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Is a Clean Low-Carb Bulk Possible?

Hi,

Now I know the concept is ridiculous, as low carb will definitely hurt gains. The reason for low carb has nothing to do with lifting. It is because for the past year I’ve developed a horrible case of IBS, after seeing many different doctors and finding nothing to fix it (and medications only partially helping), my gastroentronologist suggested I try going low carb. Basically it has made my life livable again.

Now that I am once again healthy, its time to put that muscle I lost back on and then some. So given that background, there is no chance in hell I’m ingesting more than 50 carbs a day. I’m looking for workarounds to this. CT mentions low carb clean bulking in his nutrition for beginners article, does anyone do this?

Starting point: 160 lbs, ~10% bf (i never was big, but i lost 15 lbs during my IBS problems)

Goal: stay healthy, gain a couple pounds of muscle every month until i get at least around 200 lbs

Diet (this was modified for Chad Waterbury’s suggested diet in his article "5 ways to Boost Testosterone�??):

Workout food (eat half before, half when i get home): 1 cup yogurt, tbsp flax, 1/4 cup cranberries

Breakfast: 4 eggs, 1 cup collard greens, 2 salmon oil caps

Snack: 3 ounces meat,2 tbsp flax, 2 s. oil

Lunch: 6 ounces meat (usually tuna), 2 cups raw spinach, 2 tbsp flax, 2 fish oil caps

Snack: 3 ounces meat, 2tbsp sunflower butter in celery, 1 salmon oil cap

Dinner: 6 ounces meat, big spinach/kale/romaine salad, 2 tbsp flax, 2 fish oil

Snack: 1 cup full fat cottage cheese, 2 tbsp flax

Totals: 2500 cals, 200 g protein, 10%carb 57%fat, 33% protein (i plugged this into nutritiondata.com)

A few more notes: some people might mention that I should stay away from the dairy, I’m def. fine with it. Also the flax might look excessive, but my gastroentronologist wants my getting at least 30g of fiber a day and this is the easiest way to pull it off. After looking at the nutritiondata.com tallies, I’m lacking in vitamin d and e, so I’ll probably add some cod liver oil.

Anyone have any tips? Critiques? Helpful thoughts? I know it will take me longer than average to gain weight, but will it work? I’ve been on low carb for about a month, eating this diet for a week now and I feel awesome- feeling super strong in the gym too.

Thanks for your time. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Eat more. At 160 lbs you probably need at least 3200kcal/day to gain weight.

Yeah, I’d suggest eating a bit more, too.

I would, however, add calories VERY slowly. Especially with IBS.

I bloody hope a low carb clean bulk is possible - Im doing the exact same thing haha!

Current on 3450 calories, 231g protein, 250g fat, 62g carbs and an additional 40g fiber.

are you sure that ALL carbs make your IBS worse? If I were you I would try to find some starches that you can handle (don’t be afraid to try refined starches, as the lack of bran fiber my help) try white rice or boiled potatoes for example, as these are pretty bland and may not upset your system.

What I’ve heard works best for a low carb bulk is to keep non-training days at ~100g carbs (to keep out of ketosis, which isn’t conducive to muscle grain) then add carbs pre/post workout, with the amount dependent on volume.

How do you handle fruit? What about non-gluten carb sources?

Ok. Yeah, I was erring on the low side b/c of that (it has nothing to do with gaining fat). Maybe I’ll add a nut-butter/olive oil/flax shake somewhere. Heh, since sugar-alcohol sweeteners are out of the question I wonder how it will taste.

Oh, and if anyone with IBS reads this thread, check with your GI before trying it. A lot of IBSers have problems ingesting high amounts of fat- I’m fine with it thankfully.

Thanks for the replies.

edit: Wow, replies coming in fast. This post is only after the first two.

What would people suggest with regards to energy systems work on a low carb clean bulk to encourage leanness?

Im guessing HIIT will screw up my glycogen stores…

benmoore: Does your diet look something like this? Do you have any high calorie meal secrets to share? I’d love to compare notes.

JMo: Unfortunately my body sucks with fruit. Heh, the first time I saw a gastro he put me on the standard high carb starches/fruit and lean meat diet and I was a mess. White rice I probably should be able to digest, but I’m leary of going outside the boundaries since low-carb has been the ONLY thing that has worked for me in a year. I want to enjoy feeling good for a while before pushing the limits.

Good stuff guys, thanks for the thoughts!

[quote]benmoore wrote:
What would people suggest with regards to energy systems work on a low carb clean bulk to encourage leanness?

Im guessing HIIT will screw up my glycogen stores…[/quote]

While I’m not sure if its optimal, I do interval running 3x a week and it doesnt cut into my lifts. I do it more to stay fit than for leanness though. Search CT’s articles. To summarize, its 1 minute fast running, 2 minutes slow, for a total of about 5-10 intervals (depending on your level). He has some other ones too.

Im currently living the student life - it makes things a bit of a pain with regards to cost, portability, time etc.

Try home made protein bars:
75g natural peanut butter
20g vanilla protein powder
2.5g cinnamon
1 tsp splenda
2 tbsp water (Or sub with WF calorie free pancake syrup for extra sweetness)

Mix up, shape into bar, wrap in foil, freeze. Eat when defrosted but still cool and firm.

38g protein
35g fat
10g carbs
7.5g fiber

Cured meats/sausages are fantastic too - good quality chorizo, salami, etc.

Cheese - cheddar, mozerella, etc.

Mixed nuts

Extra virgin olive oil on your salads for additional fat.

A lot of my meals involve quality cuts of meat, cheese, olive oil and a shit tonne of green non starchy vegetables. I often make up salads for the next day in tupperware.

and right now I’m off to cook up:

3 large eggs
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp splenda
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp semi skimmed milk
1 tsp water

Blend up, pour in bowl, put in microwave on low-medium. Take out every 30 seconds and beat hard with a fork till a smooth creamy consistency. Continue until it reaches desired thickness.

Eat with a spoon and a big grin.

Absolutely delicious! Props to the genius in another thread that thought up eggs + cinnamon + splenda + peanut butter!

And my low carb protein pancakes for breakfast are to die for…

hmm interesting thread, they thought I had IBS for awhile until it was diagnosed that instead I had crohn’s, it’s interesting that you said low carb works better for you, every doctor that I’ve spoken too about the issue suggests less fat higher carb diet. I’ve found mixing in some psyillum husk into my shakes has helped tremendously aswell as using a decent protein powder.

Syntha-6 used too be pretty much rejected by my body after using it pretty regulary for 12 months however I’ve started using optimum nutrion’s gold standard and my stomach loves it lol.

As others have said, you’re going to need to eat more to grow… 3 oz of meat? That’s like a bite. And this is coming from a 110 pound girl.

Thx benmoore, I’ll have to change them a little as i can’t have splenda (sugar alcohols are a trigger for me).

jtg: I know what you mean. even though my gastro never said this, I think low-carb was a “well nothing else works, it can’t hurt to try” idea from him. He ran blood/stool tests first though, and I can absorb fats just fine. Also, while I alternated, I was more often ibs-c than d. That might make a difference. Like you, fiber is a must have when eating anything for me.

And k8, heh do you have to kick a guy when he’s down? lol, I’m going to up the calories, but very slowly.

Another question, if my mono/poly/saturated fats are about equal, do I need to spend extra money for lean meat? Would 70/30 ground beef be just as good and, given that I need more calories, better than lean meat?

[quote]dexslave wrote:
Thx benmoore, I’ll have to change them a little as i can’t have splenda (sugar alcohols are a trigger for me).

jtg: I know what you mean. even though my gastro never said this, I think low-carb was a “well nothing else works, it can’t hurt to try” idea from him. He ran blood/stool tests first though, and I can absorb fats just fine. Also, while I alternated, I was more often ibs-c than d. That might make a difference. Like you, fiber is a must have when eating anything for me.

And k8, heh do you have to kick a guy when he’s down? lol, I’m going to up the calories, but very slowly.

Another question, if my mono/poly/saturated fats are about equal, do I need to spend extra money for lean meat? Would 70/30 ground beef be just as good and, given that I need more calories, better than lean meat?[/quote]

Splenda isn’t a sugar alcohol - I don’t have them either =]

[quote]dexslave wrote:
And k8, heh do you have to kick a guy when he’s down? lol, I’m going to up the calories, but very slowly.

[/quote]

sorry, that totally didn’t mean to come off as mean. Glad you are going to up the calories, good luck on your goals!

Its cool, I knew you were joking =) Btw, impressive picture. My gf saw it and said “I want her arms and back.”

benmoore: I need to look into this. On a sheet my gastro gave me it says to stay away from Splenda. Maybe I’ll ask him why next time I see him. I always assumed it was a sugar alcohol. One thing I’m looking into for pre/post workout is dextrose powder. My gastro said that might be ok , as its the easiest carb to possibly absorb. This might be a dumb question, but does anyone else use dextrose powder for pre/post workout?

Try looking up the anabolic diet. I haven’t done it but I believe its mainly a meat diet, which is really the best thing for bulking. So I’ve found anyway, based on my personal results.

[quote]hardgnr wrote:
Try looking up the anabolic diet. I haven’t done it but I believe its mainly a meat diet, which is really the best thing for bulking. So I’ve found anyway, based on my personal results.[/quote]

I think he mentioned not wanting to ingest more than 50g carbs a day - the weekends on the AD would just be hell

Otherwise i would agree the diet gets good results

[quote]dexslave wrote:
Its cool, I knew you were joking =) Btw, impressive picture. My gf saw it and said “I want her arms and back.”

benmoore: I need to look into this. On a sheet my gastro gave me it says to stay away from Splenda. Maybe I’ll ask him why next time I see him. I always assumed it was a sugar alcohol. One thing I’m looking into for pre/post workout is dextrose powder. My gastro said that might be ok , as its the easiest carb to possibly absorb. This might be a dumb question, but does anyone else use dextrose powder for pre/post workout?[/quote]

Ahhh thanks! :slight_smile: Pullups!

[quote]dexslave wrote:
Its cool, I knew you were joking =) Btw, impressive picture. My gf saw it and said “I want her arms and back.”

benmoore: I need to look into this. On a sheet my gastro gave me it says to stay away from Splenda. Maybe I’ll ask him why next time I see him. I always assumed it was a sugar alcohol. One thing I’m looking into for pre/post workout is dextrose powder. My gastro said that might be ok , as its the easiest carb to possibly absorb. This might be a dumb question, but does anyone else use dextrose powder for pre/post workout?[/quote]

Ive been running off 30g whey isolate pre/post and a little creatine for the last 5 weeks lol.

I havent died yet.