T Nation

Please Critique

In the coming weeks I plan on executing the following:

For the next 10-16 days, I will follow a low carb diet. For a similar period of time following the low carb phase, I will follow massive eating recommendations. I will finish with another low carb phase and meltdown training for up to three weeks to get as lean as possible. Duration of each phase will depend on body fat measurements and general feeling (i.e., am I imagining how people taste?).

I have questions about my low carb dieting. First of all, I have used the T-Dawg diet before with meltdown training and had good results. However, one of the ideas behind a low-carb diet is (at least in part) to get the body to switch fuel types for energy, that is use fat preferentially for energy, right? So then, why should I eat carbs at times when they ?will go where they are supposed to go,? that is, when they will be used to replenish glycogen stores? Should I even be trying to replenish glycogen stores? I am not concerned with difficulty or psychological compliance because I will have a massive eating phase laying in wait. I am also aware of the benefits of post workout-nutrition, but is it possible to reap some of the benefits of increased protein synthesis, decreased muscle catabolism etc., without the insulin or carbs? I expect most people will answer that the benefits of the post-workout drink will out-weigh the disadvantages, but all opinions and reasons highly desired.

Also, what do people think is the best way to transition these phases? I am thinking I might have a brutal workout to end my low carb diet phases and either re-introduce (depending on whether I decided carb-containing post workout meals were necessary) a post workout meal or increase post workout meals to 2 after that. I would then not train for the following two days, but have one carb breakfast the first day, and two carb breakfasts the second day, increasing calories by about 500 each day. I would then go completely massive eating and begin training again. Likewise, I think I would transition from massive eating to low carb by performing a brutal workout late in a day (maybe cardio or intervals instead of weights), using no post workout nutrition (or one that is as small as possible) and then simply resume low-carb restrictive eating the next day, taking two days off from weights.

I have also not decided how I will be training for my first two phases. I was thinking something along the lines of EDT with training every other day for the first phase followed simply by a very high volume of work (possibly double sessions) in the second phase (I am also 17, if any one is wondering about this level of volume). Additionally, in the second phase I will probably choose Chad Waterburyesque supplemental workouts.

Is the initial concept (ABCDE influenced) even solid?

My primary goal is to reduce body fat. My decision to make the fat-loss diet a low carb diet is based firstly upon lack luster results with don?t diet recommendations and secondly, based on an overwhelming tendency by my body to store fat at the midsection and a corresponding article by Don Alessi relating fat storage tendencies to diet recommendations.

The glycogen stores you are replacing are muscle glycogen stores post fasting (ie. at breakfast) and post workout which are used to build muscles. The other option is really replacing liver glycogen stores which induce adipose tissue to convert carbs to fat. I don’t think it’s so much a matter that post-workout drink benefits outweigh disadvantages. I think it’s more a matter that your body is least susceptible to fat deposit in adipose tissue at these times, and so there is in fact NO disadvantage, and only benefit (ie. reduced catabolism, etc.).

I think you should have little problem converting to massive eating as you have outlined. However, I have issue with you using no post-workout nutrition to come off of it. I think you should eat down over 2 or 3 days. I say this not so much for the psychological aspect (which it seems you have great control over), but instead because if you intend on finishing your massive eating period with a “brutal workout”, your muscles will require more time to recover than after a workout of your standard level of intensity. This, I believe, generally means that your muscles will require a higher level of nutritional input over that slightly increased time of recovery.

That’s just this man’s opinion. Great questions though, and I’m interested in hearing what others have to say in response.

Thanks ND, do you (or anyone else for that matter) think that replacing the muscle glycogen is desirable from a purely muscle building standpoint or from an energy providing standpoint? That is, since my muscles really will not be able to rely on carbs at all during my training, I am thinking it would be best to have as few carbs as possible to make my body as efficient as possible with fat for anaerobic energy. I am asking this primarily for daily carb intake and breakfast carbs, I suppose the post-workout carbs should be non-negotiable.

Under normal conditions (non-ketogenic dieting), continuously replacing muscle glycogen stores throughout the day would be used for both energy and anabolism (ie. muscle growth). However, when on a ketogenic diet, I personally look at carbs simply as an anti-catabolic agent. Since after a long night of rest (which for me is between 8-9 hrs) with no food (remembering that your pre-bed meal was digested by 2 hrs or so after ingestion), I’ve gone through nearly 6-7 hrs of catabolism. Hence, I look at my breakfast P+C meal as a method of stopping the catabolism immediately. As an added bonus, because I workout first thing in the morning, it also gives me energy during my workout. Keep in mind that your body will process carbs at this point in the day similar to the manner it would post-workout.

Post-workout muscle glycogen replacement is mainly for muscle growth. Your body should suck up these carbs like they weren’t even there in order to provide enough energy for your muscles to rebuild. Your right, these carbs should be non-negotiable (I’ve tried using just a protein shake with no carbs (or fat) post-workout, and had absolutely no gains, since there was little helping to drive the protein into my muscles. I wasn’t too thrilled about pissing away my money).

I have tried losing fat through ketosis twice (once previously, and I am currently on it too). I have found that carbs at breakfast and post workout much more efficient at helping me lose fat while maintaining LBM. When I limited my breakfast carbs (to virtually nothing), I found I lost weight equally as rapidly, however, a fair amount of LBM went with it. I don’t know if others have found the same to be the case.

I appologize for the long-winded answer. Hopefully, it’s of some use.

Best of luck.