The 7 finest carbohydrates for muscle progress

You will never look how you want it to be if your diet is not kept in check. That's just a fact, and the first step in mastering your diet is figuring out how many calories to eat. Then you can find out how much of each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) to consume.

They know you need to eat lots of protein and that high calorie fat should be kept to a minimum. But what about carbohydrates? Is there such a thing as healthy carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates often get a bad rap in the fitness world. But there is an important place for carbohydrates in your diet, especially if you are serious about gaining mass.

Of the three main macronutrients, carbohydrates are the most controversial. Some dieters think you should eat as little as possible, while others like to recharge them so that more energy can be exercised. We make it easy for you - start with one gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight to lose fat and two grams per pound of body weight to gain. (Of course, depending on how fast you win or lose, you may have to play around with this number a bit. Either way, aim for a pound a week.)

The second key to carbohydrate control is choosing the right carbohydrates. Ellio's French bread pizza, as good as it tastes, isn't going to do much for your fat loss or muscle building goals. We're not telling you that you will never eat foods that taste good again. In fact, many of the carbohydrates on the list below, like mashed potatoes and pasta, are delicious. You just have to be careful when loading the not-so-good extras like pasta sauce, gravy, and cream cheese.

We've compiled this list of seven great high-carb foods that bodybuilders - hardgainers in particular - can use to improve muscle recovery and gain muscle mass. Remember, these foods are best used to fill up and are not considered basic carbohydrates for pre-competition bodybuilders or those trying to break up.

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