T Nation

Fats for a Pump

Hey guys

Traditionally people ‘carb up’ for shows to get a great pump and be really full, or if you have a big workout coming that you want to get a great pump in you could have a tonne of carbs the night before or the day of.
Now I have heard of people saying that FATS are the key to a great pump.
Especially artemus dolgin the golden aesthetics brand owner, and you can’t argue with his results.
He went as far as FAT LOADING before a show! Instead of taking in a tonne of carbs he went for fats and said his pump and fullness and vascularity was all there if not better!

Please can anyone who has any info on this share with me.
I am especially interested as I am doing a bit of a cut at the moment so the carbs are dropping but don’t want to lose my pumps and fullness.


I’ve heard of people fat loading for a show, but really I think it’s very much an individual thing and should not be followed because one or two guys had great results with it. The default method is carb loading because your body is depleted during peak week, then you carb load to get all of that glycogen into the muscles, hence looking fuller/tighter/shrink wrapped.

When I was on keto for my show prep for a month and a half, I’d call that “fat loading” as my fat intake was the vast majority of my calories every day, and I can tell you I looked lean and hard but most definitely was NOT full, very much the opposite, pretty flat.

Concerning vascularity, most of that will be genetics and how lean you are. Some guys I know are vascular as hell even when they’re 30-40 pounds away from being shredded. There are some things you can do to slightly manipulate vascularity, personally I found a rice cake with honey and 1/4TSP salt (the salt being the main thing for vascularity) 15 minutes before pre judging worked very well for me.

Overall if you want to try “fat loading” I’d recommend a trial run before your show, but remember carb loading after depletion Is the standard protocol for a reason, provided you find the right amount of carbs for you.

Some people also use carb front loading, where you get your biggest carbs loads Monday/Tuesday before the show, then adjust throughout the week to fine tune as needed. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here, just what works best for most. Personally I don’t know anyone who “fat loads.”

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Robstein, thanks so much for taking your time to give me such a good and in depth response.
So from what you are saying I think it is definitely best to just trial run the different forms of ‘loading’ to see what works best for me, is that right? I know for a fact I go FLAT on low carbs for any solid period of time but really fill back up and look fuller and tighter after some carbs so am inclined to think I may end up with the same sort of result as you got from fat loading.

Just a question on that though, when would you do these trial runs like how lean should I be to do one?
Thanks mate!

Yeah this is common, lack of carbs=lack of glycogen in the muscles, so looking flat is part of dealing with a low carb diet, but once the carbs come back you’ll fill out nicely provided you don’t go overboard.

Quite honestly noticing the effects in composition of carb loading and such, you’d have to be extremely lean, pretty much stage lean or very close to it. So, if you really want to try something out probably 3-4 weeks out from the show, however it could be a double edged sword. If you experiment with carb loading to see what works best, you’re taking in a ton of carbs which probably aren’t part of the contest prep. So, IMO if you’re going to do a prep/contest for the first time, go with the standard approach of depletion plus carb loading, and the amount of carbs you load with should be determined by you and your coach based on your carb intake and carb tolerance throughout your prep. Personally I followed my coach’s instructions of depleting during the week and carb loading the day before, and we found I could handle more carbs. So, my second show, I started carb loading Thursday evening and all day Friday, also experimenting with different foods/carb sources during show day. Trial and error is the only way, but with time comes knowledge and improvement!

I see what you mean there with test running it being a bit of an issue because of having to be so lean just to see if it works.
That sounds spot on though to just go with the ‘standard’ protocol and then adjust from there.
Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge dude it’s really appreciated!

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Happy to help bro, good luck!!