3

votes

Most efficient way to put on lean muscle mass at an good rate while avoiding high carbs/glycogen depletion/fat gain

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 09, 2013 at 8:33 AM

I've been paleo for a year. I lift weights for aesthetics and strength and want to stay lean all year round' while making good size/strength gains.

I eat a lot of meat, and a lot of vegetables. I eat 4 meals a day, mainly consisting of about 200 - 300g of salmon/red meat/chicken/calf liver/or 6 eggs per meal, as well as 200g of leafy greens (kale, spinach, onion, carrot, asparagus, leeks etc.) for 3/4 of these meals. I also have approx. 400ml of water kefir (not sure of fructose/glucose level after fermentation?), about 4tbsp of EV coconut oil, and some berries or an apple.

I understand I'm probably eating too much, and I find it a bit hard to lose weight without doing any cardio apart from a 30 minute walk per day. I do seem to be putting on a little bit of weight but it is at a slow rate and if I decrease my calorie intake for a few days it seems to go away.

I lift weights 5 on/2 off, body part splits. Not much leg lifting/deadlifts due to knee problem but I can do cardio. I'm 165lbs/75kg and 173cm tall. 20's.

It seems that if I eat some sweet potatoes after a workout I seem to put on a lot of bloat/water weight, in fact my stomach always seems to be bloated, probably because I'm eating a lot. There was one stage where I had a flat stomach but that was on very low carb and I eventually got fried due to glycogen depletion.

So I guess my question is, if I want to stay lean all year round while putting on good lean mass and not experiencing glycogen depletion, how will I have to adjust my diet? Do I just need more cardio?

I was thinking about reducing the overall amount of meat/eggs I eat and only eating glucose/fructose/protein post workout to replenish glycogen, Usually I eat a bit of sweet potatoes every few days with my post workout meat/vegetable meal but that doesn't seem to be good for staying lean/keeping water retention minimal. Is fruit alone enough to replenish glycogen and is it optimal?

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:29 AM

As a curiosity, I've stopped my running training schedule to give my body a break, I used to struggle with weight on high carb vegetarian diet and runing 50 miles per week and right now I'm low-carb high fat running just 1 day a week (but always do resistance training) and walking and I've more stable weight and body come, so you see, optimal hormone status and low cortisol is needed for weight loss, if you overdo it can also turn out bad, it depends on a lot of things.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:27 AM

If you do not like cardio I'd not do it just because of the fat loss, and that seems weird coming from me that I'm an endurance runner, but it's known that you can slim down without necessarily doing cardio. if you want, do it, but most importantly, don't overdo it, long cardio is catabolic (and hurts my heart a lot having to aknowledge this) and you can get great fat burning by doing 15' fast sprints with severals minutes walking, and then going for a walk after having dinner, for instance, that will put you on more fat burning mode without the need for cardio, althought it can sum up, too.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:21 AM

As for dark chocolate... if it's really pure and unsweetened, I don't think is of concern as long as it does not trigger any special issue to you. Some people thrive on it, if you have nervous problems, chronic fatigue or some auto-immune issues (TH1/TH2 balance) then you should at least keep an eye, but not inherently bad per se, has lots of good properties also. Eating slower is smart :)

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:19 AM

There seems to be a very clear consensus that altough some people can have tolerance to more carbs, 50g max per day should be a good number althought 30g is more guaranteed, but I guess it depends on the source of carbs, not same eating 40gr of sweet potato at once that 60gr of veggies splitted through the day, you know what I mean. I'd say to check with ketostix but unfortunately they're not very accurate. Ceasing cravings and good mental focus should be your signals to know that you're on the spot.

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:14 AM

Another thing that just crossed my mind, I think that I will start eating slower as well because I do eat quite fast and probably don't chew my food enough.

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:10 AM

Those are very good points, thank you. Although I do not see salt as bad, and I eat a decent amount, I will still try and have more. I also used to eat a lot of dark chocolate and had fairly intense cravings for it. I might start eating it again and limit it to one ounce a day. What is a good amount of carbs you would recommend I have in order to stay out of the 'verging on ketosis' shit zone?

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:03 AM

And the reproduction thing, I'm still not sure about this but I experienced it and it's what concerns me the most right now because for everything else I feel great on low carb, but many notice a low libido in general... that does not necessarily mean a bad sperm profile (mine got very better now on Paleo that on vegetarianism) and that's very personal (some say their libido is better on low carb) but many evidence suggests that low carb is detrimental to it and that many who tried loading on safe starches noticed immediate libido going up so I think they might be into something...

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:00 AM

Other things: low carb implies poor body water retention, can be good or can be bad, great for looking ripped and awesome, but if you also cut salt (because everybody sees it as unhealthy) or have few because you eat unprocessed food and also lots of veggies and drink water, you lack sodium then you also feel like crap due to poor sodium to potassium balance, and have most symptoms of a hypoglycemic down when it's not... other mineral lack like magnesium that you got from carbs can have an impact on anxiety, etc...

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 10:57 AM

Volek and Phinney and others think that you can thrieve on low carb even for HIIT and that if you're not is that something is wrong with the approach. When in a keto diet, you must make sure you are fully into the keto thing, if not, you have neither proper blood glucose nor ketones, then you feel like shit... For example, if you are doing pretty high protein (and training I bet you do because we all do, I did also) thats more than a 1gr per Kg of body, you can get out easily of ketosis just by gluconeogenesis (protein conversion to glycogen)... you should watch this closely

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 10:17 AM

I tried lifting on very low carb but after some weeks I experienced mental and physical burnout, flat muscles etc. I'm guessing I was in or nearing ketosis. How much carbs would Phinney & Volek etc. recommend to stay out of this zone when lifting? I don't think the anabolic effect of high carbs is justified by the bloat and body stress of bulking/cutting etc. I found that I made good gains on my high cal fat/protein diet but I was also putting on weight. I don't eat junk food. When you say low carb impacts reproductive performance, how low are we talking? Thanks!

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 10:16 AM

I tried lifting on very low carb but after some weeks I experienced mental and physical burnout, flat muscles etc. I'm guessing I was in or nearing ketosis. How much carbs would Phinney & Volek etc. recommend to stay out of this zone when lifting? I don't think the anabolic effect of high carbs is justified by the bloat and body stress of bulking/cutting etc. I found that I made good gains on my high cal fat/protein diet but I was also putting on weight. My nutrition is perfect, 0 junk food. When you say low carb impacts reproductive performance, how low are we talking

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3 Answers

4
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on July 09, 2013
at 09:06 AM

You won't probably find the perfect answer to your question because this depends a lot on your school of thought, some like Phinney & Volek, Peter Attia and many others think that the glycogen repletion need from carbs is a myth and that you can get going with protein and fat and that this is the preferred state for the body whether you train or not, and that should lead to lean muscle gains if you do it properly.

Then there's the classical school of thought that carbs are anabolic and you do need them to grow muscle mass and allow the body to recover and allow for more intensity training without getting burnt down, period. They have their points also...

I've been doing a lot of research on this and still have not a clear answer to this question, I guess you will have to read a lot also and experiment to see what goes the best for you, although it can be a very time and effort consuming task.

My experience is: low carb, high fat, moderate protein is king for weight loss and allows for decent muscle size, at least maintaining, and there are studies that prove this. For putting on massive muscle mass? Not sure.

High carb, low fat, works well to put you in an anabolic state, I guess the most important thing is the cortisol lowering properties that get you off the starvation mode and allow body to build muscle because you have plenty of anabolic substrate. But it will hinder any kind of fat loss also, here everything depends on your ratios and how smart you play it.

Keep in mind that most people will tell you that it's all about having enough calories to grow either on low or high carb... but many studies showed that the LDL and T3 down-regulatory effects on low carb mimick the calorie restriction even with a high fat calorie surplus... I must to say that in my experience I'm finding out it could be true.

That being said, if you're interested in longevity, high fat low carb seems to be less ROS generating and safer for the brain, etc (no wonder it reverts obesity and metabolic syndrome, helps people with seizures, seems a good way to aid in Alzheimer, relieves neuropathy and CFS symptoms, etc) but you will probably get a hinder in reproductive performance... because high carb is all about this, making the body grow... in every aspect.

If you're young and healthy and wanting to engage in social live, meet chicks, put muscle and be happy, I'd say go for moderate carb/fat/protein (a la Zone Diet or PHD at best) until we have better understanding of all this works... if you have faced metabolic issues and are into your 40's and don't plan on having any more children, ketogenic might be your way to go... but I suspect there's no one way that allow for all the pros without any of the cons (hope I can find the answer to that someday).

But in the end, you should blood test and seek whatever strategy that optimizes your sex hormone levels and brings down your markers of chronic health diseases (fasting blood sugar, trigs, inflammation, liver status, thyroid markers...) and keep your stress down and have plenty of rest, and train smart, this should suffice if nutrition is not 'decadent' (most of it junk food).

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:00 AM

Other things: low carb implies poor body water retention, can be good or can be bad, great for looking ripped and awesome, but if you also cut salt (because everybody sees it as unhealthy) or have few because you eat unprocessed food and also lots of veggies and drink water, you lack sodium then you also feel like crap due to poor sodium to potassium balance, and have most symptoms of a hypoglycemic down when it's not... other mineral lack like magnesium that you got from carbs can have an impact on anxiety, etc...

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:10 AM

Those are very good points, thank you. Although I do not see salt as bad, and I eat a decent amount, I will still try and have more. I also used to eat a lot of dark chocolate and had fairly intense cravings for it. I might start eating it again and limit it to one ounce a day. What is a good amount of carbs you would recommend I have in order to stay out of the 'verging on ketosis' shit zone?

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 10:57 AM

Volek and Phinney and others think that you can thrieve on low carb even for HIIT and that if you're not is that something is wrong with the approach. When in a keto diet, you must make sure you are fully into the keto thing, if not, you have neither proper blood glucose nor ketones, then you feel like shit... For example, if you are doing pretty high protein (and training I bet you do because we all do, I did also) thats more than a 1gr per Kg of body, you can get out easily of ketosis just by gluconeogenesis (protein conversion to glycogen)... you should watch this closely

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:14 AM

Another thing that just crossed my mind, I think that I will start eating slower as well because I do eat quite fast and probably don't chew my food enough.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:21 AM

As for dark chocolate... if it's really pure and unsweetened, I don't think is of concern as long as it does not trigger any special issue to you. Some people thrive on it, if you have nervous problems, chronic fatigue or some auto-immune issues (TH1/TH2 balance) then you should at least keep an eye, but not inherently bad per se, has lots of good properties also. Eating slower is smart :)

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:19 AM

There seems to be a very clear consensus that altough some people can have tolerance to more carbs, 50g max per day should be a good number althought 30g is more guaranteed, but I guess it depends on the source of carbs, not same eating 40gr of sweet potato at once that 60gr of veggies splitted through the day, you know what I mean. I'd say to check with ketostix but unfortunately they're not very accurate. Ceasing cravings and good mental focus should be your signals to know that you're on the spot.

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 10:16 AM

I tried lifting on very low carb but after some weeks I experienced mental and physical burnout, flat muscles etc. I'm guessing I was in or nearing ketosis. How much carbs would Phinney & Volek etc. recommend to stay out of this zone when lifting? I don't think the anabolic effect of high carbs is justified by the bloat and body stress of bulking/cutting etc. I found that I made good gains on my high cal fat/protein diet but I was also putting on weight. My nutrition is perfect, 0 junk food. When you say low carb impacts reproductive performance, how low are we talking

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:03 AM

And the reproduction thing, I'm still not sure about this but I experienced it and it's what concerns me the most right now because for everything else I feel great on low carb, but many notice a low libido in general... that does not necessarily mean a bad sperm profile (mine got very better now on Paleo that on vegetarianism) and that's very personal (some say their libido is better on low carb) but many evidence suggests that low carb is detrimental to it and that many who tried loading on safe starches noticed immediate libido going up so I think they might be into something...

4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

(181)

on July 09, 2013
at 10:17 AM

I tried lifting on very low carb but after some weeks I experienced mental and physical burnout, flat muscles etc. I'm guessing I was in or nearing ketosis. How much carbs would Phinney & Volek etc. recommend to stay out of this zone when lifting? I don't think the anabolic effect of high carbs is justified by the bloat and body stress of bulking/cutting etc. I found that I made good gains on my high cal fat/protein diet but I was also putting on weight. I don't eat junk food. When you say low carb impacts reproductive performance, how low are we talking? Thanks!

0
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on July 09, 2013
at 04:00 PM

Eating potassium rich foods may help. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/77/1/76.full

0
4cef120270c742b7f0094b05c617636f

on July 09, 2013
at 10:46 AM

I did try to go very low carb and lift weights at one stage but after a few weeks it eventually lead to a burnt out feeling, lack of focus, and loss of endurance. I developed the 'flat' look which I attributed at the time to glycogen depletion/ketosis. If Phinney & Volek etc. believe that glycogen depletion is a myth, then how much carbs would be recommended in order to avoid the above mentioned state when lifting (assuming glycogen had anything to do with it)

I understand that some say that carbs are anabolic but I don't believe that the anabolic effect is justified considering the amount of strain one's body has to go through when bulking and cutting, not to mention the constant bloat and the fact that it seems to feed all kinds of nasties.

I much prefer low carb/high fat due to less weight gain and bloat, as well as more consistent energy and diminished hunger.

I've also found that I made good mass gains on high fat/protein/low carb but that I also put some fat on. I guess you can't have everything, especially with my reluctance to do cardio!

When you say I may get a hinder in reproductive performance what exactly do you mean here, lower testosterone or something else? How low carb are we talking about? I was under the impression that lower carbs = less fat = more t? I'm 24 and not planning on having kids anytime soon so I'm not too concerned with sperm count but I do like having optimal sexual performance :)

Although I am young and healthy, I do have some acne so I eat zero junk food. I also don't have cheat days or anything like that and I don't eat any dairy or gluten. I manage to eat paleo even when I eat out.

I will try and eat a little less in general while doing some cardio, perhaps that will lean me out to the level I desire. My main concern then would be avoiding the loss of strength and burnout that I experienced before on low carb.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:27 AM

If you do not like cardio I'd not do it just because of the fat loss, and that seems weird coming from me that I'm an endurance runner, but it's known that you can slim down without necessarily doing cardio. if you want, do it, but most importantly, don't overdo it, long cardio is catabolic (and hurts my heart a lot having to aknowledge this) and you can get great fat burning by doing 15' fast sprints with severals minutes walking, and then going for a walk after having dinner, for instance, that will put you on more fat burning mode without the need for cardio, althought it can sum up, too.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:29 AM

As a curiosity, I've stopped my running training schedule to give my body a break, I used to struggle with weight on high carb vegetarian diet and runing 50 miles per week and right now I'm low-carb high fat running just 1 day a week (but always do resistance training) and walking and I've more stable weight and body come, so you see, optimal hormone status and low cortisol is needed for weight loss, if you overdo it can also turn out bad, it depends on a lot of things.

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