Main menu


What is carbohydrate rebounding?

What is carbohydrate rebounding?

In bodybuilding sports and especially in competitions, we have heard the term "carbohydrate rebounding" or carbohydrate offloading during the dry phase without necessarily knowing what it is. In this article, we will define carbohydrate rebounding, which can be equated to increasing glycogen stores for better performance on stage. This phenomenon is simple to understand, but difficult to apply to be truly effective. If you can manage carbohydrate recovery well, you can make up some places in future competitions. 

To better explain carbohydrate recovery, it is important to understand its role. Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy it needs for daily activities and for performance in the gym. However, it is important to remember that 1 g of carbohydrate provides 4 kcal in the diet and is mainly used to regulate total calories for muscle mass or mass gain. If we want to gain weight, we gradually add carbohydrates to our diet and vice versa during a dry period. The reduction of carbohydrates inevitably leads to a reduction in glycogen stores (carbohydrates stored in the muscles). 

It is therefore a technique that should only be used during a dry period, hence the name "rebounding", i.e. the sudden addition of carbohydrates to the diet

How does the rebounding of carbohydrates take place?

Glycogen is found in the liver (30% in the liver) and in the muscles (70% in the muscles) and is the body's sugar reserve. When these muscle reserves are depleted, the muscles appear visually flat. This means that the athlete has reached a high level of dryness and appears "bloated" during a performance, with more defined and larger muscles, while losing fat. 

Before this, a high carbohydrate diet is followed for recovery 1 to 3 days before the competition. The sudden increase in carbohydrate intake after abstaining from carbohydrates during competition preparation leads to the accumulation of huge glycogen stores, which swells muscles and increases metabolism. In this way, muscle volume can be increased to appear more massive in the eyes of the judges during competitions. 

This is due to the stored water because 1 g of glycogen allows the storage of 3 g of water. This is a proven technique used by athletes when their glycogen reserves are running low and they want to show a more powerful physique on stage. However, remember that the effect is temporary and it is not healthy to do this unless you are preparing for a competition. 

Carb rebounding is not a cheat meal, as it only increases the number of carbohydrates, not fats, to boost metabolism and increase glycogen stores. 

The dangers of carb rebounding

If you don't control carb rebounding, you expose yourself to two main risks that can derail your goals. It is not advisable to use this technique if you are a beginner or do not have the necessary knowledge. Therefore, you run the risk of:

  • Discomfort: your body goes through a sudden change that can cause discomfort. It is important that you know your body well and applies this technique, adjusting the carbohydrate calculation on a case-by-case basis so that it is effective. 
  • Repeated fats: if you do not use this method correctly, you run the risk of gaining weight again and ruining the diet you have labored to achieve. Therefore, it is advisable to consult an expert when using this technique. 

In summary

Carbohydrate rebounding can be useful when preparing for a competition, looking bigger on stage, or to increasing metabolism. However, the hormonal system does not like these abrupt changes, so it is recommended to use this technique sparingly. This type of rebound is very dangerous for your health if you don't let it happen, so use this technique only when necessary!


table of contents title