4

votes

My experience with adding carbs back after VLC, hacks welcome

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 12, 2012 at 6:50 AM

I was VLC fatty red meat and some greens for 5 months. It felt great overall. It was the only thing I've tried that gave me the ability to control my hunger and eat when and if I chose to eat consciously. I went from starving 2hrs after any meal, to eating a huge breakfast, going 12hrs, and eating a big dinner. I learned to do low heartrate training (climbing, strength lifting) while fasted. It healed my gut (not fully, but helped alot). My sleep, mood, concentration, and mental outlook became more stable. I was already lean, but I filled out a bit.

I tried at one point to eat 50g of sweet potatoes after a workout to see what eating carbs would do. I immediately got hormonal hunger cravings and felt all screwed up. So I gave up after 3 trys.

But, as time went on, I started to feel more "hollow" for lack of a better description. My energy was awesome, all day long, in a controlled and sustained manner, as long as heartrate didnt get high. 1hr of weight lifting, or 8hrs of focused rock climbing (heartrate doesnt get high, just high tension strength training) were really facilitated by ketosis.

But during cycling, fast hiking (prolonged up a steep mountain), or running, I bonked quickly. I missed those activities.

So 3 weeks ago I started leangains cold turkey. I ate 320g of carbs from sweet potatoes over 2 meals, with very lean steak, after training post 16hr fast, with BCAA. Did my system freak out? Did the insulin kill me? NO. I felt awesome. I FEEL awesome. Seems a little carb exacerbated my carb "issues" that lead me to drop carbs in the first place, but a LOT of carbs, improved my system. Weird.

During rest days, I eat the same way I have for the last 5 months; meat and fat. I stay in ketosis those days. Thats Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. After the carb load day, PWO, I have a nice 16hr fast to clear my system and reduce insulin to put me right back into ketosis when I will be eating meat/fat only that day. I follow a 16/9 IF routine (12pm-8pm) daily. 3x a week, I lift weights heavy, and I eat lean meat and a ton of rice/sweet potatoes/squash and veggies, with very little fat.

The carbs, and calorie cycling, have really leaned me out and made me stronger. My mood got better. That 'hollow' feeling went away. My lift strength went through the roof. I broke through 3 personal records so far. Its been the biggest increase in strength in a timeperiod so short, in my life!

My personal opinion is that Ketosis, meat and fat, are best when at rest or when taking walks, or long, low heartrate, high tension efforts like sport climbing. For 1hr weigh training sessions it can work too, but after some weeks, glycogen loading is needed to progress.

For swimming, hiking up big mountains, running, cycling, or anythng with a prolonged and higher heartrate, I feel the body cannot break down and supply the muscles with energy at a fast enough rate to keep up with demand. The result is bonk. I feel carb is best to fuel those activities, that is, in the form of glycogen, not pre-work-out fueling.

I feel carb loads AFTER endurance exercise has begun, or rather, has been in effect long enough to have muscles very hot and ready for insulin, is important. I DO NOT think carbs pre-workout are good, and I think they are counter productive, setting up your body to expect carb, and sending hormonal hunger signals haywire, instead of using carb to refuel when the muscles are most insulin sensitive (hot).

So, to me, carb is for a RE-FUEL, not PRE-FUEL.

For weight training or sprints, or any such feat lasting under 1hr or so, that equates to carb loads post fasted state workout. For long endurance feats like hiking up big mountains, I think beginning fasted is OK at best, but an hour into them, carbs and protein should be taken in; for such hikes, I think a big protein/fat meal for breakfast is good, then one should begin to down starch after an hour into the effort, and again as needed, while still hot, during the time the muscles are insulin sensitive. Post hike, a big darn carb and lean meat load is good.

To me, bottom line, protein all the time, high fat on rest days (or low heartrate efforts), high carb on training days, with carb and fat being antagonistic to the effective use of the fuel when taken together.

This has been my experience. Any hacks?

Medium avatar

(2417)

on December 03, 2012
at 12:33 PM

Lot has gone on with my learning process since i posted this. Keto got your metabolism healed and fat burning power up to speed, now you can utilize carbs properly. It's then carbs. Workouts are just better. But, i prefer to carb load only after training, not before or on rest days.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 09:39 PM

Excellent. In my experience, once duration and/or heart rate go up, carbs become necessary. If I fuel them BEFORE a session, disaster ensues. DURING AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER, good things happen. Also, entering endurance fasted, to me, equals an hour or two of INCREASED performance, followed by an energy crash that is unrecoverable en route regardless of the fat and or carb that is eaten at that point. The recommendation on that post to eat 1-1.5g/kg/hr I can attest to being very accurate: it got me up 7500 foot veritical non-stop 3-4 hr climbs in the cycling saddle without ever bonking.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 12, 2012
at 03:21 PM

Suppose it depends on if you workout to live or live to workout. I am interested in doing the workouts that make me feel best and the most fit. Running and other cardio just don't do it for me, so I focus on what works.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:45 AM

Training: 3x per week, very lean beef top round (leg) and either white rice wrapped in nori or Japanese sweet potatoes (usually the rice because of its low fiber; bulking fiber destroys my gut). Oh, and 15g (1 tablespoon) of fish oil on both training AND rest days. So, @1990cal, @150g protein (2.5g/K LBM), @27g fat, @277g carbs. Rice has protein, so thats @126g from the steak, making it 2.1g/K LBM from animal sources. My BMR is 1625cal and my TDEE is 2225 (calculated of course). The first few weeks I was taking 320g carbs, but now Ive dropped them only to drop calories and keep protein =

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:34 AM

Rest: 20% fatty beef or mutton and some green veggies. I also personally like meat raw (I throw it in my commercial blender and guzzle). I am on a cutting cycle now, restricting calories, so Im getting @1430 cal, 120g protein, 100g fat, 0g carbs (greens don't count IMHO). Thats @2g protein/kilo Lean Body Mass, @33% calories from protein, rest from fat. Any higher percentage of calories from protein than @35%, and gluconogenesis screws me up.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:27 AM

And carbs are needed for that, bottom line. I'm not gonna limit my life to strength training because that works well with lower carb! I agree though that carbs are tolerable only AFTER intense exercise. But I think you should try eating 150g carbs after a hard fasted workout, and again 150g later that day, with plenty of lean meat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:25 AM

And carbs are needed for that, bottom line. I'm not gonna limit my life to strength training because that works well with lower carb! I agree though that carbs are tolerable only AFTER intense exercise. But I think you should try eating 150g carbs after a hard fasted workout, and again 150g later that day, with plenty of lean meat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:19 AM

It was like a little made things worse. But I eat 320g (over two meals) in ONE DAY 3x a week PWO, and I NEVER had a hunger system disruption. After being in ketosis for a few days, after a very hard fasted training session, have you tried eating over 300g of carbs? If not, try it, see what happens. For me, too little caused MORE cravings; giving my body enough carbs, what it was asking for, did not increase those cravings. Ive NEVER done well on ANY carb pre-workout. Its always best during or after. And while I focus on strength training or Kbells, hiking mtns is something I NEED to do

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:14 AM

I think ketosis/VLC is great for a system re-boot. It teaches you many things, cleans out your system, facilitates learning the feeling of real vs hormonal hunger, and restores insulin sensitivity. But after a while, after the initial energy boost, it drags you down. So it serves a purpose. I too was terrified of adding back carbs; they were the source of my miseries too. But VLC fixed that, so now I can use them the right way. Funny, amid VLC, when I added back 50g carbs PWO, the same thing happened to me: 1-2 days of disruppted hunger signals and terrible at that.

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on July 12, 2012
at 07:04 AM

Let's see a daily menu for rest and training days? I am curious.

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3 Answers

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 12, 2012
at 07:34 AM

When i first went paleo, i also went VLC, <= 25g per day. This worked great for a while -- increased energy, mood, etc plus the weight loss i was looking for -- but after about 2 months the positive effects started to reverse and i had poor energy, workouts were very tough, etc. I felt like i was running on empty all the time, which was a big let down from the super duper energy for two months.

I suspected that adding back carbs would help, but carbs were the source of many of my miseries. If i eat a starchy meal, i can have serious, delusional hunger pangs for like 24-48 hours after. I tried adding more carbs at breakfast and it was a disaster, it put me on an energy roller coaster all day. At the time i was primarily running for exercise, and i tried eating carbs both before and after running but both put me on the energy/appetite merry go round.

The things that i did that worked for me:

  • Drop all straight cardio exercise (running) and replace it with brief, high intensity strength training (kettlebells, calisthenics, and now cross fit)

  • Eat about 20-40g "good" carbs only after this workout (usually tubers, maybe plantains or a banana, try to keep it low fructose and high nutrition)

  • Exercise fasted

  • Have a zero-carb, high protein breakfast (better than no breakfast) almost every day. This later morphed into having breakfast about half the time, the other days just coffee with cream (still no carbs).

Like you maybe i learned that i did need carbs, they refueled me in a way that i needed, but i can only do it after intense exercise or infrequently. I am very careful with carbs in general, but also have one relatively high carb meal in the week.

This regimen really works though it took a while to get adapted to it, for example the first few fasted crossfit workouts were pretty tough, but now i feel great.

I do find that my energy and mood is better if i have the one slightly high carb non-PWO meal per week. By this i mean something like a cup of berries with full fat yogurt for breakfast, or a dinner light on the meat but with roasted beets. Probably no way i could eat 300g carbs over two days.

This is hard in a way because i have so associated carbs with misery, but i think it is true. I am even thinking of joining the family for pizza night once a month or something. Having stuck to this regimen for almost a year, i feel a bazillion times better than i did, and am both less prone to really "cheat" (i.e. have cravings or munchies), and also pay less of a price when i do cheat. In other words, i feel like i am healing and improving my metabolism.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:14 AM

I think ketosis/VLC is great for a system re-boot. It teaches you many things, cleans out your system, facilitates learning the feeling of real vs hormonal hunger, and restores insulin sensitivity. But after a while, after the initial energy boost, it drags you down. So it serves a purpose. I too was terrified of adding back carbs; they were the source of my miseries too. But VLC fixed that, so now I can use them the right way. Funny, amid VLC, when I added back 50g carbs PWO, the same thing happened to me: 1-2 days of disruppted hunger signals and terrible at that.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:19 AM

It was like a little made things worse. But I eat 320g (over two meals) in ONE DAY 3x a week PWO, and I NEVER had a hunger system disruption. After being in ketosis for a few days, after a very hard fasted training session, have you tried eating over 300g of carbs? If not, try it, see what happens. For me, too little caused MORE cravings; giving my body enough carbs, what it was asking for, did not increase those cravings. Ive NEVER done well on ANY carb pre-workout. Its always best during or after. And while I focus on strength training or Kbells, hiking mtns is something I NEED to do

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:25 AM

And carbs are needed for that, bottom line. I'm not gonna limit my life to strength training because that works well with lower carb! I agree though that carbs are tolerable only AFTER intense exercise. But I think you should try eating 150g carbs after a hard fasted workout, and again 150g later that day, with plenty of lean meat.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 10:27 AM

And carbs are needed for that, bottom line. I'm not gonna limit my life to strength training because that works well with lower carb! I agree though that carbs are tolerable only AFTER intense exercise. But I think you should try eating 150g carbs after a hard fasted workout, and again 150g later that day, with plenty of lean meat.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 12, 2012
at 03:21 PM

Suppose it depends on if you workout to live or live to workout. I am interested in doing the workouts that make me feel best and the most fit. Running and other cardio just don't do it for me, so I focus on what works.

1
2e3d55b818800428421f557747b830e3

on December 03, 2012
at 02:06 AM

I have also been (V)LC for about 4-5 months and have recently been feeling "hollow". Also been adding carbs back in, though haven't distinguished between training/non training days--just added a serving or two every day regardless.

I had a great experience doing an entire day of steady heart rate/muscle exertion for 7 hours straight snowboarding while fasting after having pre-fueled with plenty of carbs the night before (Thanksgiving dinner!)

I was amazed I could hold my energy for so long, and wasn't hungry the entire day. I feel like I have superpowers on Paleo. How much can be attributed to my increasing my carbs?

Medium avatar

(2417)

on December 03, 2012
at 12:33 PM

Lot has gone on with my learning process since i posted this. Keto got your metabolism healed and fat burning power up to speed, now you can utilize carbs properly. It's then carbs. Workouts are just better. But, i prefer to carb load only after training, not before or on rest days.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on July 12, 2012
at 09:39 PM

Excellent. In my experience, once duration and/or heart rate go up, carbs become necessary. If I fuel them BEFORE a session, disaster ensues. DURING AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER, good things happen. Also, entering endurance fasted, to me, equals an hour or two of INCREASED performance, followed by an energy crash that is unrecoverable en route regardless of the fat and or carb that is eaten at that point. The recommendation on that post to eat 1-1.5g/kg/hr I can attest to being very accurate: it got me up 7500 foot veritical non-stop 3-4 hr climbs in the cycling saddle without ever bonking.

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