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  1. #1
    Banned Arlecchino's Avatar
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    Low-Carb Powerlifting

    I have received a couple of questions about this, and at least one thread request, so here goes.

    Right from the start: Low-Carb dieting is not for everyone. The only way to know if you can successfully diet utilizing this method is by trial and error.

    Various methods:

    Ketogenic diet: This is the standard low-carb approach, where minimal (less than 10% of total kcal/day) are consumed. While this may work well for some, most athletes require more carbs than this.

    Training would proceed as normal.

    Targeted ketogenic diet (this is an older term, but the one I first used/learned for this approach, so I still use it): This method allows the athlete to consume a modest amount of carbs pre-/post-workout to either provide energy, replenish depleted muscle glycogen, or both. Amounts vary based on the individual, training intensity and volume, and sometimes even frequency of workouts.

    Training would also proceed as normal.

    Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: This is my personal favorite, largely because it allows me to eat at IHOP in the morning, and have pasta for lunch and dinner one day a week. How cool is that? There are various methods of accomplishing this, but I will detail the one that works best for me.

    I train Westside-style:

    Monday Morning: ME squat
    Monday Evening: ME Bench
    Tuesday: GPP Lower body
    Wednesday: GPP Upper body
    Thursday: off or light cardio.
    Friday: Depletion workout (DE squat followed by DE bench)
    Saturday: Eat and sleep. Lots.
    Sunday: Off (sometimes I would do ME squat here, depending on how I felt).

    Diet: Monday - Friday (pre-workout) as little carbs as possible.
    Post workout: High glycemic carbs and protien for the first few meals. Goal here is to achieve glycogen supercompensation, and after a few I am actually force feeding myself, so liquid works best for me. Solid food immediately after either made me cramp or gave me trouble keeping it down. I used waxy maize starch (nice and cheap) and whey protein for the first two meals, and WMS and a protein blend (BSN Syntha-6) for the next two. During my re-carb (Late Friday through Saturday) I would, with the exception of breakfast Saturday morning (IHOP rules) I would keep my fat intake as low as possible, not only because fat delays gastric emptying, which defeats the purpose of trying to refill muscle glycogen as quickly as possible, but because the combination of carbs and fat is more likely to screw up the insulin response and cause spillover which can lead to fat storage. The goal with this approach is to get the nutrients I need to the places I want them to go. Sunday was a low-carb day as well.

    There are a lot of variations with each approach. Some people would perform a TKD-style diet with a modest depletion workout, etc. Methods vary with the individual.

    Good background reading:

    http://www.mendosa.com/ (go to the section marked food, and read up on the glycemic index)

    Other links:

    Keto Forum: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/forumdisplay.php?f=61

    Great thread: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=59921
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  2. #2
    hates you, probably. PotKettleBlack's Avatar
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    I love you. Even though after my last attempt at this diet was horrible, I might give it another go.
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  3. #3
    Banned Arlecchino's Avatar
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    Other notes:

    When low-carbing, I experienced the following:

    Greater irritation of joint injuries. I have some fairly severe ones that will plague me the rest of my life. When depleted, I did not retain as much water in general, and could feel the difference. This will vary from individual to individual, and depend on the nature and extent of your injuries, etc.

    Strength: I was coming back from injuries (kinda-sorta) so some of the strength I regained was easier for me than someone who had never hit better numbers, so it is difficult to go by my results. I will say that the length and cleanliness of the carb-up when dieting had the biggest effect. Obviously, the longer the carb up (to a point) the better I felt headed into my ME workouts. If I ate a lot of fat, I was not as strong.

    Attitude: This is the number one reason I like the CKD. I could basically tell myself that I only had to diet for five days at a stretch. Then I could look forward to waffles, tortellini, etc. Not bad at all, IMO.

    Results: In four months I cut 31lbs. (249 - 218) which is where my bodyweight stabilized for a while after adding more carbs back in. Was actually a little lower than that at the end, but some of that was water loss, which does not count unless I was trying to make weight.
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  4. #4
    Registered User marcusmucheck's Avatar
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    im on a diet now...it sucks.
    do something
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  5. #5
    Pressin' Parson holbee's Avatar
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    lol. I was just searching the forums this morning for this info!
    You, sir, rock.

    I've been doing a bit of my own trial and error on a carb cycle approach with 3 days on then a carb day. I see I havn't been getting near enough carbs on that day, nor optimizing my carbs pre and post workout as I should.
    Thanks a ton for the info. Reps.
    Log: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=124348591

    Musclespeed rocks!
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  6. #6
    Banned Arlecchino's Avatar
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    Feel free to hit me with any specific questions you may have.
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  7. #7
    Registered User 45BIG's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    Other notes:

    When low-carbing, I experienced the following:

    Greater irritation of joint injuries. I have some fairly severe ones that will plague me the rest of my life. When depleted, I did not retain as much water in general, and could feel the difference. This will vary from individual to individual, and depend on the nature and extent of your injuries, etc.
    I have attempted this and being older my joints took a freaking beating. Of course, I didn't consider the possibility it was the diet but rather an age issue or performing an exercise incorrectly. Personally, I am trying to get down to 10-15% BMI at whatever bodyweight. The problem I run into is cutting weight creates the ache and pains issue. My choice method for cutting weight has been these low carb approaches. I need to read the articles and will likely have some questions. I know my primary concerns with low carbing it are recovery, aches and pains, and energy.
    Monday Bench
    Tuesday Rest
    Wednesday Drink beer
    Thursday Drink more beer
    Friday Bench
    Saturday celebrate benching by drinking beer
    Sunday plan for benching
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  8. #8
    Registered User marcusmucheck's Avatar
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    i find it hard to focus and get motivated.
    do something
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  9. #9
    Registered User swolegantor's Avatar
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    Gawd. Last year was my nutrition kick. Dont come back to huant me with this carb cycling horror.

    Whenever I cut weight I use a modified V-Diet. Unless somethings so hard it becomse a focal point in my life I cant do it.
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  10. #10
    Banned Arlecchino's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by swolegantor View Post
    Gawd. Last year was my nutrition kick. Dont come back to huant me with this carb cycling horror.

    Whenever I cut weight I use a modified V-Diet. Unless somethings so hard it becomse a focal point in my life I cant do it.
    How were your strength levels with the even lower carb levels there? My joints could not tolerate only one carb meal a week.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by 45BIG View Post
    I have attempted this and being older my joints took a freaking beating. Of course, I didn't consider the possibility it was the diet but rather an age issue or performing an exercise incorrectly. Personally, I am trying to get down to 10-15% BMI at whatever bodyweight. The problem I run into is cutting weight creates the ache and pains issue. My choice method for cutting weight has been these low carb approaches. I need to read the articles and will likely have some questions. I know my primary concerns with low carbing it are recovery, aches and pains, and energy.
    Yeah. I am 40. Lower glycogen levels lead to less water retained, as well as having some effect on cartilage turnover at the joints.

    Originally Posted by marcusmucheck View Post
    i find it hard to focus and get motivated.
    Some people do. Takes most at least 21 days to get used to it, and some people never do. One of the lifters I coached was miserable on a low-carb approach, but did quite well on a low-fat diet.
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  12. #12
    meh 5G's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    holy ****! i was going to type something very similar later. looks like you beat me to it.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by NotMeAgain View Post
    holy ****! i was going to type something very similar later. looks like you beat me to it.
    Gotta be quick.



    Lots of recipes: http://www.camacdonald.com/lc/LowCar...ng-Recipes.htm
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    How were your strength levels with the even lower carb levels there? My joints could not tolerate only one carb meal a week.
    horrible.
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by swolegantor View Post
    horrible.
    What I expected. I would never recommend the velocity diet to anyone interested in anything resembling strength.

    I got scared the first time I read it.

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  16. #16
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    ARLECHINNO

    oh god...i hope i get used to it.

    i have so much studying and testing to do i NEED to get used to it for get some aderall or something!
    do something
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  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by marcusmucheck View Post
    ARLECHINNO

    oh god...i hope i get used to it.

    i have so much studying and testing to do i NEED to get used to it for get some aderall or something!
    There will often being periods of adjustment as the brain gets used to running on ketones, but it does get easier for most people. I found that after time, my ability to transition between the two states got easier with time.
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  18. #18
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    oh well...being a lifter is harder than being a normal dude.
    so ill just deal
    do something
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  19. #19
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    Glad to see this. Currently almost through my first week of a low-carb approach while trying to still maintain strength.

    My diet: Carbs <30-50g everyday except:
    PWO: 1 scoop of Surge (til I run out)
    Fri dinner - Sat dinner, eat whatever the hell I want, including some booze.
    Most meals are real, natural, whole foods w/ green veggies. 2 cheap whey shakes a day. Plenty of EVOO and other fats, though I could use a bit more I think. Gonna pick up some flax oil to include in my shakes.

    Workout: SS but with slow increases
    A: squat, press, DL/Rack Pulls (alt), situps
    B: squat, bench, back extensions, chins, situps
    Wednesday: Sub front squats
    Friday: + curlzzzzz
    Cheat on diet = tabata row or bike. Haven't cheated yet.

    Trying to get down from 247 to 215, maybe 210 (about 10% BF). DL PR a couple weeks ago = 485, don't want that to go down. Haven't tested squat lately, probably high 300's or maybe 405, previously squatted 425 but had lost focus as of late while working the DL. Goal is to get both to 500+ after all this cutting nonsense is done.

    I hear you on the joints. I had shoulder surgery in December and am still trying to work back out of the hole (had gotten up to 270 and lost ALL upper body strength). Bench is back to a miserable 205 (3x5), was at a less miserable 235 (3x5) right before surgery, so I have a ways to go. Did you use NSAIDS? I'm gonna have to try and see if this helps. I'm maintaining my lower body strength but am hoping to increase bench/chins. We'll see, the shoulder pain is going to be what holds me back. Even with fish oil, I can tell it's "dryer" than normal.

    As I get pretty deep into ketosis, I can tell my workouts suffer, which I expected (done this before, went from 210 to 170 years ago). What do you do for pre-workout food? I considered some gatorade or something for some quick sugar, but during my V diet experiment last year it really didn't help much. Of course, the V diet just sucked all around anyway, nothing could help that.

    Did you play with any EC stack action? I drink a few small cups of black coffee throughout the day and have some ephedra leftover from the V diet. Hmm. I probably won't resort to this unless I stall.

    Did you experience major issues with sleep? I can't sleep. It takes a couple hours to fall asleep and i wake up every couple hours. This is my biggest issue right now. Hoping it goes away as my body gets used to keto, but damn.

    Cliffs: Sorry for the book. I bolded the questions if you have a chance to "weigh" in. Har.
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  20. #20
    Registered User swolegantor's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    What I expected. I would never recommend the velocity diet to anyone interested in anything resembling strength.

    I got scared the first time I read it.

    The way I see it. The faster I can get done with dieting the faster I Can get back to getting stronger.
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  21. #21
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    Did you use NSAIDS?

    I use them all the time.

    What do you do for pre-workout food?

    Depends on the day. On low carb days, nothing special. Was fueled for my ME workouts following the mammoth carb up.

    When I experimented with pre-workout carbs, I would use a small amount of steel cut oats.

    Did you play with any EC stack action?

    Cannot use stimulants. Many people like them.
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  22. #22
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    JC CLOUD
    im also having a hard time sleeping at night.
    my diet consist mainly of meat and vegetables.
    to further break that down...spinach, romaine lettuce, any lettuce really, fish, beef, chicken. water. thats it.

    the only carbs come in the form of dressings, or on my carb days pasta but less than 100g.

    on the one cheat day a week its on. i eat anything and everything and then i feel massive...not fat, just thick. my muscles feel big and full and i even feel "better."

    as far as ephedra- no, if i had some...id use it tho.
    caffeine- daily-3-6 cups coffee in morning and 8oz before training.
    i go to sleep shortly after dusk and try to get up at dawn.

    however, lately...i cant sleep til almost midnight and wake up around 830a
    do something
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  23. #23
    hates you, probably. PotKettleBlack's Avatar
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    21 days to get used to it you say!? Oh dear. When I tried low carb, I lasted four days, and just felt so bad, I didn't think it was worth it so I just gave up.
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    Originally Posted by PotKettleBlack View Post
    21 days to get used to it you say!? Oh dear. When I tried low carb, I lasted four days, and just felt so bad, I didn't think it was worth it so I just gave up.
    Often takes about three weeks to adjust to many things, metabolic changes included.
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  25. #25
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    maybe i shouldnt have just dropped em off 100%?

    maybe i should have weened off a lil?

    no clue.

    but i feel spacey and cant concentrate for ****.
    do something
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  26. #26
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    Originally Posted by marcusmucheck View Post
    JC CLOUD
    im also having a hard time sleeping at night.
    my diet consist mainly of meat and vegetables.
    to further break that down...spinach, romaine lettuce, any lettuce really, fish, beef, chicken. water. thats it.
    Our diets are pretty similar then. How long have you been doing it? No improvement in sleep? I have some magnesium I might take. I've used it before and I seem to get "better" sleep, though it doesn't help me actually get to sleep. It gives me WICKED dreams though, so I've shied away from it. But I gotta get some rest. I've heard melatonin can help you actually get to sleep, but I haven't tried it yet.
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  27. #27
    hates you, probably. PotKettleBlack's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    Often takes about three weeks to adjust to many things, metabolic changes included.
    Yeah, true. But nothing else I've tried diet-wise has made me feel quite as ****e as this. Haha. Apart from not eating for a week. But that was because I was ill, so couldn't eat...
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  28. #28
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    one of my friends does this type of diet but modified. he does the no carb high fat on tues,thurs,sat,sun. he does carb ups on training days mon,wed,fri. he stays fairly lean 220lbs. i tried it and felt horrible. i think you really have to push for 2 weeks straight no carb to get adapted to it. this diet has worked great for alot of people especially bodybuilders. i think carb cycling is better for powerlifters but thats me.
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  29. #29
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    Most people I think eat too many carbs to begin with. Just like if you're going to start a new workout routine, or working out in general, the body is going to be beaten up, sore, and hurt like a mofo. The same thing is true with your diet...if you switch to low carbs you have to fight through it to let your body adjust.

    Currently I'm on an anabolic type of diet. I carb-up on the weekends, and allow myself to eat anything I want really. When it comes down to it though, I eat pretty clean on weekends too. Its just nice to be able to have some ice-cream, and go out to Olive garden and mow down some breadsticks. I've gained 12lbs so far on my bulk with no cardio and feel like very minimal fat gains despite 55% of my calories coming from fat.

    Saturday, Sunday I eat high carbs. Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri I eat 30-50g carbs and wednesday I try and eat as close to zero carbs as I can. Today's wednesday and I'll be at about 15g carbs.

    I think carb cycleing is great, you just have to give it 2-3 weeks for your body to adjust.
    wut?
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  30. #30
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    So not feeling like **** is just something that is gonna take time, like around three weeks?

    My biggest problem is when I get started, probably even before I get into ketosis on the first couple of days I just start feeling terrible. This is in the gym, out of the gym, all the time.

    Also, holy **** at the mood swings by day 3.
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