T Nation

Restricting Carbs, No DOMS?

I wanted to throw a question of there that has perplexed me for some time now.

I have been working out for nearly 30 years now and have made some solid gains along the way. Have done all kinds of things from some Oly lifting to powerlifting and bodybuilding style training.

It seems that when I restrict my carb intake to say around 100 grams per day, I feel virtually nothing in terms of soreness/DOMS. I can nail an intense leg day and the next day (& the day after) feel like I haven’t done much of anything. However, if I up the carb intake by just 60-70 grams, well then it’s an entirely different feeling and I know I had a good one.

What is the reason behind that? I am a Type IIB according to the test.

That is an awesome question in that I don’t know the answer but it will force me to do some digging into what could happen because, now that you mention it, I’ve noticed the same thing.

Could have to do with a lower inflammatory response or maybe less carbs lead to less intramuscular pressure and a different pennation angle of the muscle fibers, making them less prone to damage. But I’ll do some research.

1 Like

Ok, here’s my conclusion.

A low-carbs diet, will alter (decrease) the release of interleukin-6 and also its duration of action (much shorter when you consume low carbs vs. high carbs) which will reduce the production or neurophils.

Both increase the inflammatory response. So higher IL-6 and neutrophils should also lead to higher muscle soreness as the inflammation response to exercise will be larger.

Now what I’m trying to figure out is whether this reduction in the inflammatory response will decrease muscle repair, since that response is one of the triggers for muscle repair/growth and IL6 can increase protein synthesis.


Thanks Coach!! Really interesting stuff and I appreciate you taking time to investigate!!

I suppose your final point is what I have always wondered, too. Never quite knew if I was doing more harm than good reducing the carb intake.

Thanks again!!

I’m interested in this too. It was a great question. There was a guy on another thread that said he never gets sore, I am wondering if he is on a low carb diet.

Well, when you have tons of lifting experience it is much much harder to get sore. The better your motor coordination is on a movement, the less damage you cause. That’s one of the reasons why it’s hard to keep growing as you get more advanced.

The reason for this is that when your coordination pattern sucks you will cause more muscle damage. I’m not talking about technique here, I’m talking intramuscular coordination (how well the muscle fibers work together), you can have very good “external” technique but the fibers don’t work well together.

If the fibers are not well coordinated, they don’t function all together at the same time. Some will fire while others aren’t and a few millisecond later it can be reversed. The moral of the story is that at any given time, less fibers are handling the load together.

This means that at any given time, the fibers involved will be more damaged because they have to handle a bigger load (less fibers working at the same time = more “resistance” for each fiber working).

As you improve your intramuscular coordination (by doing the movement more often and accumulating experience on it) your fibers begin to work better together: so at any given time each fiber handles less load and is thus less likely to be damaged.

That’s why when you use the muscle damage way of stimulating growth, you need to gradually increase the weight used (progressive overload), to compensate for the lower load on the individual fibers. You can also increase the eccentric emphasis to do the same thing (fewer fibers work during the eccentric portion of the lift).

When someone has decades of experience lifting and either has experience with pretty much every major exercise, or stuck to the same movements forever, it is much harder to stimulate growth through muscle damage because the intramuscular coordination is so efffcient.


@wanna_be , this may be your answer why you don’t get sore.