Just sitting here in a hotel, watching American Idol, and reading some debunking of the CBL book, a thought came to my head…
Why does pretty much every diet out there recommend high calories on training days, and low calories on off days, assuming you’re after body recomp.
I obviously get the theory behind fueling your workout days, and promoting muscle growth/recovery through increased food intake, but based on a day on/day off schedule, wouldn’t the following day be the one where your body is recovering and needing the extra calories, and your workout day be the one where you’re ready to break things down again, and recovery is winding down? I understand peri workout nutrition is important to make the most out of your workout, but that doesn’t take a lot of calories, nor would you want to be overly full any ways.
So, does that make sense to anyone? Has anyone tried a diet structure similar to this below?
Monday - Training - Low Calorie
Tuesday - Off - High Calorie
Wednesday - Training - Low Calorie
Thursday - Off - High Calorie
Friday - Training - Low Calorie
Saturday - Off - High Calorie
Sunday - Off - Can be low, maintenance, or high depending on bodyfat levels/goals
If you train heavy for low reps, and cut calories, then its not really important to get the extra cals in around training, just over the next 24 hours or so. So if you recomp RIGHT, by using low rep strength training, and calorie reduction, then its fine.
If you recomp by doing high reps and wasting muscle glycogen then your finished. High reps on reduced calories are not “recomp” they are a muscle wasting protocol. People who do a lot of work on few calories end up glycogen depleted, which is the signal for PROTEIN use for fuel rather than fat use which occurs constantly. High glycogen depleting work plus low cals equals muscle loss and fat retention.
So your suggestion is OK as long as you do it right and stick to sets of 2-5 with long rest and no cardio.
Added cals, especially carbs and some protein do directly stimulate protein synthesis, so you want to have them available around the period after a training stimulus has occurred, but again, since there is little glycogen depletion, the IMMEDIATE need is lower, and protein synth is higher for 24-48 hours.
Now keep in mind that even heavy, low rep training will cause glucose and amino acids to actively move into muscles as they contract. This is one of the big benefits to cutting on low reps. You can actively move nutrients into a muscle while you use fatty acids for fuel, but you use minimal glycogen, so the body does not significantly activate the use of protein for energy. [/quote]
I understand what you mean, but I don’t think it’s quite as extreme as you put it. I’m not talking glycogen depleting high intensity, conditioning workouts here, but rather heavy strength training, with some higher rep assistance exercises.
Even with a “crossfit” style of workout though, I don’t believe your breakfast, and lunch that day (assuming training is done in the evening), will really affect your workout much, and put you into a catabolic state… As long as proper peri workout nutrition is in place to fuel said workout. So, technically, I think you could still do a workout like that on a lower calorie day, as long as most of your calories for that day are shunted towards the end of the day. Your glycogen levels would still be topped up from the previous days higher calories, and add to that proper pre-workout nutrition, you would be fine.