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Anyone Tried Shelby Starnes Carb Cycling?


has anyone tried Starnes' method of carb cycling in this article? http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/a_beginners_guide_to_carb_cycling

high days for bulking are 3-4 a week with as little fat as possible. and 2-3g carbs per pound of bodyweight. so its basically straight carbs and protein all day on high days. has anyone tried this along with CTs method where carbs are only breakfast and peri-workout?

would a constant flow of carbs and protein all day help build more muscle? i work out in the morning after breakfast, so that means all the rest of the days meals will give me carbs and protein.i was thinking about trying it and just adding Flameout and FA3 as a minimum for health.


Shelby knows his stuff. His results and the results of his clients speak for themselves. However, from what I remember when I worked with him the high carb days had little fats. The medium days were in between and the low carb days had high fat. You'll have to run it to see how it works for you, and tweak things as necessary. The high days are obviously the workout days, and should be the hardest workouts of the week, assuming you train more than 3 days per week.

Regarding the consistent flow...It's all up to you. You can find dozens of people who've had success back loading, carb cycling, anabolic diet, paleo etc. You just have to pick a method that you believe in. You can always feel free to shoot him any questions you have through the elitefts q&a section about his article. But remember he does diet consulting for a living, so he won't write a custom plan for you unless you work with him directly. If you do come up with a starting set of macros and ask him about them he'll be more than happy to check it out and get back to you.

Good luck!


you should have some of all the macronutrients. protein provides a source of amino acids, which can be a rate limiting substrate. if you eat more calories itll be easier to build muscle.


However, there is a new technique where you one thousand calorie for every 50g protein and then every other day dont eat any dairy INCLUDING whey.


You have to remember that you can't force feed muscle growth. Any calories, no matter what nutrient they come from, beyond what your body actually rquires at that time, is going to be stored, no if's and's or but's about it. Dietary fat provides some serious benefits in terms of overall health as well as bodybuilding related issues (hormone levels!). When it comes to cutting though, once your basic fat needs are met, unless you're especially carb-sensitive, you really don't need much more. I recall Dr. Joe Klemszewski writing about how dietary fat is the least important macro when shredding down (after basics requirements of course).

My usual approach is that after your necessary protein and fats amounts are squared away, you can just fill the rest of your cal intake with carbs (again, up to a point depending on your sensitivity). Shelby has always been a big fan of carbohydrates in his diets. Not a bad thing, I am too. But if your goal is to end end up with quite a bit of extra fat after 'bulking up' (damn I hate that term), you may not need as many as 2-3g/lb of bodyweight.





how much fat do you consider necessary when bulking? do you mean just the necessary fish oil?


Stu, could you elaborate on this? Does this mean, when cutting, you don't have to, I guess "watch your fats" like you do carbs on a diet, as they won't really impede fat loss? Or is he saying fats are least important in a since you can cut them pretty low (basically using the bare minimum) and still have a successful cut?


As far as my own personal approach, I don't usually keep track as far as actual food intake. My food selections often include salmon, almond and peanut butter, a little olive oil when cooking veggies etc. I do however, rely on fish oil supplements quite a bit, not just for my joints (for which they provide a huge benefit), but for my overall body composition. Popping 2-3g with most meals during the day, and an extra 2-3g with Mineral Support before bed, I'm usually getting about 10-15g a day.

What I would recommend though, is a base of 100-150 cals of healthy fats a day, minimum if you can swing it. Obviously everyone is going to be different, and some will function better on more, while others can get by with less.



Once you've got your basic healthy fats in order to cover your overall health and metabolic processes, you can then focus on the macros that can actually have more of an effect on your physique: carbs and proteins.

Unless you are overly carb sensitive, and have to rely on more non-carb sources for calories, having extra fats in your daily diet won't do much beyond help you feel a little fuller (slowing digestion of other macros) - but you can get the same benefit from green veggies if you have to. When I design dietary plans for people, I always have columns in the spreadsheets for Cals, Prot, and Carbs. I don't even bother calculating fats.



stu so you just basically let the fats take care of themselves from your food sources and supplements? when you say 10-15 grams per day you you mean 10-15 of Flameout?


I hired Shelby for 12 weeks and went from 206 to 185 with no strength loss (I'm a powerlifter). I've since held at 190-195 for 9 months now. Will do another run at it this Spring. Shelby knows his stuff and equips you with enough knowledge to continue on your own.


did he set you up the way his article stated?


Wow, Stu--I guess I had never really read your views on diet, but I feel like that's a radically different perspective from most of what's discussed on this site.

I feel like the dogma surrounding carbs has generally been two camps: one that says hardly ever eat them (e.g. keto) or to load them very infrequently (e.g. anabolic diet), while the other says that carbs should only be consumed around workouts (e.g. carb cyclers, or just the general person).

I guess I've always presumed that carbs should be strictly tracked. In a sense, this keeps with your Pro/Carbs/Cals tracker, in that I always thought that you would want to hit a certain amount of protein and a certain (limited) amount of carbs, with the rest being from fats. Along those lines of thinking, the carbs would serve just as a source of insulin manipulation.

So are you saying that by your view carbs shouldn't be limited to the workout window (i.e. within, say, two hours before and two hours after)?


iirc there are some people like Palumbo who are more "Low carbs/higher fat"

While some others like Chris Aceto are more "low fat/higher carbs"

There are other names for both "camps" but I dont feel like searching and just cant remember for some strange reason right now

I'll say im surprised by the "no tracking of fats" tough


I still keep the majority of my carbs at specific points in the day (very into nutrient timing), but I also believe that when you combine macronutrients together, it really blunts a lot of the dreaded 'insulin spike' that some people have nightmares about. That's not to say that every meal I eat is P+C, because they're not, but, I don't obsess the way some people might. My biggest carb meals are still breakfast, and pre-workout (damn finibar junkie over here!)

When I first read Dr' K's comments on fats, I was surprised too, until I stopped and really thought about it. We're not talking overall health here, we're talking about effects on body composition. Once you're getting what you need for optimal metabolic functioning (which will affect muscle gains and retention levels), unless you have issues with insulin sensitivity, loading in a whole lot of extra fats won't have the same degree of change as upping your carbohyrate intake will.



one thing that i noticed within the last week was once i started IF and i was only eating 2-3 meals per day, i have felt a lot better. i feel stronger physically and mentally and i no longer get sleepy and foggy after eating a meal. when i would eat 5-6 time per day every meal was either P+C or P+F and about 90% of the time i would always get very sleepy after any meal, P+F or P+C.

with IF eating 1000 calorie meals is not easy especially if your eating very little fat and lots of carbs. you need fat for the extra calories. within the past week i have made ALL my meals P+C+F and i have not once felt sleepy at all after eating, i have lots of energy and i no longer feel tired after a hard workout. meals are awsome. PWO is something like 13oz chix, veggies, piece of fruit, 2-3 tbsp EVCO or EVOO(for cookies veggies), 1-2 tbsp nut butter, 300-400g of baked potatoes. after eating this i feel very satiated and a very powerful mood. no fogginess, no sleepiness.


Stu- So if someone has the calorie requirement of say 3500-4000 to for mass gaining you would normally set the pro and carb at? Would you still not focus on adding fat and just get the necessary fat and just up the pro and carbs? Because as you add those more incidental fat will always be added. Just wondering your thoughts. I swear this is the most i have read on your nutritional thoughts even from your contest threads.