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Can Meltdown work on low to no carb diets?

Something clicked in my mind just a few minutes ago and I had to rush to the computer to get this idea out for discussion. According to Alessi, meltdown training works by creating a lot of lactic acid which then stimulates growth hormone. Growth hormone then does its thing and we all become huge and ripped at the same time. I don’t want to discuss the growth hormone at all. I want to talk about lactic acid. Lactic acid is a product of anaerobic glyolysis. So to produce lactic acid, you need glycogen. On low carb (like the T-Dawg as Alessi recommends) or no carb (like Fat Fast), most people will be severely glycogen limited or have almost none at all. So where is the lactic acid coming from? Without stored glycogen, one has to rely on the glycerol portion of stored triglycerides converting to 3-phosphoglyceraldehyde and then to pyruvate which can then go throught the Cori cycle to create glucose and eventually go through anaerobic glycolysis to produce lactic acid. Also, many amino acids are glucogenic (primarily alanine and other BCAA’s) and can be deaminated and converted to pryruvate, malate or oxaloacetate which can also be converted to glucose. So to get our glucose so that we can get our lactic acid, we have to use both fat and protein for energy metabolism. According to my readings, it seems as if both sources contribute quite a bit to the gluconeogenic pool. Anyway, it seems like a recipe for muscle loss. I know that I have read where Alessi’s staff members have recommended large doses of BCAA’s during exercise obviously to prevent muscle catabolism.

Anyway, my question is: why not do meltdown with an adequate carbohydrate intake? If the goal is to create a lot of lactic acid, you need a lot of glucose. If you keep carbs moderate to high, there will be plenty of stored glycogen for which to create a lot of lactic acid. I’m not saying that Meltdown cannot work with low/no carb diets, but it seems like it would be optimized to work with a diet higher in carbohydrates. With summer coming up, a lot of people may try Meltdown to lean up and I think that we need to figure out what kind of diet would be most optimal.

After further thinking, I think that low rep, high intensity lifting and cardiovascular exercise is the optimal type of training for low/no carb diets. Low rep stuff relies primarily on the creatine phosphate energy system. So now, I think creatine supplementation is vital to those who are lifting on a low/no carb diet. Aslo, most people have plenty of stored fat to burn with cardio. So instead of trying to use a training program which relies on an impaired energy system, why not take advantage of the energy systems (creatine phosphate for lifting and fat oxidation for cardio) that are still working fine?

Jason, what you say not only makes sense theoretically but jives with what I’ve experience anecdotally as well. Every time I’ve tried one of the workout plans (GBC, for example) that relies on increased workload to burn bodyfat, I’ve found it extremely difficult to train hard because of lack of energy and feeling “flat” (which I attribute to the reduced carbo intake that’s always accompanied my attempts at such workout plans). This is one of the reasons I’m a proponent of heavy, low-to-moderate rep, low-to-moderate volume training while dieting – I just don’t think the body has enough stored glycogen when hypocaloric to make the most of the higher rep routines.

Jason, you’ve GOT to stop hanging out at NASA. Something there is effecting you and causing you to think scientifically, logically, and objectively. Surely those qualities are a hindrance… :wink:

Seriously, it sounds like an article…

…sounds like an article based around finding the optimum training program & diet combination?

Thanks for the feedback guys. I’m currently working on a few articles. I’ll be taking the pictures for my body composition article on Tuesday and I’ll submit it to TC as soon as I’m done. I’ll gladly write an article on this topic. I have a lot more research to do on this topic, but it is worth talking about…Anybody else out there want to chime in? Other experiences with Meltdown or other theories on the biochemistry and metabolism?

Not so much a scientific comment, but definitely a logical one. It makes a ton of sense to choose an appropriate diet to correspond to our training regime. For example, our post-workout shake is going to have a lot more carbs and overall calories if we are doing 40+ sets and adding 30 minutes of cardio as opposed to less than 10 sets of high intensity, low rep work. I don’t see why we shouldn’t apply this same sort of “corresponding” principle to our overall diet and training protocol. I think that when a new system comes to the forefront, we often accept it immediately and just assume that the change in itself will yield fantastic results. In many cases, this is true. However, how do we know that a different macronutrient breakdown wouldn’t have yielded even better results? Great post; really got me thinking.

I understand what you’re saying about the low carb= no lactic acid problem, but what if you use this type of training immediately after a carb up(such as the one prescribed in Bodyopus). Also, do you think the edt training written about by Charles staley would be less beneficial while on a no carb diet than low rep training would be? thanks for any suggestions, great post.

If used immediately after a carb-up, I think that you would be fine. In regards to using EDT on a no carb diet, I think it is a recipe for disaster. EDT is all about increasing work output in a given period of time. Most of this work is anaerobic and our creatine phosphate energy system will be spent quite quickly on a program like this. If you don’t have the glycogen stored (and you won’t on a no carb diet), your will have a much more difficult time increasing work output. You just won’t have the fuel to supply set after set and rep after rep. I still think that low volume/high intensity lifting and cardio provides the best sort of training on low/no carb diets.

Jason, what do you think about the glycogen depletion workout in Bodyopus? Is this really necessary after 5 1/2 days on no carbs for the best supercompensation to occur. Also, wouldn’t moderate to high reps be more beneficial if this workout is to be as effective as possible at depleting any glycogen left in the muscles?

I always thought that GH peaked with low carbs. John Davies writes in his “Fat to Fire” article that to maximize fat loss…

“timing of workouts is crucial as GH peaks when blood glucose is low. This is most prominent in
the morning. [the second best]training time is two to three hours after a meal — once your body has burned off the blood glucose from the prior meal.”

Jason, two questions: (1) Do you know whether high glycogen levels inhibit GH, or just high BLOOD glucose levels? (2) How would your hypothesis reconcile the contradiction between a high carb environment favoring lactic acid production and inhibiting GH production? Brian

Ok - first of all, I have not read the Bodyopus book, but I’m familiar with the concept of glycogen depletion and supercompensation. Most likely after 5.5 days of no carbs, you are not going to have any significant stores of glycogen and I would not be suprised if there is none at all. The glycogen depletion workout is more of a safety net to make sure that the glycogen stores are completely deflated. Yes, I do believe that higher reps would be optimal for a glycogen depletion workout, but I don’t think it would take much. Maybe 2 sets for large muscle groups to make sure that the glycogen is gone. When does the carb up begin? If it is right after the glycogen depletion workout, that could be a reason to do it because we handle carbs better in the post-workout window.

This is why I prefer to not go through a low-carb diet, especially when preparing for a contest. With a decent amount of carbs in me, I can still train hard in the gym and have the energy needed to remain active outside the gym. I won’t be dropping bodyfat as fast as someone who is on a low-carb diet, which is why I diet s l o w l y. At least that’s what you’d think, cuz I can get lean FAST. Because I’m still hitting the weights, and have the energy to practice the posing, throw in some heavy bag training, etc. Here’s what I’m thinking, if you were to get a big group of T-Men/Vixens in a room and hand them a transcript of ONE diet and tell them to try it and come back in a month to compare results. I bet they would all come back, most likely successful,but all would have tweaked the diet to fit their individual needs.

thanks again for the info Jason

First of all, I won’t be able to completely answer your question without spending some serious time in the library (and I do plan to do this very soon). The answer to your first question is fairly straightforward. High levels of blood glucose will inhibit GH release and high levels of stored muscle glycogen do not inhibit GH release (but high levels of stored glycogen also allow us to maintain blood glucose levels, so they may indirectly affect GH release). Blood glucose is highly regulated, but it does increase after a meal is eaten, so waiting until blood glucose returns to baseline is probably a good idea. Blood glucose falls moderately with aerobic exercise, but I don’t have any studies in front of me that talk about blood glucose and lifting and then when you add diet to the equation, things get really complicated. In response to your second question, it seems that low carb diets and training in a semi-fasted stage will have blood glucose at their lowest levels. On the other hand, workout intensity will suffer. I was under the assumption that workout intensity is by an far the more important contributer to hormone (GH and T) secretions. Also, if workout intensity cannot be maintained, you won’t produce significant lactic acid. I also need to find a study that shows the link between lactic acid production and GH release. For now, you can read an article by Berardi on GH at http://t-mag.com/html/127gh.html. BTW, in paper issue #6, Berardi mentioned that the GH response would be greater if workout intensity was higher. He mentioned this in support for drinking a pre-workout drink. So, I’m sorry that I cannot fully answer your question. Hopefully a few more minds can chip in and help us figure out this situation. Personally though, I think GH is overated. It looks good on paper, but does not seem to really exert the effects that many claim it can do.

To the person that was asking about Bodyopus and the depletion workout…having done both that, Lyle McDonald’s tension style depletion workout and a normal GBC routine on CKD’s, I can say from personal experience that the other two methods worked just as good for me as Duchaine’s 2+ hr. torture session. I also found that I could not handle anywhere near the amount of carbs Duchaine recommended. Using his methods it always took me 5-7 days to hit ketosis again. I did still get up every two hours to eat my 50 or so. g. of carbs on the other two methods. If that wasn’t a major pain in the ass!