Guest post by by Gary Chappell.
Speak to some people, and they will convince you carbs are sent from the depths of hell to torch your gains and make you an eternal slave to fat gain.
“I can’t even look at a carb without gaining weight” is one favorite you might hear from the doom-mongers of this particular macro.
But let me tell you this: working alongside Justin Harris of Troponin Nutrition and 1st Detachment, I stepped on stage at a shredded four or five percent body fat, eating 1000g of carbs at least once a week through my 16-week contest prep.
And I could do that even after a peak off-season that included three of these 1000g ‘high days’ a week – with meal six on each of those a cheat meal of my choosing.
I reached a point where food from carbohydrates was so high I wanted to ‘cheat’ on my diet by not eating.
A week out from stepping on stage, I ate my cheat meal in a restaurant to celebrate my nine-year-old son’s birthday, tucking into a ‘dirty burger’ complete with a giant ice-cream sundae. I could scarcely believe it myself.
Oh – and I won my competition, the Masters Over 45 class at the NABBA UK here in Britain.
The thinking behind such a diet is carb-cycling, consuming carbs at their highest amount when you need them most and reducing them accordingly when you don’t.
It is also linked to protein and how much your body uses to build muscle, which is surprisingly little.
Justin Harris explains it arguably better than anyone else in the industry; if a person were to synthesize (use protein to build muscle tissue) just 19g of protein per day, they would gain 50 lbs. per year.
No athlete is doing that, particularly year on year. So, what is the rest of this protein being used for? Well, if you are not eating enough carbs, it is being turned into them through gluconeogenesis. In short, you are paying for very expensive carbohydrates.
Eat enough carbs, and you can reduce the amount your body is turning protein into fuel, ensuring more of it is available to build muscle tissue.
Cycling also prevents giant leaps in fat gain. For example, any rest day is called a ‘low-day’; protein is higher to compensate for the lower carbohydrate intake. We do not need as much fuel because our output is generally lower due to not working out. Fats are also added to help with energy.
We also have medium days, generally, any workout days that are anything except back or leg days. Here, carbs are moderate enough to fuel workouts and supplement protein intake that they can be used to repair and grow.
High days (generally a leg day, often leg and back days) are used when output is at its highest and glycogen stores need replenishing. The previous low and medium-day cycling means most, if not all, of these high-day carbs can be stored as muscle glycogen rather than fat. It is a win-win.
With such a high amount of carbs, you might think an athlete would run into issues with insulin sensitivity, but there are supplements to mitigate such factors, including Suppressor Max.
1st Detachment has been able to include ingredients such as berberine HCI at 97 percent, cinnamon powder, and R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA), which help enhance insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control.
Justin Harris is the authority on carb-cycling nutrition, and I implore you to watch as many educational videos as possible to improve your knowledge base. He has helped me more than I could have imagined.
About the author.
Gary Chappell is a journalist and a Masters bodybuilder from the UK, coached by Justin Harris of Troponin Nutrition.
He is the founder and editor of a new website for amateur bodybuilding named MuscleMatters, with a complete website called frontdouble.com coming soon.