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No Carbs Before or After Workout?


i'm stuck. i'm currently doing the 100 g of carb idea to lose fat but also maintain (maybe even build) muscle. i'm currently 5'9 200 lbs with 12% body fat. i was doing 50 g of carbs pre and post workout and saw decent results. However, i've been doing a ton of reading and some body builders, including t nation's own Shelby Starnes believe working out on with 0 carbs is the best way to lose fat..

Anyone have any experience with this? having your pre workout consist of protein and fat and then having your post shake be (hypothetically) 70g of carbs then 30g with the next meal and no more carbs for remainder of day? i figure this way i can burn fat while working out, but then replenish glycogen after my workouts to help me maintain/build muscle. OR...

have the 70g of carbs in pre shake, then 30g of carbs post shake and call it a day.

Anyone have any input/advice? or any other suggestions? i really appreciate your time. thanks.


i believe when shelby said to workout with 0 carbs he was referring to doing morning cardio without any carbs. if your goal is to lose fat and maintain muscle i would defintley get some carbs in your diet pre workout and during your workout. What worked best for me was 1 FINiBAR 30 minutes before workout followed by 1-2 scoops of Surge Workout Fuel during my workout. the 1-2 scoops is dependent upon yout carb tolerance.


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Gotta agree with this. I noticed a marked improvement in my LBM retention when I switched to having most of my carbs PRE workout from POST workout.

Remember that while Carbs can help you have a more productive training session, having them in your 'tank' can also help prevent muscle loss (there are of course on 'other means' to prevent muscle loss when dieting)



So carbs consumed 60 minutes pre-workout are in the "tank" in time to be effectively utilized in training?

I ask because my experience has been the opposite. I find that the carbs I eat 1-2 days beforehand have the biggest impact on training performance. Having done both pre-workout carbs after low carbs in the preceding days and utilizing post-workout carbs to "swing" me into my next workout in recent months, I notice far better training sessions and LBM retention if I consume the majority of my carbs post workout in order to take advantage of non-insulin mediated glucose transport and the body's ability to burn fat even in the presence of carbohydrates during that time (which doesn't happen, otherwise).

I know that the concern over post workout carbs is that catecholamine levels blunt the insulin response, however, I don't think this is a valid concern in the context of post workout feedings since 1) insulin's effect on protein synthesis is more permissive than correlational, 2) glucose is preferentially partitioned into muscle cells via GLUT-4 upregulation after resistance exercise--regardless of insulin levels, 3) fat burning continues during this time regardless of CHO intake, whereas it is blunted by pre-workout CHO consumption.


I agree with both of you. On my medium days I have carbs pre and during training. On my high days I have carbs pre, during, and in my meal directly after training.


If the post-workout meal is the last meal of the day (2-3 hours before nap time) would u still recommend the same approach ?


Personally i go with a small amount in the morning, normally porridge 40g, then about 40g pre and 60g post workout. On non workout days i limit it to just the porridge in the morning due to increased insulin sensitivity at that time. If i were only limiting it to pre and post workout i'd just go with 40 pre and 60 post/during.


It's interesting to note that years ago, I actually thought that carbs before would lead to a sugar crash during my sessions (I forgot what IFBB pro put this in my head). Then I started worrying about actual digestion time for a source to be effective. Even when prepping for my 09 contest, I would only have a small bowl of oatmeal with Metabolic Drive an hour before training, but never really thought of it as fueling the workout to follow.

Maybe it's just the introduction of supps with carb sources like rice oligodextrins (SWF and Finibars) that makes me actually feel something beneficial when ingested shortly (I mean 30 mins tops) before training. Had I not made the leaps in progress I have the last two years, at my age, I'd still be eating little to no carbs pre and a buncha carbs post.

As far as pre-WO carbs blunting fat burning, my concern during my training sessions isn't one of direct fat burning, but one of muscle building and retention (thus keeping my RMR elevated, and essentially 'burning' more fat anyway).



Something worth reading again (whether you agree with Thibs or not):



I'm the same way. A year ago I switched to having the majority of mine about 30 minutes before my morning workout, and the progress quickly followed.

In my mind I imagine my morning breakfast being slapped onto my muscles during my workouts, like bricks onto a house. Always makes me laugh.




For those of us not having the funds to afford Anaconda or other type of pre-workout carby supplements, what do you all think are the most beneficial carb sources pre workout?


mashed potatos


IMO Oats for simplicity and ease of use. Yes yes, I understand it's not a "simple carb" but it worked for me and my resulting PRs.

Pasta was ok but takes too much prep and was another extra container that needed to be heated.


EXACTLY. I shudder to think of the misguided masses solely focused on "fat loss" during their back-to-back supersets of the latest complexes mixed in with ultra-short rest periods and followed by a mandatory cardio "session" chaser.

Meanwhile, if they would focus instead on (improved) performance and let the fat loss "happen" outside of the gym, they'd make better and sustained progress.

Also Stu, great explanation of the "why" re: HIIT and the elevated metabolism's afterburn. The comparative results speak for themselves of course, but nice to see it explained the way you did.

edit - ^^ it was Stu's response to this recent "cardio" thread to which I was referring: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/question_pertaing_cardio


My go-to sources are sweet potatoes (energy for days) and bananas (glucose, anti-claudicant?). A Finibar works like a charm too. The common theme being rapidly-digested sources.

Also, count me in the group that does better with carbs pre/during but NOT post. (assuming the goal is purely aesthetic)


Training without any carbs in your system blows donkey balls in my experience.


My point was that my experience has been that carbs consumed 24-36 hours before a session have a far greater impact on performance than carbs consumed 90 minutes before a session. As in, the day after a moderate carb intake, I have great workouts and the day after lower carb intake but carbs 60-90 minutes pre-workout, I don't. Others have indicated to me that this is the case with them as well. So, consuming carbs 60-90 minutes before offers (IME) little performance benefit, and blunts fat oxidation during what is for many people one of the biggest energy drains of the day. You do the math. The focus WAS on improved performance, which also happens to coincide with optimizing fat oxidation. Of course, this only matters if you're ONLY eating carbs at ONE particular time (pre vs. post). Otherwise, you can just throw all of this shit out the window because it really doesn't matter if you're consuming carbs throughout the day because the effects of food aren't immediate and acute in nature.

RE: HITT, EPOC accounts for maybe 80 calories over the course of 24 hours. The bigger benefit to it is that you're burning 500+ calories during the 30 minutes or whatever that you're doing it.


You were a donkey show fluffer?