T Nation

Illusion...muscle fullness

Hey T people…need a bit of help. I was wondering if you guys have any techniques, sups, or secrets as how to keep muscle fullness while dieting. I am currently dieting and while i’m still taking in 200 grams(or close to it) in carbs. I always seem flat. I’ve been drinking lots of water but its not really helping. I’m using the massive eating meal combos in a caloric deficit. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Mike

Your muscle fullness is a result of the storage of glycogen and the related water associated with it. That means that if you are ONLY taking in 200gr of carbs a day and eating a caloric deficit, you are not providing the means to increase or maintain muscle fullness. Why would your body keep your muscles full of glycogen when you aren’t even eating enough to stay in homeostasis? Your body cares more about your survival than how good you look in a tank top. If you want muscle fullness, dieting is not the way to do it.—
Professor X

Mike , are you taking creatine? That has worked for me in the past,it may make you a bit smooth though, so take it easy on the dosage.

Professor,what i meant is that I am dieting to reduce bodyfat, I was wondering what some ways to keep the muscleslooking fuller would be. You are right that dieting is not the way to go for MF, but unfortunately…dieting is a neccesary evil for some.I do have great respect for your posts though, thanks. A Girl, yes i’ve been taking 4.5 grams before I lift…not a huge help what kind of Creatine btw?

I don’t think you really caught what I was writing. During any dieting phase, you will lose muscle fullness. It is just something you deal with. It comes from the lack of stored glycogen. The good thing is, once you lean up a little, just like carb loading, your muscles will regain their fullness once you return to eating enough to support it. Muscle mass is the last thing that your body wants to hold on to when you are eating less. This is why you have to increase protein intake the less calories you consume. Giving yourself at least one day each week where you increase your intake may help you maintain at least some level of fullness, however, no where near what it is when you are eating enough to gain muscle mass.

You need to up your carb intake every 4th day or so to 500-600 grams of carbs then go back to 200. You can send me a bill for $25.00 to…

I’m not sure if this will create that look, but Charles Poliquin at a seminar said if you take 2g of Arginine after a workout with a post-workout shake or something, then you can increase your carb absorption/storage by up to 40%. Or you might want to try vanadyl sulfate, it helped me and a couple of frends feel that pumped feeling after a few days. I actually like training for strength, i.e. low reps heavy weights because then a few days later I still feel tight in my muscles.

The other guys are right, you probably need to cycle up your carbs for 36 hrs or so per week. 200 may sound like an adequate amount to you but some people, esp “naturals” seem to need more.If you are doing a lot of cardio, you may just need to cut that back-everyone’s different. The creatine helps me a little, I’m built pretty lean. I flatten out and lose muscle on No carbs, so I go LOW carbs and adjust my cardio, or cycle carbs up for a day to cut and stay full. Check out Wazoo’s post on precontest dieting/tips.

Protein, Protein, Protein. If you diet, you need to preserve muscle from waisting away by keeping your protein level high. With your diet, it sounds to me like youll need a stool softener too.

I cut off a ton of fat by limiting carbs to natural vegys and fruit. No rice, bread pasta or potatoes. Do the cardio and drink coffee or tea with cafine for those bad crash feelings. If you drink a protein shake every 90 min to 2 hrs. your crash will not be too bad. I cycled this diet one week on one week I added an Mrp with Carb. Remember this is a process and wont happen over night. Good luck.

well it looks like i’m gonna go for the carb up. Thanks everyone for your replies

Mic Check…I would definitely say up the carbs–at least every once in a while. I used to feel flat all the time, despite not even dieting or attempting to cut calories. I’ve recently aggressively upped my calories as well as carb intake–about 500g/day @ 160lbs–and my muscles constantly feel pumped. It’s a great feeling and I think I’ve finally restored some glycogen stores that were chronically depleted due to less than adequate carb intake. They’re really not the enemy!

Timbo-land and magoo…damn buddy that is agressive wthe carbs…hey since i’m dieting, and ur pretty damn shredded urself. let me hit ya w a few Q’s if tahts alright. I’ve had major success w my fat loss before losin 60 lbs and shit like that, but it’s gettin harder to lean out every year.Maybe my body adjusts to the thermos. I’m hittin a wall this yr. What kind of carbs do u take in? Since i’m dieting I’m thinking low insulin , low glycemic…they are kinda tough to find though, especially in compliance w/ Don’t Diet. also For my fats …i’m thinking of going w mostly flax and some red meat and nuts whhattya think. Thanks Mike

Mic Check…I love it, bro! Timbo-land! Anyway to try to hit some of your Q’s, I digress. First off, yes, I’ve been aggressive with the carbos, and keep in mind they make up about 55% of my intake (fats only 15%), also, I am very active and rarely am sitting still. So, I’m gifted with a furnace for a metabolism and the activity also plays a huge role. Right now, I consume oatmeal, white rice, and white pasta along with tons of vegetables: brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, mixed veggies, lettuce and cucumbers. I will have 2-3 servings of fibrous veggies at each meal with one starchy carb (rice, oatmeal, pasta). Now, when I was fooling around with trying to cut a little using Massive Eating meal combos–this is the current plan also–I would generally have some oats and veggies in the morning, but then the rest of the day I would pretty much only eat veggies for my carbs, with the exception of training days when I would have some sweet potatoes after training. Again, the veggies were the same. I do not eat any fruit, but I do eat cottage cheese–so I do consume some dairy but no fructose and I think that plays a role. Hope that helps a little and I will be willing to answer more questions or expand but I’m running a bit late.