T Nation

Contest Prep on Low Carbs?


Would it be possible to do a contest prep on low carbs? Not keto just sub 100g of net carbs? Any cons?


See my log. I’ve addressed this over and over. I didn’t go less than 100 grams till the last month or so on a 5 and half month prep. That’s a horrible way to start out!


Actually I should put that another way. I got to around 100 to 150 grams on SOME days during the prep, my “low” days, but I did not go to 60 to 100 grams (60 grams three days in a row, one day 100 grams, cycle repeating) til the last month or so.


Some people will need to limit or use carbs very strategically, others will be able to load 'em in provided everything else is attended to. It’s really a very individualized thing, and it can even vary from prep to prep with the same individual. The variables involved run from more genetic type stuff (natural insulin sensitivity), to how much physical exertion you deal with at work.

Something many BBers who grew up watching assisted athletes assume is that everyone absolutely needs to drop carbs. The downside of a low carb approach is that it makes it a bit more difficult to retain optimal muscle mass during a rough cut. When you’re relying on PEDs, they take care of a lot of that for you.



What if it was out of dietary preference? Not because they believed it was necessary to get contest ready. Would a you as a coach work with it or advise against it?


Personally I would try to start carbs as high as possible. In the 16-20 week time (or more) it takes to get stage lean, running carbs at <100g for the entirety might not get you to the level of leanness needed, and also might not be feasible to do, to say you’d dig yourself into the ground is an understatement. You don’t need a TON of carbs, my standard carb day in the beginning of my prep is currently 190g and will only go down from there. But I can’t imagine a successful prep and maintaining LBM while running carbs so low for so long. Low days even might be able to start at 100g if fats and cals are high enough to start, but 100g every day wouldn’t be advisable in my opinion.


Preference meaning you simply like eating more fat and protein instead of carbs?

As said above, it is unadvisable.

Are you going to do a show?


Everybody runs their prep differently and carb reactions differ. Personally, there is no way in hell I’d run carbs that low for a whole prep. You’d be pretty miserable and flat. My preps start with my carbs as high as possible while I am losing a scheduled amount of weight per week. The first 6-8 weeks of prep are pretty “easy” as far as diet goes for me. I typically do 3 LOW days and a HIGH day on the 4th day. As the prep progresses, the total carbs for each day drop over time. My last 6-7 weeks for my last show I ran 82g of cars on my low days and around 300ish on high days. I don’t have cheat meals because my body tends to hold on them a little longer than my coach would like.

I feel like you staying low the whole time without refeeds or cheats will spell doom for your metabolism, thyroid, ability to hold muscle, and endurance. Prep is never easy, but there are definitely ways to make it easier. I definitely suggest refeeds or cheats to keep the system going in a higher gear.

The best thing to do is learn what works for your body.


Yes, Simply preference.

I am thinking about doing a mock prep. I just do not feel like stepping on stage.

I eat a high protein/high fat diet, keep carbs usually around 50 net carbs all from veggies.


I can see being flat but, unless you have been eating high carb and suddenly drop carbs you should not feel bad. I am not going keto.


You asked for opinions, and four people who have experience prepping gave you a pretty unanimous opinion. If you want to try it your way, go for it, and let us know how it works out.


What’s your weight and leanness/fatness and sample menu?


You should consider joining us in the T-transformation 2017, it’s exactly what your talking about.


Get some group motivation, set an actual target date, and have some fun with your online buddies.