T Nation

Feeling Like I Screwed Up

OK, for the last 20 weeks ago, I have been following a Low Carb regimen. I don’t want to say diet because I was only below maintenance for about 12 of those weeks. I got to single digit bodyfat for the first time in my life, at 5’8, 167 lbs, and 8%bf. Since then I’ve been eating maintenance, maybe a bit above maintenance, and have gained a little weight, not much more than 10% bf.

My question is this: I have had two TOTAL days where I have eaten > 30 grams of carbs. This has led to no increase in strength, and in fact sometimes I feel like I might be a little weaker than when I started. Have I ruined my insulin sensitivity, as well as any other things I should be aware of, by being low carb for so long?

P.S. I will begin reintroducing carbs periworkout first with Surge, then two weeks later start with breakfast oatmeal. Thoughts as to this as well?

You’re fine, dude. If you’ve been humming along nicely on a low carb diet, eating a few more carbs once or twice isn’t gonna restore much lost strength, or give you much extra strength, especially if you’ve been eating maintenance calories here recently.

You’re probably at a level of strength which is close to your max and is mostly independent of any dietary tweaks like low carb or whatever.

Just keep adding calories and plugging away and adding weight to the bar.

the problem is that my strength has indeed gone down since i used peri wo carbs. although i was at 180, i was benching 205x7. now im 185x8, which is a loss of strength no question.

i was reading lyle mcdonalds book on the ketogenic diet and he said it was simply impossible for a person to do weight training without periworkout carbs, because for every two sets you do you lose about 15g of carbs in glycogen stores. considering i do way more than that (as do all of us), doesn’t this mean that i simply MUST use carbs during my wo?

[quote]jzl1388 wrote:
the problem is that my strength has indeed gone down since i used peri wo carbs. although i was at 180, i was benching 205x7. now im 185x8, which is a loss of strength no question.

i was reading lyle mcdonalds book on the ketogenic diet and he said it was simply impossible for a person to do weight training without periworkout carbs, because for every two sets you do you lose about 15g of carbs in glycogen stores. considering i do way more than that (as do all of us), doesn’t this mean that i simply MUST use carbs during my wo?[/quote]

I’ve hit personal bests without having any carbs at all for weeks, simply using large amounts of BCAAs.

From what it sounds, its not the lack of carbs causing your lack of max strength. Its your weight loss. Keep upping your calories, in the form of pre/post workout carbs if you like, until you start gaining strength again, and you should soon be back, and beyond, your previous lifts.

If you aren’t using carbs peri or post workout, you need to substitute carbs with something else to refill your glycogen and give your muscles something to help them grow.

I use glutamine and BCAAs because I like to be low carb. It just works best for me to have minimal carbs and the majority of those at night before bed.

if you are low carb, you can just have your carbs as PWO, but you still might want to consider supplementing

I also think some folks are doing glycine PWO in place of carbs

Also, how about your progress, or lack thereof, on your other lifts?

Squat?

Dead?

Military?

Personally, my bench is something that suffers the most if my diet isn’t what it needs to be.

my military has been the only lift to go up over this time frame, partially bc my delts were very weak to begin with.

as for deads, still pretty much unchanged. my squats have gone down a lot because i have some tenderness with my hip flexors; however leg press is still around the same.

i’m a little confused i guess as to how the bcaas/glycine replenish glycogen? i understand they spike insulin, which does indeed correlate with glycogen replenishment, but does it necessarily mean this will happen?

[quote]jzl1388 wrote:
i’m a little confused i guess as to how the bcaas/glycine replenish glycogen? i understand they spike insulin, which does indeed correlate with glycogen replenishment, but does it necessarily mean this will happen?[/quote]

IMO using glycine, glutamine, or BCAAs post workout in lieu of carbs is pointless and frankly, quite stupid.

Why megadose a ton of amino acids to elevate insulin and replenish glycogen when eating carbs will do the exact same thing AND are cheaper and taste a whole lot better?

everyone who suggests this seems to think that ketosis is nessesary for fat loss, which is entirely untrue.

sounds like you’re on the right track. i wouldn’t worry about the strength loss…it’s in the past. it’s not unusual, especially when dieting/ training to single digit bf. how do you look in the mirror? do you look like you lost substantial muscle mass?

and no you haven’t ruined your insulin sensitivity… if anything your sensitivity is better from being low carb for so long.

i wouldn’t expect serious strength and LBM increases until you start upping the calories. sounds like you have a pretty good handle on reintroducing carbohydrates to your diet… first with peri/ postworkout carbs… followed by carbs at breakfast, two times you are naturally more insulin sensitive.

just don’t get too carb happy too quick, you don’t want to gain substantial fat back after training so hard to get to single digits.

sidenote: tried the bcaa protocol doing 20g before and after w 40g of whey. Best workout I’ve had in a very long time. Started with 3x10 dls then did 4x10 military at weight I could only to 4x8 for the past four weeks. Then did uprights at normal weight and some medial felt work. ((I know workout looks weird but whatever ) still thanks for bcaa rec octobergirl as I await Surge I feel great!

It’s all about what works for you

for me I like low carb and it works for me

Low-carb has it’s place

It is all about spending your cals wisely. Some folks don’t mind wasting cals on carbs when they aren’t necessary.

I’d rather fill that cal requirement with better macronutrients

Did you look into carb cycling?

and you can do Surge and be low carb, just count it in your carbs

I have a small serving of pineapple after a workout and I just count that in my carbs

good job on your Workout!

even if it is weird =)

haha thanks. i have checked out carb cycling, like the codex from thibs, only issue is that he recommends on LOW carb days around 150 or 200 carbs/day, whereas I keep it to trace carbs (maybe 30) every day. I would need to work up to doing that.

i should also be much more sore than i am today…those bcaas are like wonders…

[quote]OctoberGirl wrote:

If you aren’t using carbs peri or post workout, you need to substitute carbs with something else to refill your glycogen and give your muscles something to help them grow.

I use glutamine and BCAAs because I like to be low carb. It just works best for me to have minimal carbs and the majority of those at night before bed.

if you are low carb, you can just have your carbs as PWO, but you still might want to consider supplementing

I also think some folks are doing glycine PWO in place of carbs

[/quote]

How much glutamine and BCAAs are you taking around your workout? I’m doing the AD and I’ve been struggling on figuring out what to have PWO. I have been taking 5g BCAA before and 1.5 scoops of MD with 5g BCAA and 5g of Glutamine PWO. Do you think that’s enough or should I up the BCAAs?

5g bcaa is really such a small amount, probably won’t do that much…if you’re doing low carb beneficial effects probably wouldn’t be felt until you hit 15-20g before and after

ok thanks, I just recently started taking them and wasn’t sure how much I really needed.

[quote]Rach2784 wrote:
OctoberGirl wrote:

If you aren’t using carbs peri or post workout, you need to substitute carbs with something else to refill your glycogen and give your muscles something to help them grow.

I use glutamine and BCAAs because I like to be low carb. It just works best for me to have minimal carbs and the majority of those at night before bed.

if you are low carb, you can just have your carbs as PWO, but you still might want to consider supplementing

I also think some folks are doing glycine PWO in place of carbs

How much glutamine and BCAAs are you taking around your workout? I’m doing the AD and I’ve been struggling on figuring out what to have PWO. I have been taking 5g BCAA before and 1.5 scoops of MD with 5g BCAA and 5g of Glutamine PWO. Do you think that’s enough or should I up the BCAAs?
[/quote]

Like Rach mentioned, in order to get the full benefit you would need to up your BCAAs.

I am moving some heavy weight so I actually take 10caps before workout and 10 after of the Biotest BCAAs. You can use whatever works for you and I think the powdered form might be a little cheaper, and BCAAs are pretty much all the same. (just be sure there are no fillers in what you buy)

I also take 20gs of Glutamine PWO

I don’t do this all the time because of cost, but I choose one week a month to hit really heavy so when I do, I do the mega-dose of the BCAAs.

If you are doing the AD and lifting I hope you have really shot upped your fats to help with inflammation.

I still pretty much follow the AD, it just is the easiest way for me to eat. I get all the best macronutrients in first and leave any carbs for last.

I stopped taking BCAA’s about 4 months ago when I started my “bulk” and haven’t noticed a thing.

Weird.

maybe it’s just me…i only got a benefit from BCAA’s when I was cutting.

Carb Cycling is great; if you can dial it in just right.