T Nation

Crossfit for Bodybuilding - Carb Reload Phase?

Hi all; at the risk of becoming ‘The Crossfit Guy’ - which I’m not, if you read my earlier posts - I’d like to suggest one application for short, high-intensity anaerobic workouts, at which Crossfit is exceptionally good.

In a pre-comp phase, just before the carb-up, Dan Duchaine advocated total-body carb-depletion. One last workout to stimulate insulin sensitivity, and then hammer the dextrose. This was from Body Opus, his last book.

Duchaine knew hormones. His workout - to deplete glycogen and stimulate insulin sensitivity - lasted about 2 hours, and was one giant circuit of total-body training.
We used a glycogen-depleting Crossfit workout to do the same to bodybuilders pre-competition in June. It only took 30 minutes. This was our first year doing it.

What are your thoughts? I’m not saying this IS the answer, but I’d like to hear the opinion of T-Nation. Before you answer, though, please consider these:

  1. did the workout raise insulin sensitivity? Definitely.
  2. what if I (or an author you like, as in Cosgrove or Thibodeau) wrote this exact workout, and called it something else?

…I’m not including the exact workout, because I don’t want this conversation to be bogged down in the merits of pullups vs. chinups. For discussion only!

One last thing: here’s a great test to see how much these workouts raise insulin sensitivity. Eat half of a bran muffin pre-workout. Do your workout. Eat the other half. Was it sweeter post-workout? If so, then you’ve increased insulin sensitivity.

It’s possible to work, I guess. Back in the day there was a thing they used to call PHA=Peripheral Heart Action, for cutting down fat. It was basically weight training circuits, but nothing like the level of intensity crossfit provides. It would seem like a solid plan if designed and implemented correctly with a good diet.

Since this thread got bumped there was a topic on this over at the performancemenu.com forums:


Personally, I did a CKD not too long ago and would either start my carb up friday night to saturday night, or saturday morning to saturday night.

If I carbed up Friday, my depeletion workout was something like:

sandbag clean+squat x 10
db push press x 10
pull ups x 8
burpees x 10
x 10 rounds or something.

If it was Saturday is was squat cleans supersetted w/ pull ups and deadlifts supersetted w/ push ups, and some other stuff that I don’t remember.

Surge tasted pretty sweet afterwards, especially after no carbs all week, and I think both got the job done for me.

However, for a highly competitive bodybuilder, not somebody whose goal was just to be on stage in good condition, but whose goal was to be on stage and win, it might be better to be a little more thorough w/ the process.

I think Lyle McDonald actually did depletion calcs in UD 2.0 or another one of his books, where he actually calculated the level of muscle glycogen after all the workouts of the week.

I haven’t read body opus, but I would say that maybe a more traditional, by that I mean planned approach to ensure that glycogen is indeed at empty at the time of the carb load, would be better for the highly competitive body builder.

For the sake of my knowledge, I was wondering what workouts you did w/ your athletes?


what do you guys do for your depletion workouts intensity wise and how do you know you are depleted? Other than blacking out mid-set.

I’ve been doing one of these on Friday morning, my carb up day, after a small carb meal before loading the rest of the day. I’ve also been having a PWO shake and carb meal before sleeping mid week on my CKD. I basically starve most of the week other than this.

And any thoughts on this article?:


[quote]theuofh wrote:

For the sake of my knowledge, I was wondering what workouts you did w/ your athletes?

HI uofh;
We did a couple of them. I invited their bodybuilding coach to watch. One workout, we called ‘War Face,’ which was 1 minute each of a bunch of different movements, including basics like pushups and front squats and chinups, but also keg snatches, tire flips, and the like. Hey, I gotta be me.