Discussion in 'Fitness & Nutrition' started by MaineSucks, May 9, 2007.

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  1. MaineSucks

    MaineSucks OT Supporter

    Jan 5, 2005
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    andrew_plamondon is being extremely helpful by organizing all of this information. continue to check back as he will be adding more and more info when he gets time / gets the information. we should all be happy he has done this much.

    this is a fucking vault of info.



    The same questions come back over and over again so I wanted to make an EDU about it. Feel free to add a comment or PM me if there are mistakes or stuff to add. I might add links to some resources or to my sources, just ask for it and I'll look it up and add it. If there are terms you don't understand, use Google and Wikipedia, this crazy website for geeks (http://web.indstate.edu/thcme/mwking/) THEN ask questions.

    A huge influence on your progress will be your nutrition. Training is usually the one thing people talk about but nutrition is almost always overlooked. People know how many miles per gallon their car does, but now how much cals they have to eat to maintain their weight. Some people can get amazing results in spite of what they’re doing (eating, training, etc). We shouldn’t try to do what they do. Genetics doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it, it means that you’ll have to work harder to get it. Part of being what you want to be is doing stuff you don’t really want to do.

    Maintenance cals, gaining, losing weight

    For those who wanted a definite answer, I think that it’s useless to try to determine this with a formula. Then, how much to eat will depend on your goals. A good starting point is to eat 15*bodyweight (in lbs) cals, wait for 2 weeks and reassess. If you want to lose or gain weight it hasn't changed, lower this amount by 500 cals every 2 weeks until you lose/gain 1-2 lbs per week. If it's going too fast, adjust by adding or substracting 250 cals.

    Whatever you do, gaining weight is about eating more calories than you expend (cals in *> cals out) and losing weight is expending more calories than what you eat (cals in < cals out). The thing is that what we expend (cals out) varies greatly from one person to another and will be influenced by a lot of factors (activity level, genetic differences, metabolism, fidgeting and so on). The trick is to find at what point you gain or lose weight, it will vary from one to another so you'll have to try some stuff and see for yourself.

    Sorry for the small picture. Go there if you want to learn more about energy balance (cals in vs cals out) and how you can play with it : http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....le=05-077-diet


    Here are some troubleshooters by Dr Lonnie Lowery



    If you want to gain weight, it’s a bit trickier. If you’re a skinny beginner, you can probably gain a couple of lbs every month. If you’re a skinny fat beginner though, I don’t think you should use the scale. You could be gaining muscle mass and losing fat while staying at the same weight. Use the mirror, take measurements, take pictures to assess progress.
    Whatever your goals are, adjust your intake to your daily activity level. That means you can take more cals on training days and less cals on off days. It can easily be done by adding a pre/peri/post-workout meal (which will be discussed later).


    As a former fat bastard gifted with a slow (efficient) metabolism, I'm not really into the bulking/cutting phases.

    For those who want to gain slowly, eating 10% over maintenance during training days (that's including calories burned during your activities) and 10% under maintenance during off-days can lead to pretty clean gains in the long term. Aiming at 2-4 lbs per month (the higher part is for those new at this) is a good goal. It might seem slow to some people, but over a year, we're looking at 24-48 lbs if you gain all the time, which is pretty good.

    For those who want to gain faster (those who can afford it the most are the skinny guys that always have been skinny, have a really fast metabolism and can go for a long time without eating, it will be a lot easier for them to lose the excess fat), you could aim at 1-2 lbs per week. You could eat the same amount of food everyday if you want, but I would just take out the PWO drink/meal on days off.

    Whatever you do, the excess calories should come from the "energy-providing" macronutrients (fats and carbs, the only usable sources of energy by the body). Protein can stay the same or higher if you want to, but the excess protein will be turned to energy (inefficiently) and it will be a costy source of energy. This process is called gluconeogenesis and only 60% of the energy found in your excess protein will be converted to glucose because of the thermic effect of food. It can be an advantage when dieting though. You could replace some cals from carbs by protein and if you replace 50g of carbs with 50g of protein, your body will only have the energy equivalent of 30 g of carbs (60% of it).

    As far as cutting goes, you just have to lower the carbs a little at first, then fats, until you lose 1-2 lbs per week (that's if you're not overly fat, people over 25-30% of bodyfat can lose way faster).

    Something by Christian Thibaudeau on the subject. Keep in mind the calculations were for him (he was 220-230 lbs at the time) and it's just an example.
    Well I first established the basic amount of calories I needed to grow optimally. I did this by calculating my BMR, then daily caloric expenditure.

    When I started my preparation I established that my BMR (basal metabolic rate) was 2092kcals and my daily caloric expenditure (BMR x activity level factor of 1.6 ... see my Dr.Jekyll for more details) was 3343kcals/day.

    When I work with my clients I establish their caloric intake this way:

    1) Average muscle growth with no (or minimal) fat gain = Energy expenditure x 105-110%

    2) Significant muscle growth with a small fat gain = Energy expenditure x 115-120%

    3) Maximum growth with a significant gain in fat = Energy expenditure x 125-130%

    Taking myself as an example these goals would put my caloric intake are:

    1) 3514 to 3680kcals (the lower amount would be for non-training days and the higher amount for training days)

    2) 3849 to 4020kcals

    3) 4183 to 4350kcals

    Since I was very lean when I started this diet and that I had some muscle to regain I decided to go right between option 2 and 3 at the start. So I did set my caloric intake at 4250kcals, but to avoid gaining too much fat too fast, I decreased my calories on "off" days slightly (3750 instead of 3800-4000).

    From there I would gradually increase my caloric intake each month to accomodate the added muscle tissue. Each month I would establish if I could (or not) increase caloric intake (was I still in good condition). If I found that my body fat was still in acceptable range I would increase my calories. If I found that fat was gained too fast, I would not increase calories.

    On the second week of november I noticed that I was gaining fat at an unacceptable rate (for me) and wasn't gaining more size or strength compared to the previous caloric intake, so I decided to start my gradual descent.

    At my "new" bodyweight I know (from the same calculations) that my BMR is now around 2200kcals and my daily energy expenditure is around 3600kcals/day. So as long as I do not go below 3600kcals/day I can maintain and even increase my level of muscularity and that I will need to go below that to lose fat.

    I carry something like 28-30lbs of fat. To get down to competition shape I will need to lose around 22-24lbs. Normally this would take around 12-14 weeks to do so without losing mass. But I decided to play it safe an alocate 16 weeks for my fat loss phase, hence the four months where I'll be on a relative caloric deficit (as opposed to an absolute caloric deficit...).

    A relative caloric deficit means eating less calories than you use per day. So consuming less than your daily energy expenditure.

    An absolute deficit means eating less calories than your body's basic needs each day. That means eating less than your BMR each day (this option is catabolic and will lead to muscle loss).
  2. MaineSucks

    MaineSucks OT Supporter

    Jan 5, 2005
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    They say weight changes is dictated by calories eating (cals in vs cals out). Apparently, what you win or lose is dictated by your macro breakdown. So the big question is how much protein, carbs, fats should we eat. There are many answers to that question. Once you’ve determined your daily cal intake (cals can be at maintenance or adjusted according to your goals), you can play with the macronutrient ratio.
    Daily intake – cals from protein = cals for energy (carbs + fat)

    There's a lot of talk about those ketogenic diets, CKD (cyclical ketogenic diet), cycling carbs, Zone diet, etc.)
    Taking the ketogenic route is usually a good idea for those with a lot of fat (25-30% bodyfat and more). So for most of the people here, there's no reason to go all-out on one macronutrient. High carb diets usually recommended by nutritionists are also favoring one macronutrient a little too much in my opinion. In the end, all your macros should provide between 20-40% of your cal intake and it will vary in function of how your body reacts to it, your activity level and so on.

    Protein (4 cals/g of protein) = 1 g pf protein/lb of bodyweight is a good minimum. There is no known risk if you want to go higher though (unless you have a preexisting kidney disease) and there are some benefits but the most important are increased thermic effect of food (which basically means higher metabolism and higher satiety) and positive nitrogen balance (which means eating more protein that your body needs, which is what we want if we want to grow).
    Protein has a really high thermic effect of food (TEF) which means that the body uses a lot of energy to process it. That’s usually linked to greater energy lost (which is one reason why protein is the best macronutrient to get in excess), boosts the metabolism and has been linked to greater satiety.
    All proteins are not created equal. Animal protein is better than plant protein due to their biological value, among other things (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_value). Some plant protein sources aren't complete either (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_protein).


    If you're anal about it, again, Alan Aragon's opinion on it.
    the super-meticulous method:

    your protein need depends on 3 main factors: 1) your activity level; 2) your TARGETED lean body mass (LBM) as opposed to your current one - unless of course your goal is maintenance; 3) your energy balance - whether it's at equilibrium, hypercaloric, or hypocaloric.. there certainly are other factors to consider, such as protein type & biologic availability, but for this discussion, let's assume we're talking about high-quality protein sources, as opposed to incomplete & substandard ones.

    finding out your goal LBM, aka your goal fat-free mass, will require some calculation: decide what you realistically want to achieve in terms of total bodyweight and bodyfat %. after calculating how many pounds of fat you aim to carry, subtract this number from your goal bodyweight. the remaining number is an estimate of your target LBM. for example, if you wanted to weigh 190 lbs at 7% bodyfat, multiply 190 by .07, which is 13.3. this is your projected bodyfat in pounds. subtract this from 190, which gets you 176.7 lbs of targeted LBM.

    if you're in a hypocaloric state (ie, in an energy deficit for fat loss), your protein needs are increased just as they would be for gaining mass, because you need an additional amount to buffer catabolism. maintenance protein needs are lower. refer to the following chart i developed for my RD students. this data is based on a combination of my own private practice experience and research by preeminent eggheads such as lemon, tarnopolsky, krieder, evans, antonio, stout, and others:

    Activity levels:

    1) Sedentary - no exercise beyond typical daily tasks
    2) Light - appx. 2-3hrs/wk of light resistance & cardiorespiratory work
    3) Moderate - appx. 4-6hrs/wk of moderate resistance & cardiorespiratory work
    4) High - appx. 7-9hrs/wk of moderate to high intensity resistance & cardiorespiratory work
    5) Very High - appx. 10 or more hrs/wk of moderate to high intensity resistance & cardiorespiratory work

    requirements in pounds & kilograms for maintenance, and then fat loss/muscle gain according to activity level, respectively:

    1) 0.5g/lb LBM; 1.1g/kg LBM , 0.6g/lb LBM; 1.3g/kg LBM
    2) 0.7g/lb LBM; 1.5g/kg LBM , 0.8g/lb LBM; 1.8g/kg LBM
    3) 0.9g/lb LBM; 1.8g/kg LBM , 1.1g/lb LBM; 2.4g/kg LBM
    4) 1.0g/lb LBM; 2.2g/kg LBM , 1.2g/lb LBM; 2.6g/kg LBM
    5) 1.2g/lb LBM; 2.6g/kg LBM , 1.4g/lb LBM; 3.0g/kg LBM

    if an athlete is on anabolics and/or androgenics, add 20% to the above numbers.

    the simple (but still methodical) way:

    keep in mind, the previous is an extremely meticulous way to figure protein needs. if you wanted to go the easier route while still taking target body composition & thermodynamic factors into account, employ the following method which i actually prefer for its simplicity:

    1) set a bodyweight goal, assuming that this weight is comprised of your desired bodyfat level. the number of your goal weight in pounds is your approximate protein gram requirement. if you're shooting for maintenance, stick with this number to keep it simple. but also bear in mind that you can probably get away with 0.6-0.8g/lb for maintenance purposes; the now classic 1.0g/lb ballpark figure imparts a certain degree of surplus, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    2) if you need to be in an energy deficit to get there, in other words, if you need to lose total bodyweight to hit your goal - which requires at least a temporary hypocaloric condition - multiply that goal weight by 1.25 to get your protein grams.

    3) do the same as directly above in step 2 if you need to gain weight to get there. as stated previously, these scenarios require more protein than maintenance needs due to adaptive shifts in subtrate use. in practice, i tend to round off this number to 1.3g/lb target bodyweight, and often need to kick it up to 1.5g/lb during a hypercatabolic precontest ravaging. on rare occasion, bodybuilding competitors need as much as 2.0g/lb in order to fight to maintain muscle in the endstages of the precontest phase.

    note: if you're on roids, go through the same steps, but add 15-20% more to your calculation. for example, if joe average needs 180g, then joe juice could effectively use 180 multiplied by anywhere from 1.15-1.20, granted they share the same protocol other than the needles (couldn't help that ). keep in mind that the amounts i stated are on the conservative side. i believe in ramping up as necessary, versus remaining in excess and eventually realizing that after decades of overuse. individual variations discovered by trial and error will ultimately dictate your true protein need.
  3. MaineSucks

    MaineSucks OT Supporter

    Jan 5, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Fats (9 cals/g of fat) = We should be getting saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats everyday. Satured fat is usually found in meat and dairy, mono in nuts and poly in fish and plants.
    Fat helps with satiety has it slowers gastric emptying : it makes us digest food slowly. It has the worse TEF : fat is energy and the body is really good at using it.
    Make sure to get a good amount of essential fatty acid (EFA) from your diet (mainly fatty fish) or fish oil supplements if needed (around 1000 mg of omega-3 daily is recommended, pay attention though, it’s not 1000 mg of fish oil). What you want to get is EPA/DHA because the body can use it. ALA (another kind of omega-3 fat which comes from plant sources) isn't readily converted by the body. So don't get most of your omega-3 from plant sources (flax, flax oil, nuts, sesame oil, soy products and so on).

    Some recommend dividing our fat intake equally between the 3, but saturated fat in bodybuilders has been linked to higher test levels so you might want to concentrate on polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Adjust fat intake if your have lipid problems too. The only fat to avoid is trans-fat.
    Total fat intake could be aournd .5 g/lb of LBM. Note that carb and fat intake should vary based upon individual progress. A greater percentange of carbs and less from fat for those who are lean can't seem to gain weight and a greater percentage from fat and less from carbs for those who can't seem to get lean. Play with the percentage, but try to stay in the 20-40% range for both.
    An article from John Berardi on fat : http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....le=05-087-diet

    Carbs (4 cals/g of carb) = Setting carb intake is tricky. Some people do well, other not, so you’ll have to adjust your intake accordingly. TEF for carbs is a little higher than with fat which means that the body is not using it as efficiently. “Healthier” food choices usually have more fibers though, and fiber slows nutrient absorption, makes you feel fuller during a longer time, helps you shit nicely, is good for those with lipid problem (as water-soluble fiber absorbs some fat before the body does) and a bunch of other things.
    Starting at 1-1.5 g/lb could be a good idea and adjust your intake from there. You can then balance your energy calories between fat and carbs according to your body’s reaction.

    An article by Lyle MacDonald on carb intake :


    How Many Carbohdyrates Do You need

    Introduction: This is an excerpt/section from the never to be completed opus, I had posted it to my forum and someone suggested I make it the new article of the month. If it seems a little bit incomplete, that's because it is, apparently I never quite finished the entire chapter. In any event, this one section deals simply with the issue of how many carbohydrates you need per day.

    Argments over recommended carbohydrate intake have a long history and it doesn't appear to be close to ending any time soon. Typical mainstream recommendations have carbohydrates contributing 50% or more of total calories while many low-carbohydrate advocates suggest far fewer (ranging from the 40% of the Zone diet to close to zero for ketogenic diets). I should mention again that percentages can be fundamentally misleading, putting carbohydrate recommendations in terms of grams per kilogram or per pound is generally more valid (with one exception noted below). A typical ketogenic/low-carbohydrate diet might contain 1 gram/kilogram (about 0.5 g/lb) of carbohydrate. An average Zone diet might contain 1 g/lb (~2 g/kg) of carbohydrate or slightly more. Typical recommendations for endurance athletes are in the 6-8 g/kg (3-4 g/lb) range and carb-loading may require 10-16 g/kg (5-8 g/lb) of carbohydrate.

    Still, whether yo'ure looking at carb recommendations in terms of percentages of g/lb (g/kg), there is still a huge discrepancy between different experts. Some recommend lots of carbs, some recommend medium amounts, some recommend almost none.

    Who's right? In answering this question, I'm going to look at a few issues. So you know, what I'll end up concluding is that how many carbohydrates you need (or should consume) daily depends on the same factors that affect other nutrient recommendations: goals, preferences, types and amounts of activity, and our old friend, genetic variation. By the end of the discussion, I plan to have set both minimum and maximum intake values depending on different conditions that might crop up. Let's start with minimum amounts.

    As I discussed in great detail previously, there is no actual physiological requirement for dietary carbohydrate. Most tissues can use fatty acids, the few that utilize glucose exclusively just reuse the same amounts over and over, and the brain switches to using ketones when glucose isn't available with the body making what little is required from other sources. From the standpoint of survival, the minimum amount of carbohydrates that are required in a diet is zero grams.

    Of course, when carbohydrates are restricted completely, the body has to find something to make glucose out of. That something is lactate and pyruvate (produced from glucose metabolism), glycerol (from fat metabolism) and amino acids. It's the amino acid use that can be problematic since they have to come from somewhere. Under conditions of total starvation, that somewhere is generally muscle tissue; the body will readily break down protein to scavenge the amino acids it needs to produce glucose. In doing so, the muscle released alanine and glutamine (produced in the muscle from the breakdown of leucine and the branch chained amino acids, so you know) which can be converted to glucose in the liver.

    Protein losses during total starvation are extremely high to start, gradually decreasing as the brain switches over to using ketones for fuel. Even so, in complete starvation there is always some loss of body protein. Over long periods of time, this goes from harmful (because function is compromised from muscle loss) to downright fatal.

    From a body recomposition point of view, it should be obvious that losing muscle protein this way is bad. Researchers found years ago that providing adequate dietary protein helped to decrease if not outright eliminate the utilization of body protein for gluconeogenesis (a big word meaning the production of new glucose). Diets providing nothing but small amounts of protein (to the tune of 1.5 g/kg lean body mass or so) helped to almost eliminate the nitrogen losses inherent to starvation.

    Recall from the chapter on liver metabolism that over half of all ingested amino acids are broken down in the liver in the first place. A good portion of those can be used to make glucose. Recent research has suggested that high leucine intakes (5-10 grams/day) may be beneficial in providing a source for glucose production in the liver.

    Bodybuilders have typically used this approach while dieting, jacking up protein in hopes that it will limit muscle loss. Unfortunately, this is only successful when protein intake is insufficient in the first place. The breakdown of muscle protein is as much hormonally controlled by low insulin, falling testosterone, high cortisol and catecholamines as by nutrient availability. All of the protein in the world won't help when your hormones are putting your body in an inherently catabolic state.

    However, there is an alternate way to limit the use of body protein when carbohydrates are being severely restricted. As few as 15 grams of carbohydrates per day has been shown to limit nitrogen loss and 50 grams of carbohydrate per day severely limits the need for the body to use amino acids for gluoconeogenesis. Not only will it maintain blood glucose and insulin at a slightly higher level (thus inhibiting cortisol release), it directly provides glucose for the brain, limiting the need to break down protein in the first place.

    Ketosis (if desired) will generally still develop under those conditions. So although the physiological requirement for dietary carbohydrates is zero, we might set a practical minimum (in terms of preventing excessive body protein loss) at 50 grams per day. I realize that most ketogenic diet authors use 30 grams/day as a starting point but, frankly, I have no idea where that value came from.

    However, not everyone functions well in ketosis. They get brain fuzzed, lethargic and just generally feel like warmed over shit. Even with weeks of being on a ketogenic diet, they never seem to adapt completely. That's not a good recipe for long-term adherence to a diet or healthy functioning. So we ask how many carbs it takes to avoid the development of ketosis. In general, assuming zero or very low levels of activity, an intake of 100 grams of carbohydrates per day will prevent the devlopment of ketosis, just providing the brain with enough carbohydrates to function 'normally'. So, for folks who want (or need) to just avoid ketosis, 100 grams per day will act as a practical limit.

    Summing up so far, we've set a practical minimum of 50-100 grams of carbohydrates per day depending on whether or not you function well in ketosis. I want to mention again that this shouldn't be taken as a recommendation that such an amount is ideal, it simply represents a minimum intake value.

    So far I haven't considered the impact of activity on all of this as this will drastically change the numbers above. And so you know, the values above don't change significantly with body size. Mainly, in the above discussion we're dealing with the brain and its glucose requirements. For the most part, brain size doesn't scale with body weight (no jokes about athletes and the size of their brains, please); neither do glucose requirements.

    So now we have to consider activity in the calculations of what might be a practical minimum (note: minimum should not be taken as synonymous with optimum). Both the type, amount and intensity of activity will impact on carbohydrate requirements. Typical low intensity aerobic/cardiovascular work doesn't generally use a lot of carbohydrate. So if someone were only performing that type of activity (i.e. walking 3-5 times per week), there wouldn't be any real need to increase carbohdyrate intake over the above minimum. Such a person might want to increase carbs for various reasons, but there wouldn't be any strict need to do so.

    The carbohydrate requirements for weight training actually aren't that great. I did some calculations in my first book and concluded that, for every 2 work sets or so, you'll need 5 grams of carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen used. So if you did a workout containing 24 work sets, you'd only need about 60 extra grams (24 sets * 5 grams/2 sets = 60 grams) of carbohydrate to replace the glycogen used. So if you were starting at the bare minimum of 50 grams per day and were doing roughly 24 sets/workout, you'd need to consume an additional 60 grams (total 110 grams/day) to cover it. If you didn't function well in ketosis and were starting at the 100 g/day, you'd increase to 160 g/day. If you don't feel like doing such calculations, an intake of 1 g/lb or ~2 grams/kg lean body mass can probably be considered a practical minimum (an exception is various cyclical ketogenic diets which I'll discuss in a later chapter).

    I should mention that most bodybuilding experts recommend intakes in this range: anywhere from 1 g/lb on fat loss diets to 3 g/lb for mass gains so we're definitely in that range. General recommendations for strength athletes by the nutrition mainstream is in the range of 5-7 g/kg or 2.2-3 g/lb so these values are all pretty consistent.

    Higher intensity cardiovascular exercise is a little bit harder to pinpoint in terms of carbohydrate requirements. At high exercise intenties (usually sustainable only by highly trained athletes), muscle glycogen can be depleted within 2 hours or so and this can represent 300-400 grams of total carbohydrate or so. Under less extreme circumstances, carbohydrate requirements won't be as high. And while current recommendations for endurance athletes are in the 7-10 g/kg (3-4.5 g/lb) range, studies show that most athletes consume closer to 5 g/kg (2.2 g/lb).

    Frankly, if competition athletes are getting sufficient carbohydrate intake at that level, I see little reason for the average individual to consume more. I should note that the above sections assume that maintenance of muscle glycogen is the goal. Under some situations, glycogen depletion is the goal. This means that an athlete or dieter may deliberately underconsume carbohydrates such that, over some time period, glycogen concentrations decline. Under others, the goal is to increase muscle glycogen above normal levels and, obviously, this will require higher carbohydrate intakes than the values above.

    Ok, so we've looked at some minimums, what about maximum intake levels? A practical limit for carbohydrates intake would be a sitaution where they made up 100% of your total energy intake. An average individual has a daily caloric intake in the realm of 15-16 cal/lb. Since carbs have 4 calories/gram, this would represent a maximum intake of roughly 4 grams/lb (8.8 g/kg). Athletes involved in heavier training (hence burning more calories per day) will be able to handle proportionally more.

    One final situation occurs when glycogen has been depleted by heavy training and a low-carbohydrate diet and glycogen supercompensation has occurred. Under that specific condition, carbohydrate intakes in the realm of 16 g/kg (a little over 7 grams/pound) of lean body mass can be tolerated over a 24 hour period. This probably represents a practical maximum for carbohydrate intake.

    So let's sum up, looking at both practical minimum and maximum carbohydrate intakes under different circumstances. For the g/lb recommendations, I'll use a lifter with 160 lbs of lean body mass and put gram amounts in parentheses

    Physiological requirement: 0 g/day

    Practical minimum to avoid excessive muscle breakdown: 50 g/day Practical minimum for individuals who function poorly in ketosis: 100 g/day

    Note: all above values assume no exercise.

    Additional amount to sustain low intensity exercise: minimal approaching zero

    Additional amount to sustain weight training: 5 grams carbohydrate/2 work sets

    Typically recommended amounts by bodybuilding experts: 1-3 g/lb (160-480 g/day)

    Typically recommended amounts by mainstream nutritionists: 2-3 g/lb (320-480 g/day)

    Average intake for endurance athletes: 5 g/kg or a little more than 2 g/lb (320 g/day)

    Recommended intake for endurance athletes: 7-10 g/kg or 3-4.5 g/lb (480-720 g/day)

    Practical maximum for non-carb loading individuals: 8.8 g/kg or 4 g/lb (640 g/day)

    Maximal intakes for carb-loading: 16 g/kg or 7 g/lb (1120 g/day)

    Summing up: So, in looking at possible carbohydrate intakes, we can find a pretty drastic range from an absolute minimum of zero grams per day all the way up to 1120 g/day for someone trying to maximize glycogen storage
    . For most of the diets described in these books, the 1-3 g/lb values will probably be most appropriate. More on that later.
  4. MaineSucks

    MaineSucks OT Supporter

    Jan 5, 2005
    Likes Received:

    I like Alan Aragon’s view on the subject. No bullshit.

    TBW = target bodyweight:

    60-90 minutes preworkout, have a solid, balanced meal:

    Protein = 0.25g/lb TBW
    Carbs = 0.25g/lb TBW
    Adding fat at this point is fine, use your discretion as long as it fits into your macro goals.

    20-0 minutes preworkout - (and/or sipped throughout the workout), have a liquid or easily digested meal:

    Protein = 0.25g/lb TBW
    Carbs = 0.25g/lb TBW
    Fat should be minimized here. Guidelines aren't hard & fast, but I personally wouldn't exceed 20% of the cals of this meal, in other words, keep the fats here incidental, not added.

    Sooner the better postworkout - within 30 minutes, but optimally ASAP, have either a liquid or solid meal:

    Protein = 0.25g/lb TBW
    Carbs = 0.5g/lb TBW
    Fats here should be kept minimal to moderate.
    I personally start on this shake 60 minutes into my weight workouts, which take 80-90 minutes.

    Post-postworkout is simply your next sheduled meal, whether it's 1, 2, or 3 hrs later simply doesn't matter - especially if your immediate postworkout meal (which may be split up into 2 halves) was designed as above.

    NOTE: The small differences are mainly geared toward simplifying the guidelines. The rest of the recommendations about food types are pretty much the same. Also note that I no longer give a damn about GI, it doesn't really make a difference one way or another. If you want high GI carbs pre and/or during training, go for it. As time has passed, GI has proven itself to be a worthless, irrelevant index. Insulinogenesis is a separate issue, and striving to keep insulin up during & postworkout is a great idea. This is accomplished by both food type & food amount, the latter being more important. There's obviously a lot more to this, but that's the important basics. The rest is fringe.

    During your workout, there’s an increased blood flow to the muscles being used. Eating before means more nutrients being transported there so that’s why I believe the preworkout meal (or drink) is important. I think during your workout it’s not necessary to get something unless you train for more than 1h or if you’re at a competitive level (or in competition).

    A fruit PWO is not a bad choice per say as it will replenish liver glycogen stores anyway. Any kind of carb will do. Oats, oats+whey, tuna sandwich, chocolate pop tart. The logic behind this is that during the workout, you use muscle glycogen (if it's lifting or something intense like HIIT, but not much with low intensity cardio). Taking carbs before would limit fat burning and your body will use more carbs (it's a good way to depleted glycogen stores though). If you take it PWO, the carbs will be used to replenish glycogen stores and won't blunt fat burning.

    Any kind of exercise (low intensity cardio, lifting, HIIT, football, whatever) especially when you exercise a long time, use liver glycogen to control blood sugar levels. So taking a fruit PWO is not entirely wrong since fructose will replenish the liver glycogen (and fruits aren't only made of fructose). But taking a piece of fruit in the morning would be a little better I think since you need the carbs for the liver (we use 50% of it to control blood glucose during the night I think) without getting much of the insulin associated with other carbs.

    PWO, there are 2 main goals, to my knowledge: (1) boost insulin level (and, simply put, increase muscle building) (2) replenish muscle/liver glycogen stores.

    Insulin sensitivity is at its best after a workout which means that you’re less likely to store it as fat ; insulin will helps nutrients going into the muscles (and it’ll help testosterone and creatine enter the muscle cells too, which is why you should try to take creatine with carbs). The insulin sensitivity window is about 1-2h PWO to my knowledge.
    Carbs make the body release insulin, protein make the body release insulin (and usually glucagons, which, simply put, does the contrary) and fat doesn’t make the body release insulin (in fact, it blunts it because of the slower absorption).

    For the glycogen replenishment, you have a 24 h window so in reality; this isn’t a priority for the PWO drink but more of a nice side effect.

    The fructose issue : fructose (sugar found in fruits) doesn’t have an effect on insulin release. It only replenishes liver glycogen stores (which control blood sugar levels). Fruits contain around 50% of fructose, so it shouldn’t be avoided. It’s just that there could be better choices PWO, but it’s not a bad choice per say and it will replenish liver glycogen stores instead. The deal with fructose is when it’s consumed in huge amounts (which basically mean when you eat a lot of refined food with HCFS, high-fructose corn syrup). Eating fruits isn’t going to lead to some health problems.
    Link on fructose : http://www.medbio.info/Horn/Time%201...rn_syrup_(HFCS)

    The dairy issue : dairy doesn't necessarily have lots of carbs and they have some protein in it while many bodybuilders try to avoid them. Interestingly, dairy products lead to a bigger insulin release that it should. It could be a nice addition to your PWO meal/drink.

    The GI issue : GI (glycemic index) is sometimes considered important. I haven't really seen any information that would say so, in fact, most studies I saw said it was irrelevant. I think that glycemic load (GL) is more important though. It basically measures the amount of carbs that you eat. Focus on the amount of carbs and then timing, not the other useless stuff.

    Some tricks about insulin :
    - dairy has a big effect on insulin than it should.
    - cocoa triggers insulin release
    - Protein and carbs taken together have a synergistic effect that if we were to add their effect on insulin while taken alone. Use it PWO.
    - Cinnamon/fiber/fats can help control insulin

    An example of a great PWO drink would be milk with whey and cocoa powder.

    Glycogen and water weight

    During the first week of dieting, many people lose a lot of weight, especially if they cut the carbs a lot (like on a ketogenic diet, Atkins diet or else). What they experience is the fact that because they consume less carbs, their glycogen stores aren't replenished and because of it they lose weight.
    Glycogen is stored in two places : 1)liver (100 g stored) 2) muscles (about 400 g stored).
    Total amount stored can then go around 500 g. For each gram of glycogen, there's 3 grams of water. So if someone lost 400 g of glycogen after a couple of days low-carbing, they'd lose 1.6 kg on the scale (3.5 lbs) without even dropping a single pound of fat. Glycogen stores also explain why after, for example, a week of eating you can get away with a high intake of carb (cheat, binge) without too much damage.

    Liver glycogen stores control blood glucose levels. Fructose has to go there to be used so if you crash a little when dieting, eating a piece of fruit could help control blood glucose levels.

    Muscle glycogen is used during exercise. You can say that you use 5 g of glycogen for every 2 work sets you're doing in the gym. An average lifting session could lower muscle glycogen levels up to 30% (120 g) and the whole glycogen replenishment window is up to 24h.
  5. MaineSucks

    MaineSucks OT Supporter

    Jan 5, 2005
    Likes Received:

    There’s a whole debate about eating clean. I believe that eating clean is : (1) getting whole foods (2) getting food with higher nutrient density (more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants per calorie) (3) getting more fiber (4) eating food that we aren’t prone to overeat. These are the reasons, I think, that eating clean can lead to better results in many people.
    Eating junk food can be done while still being lean, especially if you count calories, get some supplements to compensate for less micronutrients and have good genetics.

    Take home message : do it if it works for you, but don’t come here crying if it doesn’t. Nutrition should be individualized. It's all about reassessment. It holds true for anything. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn't, try something new.

    Food choices

    Eating is mostly about making good choices and not only avoiding bad stuff. It takes time to get where you want and consistency is necessary. Making good choices 90% of the time is enough, get 1 cheat meal every week if you want to, as long as you stick to your plan the rest of the time. Read the labels and strive to get foods that contain stuff you can at least pronounce and, ideally, that you know what it is. Fewer ingredients usually means better for you.

    Dairy products are usually avoided because some people are lactose intolerant or do poorly with it.
    Starchy food should also mainly be eaten PWO and in the morning (both times at which our body is more insulin sensitive). Total carb count is your priority though.

    Don't forget to add everything up (Ex : count carbs from milk, count fat from meat, etc.) and to add those foods so that they end up fit your daily plan.


    o Any fish or seafood (canned tuna, salmon, sole, tilapia, shrimp, etc).
    o Eggs and egg whites
    o Beef, pork, poultry, lamb, anything but prioritize lean sources
    o Dairy products like cottage cheese, cheese, milk (many of them have high sugar content though, like yogurt)
    o Protein powder (whey, casein, milk protein isolate, etc)


    o Prioritize vegetables which contain fibrous carbs (since they have a high nutrient density and a low caloric density, they can almost be eaten freely) such as
    • Green Leafy Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red, Leaf, Romaine)
    • Broccoli
    • Asparagus
    • String Beans
    • Okra
    • Spinach
    • Bell Peppers
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Cauliflower
    • Cabbage
    • Celery
    • Cucumber
    • Eggplant
    • Green or Red Pepper
    • Onions
    • Pumpkin
    • Garlic
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
    o Fruits
    o Starchy veggies (sweet potatoes, yam, legumes)
    o Starchy products (Oat meal, oat bran, oat bran cereal, bran cereal, rice, whole-wheat pasta, 100% whole-grain products)
    o Oatmeal (stick to the non-flavored/non-sugar packed ones, just plain oatmeal, the kind of oatmeal doesn't really matter)
    o Legumes (they contain lots of protein but they usually are incomplete proteins and contain too much carb to be considered a protein source)
    o Basically, the less refined stuff. Strive to eat stuff that was available a couple of hundred years ago and try to eat fewer food that come in a box.


    o Fatty fish (for example : salmon, mackerel, sardines)
    o Omega 3 capsules (i.e. fish oil capsules).
    o Oil from a vegetable source (olive, flax and sesame being the best)
    o Egg yolks
    o Nuts (prioritize walnuts due to their omega-3 content but other nuts like almonds, peanut, etc are fine)
    o Any nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc)
    o Don't forget to count the fat that comes from your other foods, especially meat and dairy


    As far as the weekly cheat meal goes, it all depends on how you do. If you can cheat more often without sacrificing results, fine, but if you fail to see results, stick to the one meal.
    Cheating doesn't mean binging. It means "eating foods that you wouldn't usually chose without giving a fuck". Keep the same portions as you usually eat.
    If you want to eat a "cheat-like" food but you make it fit into your daily intake and macro breakdown while still eating the same nutrient-dense food, it's not a cheat. Example : eating a thin crust pizza with veggies and marinated chicken while still counting the cals/macronutrients is not a cheat. 100% whole-wheat, protein enriched pasta with meat sauce and veggies (still counted) isn't a cheat.
    Try to keep it PWO if you want to add up most of your carb intake in one meal though.

    What to drink

    What you drink doesn't have an influence on your satiety level so stick to the beverages that contain no calories. If you want to gain weight and can't seem to eat enough, do the opposite. Try to avoid fruit juices and sugar-containing drink though, milk and whey is a good alternative. Search for weight gainers recipe if you want.
    Dark coffee, tea, water should be a staple of your diet. You can use sweeteners (splenda, stevia) though. Crystal light, diet cola and other juice-like beverages are fine, as long as they don't have calories in them.


    If you want a SCIENTIFIC source, go there : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?DB=pubmed
    Geek physiology website : http://web.indstate.edu/thcme/mwking/
    Tuna and Mercury : http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....le=05-148-diet
    Christian Thibaudeau's view on weight gain : http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1268956
    Some article by Lyle MacDonald : http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/articles.html
    A semi-scientific website with varied info : http://www.mindandmuscle.net/
    This website is nuts :eek3: : http://www.medbio.info/
    Food databases :
    - www.nutritiondata.com
    - www.calorieking.com (especially for restaurants)

    Future additions :
    - suggestions...
  6. Genghis.Tron

    Genghis.Tron New Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Great White North
    Maybe you can "unsticky" the first one, delete this thread and I'll try to make a new one (so that I can edit it) because this thread doesn't have all the info. Dunno what's up with the fact that we can't edit. Is this because it's too long ?
  7. MaineSucks

    MaineSucks OT Supporter

    Jan 5, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Too much data for one post... has to be split up into multiple.

    if you want to start your own thread with all the info, go ahead, I'll close this one. Just break it into multiple posts.
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