T Nation

Protein Cycling

I came across an article all the way back in issue 10 (1998) that talks about protein cycling.


there’s the link to it.

I was wondering if anyone has actually tried doing this, and if they were successful. It seems like it is very contradictory to what the norm is, and it promises some pretty impressive gains, almost seemingly too good to be true. So I ask T-nation, has anyone tried this? what were your results? Have any of you even heard of this?

Thanks in advance

I’m guessing nobody on the forum has tried this or what?

CT mentions this in answering a question with one of his great posts in his Semi-Guest Forum. Here it is below:

OGuard wrote:
I am a 24 yr old powerlifter, 6’3, 275lbs, 15-18% bft. Squat 903, Bench 551, Dead 705
I just finished a big competition and am hoping to be competitive enough to get into the WPOs within a year or so. I plan on staying in the same weight class, but want to lower bodyfat at a gradual pace and be able to gain some muscle. Ideally i want to be 275lbs and 10% bodyfat. I use steroids normally only within the 6 weeks leading up to a meet and rarely use in the off season. I am trying to figure a way to accomplish these goals, while still marching towards a 1000lb squat, 600 bench and 750 pull. Your guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Well first of all these are some mighty numbers! Very good work so far. Loosing fat and maintaining/strength is easier to do than loosing fat and gaining muscle size. All you need to do is maintain your current level of muscle mass while improving your CNS efficiency and lifting technique.

From experience, the bench press doesn’t suffer when you loose a lot of fat, and the deadlift can actually increase (due to better leverage by being able to keep the bar closer to the body). However, the squat is another story. I have rarely seen someone loose a lot of fat and increase his squat. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but you’ll have to focus hard on that lift AND develop some mighty strong obliques and lower back muscles.

I would suggest a carb rotation schedule tailored to suit your lifting schedule. Low carbs on non-lifting days, moderate carbs on lighter (if using traditional periodization) or speed days (if using a westside-type routine) and high carbs on the heavy days.

RECORD the exact quantity of food, proteins, carbs and fats that you are ingesting each day. Gradually decrease your average carbs intake until you feel like you are loosing some energy and focus in the gym.

For a guy your size I’d suggest the following:

High carbs day:
400g of protein (preferably in food form + 1-2 shakes)
350g of carbs (complex carbs such as oatmeal, brown rice, integral bread, potatoes, veggies, some fruits)
100g of fat (mostly from healty fats)

Moderate carbs days:
450g of protein
250g of carbs
100g of fat

Low carbs days:
500g of protein
100g of carbs
100g of fat

  • Decrease fat intake by 10-15 grams every 2 weeks until you reach 40g per day.

  • Increase protein intake by 10-15 grams every 2 weeks until you have increased it by 50g

  • Decrease carb intake by 10-15g every 2 weeks until you start to feel less energetic

Red Bands will really help you reach your goal and so will a neural booster like Power Drive + cafeine.

Hey CU AeroStallion

Glad to see you are doing some archive reading. There is an amazing wealth of knowledge buried in there.

Unfortunately the protein cycling that is the subject of the article you read has been found by just about everyone that tried it to NOT work.

The idea is pretty neat and would definetely save everyone some money (although I’m not sure I could stop eating and actually follow it) BUT this appears to be one of those works in theory but not in real life examples.

Do a search and blaze through some posts on this topic and you will find more answers.

Adios muchacho!