T Nation

Gaining on low carbs

Since insulin shuttles amino acids the the muscles, isn’t it true that low carb diets aren’t best for packing on the most amount of mass? I know they work really well for dieting down. Any insights?

I have used the anabolic diet for the past 2 months with excellent results. From my experience, the increase in testosterone from the high fat intake seems to offset the lower insulin levels. Certain amino acids have insulin releasing effects, also, exercise increases muscle cells sensitivity to glucose, even with low levels of insulin.
I recently won the Texas Southwest Natural Bodybuilding Championships by using a hight fat, low carb diet. If the high fat diet is followed as recommended with proper supplemetation, you should be able to gain mass.

Congratulations on your win Erick! Well both the anabolic and warrior diets interest me greatly.

What if… during the day I ate low carbhigh fatlow-medium protein and then after training high carblow fathigh protein. Wouldn’t this promote fat burning during the day and maximum mass packing at night (straight after training when it’s best to do so)? Or would I just get real fat real fast?

Jagin, that’s just what the T-Dawg diet recommends. It’s pretty much the anabolic diet with a high carb drink right after workouts. Check it out on the site!
To be honest though, I’d stick with the Anabolic Diet as Dipqasquale describes it, which wouldn’t include a high carb meal following exercise. I don’t think you’re body will go through the “metabolic shift” Mauro describes if you include a high carb meal.

The timing of the post-workout drink is imperative. If you consume the carbohydrates within 15 minutes after the workout, you will avert a dramatic insulin response. So, the original post argued for utilizing the anabolic properties of insulin with one meal a day. While the latest post is utilizing the anabolic properties of the workout to replenish glycogen and stimulate protein synthesis. If you are trying to adhere to the anabolic diet and the metabolic “shift” associated therin, pre-prepare a moderate to high-carb/protein drink and consume at the end of the workout while still in the gym, maybe even during the last stages of the workout. By doing this the GLUT receptors are activated through muscular contraction resulting in glucose and amino acid uptake, but you will still avoid the insulin response with a high carb meal consumed later, which would counteract the “metabolic shift” obtained through a low-carb diet.

Firstly, WHY do I want a metabolic shift? In Fuel for Thought (issue 82) James Wilson says that a carb-based engine is better for training performance. As for fat loss, when packing on the most amount of mass, this isn’t critical but low carbs during the day should aid here anyways. I could have fat and no carbs during the day (not in excess) to up testosterone. Perhaps carbs before training in case glycogen reserves aren’t enough. Then after training, eating festival with carbs and protein ala Warrior Diet – although cutting fat here to reduce the chance of insulin shuttling it to body fat storage. This high carb high protein festival would be where major muscle gain occurs. Even in Eat like a Man (issue 69) Dr DiPasquale states that the high carb weekend is the anabolic part – why not make it every day? In the latest FlexOnline, in Protein Gadgets they state that new research shows that most protein should be eaten after training.

To me this looks like the best way to pack on mass with gaining little bodyfat (in theory!). Both the Anabolic and Warrior diets in their purest form seem to be a little too targetted on getting ripped at the same time as gaining muscle… now… I’m gonna try this out and hopefully get really big and massive (this last part spoken with an Arnold accent).

The reasons for the “metabolic shift” are several fold (I used that term to adress a previous post). A diet persistently low in carbs and high in fat i) stimulates fat burning, ii)spares protein, iii) elicits hormonal alterations and iv) sets up super compensation. The reason the eating festival on the weekend is so anabolic is because there has been a change in metabolism. By restricting carbs you set the body up for a super compensation once you give the body carbs, at the same time protein or amino acids will be pushed into the muscles as well. If you have that “festival” every day, the body never really gets a chance to adapt to the low carb metabolism and you lose the supercompensation. Further, an eating festival every day will push the extra calories whether fat or carbs into the fat cells regardless. You may also lose the hormonal alterations, although how important the slightly higher androgen levels are, from a practical standpoint, is hard to say. The point of my post was that the workout is anabolic in nature. You can get away with eating carbs during the workout and not affecting the metabolic shift. If you are not concerned about packing on fat with the muscle though, your approach may work. You just won’t be as lean while you gain some mass.

Jagin, I think we’re both arguing the same thing here. The point is not that carbohydrates are bad and fats are good. Both the t-dawg diet (the one you’ve been talking about) and the Anabolic Diet make use of the muscle building potential of carbohydrates. Only in the Anabolic Diet, you load up during the weekend, so you can still go through this “metabolic shift” while going through glycogen loading on the weekend. The t-dawg diet does the same thing, only the “cycle” of high fat to high carb is done every day. By doing this, you’re avoiding the metabolic shift, where the body turns on its fat burning enzymes to burn dietary fat instead of carbs. So which is better? I’d prefer to be in the fat burning mode all the time… By carb loading on the weekends you can still make use of their anabolic qualities. The T-dawg diet was not made to be “superior” to the Anabolic Diet in the first place. TC adjusted the strategy because he was concerned about the health implications of being on the Anabolic Diet all the time and eating very little fiber, needing additional vitamin supplementation, etc… If you’re worried about this, check out Dr. Dipasquale’s new book “The Metabolic Diet” when it comes out. It’s pretty much an updated, healthier look at the anabolic diet.

You can add muscle mass while on a modified TKD. In fact, this has been the only way that I have been able to add muscle without gaining much fat. Try taking 50g protein/5g creatine/5g glutamine with 35-40g of dextrose before and after your workouts, while limiting carbs to zero the rest of the time. Add 500 calories a day to gain mass, eat at maintenance and do cardio 3-4 times per week to lose fat. Sounds simple, but it works. Insulin is used by the body to shuttle amino’s and other nutrients into your muscles, however, I feel that the best time, and only “needed” time for taking in carbs is before and after your workouts to replace used up muscle glycogen.

I think another thing people often overlook is the insulin releasing effect of fat and protein! As Duchaine used to point out in mm2k, proteins and fats have their own glycemic indexes as well as carbs. And there is certainly a heirarchy as to which cells receive the amino acids and glucose. Muscles require the lowest level of insulin activity, and fat requires the highest. Carbohydrates generally have higher and quicker insulin responses, while proteins and fats cause less insulin to be released, or at least a longer and more steady release due to the longer rate of absorption. The point here is that carbohydrates are not the only macronutrient to elicit a rise in insulin levels. Having consistently stable insulin levels keeps you in the anabolic state nonstop. The first step in creating a diet that keeps insulin stable was to divide the three big meals a day we used to eat into six smaller ones as I’m sure you all know. Well, the new generation of diets like the anabolic diet take controlling insulin one step further by manipulating macronutrient ratios AND meal timing to further stabalize insulin.

Ok I’m gonna try low carbs all the time except after training where I’ll eat as much carbs and protein as I can handle for about 30-45 mins. If it doesn’t work, you probably won’t hear about it again from me :wink: Still, I’ve certainly learnt a lot from you guys – thanks!!