T Nation

Carb Back Loading?


#1

What are your expert opinion on carb back loading?

I've found myself getting really bloated after eating carbs, but the carb back loading idea is appealing to me. Depleating for 10 days doing low carb and then eating all your carbs post workout.
What do you think about this? And also do you think it will be benefical to try eating helthier choises instead of high glycimic foods?


#2

That's not any different than the older low carbs cyclical diets like Bodyopus or Anabolic diet, except that the low carbs phase is longer and the carb-up phase longer. As such, just like any other low carbs diet it will work for fat loss but I doubt that you will gain any muscle on it.


#3

Healthier carbs are always a better choice than junk. The inflammatory response will be a lot higher with "junk carbs"and so will be the blood sugar swings. If you consume the same amount of carbs once every 10 days it probably will not matter if it's junk or clean as far as fat loss is concerned. But health wise there will be a difference.


#4

What about doing low carb on off days and high carb on workout days eating all carbs post workout? Or do you have a better program for adding slabs of muscle while keeping fat gain low?


#5

First of all I believe in carbs PRE workout more so than in carbs post workout. But yeah, when I'm trying to get leaner I will have carbs only around the workout.

I don't like going low carbs on off days since I think off days are for recovery and growing... without carbs both are pretty hard to accomplish. No carbs on off days is fine if your primary goal is to get lean... but it WILL hurt strength and size gains.


#6

How far back does "carbs PRE workout" extend? Because i think CBL would advocate eating all the carbs night before a workout.

So even 12-16 hours after your night meal (high carb), the muscles are loaded with glycogen and you can perform optimally/get gains.

CBL (and I think also poliquin) argues against carbs right before workout due to dampening CNS/lowering catacholamines ?


#7

yeah but I don't like CBL personally. So I wont comment on how to use it


#8

And I argue FOR carbs pre-workout because they lower the cortisol response to training. And most bodybuilders and tons of powerlifters are now using carbs pre-workout and their workout do not suffer.

But you know why catecnholamines levels do not rise as much? Because you do not need to mobilize stored glycogen. catecholamines and cortisol are increased during a workout to mobilize stored glycogen. But if you consume carb pre-workout then there is no need for as much mobilization hence the lower output of cortisol and catacholamines. And in the great scheme of things it is actually a great thing for gains.

Of course one could argue that a lowered catecholamine release could make you sluggish. While it sounds logical in theory, in practice we just don't see it. Otherwise you would see tons of NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL players fall asleep in the second half of their games because they drink carbs throughout the game.

The fact is that the body releases what it needs. During training even if you consume carbs, if you go hard at it there will be enough catecholamine release to increase your heart rate and the contractibility of your muscles.

One of your biggest issues, and I mentioned it in the past, is that you seem to be easily swayed one direction or another just because one "expert" says something. Listen, experts have their own opinions and they will often be drastically different than that of other experts. So if you are easily seduced by these experts you will always spin your wheels, questioning whether you are doing what's best or not. This of course will hurt your gains.

You should not be seduced, or blindly believe what any expert (including myself) says. You should listen to what they say but then look at the physiological facts to see what will really work.

Sometimes expert quote only the physiological facts that prove their opinion. So you have to dig a little deeper.

Let's take the example you mentioned. It's TRUE that catecholamine and cortisol increase during hard training. So one could make the argument that you DO NOT want to inhibit their release otherwise the quality of the workouts will suffer because they are supposed to go up.

Of you could ask yourself WHY are catecholamine and cortisol increased during training. They are increased mostly to mobilize stored energy. OF COURSE if you consume energy (carbs) pre-workout your cortisol and catecholamine release will be lower. It is lower BECAUSE YOU DO NOT NEED TO MOBILIZE AS MUCH FUEL because you have some readily available.

It's NOT the catecholamine/cortisol that you want... it's the ENERGY. The catecholamine/cortisol release is not the goal, it's a mean to a goal... and the goal is the energy availability. If you can get the energy with a lower catecholamine/cortisoil release you will be better off (faster recovery, less adrenal stress, less negative impact on testosterone production).

Now, if fat loss where your only goal the argument AGAINST carbs pre-workout could stand in that it might decrease fat loss from the workout. But I would counter that argument by saying that fat loss is acheived through diet and energy systems work, not lifting. Lifting is there to build or maintain muscle. So even while dieting down I personally recommend having carbs pre-workout. During a fat loss phase your cortisol already tends to be elevated all day (because of the need to mobilize energy), the last thing you want (if muscle mass is important to you) is to have even more cortisol release during your training.

I want to say that Charles and I have a good relationship. He was my first mentor and to this day he is the one who had the greatest influence on my principles. But we don't agree on everything and this is one of the topics we don't agree on. He often says how much more important establishing an optimal hormonal milieu is for body composition improvements than caloric intake and expenditure. Then why would something that leads to a much lower cortisol level be a bad thing? But that is just my opinion.


#9

very good stuff appreciate the thorough response coach.

yes can be easily seduced in the game of fitness/gains but i am much more aware now than 5 years ago for instance.

i've definitely noticed different perofrmance (and even physiological) depending on when I consume carbs in relation to my workout.

I would say in order of feeling the most aggressive/CNS acivated (probably massive catecholamine, fight or fligh, release which is not good for gains but definitelyl good for "Hype" and temporary performance) when I train fasted, perhaps 2-3 hours after I wake up and on coffee/pre-workout and BCAAs.

However, the fastest physiological changes happened when I trained in the late afternoon/early evening (after 1-2 meals of protein/fat/veggies and maybe fruit) and plazma & preworkout. I think while I felt less "stimmed", I ended up having much better muscle contractions, and handle much mor eintraset volume (plazma/carbs).

Basically, carbs durig workout always lets me do more volume and end up getting way better ocntractions. WHere hopped up on coffee/monster zero/stims gives me a CNS high but less muscular "energy" if that even makes sense -> definitely bad on hormone, nervous system, recovery...I can tell from how my body looks the day after


#10

*clearest example for me is in doing advanced bodywieght stuff vs. heavy weightlifting (layers)
when I'm fasted (no carbs preworkout) and on lots of stims, I can kill it on the rings (advanced stuff). my whole body is tight and ready to perform.
I could also maybe do a low volume high intensity (3 sets to failure one body part) blast and feel powerful.

If i do the layers like that, I invariably end up feeling burn out (and the weight crushing me) if not that workout then defintiely that week.

With carbs pre/intra workout (plazma), I feel my muscles responding again, whole body beocming expansive/inflated and dominate the weight (in layers). Ironically, the ring work becomes much harder because I feel heavier and more pumped, maing levers/holds way more demanding lol


#11

That is 100% because caffeine kicks in much harder on an empty stomach. It has nothing to do with the present/absence of carbs... and that likely leads to a much greater cortisol response during training.


#12

OK if one can't afford plazma (budget/out of country reasons) what natural carb foods could you recommend?

I prefer to take my first carbs when I start my warmup/workout (so sipping on carbs), rather than eating carbs before.

Reason being that I sometimes get a rebound in blood sugar/crash (I'm caffeineted during the day) and the initial influx of carbs (fruit is ok, but definitely heavy stuff like bread/pasta/potatoes) often gets me sleepy which impacts my mental performance and also reduces motivation to train.

So intraworkout carbs what could one sip on - would poor man's plazma be something like gatorade, organge juice, fruit juice, lactose free chocolate milk? Or even snack on gummy worms (haribo snacks)/rice cakes during workout?

Thank you


#14

Why must you do this on every topic? You derail it and take it away from its original purpose and make it all about your specific needs. If you have a question, start a new topic. CT ends up being answering more of your questions than the OP.


#15

he answered the OP already...he doesn't like CBl

now i'm asking him more specific questions about carbs/periworkout and timing

appears relevant to me but if not, pls moderator move to different thread


#16

Which can be done as a new topic