T Nation

Macro Question for Sustained Bulk

Targetting Chris, but really anyone’s input is welcome.

Brief patient history: 28yrs, 6’2" 185 @ ~10-12%. Been lifting since college, but came back from time off about 6-7 months ago. Looking to swap to the Indigo Strength training protocol next week, so 5 days training per week. Will not be taking I3G, as it’s not in my budget at this time.

As a former “soft” kid in HS, I’ve tried to remain lean and been successful so far. I’m not trying to get contest shredded, and I don’t really want to have to weigh out stuff to count calories, I just keep an eye on basic ratios of P/C/F and try to time my carbs around training. Still, I’d have to say I’m a bit “scared” of carbs, and my split is probably a 50P/30C/20F breakdown. But, I know that insufficient carbs will only slow or stop my progress, so I’m not sure that I’m getting enough. Diet is ~3000 kcal per day.

I can provide a “What, exactly, I ate” list if you need it, but my question is a bit more general:

For focusing on strength gains and adding LBM (while keeping lean), does the above plan of 50/30/20 sound OK? Or should I move to a 40/40/20? How important is timing of each?

Again, not looking to be contest shredded, I’d be happy with keeping 10% and adding a few more lbs of mass. Thanks for any tips.

50% protein is far too much for long term sustainability. The body doesn’t like to use protein as energy, and gluconeogenesis is very inefficient compared to burning fat or carbs. I would aim for no more than a 3rd of your calories from protein. If you are doing indigo, it will recommend high carb. I personally do higher carb on training days and lower carb higher fat on non training days. BUT I am not doing indigo.

Shugert always says you don’t have to worry about carb timing w/ Indigo-3G because it’s magic like that.

Oops, guess that was unclear. I’ll be using the Indigo TRAINING, not the supplement. It’s a bit out of my budget right now. Only supps are protein powder, creatine, fish oil, and some BCAAs for intraworkout.

But thanks so far. I also try to lower carbs on non-training days (though I do usually have a sporting event on those days). Guess I just have an irrational fear of them.

So Ecch it sounds like you’re against even a 40/40/20 split? I thought that was pretty “standard”; what are you suggesting?

[quote]Apothecary wrote:

So Ecch it sounds like you’re against even a 40/40/20 split? I thought that was pretty “standard”; what are you suggesting?[/quote]

I suggest about 30% protein every day. On training days, make your carbs 40-50%, and on non training days, maybe 20-30% tops.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]Apothecary wrote:

So Ecch it sounds like you’re against even a 40/40/20 split? I thought that was pretty “standard”; what are you suggesting?[/quote]

I suggest about 30% protein every day. On training days, make your carbs 40-50%, and on non training days, maybe 20-30% tops.
[/quote]

So on a ~3000 kcal diet that’d be:

Training:
1000 kcal Pro = 250g
1400 kcal Carb = 350g
600 kcal Fat = ~70g

Non-training:
1000 kcal pro = 250g
800 kcal carb = 200g
1200 kcal fat = ~140g

So that’s around 1.5-1.6 g protein per lb still. Sounds reasonable…just a damn lot of carbs! Guess I can finally burn through some of the pasta I have left in the pantry.

[quote]Apothecary wrote:

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]Apothecary wrote:

So Ecch it sounds like you’re against even a 40/40/20 split? I thought that was pretty “standard”; what are you suggesting?[/quote]

I suggest about 30% protein every day. On training days, make your carbs 40-50%, and on non training days, maybe 20-30% tops.
[/quote]

So on a ~3000 kcal diet that’d be:

Training:
1000 kcal Pro = 250g
1400 kcal Carb = 350g
600 kcal Fat = ~70g

Non-training:
1000 kcal pro = 250g
800 kcal carb = 200g
1200 kcal fat = ~140g

So that’s around 1.5-1.6 g protein per lb still. Sounds reasonable…just a damn lot of carbs! Guess I can finally burn through some of the pasta I have left in the pantry.[/quote]
250g protein is more than adequate. For the carbs, on training days, at least 150 or so should be pre-, peri- and immediately post-workout. with the rest split between a few hours before and a couple hours after.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]Apothecary wrote:

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]Apothecary wrote:

So Ecch it sounds like you’re against even a 40/40/20 split? I thought that was pretty “standard”; what are you suggesting?[/quote]

I suggest about 30% protein every day. On training days, make your carbs 40-50%, and on non training days, maybe 20-30% tops.
[/quote]

So on a ~3000 kcal diet that’d be:

Training:
1000 kcal Pro = 250g
1400 kcal Carb = 350g
600 kcal Fat = ~70g

Non-training:
1000 kcal pro = 250g
800 kcal carb = 200g
1200 kcal fat = ~140g

So that’s around 1.5-1.6 g protein per lb still. Sounds reasonable…just a damn lot of carbs! Guess I can finally burn through some of the pasta I have left in the pantry.[/quote]
250g protein is more than adequate. For the carbs, on training days, at least 150 or so should be pre-, peri- and immediately post-workout. with the rest split between a few hours before and a couple hours after. [/quote]

Oh yeah at my weight that is certainly enough.

Do you not do carbs in the AM? I lift in the afternoon/evening and usually try to get 75% of my carbs in pre/peri/post WO currently, with the rest coming in the AM (via rolled oats with breakfast). Usually don’t have any carbs after ~8p, which is my post-postWO meal.

Kinda based that off of the bro-myth of carbs at night are bad, but I don’t have evidence that is entirely true.

Other bro-science to consider,

People that were fat kids don’t handle carbs as well, and are better off w/ lowerish carb diets, around 100-180g carbs, with standard protein and fat filling out the rest.

The body synthesizes protein better in the morning, so it’s better to have your first meal be protein and fat based and your second meal w/ carbs. This first “fatty” meal also primes the body to handle carbs better throughout the day.

Carbs and fat combine to produce adipose. So it’s better to spread the carbs out; for example, 6 meals a day would have carbs in meals 2, 4, and 6, with most of your carbs ealier in the day and reduced fat intake on meals w/ carbs.

[quote]Apothecary wrote:
Kinda based that off of the bro-myth of carbs at night are bad, but I don’t have evidence that is entirely true.
[/quote]

I don’t know about it being a bro-myth necessarily…

Highly insulinogenic carbs will, unsurprisingly, promote insulin to spike and fairly rapidly. While insulin has an anti-catabolic effect on proteins, it also promotes lipid synthesis. Cortisol normally antagonizes the effects of insulin, but there are some ways in which they act synergistically. Most relevant to us is that they, in conjunction, promote visceral fat deposition. Should cortisol be elevated for whatever reason, it would seem to be an unwise idea to let insulin spike before entering such an anabolic state as sleep.

Additionally, insulin blunts GH release. The largest GH spike (well the largest NATURAL one lol) occurs about half an hour after falling asleep.

So there are theoretical reasons why this might be the case. I do concede, however, that sometimes theory doesn’t pan out well in practice. I don’t have the time to read studies on it now, but I will say that whenever I try high carbs before bed, I always seem to gain weight. But it never seems to be the kind of weight I want.

The problem with bro-science and myths (and even real theory) is that it often varies in practice. If I tried to follow all of the “rules” I fear I’d be stuck in a VERY short list of what to eat and when.

I agree that a bowl of pasta before bed isn’t the best idea, and try to limit my carbs to no later than 2-3 hours before bed.
So, as an effort to spread them out, it seems like I should aim for an early meal with carbs, then maybe some at lunch, with the rest coming around training time.

I’ve heard/read that lean mass promotes protein synthesis and fat oxidation more than fat mass, so I could see how the body may “get used to being fat” in childhood and prefer to burn fat over carbs later in life, but not sure how much weight I put on this. Especially for myself, who was never obese or anything.
Oddly enough, I know that everyone says protein is very satiating, but I seem to get fuller, faster, longer with a carb meal than with protein. So, it’s taking some work to get used to…

Thanks for all the input so far, got this weeks meals prepped yesterday and going to try increasing and spreading out the carbs more.