T Nation

Carbing Up on Airplane

I have been on 2 weeks of high protein low low carbs to cut up for photo shoot next week in NY. I usually start carbing up about 4 days out, so that means I will still be carbing up on Sunday which is a day I have to spend flying all day from California to NY. I have done this before, but never thought of asking the forum for suggestions. Any good suggestions for good low glycemic carbs that I can take with me on the airplane, I need to consume about 800 grms of carbs that day, not easy on an airplane if you want healthy food. I know apples are low glycemic, I think Strawberries are also, but I can’t eat 800 grams of them or I will spend all my time in the john, so any good ideas. Thanks!

One, High GI are superior for glycogen replenishment and supercompensation to low GI and two, fruit is certainly not what you want to go with when attempting to restore muscle glycogen. Fructose is the primary sweetner in most fruits and it does not have the ability to restore muscle glycogen, only liver. Try some pretzels, rolls, etc.


Dano: I concur with Joel. You should probably be looking for high GI, relatively dry carbs. If you’re really depleted–which I believe you are–you risk no fat gain and will reglycogenate (I like that word, Joel) rather well.

Pretzels are a great idea. As are those fat-free Orville Reden-whatever Popcorn cakes, Fig Newtons (fat-free), and–if you can find it, Nature’s Valley Low-Fat Granola.

High GI carbs are superior for reglycogenation on the FIRST day of a carb up. If someone tried using all high GI carbs throughout their carb up they’d be sorry.

Depending on the day of the carb up, you also dont HAVE to worry about consuming dry carbs since to get a good carb up you’ve got to drink…really drink.

And as strange as it may sound, in some cases fructose does help a carb up. In theory it shouldnt, but pie filling (combination of sugars in that) always works exceptionally well, if it’s timed properly.

Don’t forget your salt.

Sorry. That’s Back to Nature not Nature’s Valley granola. It can be found in many supermarkets.

Reminds me of trying to go low-carb with Bromo, and the shit hitting the flight on a red-eye morning flight to Frisco. Goddamn Snackwells saved my life. Ah well, live (hopefully) and learn.


Pie filling! Sweet! Where can I pick up some cherry pie filling?! (Like what store?). That would ra-hock. And what did you mean by “if it’s timed correctly?”


i’m not too sure about how this works. eating a large amount of carbs after a long period of not consuming any, or close to none, is suppose to make all you muscles significantly fuller then on any other normal day? sorry if its a stupid question, but to ths point i’ve only heard fleeting refrences to this.


bring some oatmeal on the plane. ive never used pie filling, but i hear it actually works pretty good. my buddy did a shoot for musclemag this summer and the morning of the shoot had oatmeal and mcdonalds hashbrowns. careful though i find i get bloated when trying to carb up to much.

if you’re planning on carbing up while on the airplane then my suggestion is boxcutters. theyre great for carbs and they’ll get you fucked by the airport security.

Now we’re starting to get into my element. Joel, as far as pie filling goes? Drop into any grocery store. Nothing special there; just good ol’ fashioned pie filling. Cherry has my name all over it to. A great combo is oatmeal mixed with pie filling. At some point during a carb up, I’ve had everyone do it. Usually 2 or 3 times a day, anywhere from 6 to 8 hrs apart between that meal.

Since we arent really talking about a refeed here, but rather a carb up for a show/photo shoot, the rules change somewhat. Yes, on the first day, fat should still be kept low and the carbs should be jacked. 99% of people dont eat nearly enough. I use specific numbers for these days. I’ve been refining the approach for the last couple years now and am very happy with it now.

While we all know fructose is a no-no during a carb up, it is necessary if you’ve been low carbing it for some time and your liver is depleted. During carb restriction, the enzymes in the liver that metabolize carbs decrease. During refeeding it takes about 5 hrs for liver enzymes to return to normal levels. So, basically your carb up should begin BEFORE your depletion workout, sort of. You should at least take some carbs in at that point and then about 2 hrs prior to the workout do the same with a combination of ftuctose and glucose. There was a study done on this and 2 hrs was the timeline seen to reverse liver metabolism (rat study however). I have found that this does actually make a difference.

The second day is completely differnet. This is where I usually begin to introduce the fat with the carbs. It’s basically a combination of a carb load and a fat load, which turns into a full blown fat load once the water is cut. Carbs are great for muscles, however, intracellular triglycerides can make you feel like you’re going to explode. I usually draw the fats from cashews, red meat, some oil, and then once the water is out, it’s time to feast – prime rib, french fries, cheesecake. That’s a staple.

Anyway, the information probably looks a bit unorganized, or at least the thought process, (since I have many on the subject), so I’ll stop now, but will answer anyone’s questions.

Joel: You should be able to pick up cherry, apple or pumpkin pie filling (there are probably others, as well) at nearly any grocery store. You may want to first try the baking aisle. If unsuccessful, you may try the aisle with canned fruits (and vegetables).

Thunder: I will heed to your word, big dog. You da man with the master plan when it comes to reglycogenation (please don’t patent that word…it’s hella cool).

I, once again, recommend you hit the snack aisle and pick up some fat-free fig newtons. There are tons of flavors.

Thunder: I had an interview with a photographer this evening, and he’s very much interested in “shooting” me as a model. We set up a tentative 4-6 week window for me to get prepared.

I’m going to begin dieting in the coming days.

I would really like your assistance with the loading (and depleting) stages, when the time comes, so you be so generous to lend a hand to a T-bro. Thanks, Thunder Cat.

Thunder: Yes, the protocols for glycogen supercompensation and contest prep are similar but quite different from periodic overfeeding/refeeding for continual fat loss.

Having said that, I’m going to grab a friggin’ whole cherry pie for my overfeed on Saturday. Ah, the Cheater’s Diet rules.


Request for non-fat/low-fat meal at least 48 hrs before departure, and you’re most likely to get a very carby meal, such as pasta.

I keep posting but they just are not getting through. I posted 2 days ago, but it never appeared. Anyway, I forgot to mention that that day on the plane is my last day to carb up, and I realized I need only 400 carbs that day, so that should be easier. Keep the suggestions coming, I appreciate it.

Here is some candy that is either all dextrose or dextrose/malto (w/ flavoring and coloring):

-SweetTarts (not the chewy kind)

-Smarties (US, not the British, chocolate,
M&M-like kind)

-Candy Necklaces

Hope that helps,


Timbo, no worries man. I can help you with the final prep. It would be nice if you were ready early so we can take a test run at it though and modify the timing accordingly.

Saw your updated pic on the photo forum. Man, you’ve come a long way since that first picture. You made mention of your lat spread being one of your better shots. Maybe you and I should go lat spread to lat spread?

Thunder: Hell yeah, brutha! You know, what though, we’d have to get some crazy-ass landscape view photo because you’re already taking up the whole photo there and add my wings to the photo…you might be able to see from my mid-back to your mid-back, and that would only include one lat on each! Okay, just kidding, but that’d be cool.

The dieting will begin in the next day or so. I don’t think I’ll have too far to go. So if I can get in excellent shape in about four weeks, then we’d have at least one trial run. Then we’d have the fifth and sixth week for the real-deal. How’s that sound?

Joel: I’ve got a Pie-Filling update, bruh. Live, from Super Wal-Mart, ATX, baking aisle. I came across these flavors: cherry, apple, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, coconut and pumpkin. Both cherry and apple came in no sugar added version as well!

Now, I will mention this. As Thunder alluded to, the carb-up is an entirely different animal than a refeed. A refeed has specific goals in mind, and following the refeed one needs to be able to get back into the fat-burning mode, ASAP. Thus, this is why I suggest avoided sucrose and fructose-based products. Because saturating the liver with glycogen will delay and inhibit the fat-burning capabilities in the coming dieting days.