Everyone has to find what works for him or her, but it doesn’t hurt to find out what top coaches say they’ve found works best for them.
Here are just a few posts that I found by just using the SEARCH function on this site.
Charles Poliquin: A lot of people are kidding themselves about how many carbs they need. “Man, I need my carbs.” Yeah, right! What you need to realize is that there’s a difference between a mouth and a vacuum.
It should be more “low-carb lifestyle” than “low-carb diet.” Forty to fifty grams per day of good carbs is plenty for most of the population. That is why there are so many fat dieticians and personal trainers. I recently saw a former author of this site at a nutrition conference. He’s a legend in his own mind for his dietary counseling prowess and a record holder of never healing weight training injuries.
Ok, you don’t ‘need’ carbs to grow. You need protein and calories to grow. Carbs can play a role by increasing insulin production and insulin is anabolic (but it’s also anabolic to fat… especially in endos) and it can also keep the muscles fuller. But to stimulate muscle growth they are not 100% mandatory. If you have sufficient amounts of protein and are consuming a caloric excess (e.g. by jacking up your good fat intake) you can grow even without carbs.
Well if the individual is carb adapted it means that he is at the most 10% body fat, and probably lower.
If you are planning a fat loss phase use the guidelines from my Refined Transformation article:
Above 20% body fat: no more than 30g of carbs per day
15-20% body fat: 0.25g of carbs per pound of body weight per day
12-15% body fat: 0.35g of carbs per pound of body weight per day
10-12% body fat: 0.45g of carbs per pound of body weight per day
Less than 10% body fat: 0.55g of carbs per pound of body weight per day
So is the individual is well carb-adapted (so who is 10% or lower) he would consume around 0.55g of carbs per pound of bodyweight per day. So if he is 180lbs that means around 100g per day.
If he is in a muscle gain phase he can obviously have more carbs… probably 2-3x the amount of the cutting phase.
Carb-adapted means that your body responds well to carbs. This means that your are insulin sensitive and as a result that your body is not efficient at storing carbs as body fat. Someone who is not well carb adapted will tend to put on more fat when he overeat carbs.
Once your body is adapted to functioning in a ketogenic state there is no need for a carb-up!!! At that point the body is as efficient as using ketones as it is at using carbs. So there is no real ‘‘strength training’’ reason for the carb-up.
The human body stores around 400-500g of carbs in the muscles. But understand that a ketogenic state is glycogen sparing. This means that when your body is adapted to ketosis (not transient ketosis like with the AD since it takes you 3 days after the carb-up to get back into ketosis) it will not rely on muscle glycogen primarily for fuel. So even if you consume no carbs all week, you are still not fully depleting your glycogen stores and a 150-200g carbs intake once a week is enough to maintain glycogen stores almost full.
The secret is that for this to apply you MUST be in a long-term ketogenic state not a transient one.
so, for the OP, take what is going to work best for you.
You don’t need carbs. If you are fat adapted you don’t need them.
If you are over fat, you may want to do low-carb or even carb cycling although as Thibs mentions, a lot of folks fall off that wagon.
a calorie isn’t just a calorie if your body is best adapted to burning a carb calorie or a fat calorie. One might get stored while one might be burned.
You sound like you already have a good handle on your nutrition though.
So just eat clean and keep track.