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BiggsTheGoalie

Carbs

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Yep - been a while since I've posted, but figured I'd see what everyone does with carbs. I know there's a lot of hype out there with regards to low-carbing it, and I generally have been eating a low-ish carb diet, to the point where I went full Keto last year for about 5 weeks. Here are my personal thoughts based on my personal experience. I'm curious to hear others' stories on their general thoughts on carbs, and if they eat/supplement them at all, how they "think" or "feel" it works for them. I'll keep this somewhat brief, but hopefully it'll help someone out there.

 

The low: a Ketogenic diet. I kept to 20-25g carbs per day for a little over a month. Tested with Ketostix (available at most healthcare stores pretty cheaply).

 

Pros: after the first couple of weeks, I felt amazing. High energy levels, general good mood. I lost ~7 lbs during this period, likely attributable to some water weight and (I feel) mostly fat. Strength was maintained, so while there may have been some loss of muscle, it should have been minimal. You can (almost) eat whatever you want, as long as it's fats/protein. I set my diet up to coincide with ~1g/lb. of body weight, filled in the rest with fats and then minimal carbs (~200-250g protein, 150-200g fat, 20-30g carbs). Lots of meat and butter! I found it difficult to always consume that much fat in a day...and it does limit your food choices somewhat...but what's left is delicious!

 

Cons: playing hockey SUCKED. The first 5 mins or so was great, but then energy levels pretty much crashed. I would assume this would apply to any exercise/sport that had any sort of sustained exertion level. I didn't feel bad, per se, just all my explosiveness for movements was drained. It was like fighting my body to do what I wanted it to do. No carbs (duh).

 

Overall: if I didn't play any sports, I would do this again in a heartbeat. I'm not sure how it would work for strength gain, but my guess is once you're more or less adapted to the diet, it would be slow but steady. The weight loss and overall mood were terrific. Since I do plan on continuing playing sports, and since I plan on trying NOT to complete suck at them due to no energy, this wasn't a good long-term option for me.

 

The moderate: this is more or less what I currently do. Overall, I'm more concerned with total calorie intake vs. a specific macro breakdown. My diet is still more protein/fat-oriented, but my carb intake is likely more in the 100-200g/day range most days. Contrary to Keto, I don't shy away completely from most carbs.

 

Pros: pretty simple diet to maintain as long as you track (or at least somewhat aware of) your calorie intake. For strength-training and sports, a good daily dose of protein is essential, and a moderate carb intake helps keep energy levels sustained throughout the day (Keto did this too, but see note above about sustained exertion). Your food options are more open (obviously). Works well for moderate sports/exercise exertion.

 

Cons: I find this type of diet more difficult to lose weight on overall. Your energy levels for sports can sort of vary based on variable calorie/carb intake throughout the day.

 

What I've found works best for me: I'm still doing a little bit of experimentation right now, but the Keto diet was unsustainable with going to the gym 4 days/week and skating 2-3 times/week. I've been maintaining a regular moderate/lowish-carb diet for the last year now. I do have some periods where lifting and hockey can get pretty intense, and I've found that even a moderate-carb diet I tend to get tired out more quickly than I'd like.

 

What I've experimented with:

 

Extra calories: eat more, pretty straightforward. What I've found is that without being aware of what additional food you're eating (and its specific macros), this is almost a surefire way to not improve your athletic performance and gain weight. This should vary depending on your activity levels and types of activities, but for me, it does not work well: I've gained ~10 lbs. in ~6-8 weeks, with little improvement noted in my overall feeling with lifting or hockey. Definitely not something I would ever recommend to anyone, due to my experience. It may work well for bulking for some, but my feeling is that you'll simply be adding weight to your body, with little additional gain on the bar or performance. 

 

Extra Carbs: this one, for me, has been highly variable, depending on the type of carb I'm using. Food seems to work pretty well, but I'm looking to be much more specific with what I'm taking in to avoid extra fat/protein and calories, so I've been trying out different straight-up carb supplements.

 

Waxy Maize: I went through a tub of this earlier this year, due to all the hype I'd been reading online (and on the tubs!). Waxy Maize Starch (WMS) was the perfect carb supplement to fuel all your workouts. My result was, unfortunately, more along the lines of what I've been reading lately (more to come on that below): essentially none. I used this towards the end of my Keto period around my workouts and truly noticed very little difference. I don't want to say that it won't work for everyone/anyone, but my recent reading/research tells me that WMS is borderline useless as a part of any diet. There's good reading here: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/waxy_maize_starch_myth.htm

 

Maltodextrin: this is a tried and true carb supplement with some actual backing to it. If you read the article linked above, WMS performed about the same or markedly worse than maltodextrin in every measurable way. I'm almost through my tub of maltodextrin, and my experience has been that it's definitely helpful in keeping up energy levels. After some research, I've found a lot of people use a combination of maltodextrin and a "simpler" sugar/starch like dextrose as a carb supplement. It's tried and true (though I haven't tried it myself). If you're looking for an easy, cheap way to supplement carbs, this would likely be the way to go. It's a good way to boost your energy without adding a lot of food/calories to your diet. Assuming the rest of your diet is in order, this should work well for most.

 

Vitargo: uh...what? This was my initial first reaction. I feel like I'm pretty up to date on a lot of supplement news/lingo, but I'd never heard of this stuff before. A few posts on bodybuilding.com led me to find out that apparently all the "WMS" studies and results were actually based on (stolen from?) studies done on Vitargo. Hmmm...interesting. Usually I'm fairly skeptical of a lot of supplement claims, but this one actually had lots of good reviews and studies backing it up. From what I've read, the process that the original Vitargo was formed through was very, very similar to how WMS was produced, yet different enough that the actual outcome were two very different carbohydrates. So I did some further online research and found out the following: Vitargo is only produced by one manufacturer in Europe somewhere. First red flag, right? There are only 1-2 companies in the US that co-brand it...so it's not widely available like a lot of other carb supps. Hmmm...red flag #2. Regardless, reviews online were pretty much uniformly great on this stuff. Okay...if the WMS hype should actually be attributed to Vitargo, it would make sense then that manufacturers would try to increase their profits with a cheaper substitute that's manufactured by multiple companies and is more widely (cheaply) available. So, fine, I'll give this stuff a whirl...if I can find it. As far as I could find...there's ONE current company that distributes Vitargo (RegenR8)...and one that is discontinued. So there's not many options out there. As luck would have it, Vitamin Shoppe carries this brand, and my local store had "limited inventory" according to their website. Good enough for me...so I went to check it out. Turns out they had 2 tubs left. Let me get this out first: at first glance, this stuff is NOT cheap. The tub I grabbed was normally about $60, for 18 servings. Quick math says that's a lot to payt for starch! More detailed math says for me, it's a much better value: a serving is ~70g of Vitargo. I normally split ~25g maltodetrin in my pre-workout and intra-workout drinks. So, using the same amount, 18 "servings" quickly became 50 servings...and since it was 50% off, about $0.50 per serving. I can deal with that. So I grabbed a tub and went on my merry way.

 

I first used some this past Tuesday. It was deadlift day. I recently backed off a lot of my lifts as I had surgery in August to remove part of my fractured hamate bone in my right wrist. My previous PR was 420x1. Since breaking it and the surgery (and subsequent 8 weeks of not lifting anything, to go along with rehab time for a few week), I'd de-loaded my deadlift to the mid-200s rather than try to do too much too quickly. Tuesday was my light day of the 5/3/1/ program I'm running, and it was set for 285 on the top end. 

 

Let me say this first, and I'm sure most of you experience the same thing: deadlift day is awesome, but it leaves me drained, sweating and ready for a nap afterwards. I lift in the mornings before work, and by the time I get to work, my metabolism is amped up, I've got a nice constant sweat going on for an hour or so, and overall I'm just drained. To add to that, I usually DL on Tuesday mornings, then we have an hour-long practice on Wednesday nights, during which about halfway through I'm normally feeling those DLs pretty well.

 

This Tuesday was almost a complete turnaround. Energy levels during my workout were through the roof. I think I rested for no more than 1-2 minutes between any sets (normally 3-5 mins). I ran through my deadlift workout in about 30 mins total. Okay, no big deal since I was about 67% of what my theoretical max is. Well, that may be true...but I felt so good on Tuesday morning, I added the following: 315x2, 335x2, 355x2. All felt relatively easy, but I didn't want to overdo it still. In addition to that, by the time I got to work...as opposed to normally being drained, I was flush with energy, and it maintained it throughout the day. Seriously...what the hell is this stuff??? Hockey practice last night lasted for about 1hour, 15 mins. I felt great. No soreness, not tired (aside from what I should be after that long). It was our latest practice this year last night (9:15pm-10:30pm). I got home around 11pm, went to bed and was likely asleep by midnight. Got up this morning at 5am and hit the gym (bench). I will say I did try one of the carb sample packs I got from our local nutrition store (Allmax Carbion cherry limeade...which was delicious!), so that likely didn't hurt anything either. If anyone recalls, bench is typically my weakest lift due to nagging shoulder issues, but I did some PT a couple years ago and it's slowly been coming along. My 1RM has been 245 lbs. to date (for reference, I've done 195 lbs. on OHP...so in theory my bench *should* be higher). I've been working on bulking up my biceps/triceps/forearms the last few weeks, so that's definitely been helping. I did 195x7 last week (personal record) and was sort of dreading bench this week after a good showing last week. It was only 185, but how my bench "feels" varies week to week. Happy to say, on little sleep, after a hard late-night practice...I put up 185x10 this morning. I'm sold on Vitargo as a carb supplement. I'm typing this up right now...on 5 hours of sleep, and feel like I slept for twice that last night. Like a baby.

 

So, this post got way longer than I originally intended. I did a quick search on Vitargo on the forums and found one random reference in someone's log. I'm holding off final judgement for a longer time period, but my quick review is that this stuff is simply amazing. A small amount I feel has been fueling my workout/day twice this week. I'm hoping it will allow me to drop some extra weight again vs. a higher food intake.

 

I have absolutely NO connection to this stuff in any way...it really just does seem to actually work as advertised (maybe better?), so I wanted to share that with the group to go along with my self-experimentation results.

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I used to use Vitargo, but I replaced it with Waxy Maize for cost reasons. I may need to get some again. Thanks for the reminder!

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In my experience carbs (complex ones) works better than no-carbs. I've done both to get to the 10-11% body fat range, and I've found having plenty of carbs is more sustainable in the long run, it also helps with the lifting, and general well being.

 

All supplements are pretty useless IMO. The way I see it needing a supplement simply means your diet is lacking.

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I've mostly used low carbs during my cutting journey, always found the first 3 weeks to be difficult then my body adjusts and energy levels go back to normal.  Saying that I wasn't doing cardio at the time.  I've hit quite a few PR's on low carbs, my 529lb x6 deadlift was on low carbs first thing in the morning.

 

That's a trick I found handy, training at 6am.  I found evening sessions pretty draining by the time I'd finished work etc.  Early sessions meant I could go in, get some decent work done before any lack of energy kicks in.

 

These days I use IIFYM so I just try to hit my macros and not bothered what my carbs consist of.

 

For the most part it's from brown rice and veg. I'm eating more carbs now than the last 2 or 3 years.  Haven't really noticed much difference in lifting performance, physique wise my muscles remain fuller and not so depleted while I cut.

 

The only carb supplement I've used was powdered oats, but that was in my permabulk days.  Only supp I use now is Whey, I get enough meat to cover any creatine needs.

 

As far as bulking is concerned I'm not sure it really matters where the extra calories come from, I think the mistake most make is eating too high of a surplus to somehow speed up gains.  More food unfortunately doesn't mean quicker muscular and/or strength gains.   There's a point of diminishing returns where a lifter will just continue to get heavier and heavier while strength levels remain more or less the same.

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I was full keto for a while, but was not training during this time aside from LISS cardio and light / bodyweight exercise

my energy was high, and i didn't crave carbs near as much as when I eat more conventionaly, but I don't have any points of reference re higher intensity work (sports, etc)

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I appreciate the discussion...

 

I've used Vitargo before - no real difference to me if I had a protein shake with fruit/spinach and oatmeal...

 

I've done keto, cycling keto, primal and paleo...all of which required to much thought for me.

 

I agree with dark - eat real food, even post workout.

 

I second LSG - IIFYM works the same for me, mostly - I've modified it a bit though

~

My 2cents:

My daily protein intake value is ~215-225g @ 210lbsBW. I focus on hitting that mark daily. I don't concern myself with when I eat it or how I eat it. I make sure to eat real food - oatmeal, rice, all kinds of meat (fatty or not), veggies/fruits (big fan of spinach)...I eat when I'm hungry. 

 

Been doing this for about 2 months: weight hasn't changed, except for water weight. Strength gains are still happening. Bloodwork is solid, I sleep well...sex is good - what else could you ask for?

~

steps down from his soapbox - sorry I went off there

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Who was Cliffs...

 

Did not read OPie, did not read

 

dancingbear.gif

  • Upvote 1

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I use Glycofuse (Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin) In my Pre and Intra drinks.

Love it and taste awesome too!

Used it during Carb Backloading and now doing a Leangains/CBL hybrid diet (Low carb on non-lifting days, carbs night before lifting and Pre/Intra/Post, Keep carbs at night otherwise) with good results.

Can get Bulk HBCD at Truenutrition or just get Glycofuse.

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I've mostly used low carbs during my cutting journey, always found the first 3 weeks to be difficult then my body adjusts and energy levels go back to normal.  Saying that I wasn't doing cardio at the time.  I've hit quite a few PR's on low carbs, my 529lb x6 deadlift was on low carbs first thing in the morning.

 

That's a trick I found handy, training at 6am.  I found evening sessions pretty draining by the time I'd finished work etc.  Early sessions meant I could go in, get some decent work done before any lack of energy kicks in.

 

These days I use IIFYM so I just try to hit my macros and not bothered what my carbs consist of.

 

For the most part it's from brown rice and veg. I'm eating more carbs now than the last 2 or 3 years.  Haven't really noticed much difference in lifting performance, physique wise my muscles remain fuller and not so depleted while I cut.

 

The only carb supplement I've used was powdered oats, but that was in my permabulk days.  Only supp I use now is Whey, I get enough meat to cover any creatine needs.

 

As far as bulking is concerned I'm not sure it really matters where the extra calories come from, I think the mistake most make is eating too high of a surplus to somehow speed up gains.  More food unfortunately doesn't mean quicker muscular and/or strength gains.   There's a point of diminishing returns where a lifter will just continue to get heavier and heavier while strength levels remain more or less the same.

There are some gems in here. As LSG stated training with low carbs later in the day is tough, and my performance suffered when I tried this.

In an ideal world we could just speed up the gains but it's just not true. Fat gain will come with too much surplus. The thing I have found when trying to put on mass is I shift my food selection just a bit. An example is pasta in place of potatoes or rice as I can eat a ton of pasta and not as much potatoes or rice before I feel full. I can also eat a ton of bread but that makes me feel crappy compared to pasta so I go with pasta.

I have tried just about every amount of carb intake and I think I have found what works best for me and my goals at this moment which is a higher carb intake most of the time, usually 300-400 grams a day. When trying to add mass I have found adding 300-600 cals a day to be about right to minimize fat gain.

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