T Nation

Re-introducing Carbs


Hi friends,

For the past 6 months or so I have been experimenting with a low carb/high fat diet. I have enjoyed the results and it had suited my goals. Although a little flatter, I feel leaner, less bloated and less weighed down.

For the past few weeks I have noticed that I have been lacking in performance in the gym and things have kind of stalled a bit. I want to re-introduce carbs but I am wondering about the best way of doing it. I already have 1-2 carb re-feeds a week which usually is a baked sweet potato or a occasionally a homemade thin crust pizza. I still want to enjoy the benefits of the low carb/high fat lifestyle, but just need a little extra performance boost for the gym.

Am I better off having more carbs in the meal before a training session, or would it be best to keep it for the post-workout meal? As my body is used to low carbs, do I need to reintroduce them into my diet slowly? Anybody else have any experience in this??



How much red meat are you eating?

I’ve done keto for a while and experienced the same things, though reintroducing carbs never ended well (for me personally)

The answer for me was to introduce small portions of red meat until a sweet spot is found. It helped increase strength and fullness to a level I’m happy with. Crazy pumps with the right amount of red meat while on zero carbs - go figure = )


Very interesting.

How did you re-introduce carbs? And what happened that made it an unfavorable experience?

I eat red meat (beef and lamb) about 4 days out of 7. The rest of the week its eggs, chicken and fish.



Cool, your diet sounds similar to mine - I do a lot of eggs and rotate between salmon and steak

Adding carbs just smooths me out - I recently started throwing in 100g of carbs and all the life long crappy side effects I had pre keto came roaring back:

-I’m getting fat and holding water like a motherfucker. I hope this settles down, but in hindsight I always held water in the past when even on a low dose of test.

-The small skin rash I’d had my entire adult life is now making a return with carbs.

-I’d forgotten about digestive distress that I’d experienced my whole life on even moderate carbs. Taking a crap each morning was quick and pleasant on keto. Now it’s back to its old former self.

Overall I feel like shit and really don’t want to ride it out… my bloodwork on keto was absolutely stellar, and I’m guessing it’s going to go back to being sub standard soon, though only time will tell.

I don’t feel any more pumped with 100 carbs than I did on keto - and I know from past experience that 100g works for my body. At the age of 41 on TRT/Keto I actually feel better than I did at 24 on more gear and moderate carbs. This is just my experience though.

For some reason moderate sized junk refeeds don’t seem to bring out any of the negatives. I went a long time without refeeds, but suspect I’d be happier doing them than ‘doing carbs’ again




I have entertained the idea of amping up my carb refeeds, but that runs the risk of me developing an unhealthy relationship with food. In the past, my cheat meal of a takeaway burger and shake had somehow turned into a couple of burgers, fries, shake and a tub of ice-cream to wash it all down. Thats why now I limit my refeeds to more “healthier” options of baked potatoes and homemade pizzas.



When I did keto a couple of years ago, I had the same problem in terms of gym performance, and also felt a bit shit generally. It just seems to be unsustainable, for someone like me at least.

It’s great that your refeeds are clean, I just think that slowly ramping your carbs up (maybe 50g at a time) would be the best way to go. Really can’t see that making you gain a load of fat if your total calories are on-point.

However, I can’t speak from experience if test is in the mix.


I’ve never really done it, but if I were to do so it’d be:

-Calculate maintenance calories (I’d just go by BW x 15. Not perfect but whatevs)
-1g of protein per lb of BW as per usual
-150g of carbs
-rest from fats

2 weeks like that and see how I feel.


That sounds like a solid plan and kind of close to what I was going for (i’m super carb sensitive though so I went for 100)

What’s your diet usually look like? I remember you mentioning heart health being important and am kind of curious to know your thoughts



not really anything exciting. When I’m cutting I do BW x 10 calories and eat pretty much nothing but turkey, spinach and olive oil. When I’m gaining I do calories x 20+ (have pushed it way higher in the past and learned the hard way I don’t gain actual muscle any faster, so now I keep it a little more sensible), when I’m maintaining I just kind of let my hunger dictate what I eat and keep the food choices sensible.

In terms of what I eat it’s a lot of beef and turkey (I but them both ground because it’s super easy to add stuff to); a shitload of vegetables, mostly spinach, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes; and I cheat once a week as a social thing with mates or a girl I’m either having sex with or trying to achieve sex with.

So nothing really ground breaking or interesting. I had some blood work a few months ago and my lipid profile came back fucking sexy as anything so I think my heart is likely in a good place, (but weirdly my thyroid appears to be totally fucked. I have a couple of the symptoms associated with thyroid problems but not the really serious ones, so we’re going to retest soon), however my resting heart rate sits a little high which I’ve been meaning to do something about for a while. Cardio. Eurgh.


Hi there,

I transitioned from a keto to moderate carb diet. What worked for me was to gradually replace fat calories with carbs. Initially I dropped 200 Kcals of fat from my post workout meal and replaced them with starchy carbs and monitored my progress over a few weeks. For me all was good initially so I replaced some of the fat from my pre workout meal with some complex carbs and monitored progress again. For me it was just continuing that process until I was having a decent amount of carbs with every meal. It was only at that point did I look at increasing calories. Throughout that process I continued to lose fat.

This approach may be too cautious for some but for me it saved me from freaking out about unintended fat gain.


I hear you - thyroid and cortisol seem to be the bitch of low carb dieting. We can mitigate the cortisol with a bit of gear, but have you tried an iodine supplement for thyroid?

I recently found some old kelp tablets and pounded them rather than binning them (because I’m an idiot) and I swear I leaned out to the point of feeling catabolic for a couple of weeks. Bloods showed elevated TSH compared to the previous draw also


I wasn’t dieting or anything at the time, only got the bloodwork to see where I was at in terms of HPTA recovery. I have started taking iodine but I was reading the other day you want to be taking selenium with it and I’ve not added that yet. Yet more supplements!


Thanks for the info friends.

Another thing I mentioned is that I hate counting and weighing. I had done it for awhile before, so I am pretty good at eye-balling. I think I will add moderate amount of carbs (approx 60-80 grams) in my meal before any training, and look to reduce some fat.