T Nation

Carbs and Cycling

I was thinking about this the other day and I can’t recall anyone, outside of Schwartz, who stuck to a low carb gameplan while on cycle. Cycle for bulking that would be.

I include in the “low carb” any kind, be it the Anabolic Diet, restricting carbs to post workout, or whatever. Now I know that most will say that the carbs are need for muscle growth or just to keep the calories high enough. But wouldn’t just focusing on keeping calories and protein high enough work just as well?

This has been brewing in my head for a while but popped up fully for two reasons. I’m currently going low carb except for post-workout shake and still taking in around %36-3800 calories. Secondly, I got talking with a guy who competed in the Canada’s Strongest Man. He said that most of the competitors, and these are the monster sized guys, were sticking to a low carb approach throughout the year. And they were huge and ripped. And most likely, on cycle.

I’m not really concerned with the logistics of high carb vs low carb for the non-AAS users, I would just like to hear some discussion from those of you in the know and why there seems to be very few who bulk lowcarbidly(I just made that word up, trademark enforced).

Thanks in advance.

Great topic to explore. I have been eating low carb for over 1 year now. I am currently eating only one cheat meal per week. I am awaiting my gear and ideal cycle nutrition is definitely a concern. I had planned to transition slowly to include more carbs when on cycle since I know my body will be much better at managing them then.

My plan was to start with PWO adding pinapple juice with my protein powder. Then maybe a sweet potato in my first PWO meal. Also starting to include things like kidney beans, chick peas, humus, tomatoes, berries, etc. in my meals. Basically to continue adding in best forms of carbs until I notice a degredation of body comp and then to stop adding and possibly remove some to attain an equilibrium.

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It’s too bad World isn’t around to answer this. If you can find and resurrect his thread on high dose, short duration cycles, he talked about it in there, I believe. I recall his physique being quite defined, all due to carb manipulation.

I have no first hand experience on carb cycling just yet but I do plan to use it during my next cutting cycle. I have read several books and articles that have made me think it would be very beneficial.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
5.0 wrote:
It’s too bad World isn’t around to answer this. If you can find and resurrect his thread on high dose, short duration cycles, he talked about it in there, I believe. I recall his physique being quite defined, all due to carb manipulation.

I suspect his physique had quite a lot to do with the insanely long hours of hunting he would do, too :wink:

The guy practically lived outdoors.

I hope he’s doing well wherever he is.

Bushy[/quote]

Marine boot camp is about 13 weeks, unless things changed since when I went through. If that’s still the case, he should graduate on or around Sept 10th.

Some good talk. I agree that what counts as low carb can vary from individual to individual. And would amounts of carbs be more of a factor than percent? By this I mean, two people taking in 100g of carbs a day but for the first that accounts for 25% of their calories vs the second where it might be less than 10%.

It always seemed to me that folks were less worried about their carb intake while on cycle because they believed they would use the nutrients more efficiently. By doing so, they could be more open in their meal choices while not worrying so much about upping body fat considerably.

World personally coached me through my first cycle, diet and training program.

I don’t have much scientific reason for the things he said but, he told me that carbs would be my friend on cycle. I was taking in around 800-1000 carbs per day (good carbs mind you). I would generally get 75% of those in before noon, and work more toward fats as the evening came. With virtually none after 7pm. I used strict DC training, and around a gram of Test E per week.

I put on 26lbs of overall weight.
After cycle I cut carbs almost completely to around 75 per day. I lost all my water weight and started working on that fat.

Today I am 213lbs (same as before I started my cycle) but an entirely different body makeup. Kept nearly all of my strength gains, and no longer require large amounts of carbs to keep from getting dizzy under the squat bar.

My vote is for high carbs on a bulking cycle but just be prepared to cut afterwards. I don’t think a TEST bulking cycle will give you just good gains… expect water and expect some chub from eating like Godzilla.

Hope this helps a bit.

Here’s a nice blurb from Bill Roberts on the 11-T thread

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:

  1. Fats, other than EFA’s and oleic acid (which might be called semi-essential) are probably better substituted with carbs or, if protein isn’t high, protein.

In contrast, without any hormonal supplementation it’s best not to drop fat intake to too low a percentage of total calories – the optimum is probably 30-40% then.

But with the assistance, each unnecessary gram of fat is roughly 2 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein, or some mix of the two that has to be omitted; or it’s an extra gram of fat being added to the fat stores if the carbs or protein are being added anyway along with the fat.

  1. This isn’t different from when there’s no hormonal assistance, but the heaviest carb consumption is best from pre- and post-workout shakes and the meal or two following the workout, rather than getting the carbs equally across the clock or mostly at different times than that.

On non-workout days, daytime is probably best – again, same as usual on this one, but it’s a point not everyone follows. [/quote]

[quote]Randizo wrote:
World personally coached me through my first cycle, diet and training program.

I don’t have much scientific reason for the things he said but, he told me that carbs would be my friend on cycle. I was taking in around 800-1000 carbs per day (good carbs mind you). I would generally get 75% of those in before noon, and work more toward fats as the evening came.

With virtually none after 7pm. I used strict DC training, and around a gram of Test E per week.

I put on 26lbs of overall weight.
After cycle I cut carbs almost completely to around 75 per day. I lost all my water weight and started working on that fat.

Today I am 213lbs (same as before I started my cycle) but an entirely different body makeup. Kept nearly all of my strength gains, and no longer require large amounts of carbs to keep from getting dizzy under the squat bar.

My vote is for high carbs on a bulking cycle but just be prepared to cut afterwards. I don’t think a TEST bulking cycle will give you just good gains… expect water and expect some chub from eating like Godzilla.

Hope this helps a bit.[/quote]

How much did that account for overall percent of calories for you? I think I remember you were eating in the 4000 calorie range. And I think you are doing what I was going for. Not so much a cutting as a body recomposition.

I notice that if I keep my calories the same, or even raise them, but restrict almost all carbs to post workout, my body starts to lose the chub without losing the gains. Of course this is not on a cycle, but I was wondering about that.

And boy did I read what you wrote wrong at first. I thought you wrote that a Test only cycle wouldn’t give good gains. I should have known I read it wrong. For a second there, I thought you had gone mad!

[quote]BIGZEUS wrote:
Here’s a nice blurb from Bill Roberts on the 11-T thread

Bill Roberts wrote:

  1. Fats, other than EFA’s and oleic acid (which might be called semi-essential) are probably better substituted with carbs or, if protein isn’t high, protein.

In contrast, without any hormonal supplementation it’s best not to drop fat intake to too low a percentage of total calories – the optimum is probably 30-40% then.

But with the assistance, each unnecessary gram of fat is roughly 2 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein, or some mix of the two that has to be omitted; or it’s an extra gram of fat being added to the fat stores if the carbs or protein are being added anyway along with the fat.

  1. This isn’t different from when there’s no hormonal assistance, but the heaviest carb consumption is best from pre- and post-workout shakes and the meal or two following the workout, rather than getting the carbs equally across the clock or mostly at different times than that.

On non-workout days, daytime is probably best – again, same as usual on this one, but it’s a point not everyone follows.

[/quote]

Good point. I had thought about cycling carbs to just after workouts but restricting them to fibre or veggies(50g of carb or less) otherwise. I was all proud of myself for coming up with the idea but then I read it in a bunch of different places. Maybe if I jump in with an infomercial I will still get to claim victory…

I’ve cycled (bulking) on the AD before, and the best way to sum it up IME is that it is definitely superior for BBing, but you have to be very patient.

I other words, you don’t “blow up” even when using a decent dose of test/dbol/anadrol etc.

The muscle gains are much slower, but you know that every shred of weight you are gaining is LBM, or at least it looks that way.

It is far more fun to bulk on AAS with high carbs, pile on 20lbs and look like a monster, I’ll admit. But once the water has come off and you’ve cut down a few months post-cycle, you’re left with your actual gains. The low-carb approach bypasses this, and all you ever see are those actual gains in LBM.

It is an odd experience, and at first quite discouraging - your scale weight creeps up very slowly throughout the cycle and it is very tempting to just go on a carb binge and see the weight fly up, but I now believe for BBing this is counterproductive.

For Powerlifting/Strength training however I believe the extra carbs do help. They are not magical, but definitely result in more strength gains post-cycle, be it only a few extra lbs on your main lifts over what a low-carb bulk would provide. I believe this is mostly down to increased glycogen and water.

Having said that, a glycine/glutamine combo is supposed to replenish glycogen just as well as carbs - so perhaps this is a viable option for strength athletes wanting to try out a low-carb approach.

I hope this helped a bit,

Dave

[quote]Dave_ wrote:
I’ve cycled (bulking) on the AD before, and the best way to sum it up IME is that it is definitely superior for BBing, but you have to be very patient.

I other words, you don’t “blow up” even when using a decent dose of test/dbol/anadrol etc.

The muscle gains are much slower, but you know that every shred of weight you are gaining is LBM, or at least it looks that way.

It is far more fun to bulk on AAS with high carbs, pile on 20lbs and look like a monster, I’ll admit. But once the water has come off and you’ve cut down a few months post-cycle, you’re left with your actual gains. The low-carb approach bypasses this, and all you ever see are those actual gains in LBM.

It is an odd experience, and at first quite discouraging - your scale weight creeps up very slowly throughout the cycle and it is very tempting to just go on a carb binge and see the weight fly up, but I now believe for BBing this is counterproductive.

For Powerlifting/Strength training however I believe the extra carbs do help. They are not magical, but definitely result in more strength gains post-cycle, be it only a few extra lbs on your main lifts over what a low-carb bulk would provide. I believe this is mostly down to increased glycogen and water.

Having said that, a glycine/glutamine combo is supposed to replenish glycogen just as well as carbs - so perhaps this is a viable option for strength athletes wanting to try out a low-carb approach.

I hope this helped a bit,

Dave[/quote]

Totally agree with this, great job summarizing your experience Dave.
When we gonna see you take the plunge ZZ?
Hope things work themselves out for you soon. Can’t wait to see your first cycle log bud.

ToneBone

[quote]Dave_ wrote:
I’ve cycled (bulking) on the AD before, and the best way to sum it up IME is that it is definitely superior for BBing, but you have to be very patient.

I other words, you don’t “blow up” even when using a decent dose of test/dbol/anadrol etc.

The muscle gains are much slower, but you know that every shred of weight you are gaining is LBM, or at least it looks that way.

It is far more fun to bulk on AAS with high carbs, pile on 20lbs and look like a monster, I’ll admit. But once the water has come off and you’ve cut down a few months post-cycle, you’re left with your actual gains. The low-carb approach bypasses this, and all you ever see are those actual gains in LBM.

It is an odd experience, and at first quite discouraging - your scale weight creeps up very slowly throughout the cycle and it is very tempting to just go on a carb binge and see the weight fly up, but I now believe for BBing this is counterproductive.

For Powerlifting/Strength training however I believe the extra carbs do help. They are not magical, but definitely result in more strength gains post-cycle, be it only a few extra lbs on your main lifts over what a low-carb bulk would provide. I believe this is mostly down to increased glycogen and water.

Having said that, a glycine/glutamine combo is supposed to replenish glycogen just as well as carbs - so perhaps this is a viable option for strength athletes wanting to try out a low-carb approach.

I hope this helped a bit,

Dave[/quote]

Actually that kind of answers another question that has always bounced around my head. Namely, why do people like to blow up weight wise knowing most of it will vanish vs slower LBM type gains.

Thanks.

[quote]InTheZone wrote:

Totally agree with this, great job summarizing your experience Dave.
When we gonna see you take the plunge ZZ?
Hope things work themselves out for you soon. Can’t wait to see your first cycle log bud.

ToneBone[/quote]

Ha. Well, if I ever get this AI/SERM thing worked out, you might just get your wish.

You know I will be really on all you guys for support when I do manage to start one so don’t you worry about not hearing me go on about it…