mass-carbohydrate-glycemic index diet

Complex carbohydrates are good for building muscle, but can negatively impact blood glucose levels. Whoever wants to practice a weight gain diet rich in carbohydrates, should always be informed about the glycemic index of foods.

Fast carbohydrates like processed foods high in white sugar, sodas, white grains, etc. have a very high glycemic index which causes the blood glucose level to go up very quickly. Usually, the level of glucose in the blood is automatically regulated by hormones like insulin and glucagon.

When to avoid the carbohydrate mass gain diet?


But when one suffers from a failure of regulatory mechanisms, such as diabetes, glucose can reach toxic levels. For this reason, among others, this weight gain diet should be avoided if you suffer from a similar condition.

But healthy people should also always favor foods with a low glycemic index. Also, if you accumulate more fat in the abdominal area, you will feel better and achieve better results on a low-carb diet.

What are the foods with a low glycemic index to favor?

The majority of fruits, vegetables, legumes, oilseeds, durum wheat products, and dark chocolate have a medium or low glycemic index. These ingredients are therefore to be favored when choosing the products to include in your everyday menu.

Among the fruits, it is only watermelon and bananas that should be avoided and melon and pineapple that should be consumed in moderation. Fries, white rice, carrots, and baked potatoes are also not recommended.

What to eat during an HCLF mass gain diet?


Don’t forget to include healthy fats and high-quality proteins in the daily menu! Almost everyone already knows that these are mainly fish and more or less lean meats. But what are the good lipids and in what quantities to consume them during a successful weight gain diet?

So, bet on ingredients rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids like fish oil and vegetable oils. A spoonful of olive oil per day or 4-6 capsules of fish oil is considered optimal. Nuts and fish are also a good source of omega-3s.


Also, for the diet to be more effective, your daily food should be distributed in 4 -5 meals. Dried fruits and raw nuts, for example, are a great breakfast or snack after sports. It is also advisable to take the meals richest in complex carbohydrates (made from durum wheat flour, brown rice, etc.) in the morning or after a training session. The reason is that the high insulin levels promote the regeneration of muscle fibers after strenuous exercise and improve metabolism.


Remember to accompany lunch and dinner with salads of fresh vegetables, preferably leafy greens. Choose foods that are as little processed as possible and ingredients that you can eat raw and fresh.

When you need to thermally prepare your food, opt for baking, boiling, or better – steaming. Frying and breading are irrelevant to anyone who only wants to consume beneficial fats, whether or not they are on a muscle-building diet.

A weight gain diet must be accompanied by the right training


As already mentioned, this carbohydrate diet program will only be successful if it is combined with the right training. And if cardio is perfect for losing weight, during a weight gain diet, and especially when rich in carbohydrates, it is better to avoid it.

Unlike losing weight, building strength requires core exercise with heavyweights. Their type depends mainly on the parts of the body you want to emphasize, but also on your gender and age, your unique physique, and your sporting experience.


Obviously, a lady who is just starting and wants to give her arms a little relief won’t use the same techniques or the same weights as an advanced or expert man who has been doing several repetitions of the bench press every few days for years.

Either way, the squat and light barbell exercises are suitable even for the majority of novices. Who can afford it, could hire the services of a professional trainer to excel in his results. Finally, don’t forget to eat within two hours after exercising to nourish and regenerate your muscles.

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