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  1. #1
    "Muscled-Up" stayhungry's Avatar
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    Carb Loading--Explained

    Carb Depletion and Loading


    What is the goal of it?

    Carb depletion & loading is process that bodybuilders using it in the last week before the competition .The reason to deplete carbs is to lose water that is beneath the skin and losing every glycogen molecule in your muscles cells (because the glycogen process needs water to perform it) to make the muscles more definite and look hard but after you deplete your carbs your muscles will be look flat (depletion process) and then it comes time to load. This means you have to eat carbs to replenish your glycogen stores in your muscles and make them fuller and tighter with less water under the skin (loading process).

    Note: the goal of this process is to reduce body-fluids (water). Many Competitors practice the technique of water depletion. Water depletion consists of reducing one's liquid intake to practically nothing as they approach the contest. Not only is this practice very dangerous, it is also ineffective. Muscle tissue consists of 70% water. If one restricts water intake drastically, they will lose muscle fullness and appear flat onstage. In addition, reducing water will increase the likelihood of muscle cramps while onstage (this happens quite frequently and is very embarrassing). Some competitors believe water is what causes them to appear smooth. This is not the case. Water retention intracellularly (inside the cell) will cause one appear hard and full. Subcutaneous (under the skin) water retention however, causes one look smooth. When the body senses a drastic restriction in water intake it will release anti-diuretic hormones that cause subcutaneous water retention. This makes physiological sense: the body senses it is not getting enough water and releases hormones that cause water retention to prevent dehydration. So that is the most important phase when preparing for a contest

    How to start:

    Depletion phase:

    If your competition is on Saturday then I would do it like this:

    Sunday-start deplete
    Monday-keep depleting
    Tuesday-last day of depletion
    In this time. Sodium play comes to mind. Some people sodium load, which is when they raise there sodium up to about 4g 15 days before a show and then cut it out on Wednesday. Water is the trickiest thing. But at about 10 days out, add another gallon to whatever youíre drinking. This gives it a diuretic effect. You see, when you take in so much water, you have to put out so much water. But once you cut the water out, your body still puts out that much water. Hope that makes sense to you the way I explained it. So the way water goes is like this. Letís assume that youíre drinking a gallon a day just to keep it simple.

    10 days out-up water to 2 gallons.
    1st carb deplete day-keep it at 2 gallons.
    Tuesday-stay at two gallons
    Wednesday-do 1.5 gallons
    Thurs-1 gallon
    Friday-try for no water, but if you feel you need it, take some sips now and then.
    Saturday-show day, no water.


    Loading process:

    Wednesday-start carb load, cut most sodium out of your diet
    Thursday-keep loading, keep the sodium out
    Friday-cut water out and keep eating low sodium carbs
    Saturday- wake up early, see if you need more carbs, if you do eat, if you donít, donít eat, you will just get bloated
    Note: in the competition day try to eat simple carbs which act faster than the complex carbs. Also, the night before the show, at about 10:00 PM, you might try to eat something like a cheeseburger or some pizza, the sodium at this time will fill out all of your muscles and also get rid of some water, but sometiems it can backfire, so do this at your own risk.

    Training in this process:
    Donít train anywhere near failure. You donít want to be sore. Once you begin your carb depletion start working out with program similar to this one.

    Back-3 sets x 15-20
    Chest-3 sets x 15-20
    Do chest and back like a super set.

    Then do
    Shoulers/arm/triceps-2 sets x15-20
    Do these in like a tri-set.

    Hams/calves-3 sets x 15-20
    Do these in like a super set.


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    And now let us see this process from Professional
    Nutritionist point view:

    heavy loading By Chris Aceto "an illustration to carbs deplete process"

    The process creates a temporary illusion. It's a "quick fix" that allows a bodybuilder to appear a lot harder by virtue of fuller-looking muscles combined with less water retention.

    Whether you're a bodybuilder who wants a quick fix to sharpen your physique for a contest or just for a trip to the beach, these are the steps to deplete and then supercharge your body with carb loading. You may be shocked by how much better and bigger you'll look in just one week.

    Step No.1
    Preprogram:
    Increase sodium intake
    - In the week prior to starting your carb-cutting program, boost your intake of sodium - plain table salt. The simplest way to do this is to sprinkle salt on all of your meals. Elevating sodium increases water retention in the body and decrease the water - retention hormone aldosterone. Remain with the higher than usual sodium intake until one day before carbing up during the program (In step 7). When you suddenly reduce your sodium intake at that time, and while aldosterone levels readjust, your body will excrete even more water - most of it directly from beneath the skin. This will lead to greater definition.

    Step No. 2
    Preprogram: Increase water intake:
    When you increase sodium. It's important to take in roughly 50% more water than usual. That is, every time you would normally have a cup of water, make it a cup and a half, so that by the end of the day, you've boosted your fluid intake by 50%. Greater water intake sets up the body for greater definition at the end of the process. Maintain this intake until you reach step 10.




    Step No. 3
    Day 1-2: drop carbs 50%
    Here's when the carb cutting program really begins. Drop your carb consumption by 50%. This first drop will help prevent the shock of taking your carb count too low too quickly. If you were previously eating approximately 1500 calories from carbs per day ( about normal for a 200 pounds bodybuilder who consumes 3000 calories a day for bodyweight maintenance), then cut your total carb intake to 200 grams per day, focusing mostly on complex carbs, early in the day. Still, for these two days, maintain your pre- and post-workout nutrition simple carbs at approximately 50 grams, divided between those two meals.

    Step No. 4
    Days 1-5; mildly increase protein
    Some people go wrong at this step. When carbs drop, you must increase protein consumption to prevent muscle breakdown. However, if you increase your protein intake too much, a lot of that extra protein is burned as fuel, sparing the body from emptying its glycogen stores. Therefore, to experience the muscle-saving effect of extra protein without inhibiting the depletion of glycogen stores, elevate your protein intake only by about 50 grams daily on each lower carb day. A 200 pound bodybuilder who normally eats a gram of protein per pounds of bodyweight should consume about 250 grams of protein during this phase.

    Step No. 5
    Days 1-5: train with high reps
    When depleting carbs for five days, you should train with higher reps 12 to 20 per set and performs 50% more steps than normal. For example, if you perform 10 sets for biceps go to 15 sets (50% more volume work) and aim for 12 - 20 reps per set. Of course you have to decrease the weight in order to hit that volume. However, the goal here is to lower carb reserves, and volume work is tremendously effective in doing so. It all goes back to super-compensation. The more carbs you can deplete, the greater amount you can store during the carb up process, leading to bigger and tighter- looking muscles.

    Step No. 6
    Days 3-5: further deplete carbs
    On these days, drop your carbohydrate intake to 100-150 per day, emphasizing complex carbs sources, such as yams, oatmeal and brown rice. Take three in early in the day and target about .7 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight (a 200 pound bodybuilder should take in about 140 grams of carbs daily). When carbs drop, reserves of glycogen begin to decline. As glycogen decreases, the body begins to pump up its production of glycogen storing enzymes. When you later pack in greater quantities of carbs, those carb storing enzymes will help pack away these additional carbs as new glycogen, yielding fuller looking muscles.

    Step No.7 Days 5-7: reduce Sodium
    The day before adding carbs back, drop the additional salt you've been putting on your food. When sodium levels decline, you'll experience changes in aldosterone that favor water excretion and a tighter look. You needn't zero out your sodium intake. Cutting all the extra sodium should be enough of drop.

    Step No.8
    Days 6-7: carb up
    Now the fun begins, after five days of depleting carbs, along with performing volume work, your muscle will be tremendously low in fuel, screaming to be replenished. When you switch to a high carb intake, much of what you consume will be directly stored in your muscles. I suggest eating 3 grams of carbs per pounds of bodyweight daily, minimum, and up to 5 grams per pounds for those with a faster metabolism or those who weigh more than 220 pounds. Avoid using fruits and sucrose (table sugar) or high fructose corn syrup. Starchy complex carb sources are ideal, and good choices include potatoes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, white rice and brown rice.

    Step No. 9
    Days 6-7: Reduce protein consumption
    When you're carbing up, you can drop the added protein of step 4. This follows the simple edict that carbs and protein work like a sea-saw. When carbs drop, you have to eat more protein; when carbs dramatically increase, you don't need the added protein. Take in just a gram of protein per pounds of bodyweight on each of these days.

    Step No. 10
    Days: 6-7: Reduce water intake
    In step 2, you increased water intake. Now, reduce it to 50% what you would normally have on any given day prior to step 2. If, for example, you would usually drink a gallon of water, reduce that to half a gallon. Since carbohydrates require water to make new muscle glycogen, many people assume that they have to drink like a thirsty camel to make glycogen. Not so, because in the face of restricted water and increased carbs, muscles make up for the water shortfall by dragging some from under the skin into the muscles. The results is less subcutaneous water retention and harder looking physique.

    Step No. 11:
    Days 6-7: take it easy and don't train
    As a rule of thumb, when carbing up, it's best not to train, as that siphons off some of the incoming carbohydrates, preventing an optimal carb - up and fuller muscles. This might be why many bodybuilders appear fuller a few days after a competition. The days off allow for optimal compensation of carbohydrates. In fact, avoid energy expenditure as much as possible to allow your muscles to fill up.

    Step No. 12
    Day 7: pump up and take pictures
    Pump up your muscles a bit right before you step onstage, do a photo shoot or strip off your shirt to impress people. Use light weights (or isometric movements) and go through a full range of motion, feeling the stretch, contraction and pump. Keep reps low - you don't want to burn up carbs.
    On this day, you maybe in the best condition of your life. Have some one take pictures of you to capture the moment and to use as a record of comparison for the next time you carb deplete and carb load. Photographically documenting your condition and muscle mass is a great way to determine that you are continuing to progress as a bodybuilder.
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  2. #2
    Registered User JoeBro's Avatar
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    Question

    Originally Posted by stayhungry View Post
    Carb Depletion and Loading


    Many Competitors practice the technique of water depletion. Water depletion consists of reducing one's liquid intake to practically nothing as they approach the contest. Not only is this practice very dangerous, it is also ineffective.

    10 days out-up water to 2 gallons.
    1st carb deplete day-keep it at 2 gallons.
    Tuesday-stay at two gallons
    Wednesday-do 1.5 gallons
    Thurs-1 gallon
    Friday-try for no water, but if you feel you need it, take some sips now and then.
    Saturday-show day, no water.

    awesome write up! just wondering about something, at first you said water depletion doesn't work then it says later cut water on friday... are these considered different? and if so what is the difference between cutting water and friday and water depletion?
    Plank you Very much

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  3. #3
    Registered User coltmasterj's Avatar
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    I noticed when you were talking about the depletion workouts that the leg training said to work "Hams/calves". I have heard from other sources that one may want to avoid training legs, and particularly quads during the last week. Supposedly, this can obscure leg definition. Is that why you wrote down "Hams/calves" instead of "Thighs/calves"?
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  4. #4
    Registered User bakyhama's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JoeBro View Post
    awesome write up! just wondering about something, at first you said water depletion doesn't work then it says later cut water on friday... are these considered different? and if so what is the difference between cutting water and friday and water depletion?
    From how I understand it, the act of keeping high water intake up till that final week paired with the carb depletion/loading is what makes the subcutaneous layer of water disappear.

    I believe what the OP refers to as dangerous/ineffective water cutting is when the bodybuilder does it for extended periods of time without the carb load. When you lower water intake, as the OP states, the body lowers the amount expelled. Now, the thing is, when you’ve been on high water intake for quite some time and then suddenly cut low for a day or two, your body will still be “upregulated” and expelling tons of water. This might sound like a bad thing, but one must then also consider the carb load/depletion that is being done concurrently.

    In Layne’s contest guide, he states that the carb depletion phase primes the muscle to hold more glycogen which will allow it to hold more when the loading phase begins. What is also important to note is that storing glycogen also causes water to be stored in the muscle as well (which is good).

    So, when you cut water intake, your body is still expelling it due to upregulation. Your carb loading is also causing water to be pulled into the muscles. So…where does that water come from? The only place left to pull water from is from that dreaded subcutaneous layer, thus drying you out and making your muscles full.

    I’m not scientist, but that’s how I came to understand this.
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  5. #5
    Team Boss Barbell Club Rsardinia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by coltmasterj View Post
    I noticed when you were talking about the depletion workouts that the leg training said to work "Hams/calves". I have heard from other sources that one may want to avoid training legs, and particularly quads during the last week. Supposedly, this can obscure leg definition. Is that why you wrote down "Hams/calves" instead of "Thighs/calves"?
    Nope that's not the case. You want to hit a light leg work out the week of your show to deplete glycogen stores in your legs (like all other muscles). The carb up process will fill them out nicely and they will look great. You don't want to go too heavy on the leg workout tho so they aren't sore for the show since you will be flexing them a lot. Anyone who blames their legs having poor separation from working them out the week of the show is probably just not as conditioned as they would like to think they are.
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  6. #6
    Registered User bakyhama's Avatar
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    I made an error with my explanation. After taking a brief look at Layne's article again, it is actually the sodium manipulation that allows the body to pull water from the subcutaneous layer into the cells. I'm not sure if glycogen pulls any water into the muscles (someone please clarify).

    To quote: "By sodium depleting for several days prior you will have increased your body's ability to store more sodium. Since your cells have been deprived of sodium for several days they will be more likely to retain sodium (and the water that goes along with it) intracellularly and store less of it subcutaneously. Couple this with the increase glycogen retention inside the cell and you will fill out."

    When you cut out water on that last day or so, the only water available is subcutaneous, therefore, you will "dry" out.

    Apologies for the mixup, I'm 2.5 weeks out and my mind isn't so sharp anymore...
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  7. #7
    The Physique Architect str8flexed's Avatar
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    i no longer recommend sodium depleting. if anything it's worse than depleting water (which is still bad)
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by bakyhama View Post
    I made an error with my explanation. After taking a brief look at Layne's article again, it is actually the sodium manipulation that allows the body to pull water from the subcutaneous layer into the cells. I'm not sure if glycogen pulls any water into the muscles (someone please clarify)....
    Water is loaded into the muscle as it draws carbohydrate in. Stored carboyhdrate is glycogen. Sodium, potassium and other electrolyte circulate inside and outside of the cell membrane depending on concentrations in each area. This "electro"lyte mixture is what allows electrical impulses to be transmitted across the muscle to contract and release. So depeding on the concentrations of sodium and potassium inside and outside of the cell causes water to move one way or the other.

    Originally Posted by bakyhama View Post

    When you cut out water on that last day or so, the only water available is subcutaneous, therefore, you will "dry" out.

    ...

    This is nice in theory but it simply doesnt happen to any great degree. The body doesnt sacrifice electrolyte/water balance to bring stored carbohydrate inside of the muscle cell. That electrolyte balance is critical to life sustaining bodily functions. When you dont drink water, you simply dont fill out.
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  9. #9
    Registered User bakyhama's Avatar
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    Thank you Oak and Layne for the replies.

    From what you guys are saying, it seems sodium manipulation and water manipulation are pretty much terrible ideas (this seems to be reinforced from months of skimming these boards).

    As such, carb depletion/loading seems to be the only real effective tactic for looking awesome on show day. Would this be a correct assessment?
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  10. #10
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    Bumping bcuz this a very informative thread
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  11. #11
    Registered User astm's Avatar
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    Hi! I wanted to bump this to ask a question: How often can you carb deplete/carb load? I'm doing it for the first time right now (well, accidentally did this a couple of weeks ago with a cheat meal) and was wondering when can I do a carb deplete/load again after this week's deplete/load. Thanks in advance!
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  12. #12
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    I am going to try this!
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  13. #13
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    Dialing in

    I have most all clients deplete sodium and water then add it back at the right time to get that full hard look. Just has to be all times right and there is not one protocol which I use different methods on all my prep clients. Armonadibi.com
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  14. #14
    caught you mirin Devils's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by str8flexed View Post
    i no longer recommend sodium depleting. if anything it's worse than depleting water (which is still bad)
    Are you talking about a gradual depletion over a few days, or are we talking just on contest day or the night before?

    Do you consider reducing sodium/water the night and day of competition worse than keeping normal levels?
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    NGA\IFPA Pro Bodybuilder fltallpaul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Devils View Post
    Are you talking about a gradual depletion over a few days, or are we talking just on contest day or the night before?

    Do you consider reducing sodium/water the night and day of competition worse than keeping normal levels?
    This is a few years old so I doubt Layne will answer this since he is leaving for Australia for a few weeks.

    Reducing sodium as in tapering is fine. Removing it from your diet completely is what causes problems.
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  16. #16
    Registered User NorCalKid650's Avatar
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    What should you be eating on the low carb days? I find it difficult to hit low carb and still eat enough calories.
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    Can we have more suggestions for carb loading food? Something a bit more fun than those mentioned

    Also, as I need to lose more fat, is it safe to do depleting + loading all still in a decent agressive 20-30% under maintenance? How to do calories? Help
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    Originally Posted by NorCalKid650 View Post
    What should you be eating on the low carb days? I find it difficult to hit low carb and still eat enough calories.
    Increase protein and fats to maintain calories.....
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    so this look is just temporary? or will you retain the hardened physique you gain after this cycle, and then next year do it again and look even better? How long will this look last if it is a "quickfix""temporary"?
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  20. #20
    Registered User Austin020's Avatar
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    This is only temporary and you will go back to normal once you return to normal intake of carbs/sodium/water.
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  21. #21
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    very informative, thank you much! question is it worth taking any kind of diuretic during this depleting and loading?? or just follow the process and there will be no need for one come the big day.
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