T Nation

Contest Dieting

I keep reading on this website that if you want to lose weight then you have to restrict your carbs. Yesterday, though, I was looking at the some bodybuilders’ pre-contest diets that I found on the internet, and it seems like they’re all eating awesome amounts of oatmeal, rice, and potatoes.

Why is that? It seems like if they wanted to get really cut for a contest they’d eat like no carbs (and they’re not doing it to pull water into their muscles either; they claim they eat like this starting 12 weeks or so before the contest)

I’ve been reading a lot about fat loss lately, and in particular about how to go about getting really lean, so any clarity from wisened, experienced members would be much appreciated.

Contest dieting differs for a lot of people, most use a low-carb approach and others keep their carbs and do an insane amount of cardio.

My cousin did a show last year around this time and he did not restrict carbs, and came in absolutely ripped. He is naturally lean, though. Theres a bodybuilder named Jeff Long who just came in 2nd at the junior nationals who cut out carbs AND fats during his pre-contest diet. Again, its easier to keep on muscle when you are on juice, but for the natual bb it seems like the minority keep carbs, and i would say most cycle them

Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the great response.

Also, just out of curiosity, is there anything special about rice and potatoes? In other words, are they good things to eat while cutting, as far as carbohydrate sources go, despite their both having high GI’s. It seems that among the higher carb diets that I saw, those and fruit were the generally the only sources of carbohydrate.

Admittedly, part of the reason that I asked is that I’ve never been really satisfied with any of my cutting strategies, but they’ve also all revolved around really low-carb diets. I figured that since my approach wasn’t getting good results, and the approach that was getting results wasn’t mine, I should probably change my approach, but didn’t know to what. I’ve historically avoided more than a little cardio out of fear of losing muscle, but I may try the moderate carb/higher cardio approach you mentioned and see if it works better for me. Anyway, thanks.

I’ve competed so hopefully I can provide some insights that are helpful.

I believe you need carbs, which are protein sparing. The key is cardio, which should be of longer duration, but not max intensity.

Keep the carbs, but moderate them. I eat yams, brown rice, beans. These are basically low glycemic carbs. After a workout, you can use a higher glycemi carb/protein drink. I’ve had good success with this formula. In addition, another key are the number of calories you are consuming. Lower carb diets are often beneficial for those competitors who don’t keep track of total calories.

Alright, thanks a lot, ghost. That definitely helps.

Just out of curiosity (exposing my own ignorance here) are sweet potatoes the same thing as yams, and if so are they really better than regular potatoes even though they’re sweeter? Also, while they’re both called potatoes, regular potatoes are kind of homogeneous in texture whereas sweet potatoes are kind of fibrous, which suggests they’re a different type of plant altogether, so are they even related? If not that would explain any nutritional differences. Just my thoughts…

Yams, sweet potatoes, it doesn’t matter. They are both good for dieting.