T Nation

Carbs & Protien timing?


so do you think the stength cycle is conducive to fat loss only or gain you can muscle on it? Everyone seems to favor strength for fat loss…

Greekdawg, I believe that when your goal is fat loss (and mine is), all decisions need to run through the “what-will-help-me-drop-BF” filter. With dropping BF as my goal, a low-rep, high-weight protocol complements that goal. Read Joel Marion’s Ripped, Rugged & Dense, and you’ll see why I make that statement. There’s a different muscular adaptation when you follow a low-rep/high-weight protocol. The contractile portion of the muscle is what adapts, making your muscles harder (a good thing in general), but not bigger (maybe not good if your goal were hypertrophy).

And stop to think about it: If your (or anyone’s) goal is to drop BF, you would need to be eating a hypocaloric diet (below maintenance). And if you were hypocaloric and if you WERE following a classic hypertrophy type program, in which you’re tearing down muscle (so that it can adapt and rebuild to do the job you require of it), you’re not providing your body with all of the calories and nutrients it needs to repair muscle. Repairing muscle is very calorically expensive.

And further, if you’re hypocaloric and you’re really tearing down muscle, you’re going to end up with some serious DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and energy problems to boot.

The bottom line is you must be HYPERcaloric (above maintenance) to build muscle.

So moving on to your situation, no, you will not build muscle and you will not build SIZE on a strength program as a general rule. However, with greater strength comes the opportunity to lift heavier weight, and with heavier weight comes the opportunity to build greater size. I could see the best of both worlds being both, where you alternate between a hypertrophy and a strength program monthly.

Thoughts, anyone?


maybe thats my problem then, beacuse now I’m “eating massively”…but I love strength training…I rarely come above 8 reps in all my exercises…

I guess after this strength cylce I’ll move up to the 8-12 bracket on reps.

Side question TT, SRS, and others:

Assuming once you figure out your “massive eating” caloric requirments and say it is 4500 calories. Can one assume that if you say only hit 4400, or 4350 no muscle growth/gains will occur? IOW, if you dont hit your mark exactly, even by a few calories, you wont gain 1 ounce of muscle?

Glad to have you in on this one TT.


My opinion on the pre-workout meal wouldn’t change taking into consideration your post, TT. I think your situation differs from both Greekdawg, and Jeda Zelda (mysteriously now morphed into “Richard Cranium”!?), in that you are seeking fat loss, and they are looking for strength AND muscle gains.

I’m not going to go as far as saying that I’m right and you’re wrong, but I would suspect the reasons you seem to feel happy with your current peri-workout nutritional regime are:

  1. Your body is now highly adapted to lipolytic function, following a consistently low-carb diet. The knock-on effects would be: the speediest possible utilisation of dietary fat for energy(though still slow in comparison to carbs, and NOT an option for rapid ANaerobic metabolism); and a good efficient body assimilation/replenishment of muscle glycogen post workout.
  2. Might I suggest the feelings of increased energy you suggest are more those of euphoria from a completed workout, and a high level of opioid levels in the body that accompany stressful exercise (the “runners high” feeling) vs. a happy muscle? You make it all the more stressful for the body by pushing it to perform in an increased fatigue state. I myself ALWAYS feel better after any sort of workout, if for only a brief period, even if I was very tired and felt sick beforehand, AND I ate nothing for many hours before or during the training- I think for the reasons mentioned above. How many others have felt the same?

The study I was thinking about (I will have to look it up now, but I think JB, or possibly B Haycock cited it) showed the rapid depletion of muscle glycogen (fully glycogen primed and non-fatigued previously) from leg muscles with only 4 sets of heavy squats. You can’t tell me you are going to replenish this with blood lipids when the body is constantly being forced into an anaerobic state?

Remember, strength increases are a composite of multiple factors- these include muscle fibre size, no. of fibres, % recruitment, efficiency of contraction, and CNS->muscle neural efficiency.

I would suspect that your strength gains you are currently seeing are primarily the latter 3. Your muscles do not NEED to be in an optimum recovered state between sets for the nervous system adaptation to occur (a form of motor pathway learning). However I would propose that your gains might be even better if you were to help the muscles further during the workout with a rapid acting glycogen replenishment source. -BTW, you didn’t mention, Do you still use a during-workout drink, or wait till after?

Meanwhile, in JZ, and Greekdawg’s case, they are going for the jackpot -wanting all possible means (including hypertrophy) to reach those strength goals. In fact, an increase in muscle size is a bonus to them.(You don’t mention if this is the case for you, but I presume if you were still losing fat, then some extra muscle wouldn’t be overly frowned upon?). Their requirement is for a maximally functioning muscle BEFORE, for as much time DURING, and a quick recovery AFTER the workout as possible. For this I believe CARBS + Protein is the only way to go.

Yes, you are seeing the results you want, and I think it IS hard to get that balance where you can still increase strength whilst losing BF. However can muscle be built at the same time? I am a believer!- it just needs adequate substrates- i.e. protein, and glucose which can be taken from fat (body fat or diet origin) OR carbs. As muscle mass (LBM) increases, so does the RMR and energy requirement for maintenance. You can eat more and still continue to lose BF, the cycle continues…

STRENGTH AND HYPERTROPHY- To add finally to Greekdawg’s question about strength plus hypertophy in 1 cycle, TT I have to disagree with you again

I quote you:

So moving on to your situation, no, you will not build muscle and you will not build SIZE on a strength program as a general rule.

-Of COURSE it’s possible. I would say that with this goal a hypercaloric diet is virtually essential though. The 2 parameters of strength and size can be separated to a certain extent by the training method (no. of reps, sets, speed of movement, total TUT etc), but at the end of the day, how often have you experienced an increase in muscle size (I’m talking permanent here, not AA or creatine/water induced), without at least SOME strength gain- it’s rare I think. Even power/oly lifters who perform cycle after cycle of strength training still get bigger, and conversely BB’ers on hypertrophy cycles get significantly stronger.

With a HYPOcaloric diet I would have to say it would be at best difficult to increase size, due to the energy demands of the rest of the body, and muscle strength adaptation to cope with increasing load, coming before any muscle hypertrophy.

I am not dismissing the “cycle” concept for a specific goal (hypertrophy, strength, cutting, sports specificity etc), as I think it’s very useful to have an athlete concentrate on a specific objective at a time. Just commenting that the total separation of each is artificial. Weight training is weight training, and predictable muscle changes will occur given the right environment for them to do so.

Just my 10 (or slightly more) cents. Becoming a great thread, and I hope I haven’t bored anyone too much. Look forward to further points of view. SRS

(By the way, TT- I may disagree with you here, but you know I still luv ya’!!:-)) SRS

Sorry, Greekdawg, whilst composing my last answer (which I hope you’ll read before abandoning your strength oriented cycle!) I didn’t read your latest post.

Inregards to diet- I have found recently that several people I have put on the Massive Eating protocol have indeed found it very difficult to achieve the calorie intake suggested, whilst eating clean and food-combining as suggested. Falling short by as much as 3-400 calories does not seem to hinder muscle growth. (Whether MORE muscle growth would have occured is of course a good question- I would suspect yes again, from my own observations).

Bottom line- the calorie intake proposed in Massive Eating is on the high side. Just compare it to, say, T. Incledon’s “Get Big Diet” calorie recommendations- around 4-500 cals less, at least for most people.

JB is trying to be very clever, and basically get the BIGGEST bang for buck possible- by macronutrient combining in the P+C, or P+F fashion, he seems to be able to get away with it. -One provides the optimal hormonal environment for MUSCLE growth at all times, vs any other sort of energy usage (primary in the mind is fat storage).
I would say, if you aren’t gaining, and are following the diet but with lower calorie intake than rec’d, then increase the calories to the recommended amount. However, if you are gaining whilst falling short on the calories, don’t sweat it too much.

Back to the strength/hypertrophy equation- What IS your main effort? I am still confused. If you want a significant hypertrophy as well as strength, it makes sense to alternate your cycle format in the ways we all recognise every month or so. If pure strength is your goal, with hypertrophy as a little bonus, I would still stick to the mainly strength oriented cycles, with the occasional hypertrophy type for variation and a break period. As I have mentioned before (several times!) Variety is the Spice…!


(Actually, this has stimulated another question I have been rolling around in my mind for quite a while. However it’s getting too far away from the original thread, so I’ll save it for a separate post.):slight_smile: SRS

“…and Jeda Zelda (mysteriously now morphed into “Richard Cranium”!?)…”

Sorry bout that folks, was using the families pets’ names and realized it was a dead give-away to those that know me. Figured I’d opt for a more “creative” name - if you will.

Anyway, SRS, you said “Meanwhile, in JZ, and Greekdawg’s case…Their requirement is for a maximally functioning muscle BEFORE, for as much time DURING, and a quick recovery AFTER the workout as possible.” which your right, however I’m experiencing one rather large negitive reaction that I hope you (or anyone else) might be able to help me with.

I’ve been using an E/C (hydroxy-cut)supp followed by a banana to boost my ambition and intensity at 4AM so that by 04:30 I’m awake and pumping as hard as possible. As I mentioned in my second post in this thread what I have been doing nutritionally otherwise, I’m finding that I’m terribly sore for the respective body part - sometimes immediately after but usually 24hrs later and it has lasted sometimes 72hrs post said body part workout.

HELP HELP HELP!!! I may be nearly 31 years young but 4 Christs’ sake, I feel like I’m 65 and never have touched a weight in my life. Previous to all this my diet and training program has been in it’s early stages of T-Nation influenced reformation.

As everyone can imagine (or knows) this is very dissatisfying and sometimes pushes me to the brink of thinking my only hope is going over to the “roid-side” (not that I’d mind but I don’t have the scratch for that stuff right now).

Anyway, sorry to start whinning. Ultimately I’m looking for help with muscle recovery - should this go in another post?


great stuff indeed!! This IS turning into a hell of a thread…I agree with you that CAN gain muscle while on a strength cycle…I agree, anything is possible like you said. When I was in college I had lots of friends that were on the football team and they rarely train above 6-8 reps but they eat like crazy…these guys were always getting bigger…

As I look back on my training career, I was definitely my biggest when I was my strongest…peole here make the two seem so separate…

Also, I remember in college, when I started “eating” more I gained…and I haev always strength trained (below 8 reps)

In the end while I think I could probably get bigger doing higher reps, I think as long as you are eating, you will grow…It all comes down to diet.


SRS, just briefly because I’ve been pressed for time lately, but I don’t disagree with you. Maybe I’m not doing a good job of communicating lately, but I wish you had given greater weight to the trailing phrase, “as a general rule.”

Yes, of course it’s possible. Lawyers ask that question all the time, forcing the deponent to admit that a given thing is “possible.” But even though it’s possible, is it ideal for the stated goals? I may stand alone on this one, but if bulking were my goal, I’d pick a hypertrophy program.

And on the other point, once again, I don’t disagree with you. My choice of a pre-workout goal is based on my goals, which are different from JZ’s and Greekdawg’s. I thought I said that somewhere in my post.

The floor is yours, sir. Good post.

In reply to TT, (and Greekdawg), I did indeed read your trailing phrase, but I would still have to disagree with you.

Given a hypercaloric diet, I would be more inclined to say that “as a general rule” you WILL gain muscle on a strength oriented routine. -How can there be a cut-off point between 10 reps at a heavy weight, and 6 reps at an even heavier weight, as to where hypertrophy ceases to occur.

I DON’T disagree that if my primary goal were purely hypertrophy, I would go with a hypertrophy routine- that’s only common sense. However, if I wanted strength AND hypertrophy (as in my experience most people do), my inclination would definately be a strength routine.

Bottom line- It’s what I would call “Quality Muscle”. :slight_smile: SRS

To Richard Cranium- I am not ignoring your last post. However might I suggest you do start a new thread with this question, as it is so far from the original posting it would be more likely to attract a new audience and participants?

" -How can there be a cut-off point between 10 reps at a heavy weight, and 6 reps at an even heavier weight, as to where hypertrophy ceases to occur. "<

This is what makes alot of sense to me…

Its not like the body says “ok, you’re going lower than 6 reps this is now a stregnth only cycle, no muscle for you!!” lol

“I wanted strength AND hypertrophy (as in my experience most people do), my inclination would definately be a strength routine.
Bottom line- It’s what I would call “Quality Muscle””<


this is my “problem/dilemma”…if you could call it that…I love to strength train, and I always have, but now… for the first time in a very long time, I desire to get much bigger! I want to stretch the measuring tape a little…

But I’m in the middle of a strength cycle…go figure

Greekdawg- are you trying to say that you’re just not gaining muscle on your cycle, despite gaining strength?

Are you still having problems with your diet?
If the diet is sorted, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t continue to gain. However, just to get some more fine details, what IS the format of your current “strength cycle”?

Once you’ve got your diet sorted, you could ADD to the effect, by possibly trying a routine that attempts /purports to hit BOTH strength and bulk simultaneously. Many routines around, and C Thibaudeau seems to be the master of these type of cycles- check out his “OVT” training (indeed, check out Groveless’s post of praise for this workout on the DP and LOTID forums!). You could also look into CT’s “Insider contrast” training variation.

If you’re currently on something similar to a 5x5 for strength, I have also had good experience with Pavel Tsatsouline’s “Bear” workout- an extended variation of the simple 5x5- you could simply switch over to this for a while.

And of course you can’t forget B Haycock’s HST- a great routine, and despite it’s name, I’ve personally made good strength gains along with hypertrophy.

Others may have more suggestions. Hope this helps some more. SRS


I am gaing muscle on my strength cycle…I was just wondering if I would really gain that much more on a supposed hypertrophy phase like we were discussing…

Personally, I think gaining muscle comes down to diet…at least it did for me.

Richard C

Are you taking a proper post workout shake yet?
are you still taking whey by itself during the day?

Get some surge and take whey with carbs or fat so it become a little more useful

if you are sore it could mean you are training hard. i know of international level bodybuilders who are sore from wokouts 72hours later. it could mean you are doing too much or too intense (ie negatives etc) or maybe just training hard. you gotta figure that one out for yourself.

As for the rest of you guys does anyone use the bracketing technique of have a serve of a post workout type drink immediately pre and post workout? i found it really good on bulking phases.

To Greekdawg-

You said:
I was just wondering if I would really gain that much more on a supposed hypertrophy phase like we were discussing…*

Well- there's one way to find out! I would probably finish the strength cycle first though, unless you're not making any progress from it.

Certainly I think there's a lot to be said for changing round the routine frequently, and if you've been strength cycling for a while, then a hypertrophy routine for a while might be a nice change for your body to shake things up a bit. (And, at least as many BB advocates would have us believe, "prime" your body for further strength gains?)

I myself am planning a hypertrophy phase next- currently taking an "easy" week. SRS

Greekdawg, I just hate correcting myself in public. It’s almost as much fun as disagreeing with myself. However, you might want to take a look at one of the threads over on the Guest Forum. Chad Waterbury was asked how he got so big, and his reply was . . .

(not quoted, as the following text was edited slightly for content)

The biggest difference I made that helped with hypertrophy was the incorporation of multiple sets (8-12 per body part) with a relatively large load (~85% 1RM) and low (3-5) reps. This targets the Type IIB fibers that have the greatest potential for growth. Simply performing 3 sets of 3 won’t do much for growth, but 10 sets definitely will.

This brings up the arguable point that what works for one person might not work for another, so I put it to the test. Since it worked so well with me, I have used similar methods on numerous clients over the years. My conclusion? It is the way to go! Not only do my clients develop hypertrophy at or above the rate of 10-12 rep training, but they also get a MUCH greater increase in maximal strength levels. Therefore, they get the strength (i.e., performance) to go along with the size. This method, along with adequate protein intake and above maintenance calories is superior to other high-rep methods for the aforementioned reasons.

I have just been reading exactly the same stuff by C Waterbury- it’s in reply to the question “How did you get big?”

I think however TT missed the most pertinent thread in the topic that was presented earlier, by a very succinct Die Nadel:

***"Weird! The two of the biggest guys on this forum, Chad and Christian, seem to be the result of 'strength training' as opposed to 'hypertrophy training'.

Kinda makes you wonder why they call it hypertrophy training… ***

Point made- Kinda nicely supports and summarises what we’ve been leaning towards during the final stages of this thread. Get your nutrition sorted, and the size and strength will both appear. SRS


I agree…I read that thread and I see all I needed to do was get my det sorted out, now i’m gaining alot of size during a “strength cycle”

Thanks for your help.


Yea I agree that was a good point…not to mention that both CT and Waterbury are prpbably strong as hell to go with their size. I think I’ll keep training with low reps. However, next cycle I will throw in a “hypertrophy” cycle for the hell of it.

Damn good thread.

Now that we got sorted out that one can gain size on a strength cycle lets discuss how to lose bodyfat and gain muscle at the same time. I think its very possible…


Whetu - “Are you taking a proper post workout shake yet?”

Yes - well maybe. I see where “0.8 g of carbs per kg of bodyweight in combination with 0.4 g of protein / kg of bodyweight” applies but Surge is too expensive for my wallet (baby on the way). Does anyone have any thoughts on what else makes a good combo?

Also, should I be taking the same portion before & during as well as after a work out (3 servings)? Seems like too many calories in such a short period of time - no?

Whetu - "are you still taking whey by itself during the day? "

No - I’ve always taken it with either 8oz of cooked ww/pasta or 8oz of yams. Is that optimal or is there some other combo I should use?

Whetu - “if you are sore it could mean you are training hard. i know of international level bodybuilders who are sore from wokouts 72hours later. it could mean you are doing too much or too intense (ie negatives etc) or maybe just training hard. you gotta figure that one out for yourself.”

I think it was just the new program cause I’m at the end of the 3rd week and not as sore as I was for the first two.

To Richard Cranium

Once again, our friend JB has all the magical answers. Take a look at his “appetite for construction” column, and there is lots of discussion on your queries.

To Greekdawg-

lets discuss how to lose bodyfat and gain muscle at the same time. I think its very possible…

Indeed… I am afraid I am really going to have to think about my answer before getting back to you on this one. My initial thoughts are- “Theoretically…” :slight_smile: It would require a VERY concentrated effort on formulating the ideal training routine and diet (calorie, macronutrient intake, combinations). My initial thoughts would be a SLIGHTLY hypercaloric diet, with high protein, reduced carbs, along with a strength based and taxing routine, e.g. a la Coach Davies Renegade. Indeed, I think he is also a believer here.

The real reason most people go on bulking/cutting cycles, is you only have to concentrate on 1 goal at a time, and it’s easier to make a few mistakes along the way and still hit your target.

Another thought I would have along these lines, is, let’s take the “average” trainee, WITHOUT the aid of AA’s, with a few years training under his belt (because I think it’s DEFINATELY easier for an unfit poorly muscled newbie to do the muscle gain/fat loss thing initially than a conditioned trainee)-

My question: Which would be QUICKER?- the perfect diet and training cycle geared for muscle gain/fat loss; or 1 cycle of bulking, 1 cycle of cutting over the same time period?

VERY interesting… and I think supps would have a lot to do with it also (leaving out AA’s here, which I think could tip the balance greatly towards a favourable outcome).

However I REALLY think that you should post a new thread with this question in mind. I have definately seen the subject tackled MANY times in the past, but I think that if we took a greater scientific slant on things, we could breathe new life into the old subject:-). I think the current thread has basically become a 4-way between TT, you, me and RC. It is way too far removed from the original topic. Would be great to get a bigger audience involved. Go for it.

Speak to 'ya soon. SRS

Alright Ill start a new thread…

Speak to you and TT soon.