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Carbs & Bulking

someone i know told me that carbs can be kept very low in a bulk, because when lifting for size, only the creatine phosphate stores are used during intense lifting, and by resting 3 mins between each set, the CP stores can recover meaning carbs (glycogen stores) are not used for fuel. meaning body fat levels can be kept low, whilst continuing to add lean muscle.

surely this cannot be true. i thought carbs were the main part of a bulking diet? any thoughts?

It depends on what he means by ‘low’ low could be 250 grams of carbs, which someone could probably bulk up on granted they get a whole lot of cals from protein and fat.

If he meant low as in 100g, well, that would probably constitute a REALLY slow bulk if a bulk at all.

Mate,

Your energy utilization is dependent on the type of training you are performing. When training in a very high intensity range (I.e. +80% max) it is true that your body will not heavily tax your glycogen stores. The long recovery times in these situations have less to do with energy system recovery and more so with CNS. In these situations the need for higher carbohydrate intake to replenish energy stores is not really necessary.

When training in a higher rep range you are more likely to deplete your glycogen stores throughout your workout. In this situation you would want to increase your carbohydrate intake PWO.

One thing to keep in mind is that carbohydrates are not only used replenish energy stores but also to manipulate insulin release. To maximize the returns on your training efforts I would advise consuming some simple sugars PWO to benefit from a large insuline release. Your insulin sensitivity will be high at this point and by manipulating an insulin release you can aid in shutling essential nutrients into the muscle for repair. This is why drinks like surge are so effective in building mass and maxizing gains.

Outside of the PWO window, and in some instances during a workout, the need for carbohydrates is greatly overstated in my opinion. As long as you are consuming enough quality vegetables and fruits with the rest of your meals, even on a bulk you should be in good shape. Just make sure that your remaining calories are coming from complete proteins and quality fats.

Hope that helps.

Sasha

During lifting you will activate more than the creatine phosphate system. You will activate the Lactic Acid system also, and guess what that uses for a fuel source? You got it, glycogen!

You need carbohydrates to make decent progress on a bulk, not only do they provide the energy you need, they also give you the calories that would be pretty hard to get from just protein/fats.

For the past 4 months I’ve been on a “slow bulking” phase where I only use carbs during and after my workout, which is in the AM. After that, I get all my kcals from protein, fats, and lots of veggies and greens salads. I’ve been able to add about 25lbs and not too much fat.

[quote]Goodfellow wrote:
During lifting you will activate more than the creatine phosphate system. You will activate the Lactic Acid system also, and guess what that uses for a fuel source? You got it, glycogen!

You need carbohydrates to make decent progress on a bulk, not only do they provide the energy you need, they also give you the calories that would be pretty hard to get from just protein/fats.[/quote]

that was exactly my point to him. but he said that the CP stores were able to fully replenish in 3 minutes, so glycoen was never used.

[quote]dannylad wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
During lifting you will activate more than the creatine phosphate system. You will activate the Lactic Acid system also, and guess what that uses for a fuel source? You got it, glycogen!

You need carbohydrates to make decent progress on a bulk, not only do they provide the energy you need, they also give you the calories that would be pretty hard to get from just protein/fats.

that was exactly my point to him. but he said that the CP stores were able to fully replenish in 3 minutes, so glycoen was never used.
[/quote]

Mate,

Again, this depends on the intensity and duration of the exercise in question. The CP energy cycle only lasts, from what I remember from my reading, 3-4 seconds (slightly extended with creatine supplementation) which means if your sets are lasting longer than that period of time then only your ATP-CP stores will be used and subsequently replenished.

I do however, disagree with the other post that talks about the need for non-fruit/vegetable carbohydrate intake outside of the workout period. You can easily get your daily caloric requirements from fats and proteins without unnecessary carbohydrates. If it’s lean mass you are looking for then I would steer away from manipulating insulin release throughout the day with those unnecessary carbohydrates.

Hope that helps.

Sasha

I think that what the OP meant when he said “when lifting for size” was heavy-weight, high intensity lifting. In that case his glycogen stores won’t be as depleted as if he were doing higher rep training.

I’ve found that I do well with lots of carbs with breakfast everyday, Surge during workout, and lots of carbs with PWO meal. Other than that I stick to high protien/ high fat meals.

I’d like to ask (without inciting excessive flaming) what the situation would be if you are not utilising carbs for “insulin manipulation”.

What I mean is, and the reason I ask, is that for the past 4 months or so of semi-regular and now regular training after my shoulder surgery, I stopped having the PWO shake with dextrose and the like in order to elicit insulin release.

The reason is that, for one I was not able to train as hard when starting up again…and since for a long while, when using high GI PWO I use to get the shake, often accompanied with being very sluggish and tired (not diabetic though). Yes, I did feel recovery was better, but only very marginally.

Anyways, back to topic. Since training again I have started to build up again but only use low-GI carbs, including PWO. Have felt great, good recovery, no shakes or tiredness, and pretty good progress overall. For other meals in the day now, I usually have carbs early in the day (before noon, eg. rice, buckwheat, beans etc.). Later in the day (2-3PM onwards) it is fibrous veg only and I up the fat content.

Would it be better then to restrict the carbs intake ONLY to early morning and PWO (work out early in the morning) and replace the carbs around and before midday to fats and proteins too? Also, would the lower GI fruit be suitable in lieu of fibrous vegetables (purely for sake of variety).

[quote]xenithon wrote:
I’d like to ask (without inciting excessive flaming) what the situation would be if you are not utilising carbs for “insulin manipulation”.

What I mean is, and the reason I ask, is that for the past 4 months or so of semi-regular and now regular training after my shoulder surgery, I stopped having the PWO shake with dextrose and the like in order to elicit insulin release.

The reason is that, for one I was not able to train as hard when starting up again…and since for a long while, when using high GI PWO I use to get the shake, often accompanied with being very sluggish and tired (not diabetic though). Yes, I did feel recovery was better, but only very marginally.

Anyways, back to topic. Since training again I have started to build up again but only use low-GI carbs, including PWO. Have felt great, good recovery, no shakes or tiredness, and pretty good progress overall. For other meals in the day now, I usually have carbs early in the day (before noon, eg. rice, buckwheat, beans etc.). Later in the day (2-3PM onwards) it is fibrous veg only and I up the fat content.

Would it be better then to restrict the carbs intake ONLY to early morning and PWO (work out early in the morning) and replace the carbs around and before midday to fats and proteins too? Also, would the lower GI fruit be suitable in lieu of fibrous vegetables (purely for sake of variety).[/quote]

Well you say your not working with the same intensity then one thing that jumps out to me would be what is the total intake now in comparison to prior and the amount you are/were burning. Can make a HUGE difference.

Your getting carbs from rice, beans, buckwheat etc. so yes likely your getting plenty to refill the glycogen prior to the next bout. Thats not really ythe benefit or worry of PWO shakes Its Halting the catabolism and making a HUGE shift to anabolism with the insulin response. Insulin is Highly anabolic.

Yes its a great idea to restrict Higher GI carbs to early morn and Peri w/o. Then IMO the rest of the day veggies, and yes fruit, your lower GI/II variety apples, pears, etc etc… Fruit somehow has this BAD name I dont get its great for you, loaded with nutrients, slow release carbs etc. EAT FRUIT!!! :slight_smile:

Oh and if you were getting SHAKES from the Hi GI?II PWO regime then you were having a blood sugar crash dont do that you needed to eat something before that happened. You were waiting to long before having a whole food mixed meal with more sustained protein and complex carb sources And good fats.

Phill

Well, I wasn’t training with the same intensity when I started up again. Now, after a few months, I am hitting it hard again, but for less time. Previously training could take 70-80 minutes. Now I prefer to go in for a quicker, more intense blitz of 40-50 minutes. Also far less variety as many exercises are “prescribed” as continuous rehab both for the surgery and for posture, as given by the biokineticist I am working with.

[quote]Yes its a great idea to restrict Higher GI carbs to early morn and Peri w/o. Then IMO the rest of the day veggies, and yes fruit, your lower GI/II variety apples, pears, etc etc… Fruit somehow has this BAD name I dont get its great for you, loaded with nutrients, slow release carbs etc. EAT FRUIT!!! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Point taken. My question then, is if I stick to low GI carbs allround (pre, post workout etc.) then should I continue to keep these strictly at those times and not at other times? For example, I usually have the starchy varieties upon waking, after the morning workout and around midday. Then from 3PM onwards or so it is fibrous veg and healthy fats. Would it be preferable to replace the carbs around midday with more fibrous sources?

The shakes and crash normally came regardless. Often I’d have the PWO shake immediately after training, at the gym. By the time I got home (10-15 minutes) it started to hit me already. I tried having the next meal then, 1 hour after that, and various times in between. I always assumed it was very poor insulin response/utilization.

[quote]xenithon wrote:
Point taken. My question then, is if I stick to low GI carbs allround (pre, post workout etc.) then should I continue to keep these strictly at those times and not at other times? For example, I usually have the starchy varieties upon waking, after the morning workout and around midday. Then from 3PM onwards or so it is fibrous veg and healthy fats. Would it be preferable to replace the carbs around midday with more fibrous sources?

[/quote]

IMO Starchy things and simple carbs I have in the AM and around training mainly AM have my oats etc. Maybe some post training but for the most part just stick to friut, veggies maybe some whole grain stuff, along side protein and healthy fats in nice mixed meals.

C+F from good Whole sources isnt Bad. Like an apple and some nuts etc add some protein and veggies great healthy meal.

Phill

Much appreciated. I will give that a go and see how I respond…after all, each body responds differently, so I’ll see how I feel in terms of weight gain, recovery, strength etc.

The reason I did not implement it yet is that most of the meals I have at work, so I find the easiest way to get healthy fats is in the form of nuts. I already have a meal with a decent portion in them (30-40g of different nuts) so do not want to overdo it by having another meal with nuts.

Also, I usually have apples and berries as fruit sources. Not sure about other lower GI varieties. Pears and apricots are not readily available here.

Cheers,
X

Right now, I’m trying Surge during workout, skim chocolate milk 20 minutes after, then 2 protein and fruit meals after that. P+F rest of the day.

So far, it’s working really well. I’ve definitely gained more muscle mass, and my bodyfat has actually dropped a little. We’ll see what happens w/ the carbs as my calories go up. Right now I get about 3 servings of fruit in each of the 2 meals. But, too much fruit at a time is a bad thing I guess. I’m not sure if I should throw some starches in next or just stay where I’m at w/ carbs and add more fat in. Choices, choices…

Kubo

[quote]MikeKubo wrote:
Right now, I’m trying Surge during workout, skim chocolate milk 20 minutes after, then 2 protein and fruit meals after that. P+F rest of the day.
[/quote]

Sounds like an interesting plan. Do you get in any healthy fats with those protein and fruit meals?

[quote]MikeKubo wrote:
Right now, I’m trying Surge during workout, skim chocolate milk 20 minutes after, then 2 protein and fruit meals after that. P+F rest of the day.

So far, it’s working really well. I’ve definitely gained more muscle mass, and my bodyfat has actually dropped a little. We’ll see what happens w/ the carbs as my calories go up. Right now I get about 3 servings of fruit in each of the 2 meals. But, too much fruit at a time is a bad thing I guess. I’m not sure if I should throw some starches in next or just stay where I’m at w/ carbs and add more fat in. Choices, choices…

Kubo[/quote]

Followed much the same plan with great success. Surge prio and during then Grow! whey and water with simple puufed rice or wheat cereal post training, then 30 mins later a mixed meal.

Works well,
Phill

[quote]xenithon wrote:
I’d like to ask (without inciting excessive flaming) what the situation would be if you are not utilising carbs for “insulin manipulation”.

What I mean is, and the reason I ask, is that for the past 4 months or so of semi-regular and now regular training after my shoulder surgery, I stopped having the PWO shake with dextrose and the like in order to elicit insulin release.

The reason is that, for one I was not able to train as hard when starting up again…and since for a long while, when using high GI PWO I use to get the shake, often accompanied with being very sluggish and tired (not diabetic though). Yes, I did feel recovery was better, but only very marginally.

Anyways, back to topic. Since training again I have started to build up again but only use low-GI carbs, including PWO. Have felt great, good recovery, no shakes or tiredness, and pretty good progress overall. For other meals in the day now, I usually have carbs early in the day (before noon, eg. rice, buckwheat, beans etc.). Later in the day (2-3PM onwards) it is fibrous veg only and I up the fat content.

Would it be better then to restrict the carbs intake ONLY to early morning and PWO (work out early in the morning) and replace the carbs around and before midday to fats and proteins too? Also, would the lower GI fruit be suitable in lieu of fibrous vegetables (purely for sake of variety).[/quote]

xenithon,

To address some of your points here is are some things to consider. Insulin, as has been mentioned, is highly anabolic and is best suited during and post workout. This is the only time I would advocate the intake of high GI/II carbohydrates.

To your point of lower GI/II carbohydrates post workout, I would advocate against their consumption in the post workout window. What I would do is start with half of the amount of dextrose you were taking in (it would be good to the amount you were taking in) and follow that up with an equal serving of low GI/II starchy carbohydrates one hour later. This will aid in preventing a crash after your PWO drink. Once you’ve established your baseline PWO carbohydrate intake, try manipulating it up and down based on your exercise output.

As far as your carbohydrate consumption throughout the rest of the day, I would recommend sourcing them from vegetables and fruits. As was mentioned, fruit tends to get a bad wrap because of fructose and the sugary effects that people believe it has on the body.

The reality is that fructose will first be processed through the liver and top up those glycogen stores before circulating through the blood stream. And when you stick to higher fibre fruits like apples and pears, the effects are almost negligable. Your remaining calories should come from quality fats and lean protein sources.

A common misconception is the need for carbohydrates first thing in the morning when insulin sensitivity is high. Realistically, as long as you are actively taking in your CHOs post workout and throughout the day via veggies and fruits, you do not need starchy carbs first thing in the morning (especially given your response to high GI/II carbs lends me to believe that you’re daily carbohydrate requirements aren’t that high).

Hope that helps but shoot back with any questions.

Cheers,

Sasha

No, Xen, I try and keep my fat levels LOW for my P+C meals. I know in the updated Massive Eating Dr. Berardi says sometimes mixing is okay, but I just dont mess with it. I keep fat as low as possible (never over 10 grams) with my P+C meals, including the fruit ones, then get 3 P+F meals after that. It might not be a bad idea, but I just don’t want to mess with what I know works well for me.

And I’ll agree with Sasha on that one. I don’t think starchy carbs are needed in the AM. In fact, I don’t know if they’re needed at all, lol. Right now I’m training 6 days a week, but on my one off day, I do have my 3 P+C meals as the first 3 of the day, but they’re ALL fruit as far as the carb sources go. Again, usually about 3 servings of fruit in each of the three meals now, as opposed to the 2 meals and the two PWO drinks the other 6 days.

Quite frankly, Ill take 25 grams of carbs in the form of a banana over oatmeal any day. I love fruit, I hate plain, shitty, bland starchy carbs. If I’m gunna eat starch, I want something like loaded mashed potatoes swimming in butter as a cheat meal, lol. As far as healthy fare goes though, I find fruit to be much better tasting than any other carbs, and the slow release (on pretty much all fruits. Just because a fruit is high on the GI list doesn’t neccessarily make it high on the II list, which is more important from a bodybuilding standpoint) has helped keep me growing and lean.

So far, it’s working for me. Give it a shot for a few weeks and see what you think.

Kubo

[quote]The reality is that fructose will first be processed through the liver and top up those glycogen stores before circulating through the blood stream. And when you stick to higher fibre fruits like apples and pears, the effects are almost negligable. Your remaining calories should come from quality fats and lean protein sources.

A common misconception is the need for carbohydrates first thing in the morning when insulin sensitivity is high. Realistically, as long as you are actively taking in your CHOs post workout and throughout the day via veggies and fruits, you do not need starchy carbs first thing in the morning (especially given your response to high GI/II carbs lends me to believe that you’re daily carbohydrate requirements aren’t that high).[/quote]

Indeed, I have found that I do not need too many carbs, especially since I tend to gain fat easily (I used to be extremely overweight, then lost it all some 7 years ago, and since then have been more carb-sensitive and prone to fat gain).

Will try and experiment. My routine is slightly different as I train first thing in the AM. What I have been doing is having a shake in the morning with complex carbs (such as oatbran) and protein. Then I train, and have a PWO meal with high carbs (complex), fruit and lean protein. Then I have a meal with complex carbs (oats, rice, beans etc.) and protein midday and the rest of the day fibrous veg and protein with healthy fats.

In order not to make to omany dramatic changes at once I think I will start by simply replacing the midday meal with fruit, lean protein and some healthy fats. Thus the starchy carbs will be kept strictly for breakfast (which is pre workout in my case) and PWO. The rest of the day will be fruits and veg, with protein and healthy fats.

Perhaps at a later stage I will experiment with having the midday meal with lots of fruit in lieu of the fats, and lean protein.

Cheers,
X

PS. when I started training again I had only some whey or whey with fats preworkout…since having the oats with the whey upon waking I had much more energy and better recovery.

[quote]xenithon wrote:
The reality is that fructose will first be processed through the liver and top up those glycogen stores before circulating through the blood stream. And when you stick to higher fibre fruits like apples and pears, the effects are almost negligable. Your remaining calories should come from quality fats and lean protein sources.

A common misconception is the need for carbohydrates first thing in the morning when insulin sensitivity is high. Realistically, as long as you are actively taking in your CHOs post workout and throughout the day via veggies and fruits, you do not need starchy carbs first thing in the morning (especially given your response to high GI/II carbs lends me to believe that you’re daily carbohydrate requirements aren’t that high).

Indeed, I have found that I do not need too many carbs, especially since I tend to gain fat easily (I used to be extremely overweight, then lost it all some 7 years ago, and since then have been more carb-sensitive and prone to fat gain).

And I’ll agree with Sasha on that one. I don’t think starchy carbs are needed in the AM. In fact, I don’t know if they’re needed at all, lol. Right now I’m training 6 days a week, but on my one off day, I do have my 3 P+C meals as the first 3 of the day, but they’re ALL fruit as far as the carb sources go.

Will try and experiment. My routine is slightly different as I train first thing in the AM. What I have been doing is having a shake in the morning with complex carbs (such as oatbran) and protein. Then I train, and have a PWO meal with high carbs (complex), fruit and lean protein. Then I have a meal with complex carbs (oats, rice, beans etc.) and protein midday and the rest of the day fibrous veg and protein with healthy fats.

In order not to make to omany dramatic changes at once I think I will start by simply replacing the midday meal with fruit, lean protein and some healthy fats. Thus the starchy carbs will be kept strictly for breakfast (which is pre workout in my case) and PWO. The rest of the day will be fruits and veg, with protein and healthy fats.

Perhaps at a later stage I will experiment with having the midday meal with lots of fruit in lieu of the fats, and lean protein.

Cheers,
X

PS. when I started training again I had only some whey or whey with fats preworkout…since having the oats with the whey upon waking I had much more energy and better recovery.[/quote]

Xenithon,

Great stuff and I am glad you are taking an open minded approach with the suggestions that have been made.

Much like you, I was formerly overweight when I was younger and I now train in the morning. What I have found most effective is to wake up, have a cup of green tea, and make a 1 part dextrose, 1 part whey protein isolate shake and sip on it during my workouts. This helps in three ways. One, it helps balance the highly catabolic activity of weight training with a very anabolic reaction in the form of insulin release. Two, it helps to circulate highly bio available proteins throughout your system as you are training (think active recovery). And three, it alleviates the need for a massive high GI/II post workout shake that seems to have been causing you problems. Starchy, lower GI carbs won’t be as active in your system as you train first thing as their digestion and release isn’t as fast.

I know you are weary of high GI/II carbs but in the instance of training and PWO it will actually help your fat loss goals - especially in ensuring your thyroid (which is extremely important for fat loss) doesn’t down regulate as a result of restricted carbohydrate intake.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,

Sasha