T Nation

Carb preload on a low carb diet?

Guys, looking a bit of advice here…

I’ve been training for over 10 years and 5
months ago had to go on an extended layoff. While I was off I read up on the latest no-carb
diets and now that I am back I deicided to give them a try.

Well I resumed training two weeks ago and so
far it looks like I shed about 60% of fat that
I gained over the past 5 months.

I have a problem though:

I can’t gain a shred of strength or muscle mass. I mean, when I get on the gym floor it’s
a major drag to get through the whole workout.
I feel flat - zero pump and I can’t lift shit!

So, while losing fat is all great, it’s been incredibly hard to make a comeback on a llow carb diat.

Yesterday I decided to screw it, went out and
ate load of egg sandwiches (with bread) and some pancakes - all about 2.5 hours before training. Then I want to the weight room and
had a friggin’ blast! Of course now I am confused as to whether I should always carb load before the workout and whether this is going to stop any further fat loss in its tracks.

So, what’s the real deal here? Is carb loading before training on a zero carb diet the right thing to do?

Or should I just go on a “normal-carb” diet for
now just to build up what I’ve lost and then
worry about fat loss later?

Thanks dudes!!

/TinyWulf

You have to train right for the right type of diet. I don’t know how you are training now, but a high rep, high volume workout on low carbs will do nothing but wear you out and make you feel weak. Here are my suggestions for training on a low/no carb diet (this came out of another post for someone doing the fat fast and high rep/high volume work):


I’m going to assume that fat loss is your ultimate priority right now and your willing to let a little muscle go. Of course you want to avoid this, but a little is acceptable. Start supplementing with 10g creatine a day for a week or two and then you can drop down to 5g a day. Take 5g a day with your breakfast dissolved in tea. Take an additional 5g a day in your post-workout drink or in a shake later in the day. You could also begin taking in some Medium Chain Triglycerides to assist with energy needs(maybe half flax oil and half MCT’s). As for training, keep doing moderate cardio as you can tolerate it. Stay around 60-70% HRmax. With lifting, I would suggest a radical change from what you are doing. You need to stimulate the muscles enough to maintain strength, but remember that your recovery will be severely limited. Here is a suggestion: Monday-Deadlift, Bench Press, Barbell Curls (all done in a 3x3 mode). You should be able to complete all sets with a given weight that is near max and should try to avoid failure most of the time although hitting failure on the last set should not be a problem…Wednesday - Chins, Push Press, Calf Raises (all done 3x3 again)…Friday - Squats, Dips, Turkish Get-up (see www.testosterone.net/ articles/159short2.html and don’t forget to delete the space in front of “articles”) (use 3x3 again)…By supplementing with creatine and working within that energy system for the most part, you should still be able to lift well. As soon as you move past 3-5 reps, your energy will begin to come from protein and possibly fat and I would suggest avoiding this. Best of luck and please let me know if you add any of my suggestions as I am very curious to how people will respond.

Let me know if this makes sense to you, but it has helped the person who I originally wrote this for. His energy in the gym definately went up. You can't build muscle on a reduced calorie low carb diet, so don't try. Just try to preserve what you have.

Have a serving of Surge before you workout, you should also take Power Drive these two supps work great!

Have a high carb meal about every 3rd or 4th day consisting of about 150-200 grams carbs. Also if you supplement during and after your workout with BCAA/Glutamine you’ll probably feel stronger as well.

This is actually making sense to me. I mean,
I do mostly train in high-intensity style but
I didn’t think about alternative energy sources. Always viewed creatine as a gimmick but in this context it actually may be very helpful. Thanks for that idea.

Regarding the carb intake before the workout -
so is the consensus that it is an OK (or a right) thing to do? As per Berardi type of a diet it seems that combining protein with carbs is fine as long as no fat is present. So, if I eat protein + unsat fat pretty much all the time except for the pre/post workout time, the effect should be beneficial to my energy level at the gym? Plus, if I load on creatine it should really kick in since I will be very insulin sensitive at that point.

Am I on the right track here?

Thanks for all your help guys!

/TinyWulf

Glad to hear that things are starting to come together for you. No need to load creatine. 5g in tea every morning and 5g in your post workout drink will be enough. Also, taking a pre/post workout like Surge will likely help you much more than it will hurt you, so definately go for it.

TinyWulf, the problems of low energy you were experiencing were probably due to low blood sugar and glycogen depletion. You need to cycle carbs into your low-carb diet in a way that allows you to keep your muscle glycogen levels topped up. This is the rationale behind Kelly’s recommendation to eat a hi-carb meal every 3-4 days- this is similar to what is recommended in ‘Natural Hormonal Enhancement’ and ‘The Fat Burning Diet’.They recommend to have big carb feeds in the evening, but I much prefer taking in big carb feeds right after training- after a workout your glycogen-storage enzymes are really kickin’.This gives me the benefits of low carb eating but leaves me with plenty of energy and allows me to progress in the gym, maintain low bodyfat and hit some steep climbs in the hills on my bike. When i tried the anabolic diet I felt like crap, 5 days was too long for me to go without carbs, though it did lean me out very quickly. You will have to experiment and see which approach works best.