T Nation

Carbs... I'm Confused


I am currently dieting down for a faux "comp date", and things have been going ok, fairly rocky at times as i've never seen my abs before I have no idea sometimes whether i'm progressing or regressing.

But I digress...:slight_smile:

Seriously, carbs?

Lately i've read CT's stuff on people who are carb sensitive eating as low as 30grams of carbs a day..
Then you've got Dan John in "Carb round table" advocating zero carbs to make fast body comp changes??????????????????
Another guy i've read up on suggests to make a change from flat to ripped in 4 weeks you just eat chicken trukey and tuna with apples and celery (with a little bit of rice when you feel low on carbs)..


Ok, I understand CT's thinking with the sensitivity..

But I don't get Dan's POV because wouldn't a person on zero carbs end up skinny/flat?
I'm so confused about all these things,
Carbs and their role in keeping muscle mass, carbs in their role of holding back fat loss..
What's the go seriously?

I'm at a point where I'm on very low carbs myself except for training days,
I have four weeks to go till my "comp date".
If i'm too low in carbs will I end up looking flat and skinny?
Or....if I don't go low enough will I end up not being ripped enough??

These things are driving my brain crazy..
Any thoughts/help would be appreciated to silence the voices



stats? pix?


Thanks for the reply..

Sorry if it seemed like I was asking more in terms of my own situation, in a way I am...but really I'm just confused by so many differing opinions on carbs and their relation to dieting down as a generality..

Whether they actually help you keep your muscle, slow fat loss etc? Or are they less important than things like protein?
Sorry again, I know that these are pretty deep subjects and it's highly individual depending on the athletes stage of development etc, so I guess my question is kind of ambiguous.. :frowning:

But going on zero carbs just seems crazy! And Dan J didn't mention "in specific circumstances" he just said "When we need to make body comp changes fast"
Would you really end up skinny and flat on zero carbs?
Or would you lose some weight then plateau again/put it all back on once you had carbs again.
I'm just wondering how important all this really is in the grand scheme of it,

Does having macro breakdowns as complex as this really make or break a diet, or is it just making sure your protein intake is right and working your A** off until your eyes bleed?

Forgive me if i'm asking questions that can only be answered given the context of an individual's situation.


ughhhhh ok few things.......
Actually, no. One thing. You're most likely doing what I used to do, meaning that you're over complicating things.
Be CONSISTENT and PERSISTENT in lifting heavy shit on a regular basis (this redundancy was necessary), don't eat excess of carbs (especially when you don't need them), and schedule them around your workout (pre-peri-post), MAKE SURE you get enough food in you to grow (that by default means that pretty much almost all of your food, if not all, should have protein in it).
It's really that simple. And I believe this is the best advice you CAN get, given that you provided us with NO info about you, or your goals (don't do it now, most likely too late)

If anyone wants to chime in on this, please do so. I'm open to suggestions or possible corrections


That makes perfect sense, and you are correct, I am over complicating things.

I understand your frustration, given that I gave no specifics, and I probably could have been a bit more clear, but you answered my question in respect to "It shouldn't be that complicated"....so that's all I was really after anyway.
Lifting heavy is staying consistent is more important that tweaking macros etc.

Thanks again for taking your time to reply :slight_smile:


Don't over analyse things yet, try a variety of diets for yourself - and be consistent.


You have to realize that just because a muscle make look depleted one day (low glycogen levels), doesn't mean that you've lost lbm. Corey and I used to keep our carbs low during the week (usually dragging ass on fridays), but then jack the carbs up over the weekend. On mondays, we'd look huge and ripped. Obviously your brain will play games with you a bit, and you will noticeably feel smaller, but it's never as bad as you think it is.

Another thing to consider, is your daily activity besides gym work. Cordova was explaining how on two separate occasions, he was a few days out of a show, but due to excessive activities (he was in Barbados I believe, so he was swimming a lot and just enjoying himself), he had to account for a higher need by his body (hence, more carbs). There's also the fact that everyone is different.

Hell, when I ran track (back in the day -lol) I could live on nothing but bread and pasta. Now, being a bit older, and more sedentary (aside from the gym), I don't have to worry about feeding my daily activities as much.

Bottom line though... (and it's already been said, but I'll reiterate)... don't complicate things. Do your research, pick a plan, and follow it to the end. If you feel it didn't work as well as you would like, do something different next time (after an educated evaluation of what didn't work well FOR YOUR BODY).




Thanks Stu,

I can't thank you enough for all your support this far into my training.

Reading my original post it sounds a bit dumb, and I should have worded it differently..
My own goals are what they are and as you know I've been working on pretty low cals and carbs for a while now and it's working for me!

It's more that I just had a "AHHH HECK" moment when reading all these "carb" articles and trying to figure out what the go was and why everyone is so sensitive about it.
I think my problem a lot of the time is I get caught up also in what I read other people are doing..like the millions of posts about "Why don't I have a six pack" when most other things aren't in check,
I forget sometimes that it's not the extra 10grams of carbs these guys are eating, but it's that they don't train hard in the first place.

I fully accept my own situation and accept the fact that I will definitely look better in 2 months than I will in 1, because I can hack my diet and training..
But having said that I am a determined little B*stard and talk like "It's probably too late" or "You don't have enought time" just makes me want to go even harder to prove that wrong.

Anyway..diet for me personally couldn't be going better.
100% on track and looking good/feeling confident again.
Only problem is training intensity this week has been so high I jarred my neck doing a pullup at the park yesterday..only time will tell how it heals but I'm resting from resistance until I feel better.