Carb Cycling Question (The Mighty Stu)

My questions are regarding this post Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store - T NATION found here on the T-Nation forums. Working out at 5pm on a cut- Apparantly I should take in 50% of my carbs for the day immediate post workout on moderate days, 25% in the morning and 25% like an hour after my workout. With me working out so late would it be better for me to lay off the 25% an hour post workout and slide that in earlier in the day, say 2-3 hours before my workout?


Remember, CT now recommends the majority of carbs come PRE workout. I would say with you working out later and on a cut my advice would be:

25%-30% at breakfast
25% LOW GI carbs about an hour to an hour and a half pre workout
50% HIGH GI carbs in the window 30 mins before your workout and during your workout with protein.

then 30 mins after your workout have some whey.

Hope that helps!

I always train at 5pm, and it worked just fine for my recent cut, of course I used the PRE-workout carbs (FINiBARs), and didn’t even bother with any post, which is what I would have done a year ago, but have since realized that my results have been so much better (as far as muscle retention while dieting) implementing my carbs in this manner.

On days when I had a small amount of carbs to go around, I would have just preworkout.
On days when I had a moderate amount to go around, I’d have preworkout and breakfast.
On days when I had a sizable amount to go around, I’d have preworkout, breakfast, and mid morning feeding.

You can see which times I think are the most important, and afterwards, it’s a personal choice, whether you feel you’ll benefit from adding more to those times (I’m already having 3 FINiBARs preworkout, so I think that’s enough), or if you want to share the wealth, and have some carb meals throughout the day (nice little blood sugar bumps).


I have read numerous articles and discussions on this forum about the carbs pre and post, etc…

However, my training has changed and I will do the following…Keep in mind I am PL’er

Doing this 3X’s per week
Main lift
30 min of SS cardio

Accessory lifts
30-45min of SS cardio

Tuesday & Thurs:
AM…SS cardio 50-1hr
Afternoon playing basketball for HIIT

How would I cycle the carbs on my Lift days. I have an idea of not worry too much about carbs after my workout in the evening, but I am concerned about Pre and Post after my AM session on my lift days leading up to my preworkout in the PM for my accessory lifts if that makes sense. Goal is fat lost and I’m not concerned about losing mass because I am trying to get to the 242 weight class. So, fat loss is important. I am just trying to speed things up. So far, I have dropped from 280 down to 265-268 since beginning of March.

Any guidance or suggestions?


Thanks for the tips guys, I’ve never really loaded carbs pre-workout, I look forward to trying it out. For my High GI carbs I’ve been using Welches White Grape Peach juice, like 36g of carbs every 80z, does fruit juice work well for what I need here?

Another question, I just started doing cardio 3 days per week, twice on workout days, once on an off day. I always do it after weights/ab work, should I change up when i do cardio since I am going to be loading carbs pre-workout?

Stu, what was your week like in terms of high carb, moderate and low carb days? Was it dependent on your intensity of the workouts on certain days of the week?

Even if you focus on carbs pre-workout, the rational behind the cardio afterward is that you’ve put yourself into a depleted state, and the cardio will require your body to dip into it’s “reserves” to fuel the session. So as long as your weight workout is actually productive, I’m sure you’ll be fine.


[quote]Ripsaw3689 wrote:
Stu, what was your week like in terms of high carb, moderate and low carb days? Was it dependent on your intensity of the workouts on certain days of the week?[/quote]

It came down to what I was requiring of my body on a given day. On days where I was doing no weight work, but only a little cardio, I would follow a low carb/lower cal schedule. On the days where I hit what I considered my weakest bodypart, I would have high carbs/maintenance calories. On every other day, cals would be at a slight deficit (usually around 2700 for the majority of this past prep), and the carbs as high as I could keep them while still making progress (225 for the majority of the prep, then stepped down to 200, and then 175 during the last couple of weeks).


[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Even if you focus on carbs pre-workout, the rational behind the cardio afterward is that you’ve put yourself into a depleted state, and the cardio will require your body to dip into it’s “reserves” to fuel the session. So as long as your weight workout is actually productive, I’m sure you’ll be fine.


I would agree with this,

If you load up carbs peri workout, you should be REALLY pushing your workouts, intensity should be high and your blood sugar will drop, with the low blood sugar and depleted muscle/liver glycogen stores doing your cardio post workout will still tap fat for fuel just like doing it in a fasted state. Just ensure to take full advantage of both periworkout supplementation and post workout cardio that you keep your sessions intense!

So I loaded up on 24 oz of welches white grape peach fruit juice today before my workout, and finished the last 5oz or so off during my workout. Just about all of my workouts consist of 1 bodypart/day with around 16 sets per bodypart, keeping rep ranges between 8-12. It seems so weird to me to load up on simple carbs pre-workout, can anyone explain the science behind this to me? I’ve always heard you load up on simple carbs post workout to speed up the recovery process and create an insulin spike.

Im going to do my best to explain and make a suggestion, others may have a better explanation and so listen up if someone like Bonez or Stu corrects me.

Many coaches have advocated the insulin spike post-w/o like you said in order to aide in recovery and deliver nutrients to the muscles in the time when they are most likely to receive the nutrients from insulin. However, recent studies have shown that Catecholamine (the fight or flight hormone) release due to the high intensity exercise such as weight lifting actually inhibits the effective release and nutrient deliverance by insulin.

However, if you spike insulin BEFORE/early within the workout, then there is a large amount of nutrient laden insulin as you begin subjecting the muscles to high threshold work, naturally during this time muscles are sucking in surrounding nutrients and synthesizing at a high rate.

Thus during the workout is really the best time for us to “direct” where the nutrients available are going to be delivered. this allows the muscles to fire with maximum capacity without entering a catabolic environment and ensures that as soon as your last set is done your muscles are already in a semi-replenished state as the begin to repair, without losing the effectiveness of nutrient partitioning due to Catecholamine release.

Now as for the suggestion: Don’t just drink Grape juice, you want to have the simple carbs AND protein, you want a fast digesting protein with your fast acting carbs as this provides the whole process with the aminos and nutrients you are trying to essentially force into your muscles with the insulin spike followed by non insulin assisted nutrient partitioning (what happens as blood glucose falls but your muscles continue to pull nutrients due to the demand being placed on them)

I don’t know the makeup of the juice you drink but i would highly suggest you just buy some straight Dextrose/glucose or maltodextrin powder. It will most likely be more favorable on your physique and i am willing to bet cheaper as a tub of 10lbs of dextrose can be had for like $22.

You will want to mix this with a fast acting protein like a whey isolate with digestive enzymes/peptides, or a Hydrolosized whey or casein if you have the cash.

Hope this helps!

So dextrose w/ whey protein immediately before and during workout, with whey protein/casein mix about 30 mins post workout? Any suggestions as far as brands etc from anyone?

I’ve been eating low carb for a year now, which was preceded by six months of lowish-carb. Walking around in a glycogen depleted state, once my body adapted, is easy…until I want to move something heavy. :wink: Once I cut out my morning bowl of oatmeal, and went low carb, easy weights felt heavy and 5RMs became 3RMs. Pre-WO carbs are critical for me to keep making progress. On workout days I’ll have what somebody above already suggested: a low GI carb meal, 50-80g of 50/50 dextrose/maltodextrose with whey (plus creatine/beta-alanine to take advantage of that insulin bump). Post-WO, a single scoop of whey and that’s it. If I did something intense involving a lot of muscle mass and not trying to cut, I might toss in some simple carbs post-WO.

For me, putting the carbs elsewhere just doesn’t work. It’s like starting a race with an almost empty gas tank, then filling up while the other guy is already in the winner’s circle. Worried about recovery? Get hydrated, foam roll, have a good P&F meal (you know, with real food) and get some good sleep.