T Nation

Diet Insight


I am currently 3 weeks out from my warm up show (figure) and 5 weeks from my larger show. This will be my first time competing. I have trained for a couple years now and came into the prep with a decent amount of muscle mass. I have been able to maintain it up until about three weeks ago when my trainer cut my carbs down. Now I feel like I am struggling to keep the muscle I worked so hard to gain. When I brought this up, she said she has me on enough protein to keep the muscle, but my body is not agreeing. I am not a part of the "carbs are the devil" cult and think she has me too low, so I recently started carb cycling to some extent. I am looking for some insight on my diet. I am not that worried about coming in a little soft for my first show and honing in more for my second. I'd rather have some muscle than be a flat string bean which is the direction I fear I am headed. Like most women, the majority of my fat likes to hang out on my butt and thighs, but my upper body could go on stage now as it sits, and my abs have really popped.

Currently 5'4", 112lbs, roughly 13% BF

Previously, one 1/2 cup of oats were the only carbs other than 1.5 cups of green beans I would have in a day. This was also just in the morning, and I work out after work in the evening.

Current moderate carb day: 98 C/ 166 P/ 30 F- roughly 16 to 18g C come from dietary fiber. Roughly 1300 calories.

Meal 1: 1/4 C oats
1/4 C blueberries
1 scoop whey protein

Meal 2: 1 scoop whey protein or 4-5 egg whites
15 almonds (0.5 ounce)

(note- if I am doing cardio in the am, I switch these two meals around, doing cardio in between)

Meal 3: Chicken breast (29gm protein)
Green beans
0.5 ounce almonds

Meal 4: (1-1.5 hour preworkout)
1 can of tuna
100 gm sweet potato

Intraworkout- BCAAs and Crystal Light

Meal 5: (immead after workout)
2 tbsp fruit preserves (no sugar added)
1 plain rice cake
1 scoop whey

Meal 6: (about an hour after workout)
1/4 C oats
1 scoop Myofusion

Weekends I do not work out, and trade out the sweet potato for green beans. On a high day (1-2 days a week) I will either add more sweet potato or eat some home made chicken chili instead. Typically this brings my carbs to about 120-130gms, and I reduce my fat to about 20gm. This is reserved for shoulder and leg day, my two most intense days.

Does this sound like a reasonable direction to continue? I was making plenty of fat loss progress before cutting back carbs, so I am not really sure why she had me cut :confused:


I'm also not of the 'carbs are evil' camp. Even when I do have to run a client's numbers pretty low in carbs, it's always very intelligently targeted (never count fiber content though), and never really excessively low for more than a day or two if I can absolutely, positively help it. Protein will not guarantee no muscle loss. My approach is to never let the body think that protein (whether excess or actual muscle protein) is an acceptable fuel source. That simply leads to oxidation of muscle, and the stringy look you're trying hard to avoid.

Never cut anything just for the sake of making changes. This is something I've repeated many many times to clients. if things are 'moving', then let them continue progressing. In my years competing, I've learned to always try to keep as many carbs as I can in order to retain the maximum amount of LBM onstage.