Here is my intial question to Don Alessi:
Many people are using Meltdown training on a low to no carb diet. You even suggested a low carb diet like the T-Dawg would work very well with this program. This is not making sense to me.
Meltdown works through several mechanisms that you have already explained, but the primary means by which people make gains on this program is throught the lactic acid/GH mechanism.
How do you create high enough amounts of lactic acid while on carb restricted diets?
Below is a question that I posed to my t-mag forum brothers. It contains my intial thoughts on the process. Any insight from you would be welcomed.
"Can Meltdown work on low to no carb diets? Jason Norcross 2002-03-09 15:23:02 Something clicked in my mind just a few minutes ago and I had to rush to the computer to get this idea out for discussion. According to Alessi, meltdown training works by creating a lot of lactic acid which then stimulates growth hormone. Growth hormone then does its thing and we all become huge and ripped at the same time. I don't want to discuss the growth hormone at all. I want to talk about lactic acid. Lactic acid is a product of anaerobic glyolysis. So to produce lactic acid, you need glycogen. On low carb (like the T-Dawg as Alessi recommends) or no carb (like Fat Fast), most people will be severely glycogen limited or have almost none at all. So where is the lactic acid coming from? Without stored glycogen, one has to rely on the glycerol portion of stored triglycerides converting to 3-phosphoglyceraldehyde and then to pyruvate which can then go throught the Cori cycle to create glucose and eventually go through anaerobic glycolysis to produce lactic acid. Also, many amino acids are glucogenic (primarily alanine and other BCAA's) and can be deaminated and converted to pryruvate, malate or oxaloacetate which can also be converted to glucose. So to get our glucose so that we can get our lactic acid, we have to use both fat and protein for energy metabolism. According to my readings, it seems as if both sources contribute quite a bit to the gluconeogenic pool. Anyway, it seems like a recipe for muscle loss. I know that I have read where Alessi's staff members have recommended large doses of BCAA's during exercise obviously to prevent muscle catabolism.
Anyway, my question is: why not do meltdown with an adequate carbohydrate intake? If the goal is to create a lot of lactic acid, you need a lot of glucose. If you keep carbs moderate to high, there will be plenty of stored glycogen for which to create a lot of lactic acid. I'm not saying that Meltdown cannot work with low/no carb diets, but it seems like it would be optimized to work with a diet higher in carbohydrates. With summer coming up, a lot of people may try Meltdown to lean up and I think that we need to figure out what kind of diet would be most optimal."
After some discussion and later discussion on this topic amongst other threads, no one is coming to a clear answer. I have seen one of your trainers who posts as "jman" mention taking high doses of BCAA's and glutamine during and after training. I understand this will provide energy substrate and stimulate growth hormone, but to me it just seems like an expensive substitute for carbohydrates.
Don Alessi's Response:
You answered your own question, assuming excess bodyfat, the greater contribution of glycerol & fatty acids will fill in the energetic gap - post workout -thus driving EPOC & Fat Oxidation. Plus, after initial replenishment even more energy is demanded to drive super-compensation. And this does not even scratch the surface on the anabolic effects of the other metabolites. The studies on muscle damage indicate that it is the degree of disruption that drives protein turnover. Both anabolic and catabolic - so yes you need to use glutamine & bcaa's to restore nitrogen balance. Bottom line, the program works better with low carbs - results speak louder than theory!