Building muscle with low BF?

Discussion in 'Diet & Nutrition' started by Keebler Elf, Nov 9, 2002.

  1. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    Does having too low BF levels hamper muscle growth?

    The best I have done is to add 3 pounds LBM but with 5 pounds of fat. This last HST cycle I tried to get another 3 pounds but without too much fat and ended up with nothing [​IMG]

    This next cycle is going to be cutting because I have more than doubled my skinfolds and lost my abs and I would rather be cut and small than big and fat! I started HST at 145 pounds, 29 inch waist and a 5mm mid ab skin fold and I am now 160 with a 32 inch waist and 11mm skinfold.

    I have been eating 1gm per pd/LBM protein with Zone ratio carbs and adding in extra fat to bring up the calories.
  2. vicious

    vicious New Member

    It indeed does. Or another way to put it -- it's hard to gain muscle while staying 6% bodyfat. :)

    I reread some of the Zone and general stuff on glycogen depletion and rethought Barry's fat/carb recommendation.

    If you're training properly, 160g of carbohydrates probably isn't enough to replenish muscle stores and be used to aid protein synthesis. Your body uses up the carb stores too quickly during training. Fat is good for energy, especially maintenance energy, but if you've depleted your glycogen stores (and not eliciting insulin levels anyway), the extra energy from fat can't be used efficiently to gain muscle.

    You may want to stay at your current caloric level, but switch to Bryan's eating recommendations. Or you can fix 40/30/30 at the current caloric level. If you were eating at, say, 2000 calories (hopefully more than that!), you'll be eating at least 200g in carbohydrates.

  3. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    I would agree that 160 isnt enough to maintain glycogen, especially if the count is made up including fibre. 200 would be good, or actually more (within reason) with Keeblers bodytype. By the time you eat 250g carbs, with high fibre intake, you are probably only absorbing ~200g
  4. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    Does this tie in with what Lyle posted with regards to glycogen?

    I do about twenty sets on average so altho I do not feel depleted after a workout I may be spending a good bulk of the next 48 hours just replenishing glycogen stores?

    Would having a greater percentage of my carbs post workout help? Perhaps 100 grams of carbs straight after and the other 100 split into the rest of my meals. I have tried this in the past and altho the workout seemed more draining the large carb boost straight after training made significant difference to muscle glycogen.

    The other alternative as suggested is just eat 40/30/30 but at much higher calories;

    1 Zone 'block snack' equals 91 cals > 2500/91= ~27 blocks
    190 gr pro/245 gr carbs/80 grams fat.
  5. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Lyle's right. Unless your muscle has a healthy supply of glycogen, the muscle will not be able to synthesize the amino acids in the bloodstream efficiently. It's why those on low-carb diets cannot gain muscle easily even with all that protein around.

    The average hour-long weight training session burns something in the ballpark of 600 calories. 20-sets full-body burns close to this. And most of it, it being anaerobic, is burned in glycogen. Even if you cut that number in half, you could be using in the ballpark of 75g of carbs for just your session.

    For you, I'd just leave it Zone-specific, but take in 100-160 grams of carbohydrates (with a sizable increase in protein) after the workout. It may seem too much, but likely your muscles could store more glycogen yet. You could eat only protein before your workout if you worry about too high insulin levels.

    After a few weeks, as your "glycogen tank" is more ful, then you could lower the post-workout carbs.

    That sounds about right for you. For the first 4 weeks, I think you can ramp up by adding fat. See in this case, the ratios help the nutrients be used more efficiently. While the extra fat helps supply "resting energy", the carbs help restore glycogen levels and aid protein synthesis.

  6. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    Thanks, I think your right Jules, the Barry's ideas might be ok for endurance athletes and fat loss, actually I am not even sure about that because every time I diet down I seem to be back where I started :mad:

    I do seem to get the benefits WRT appetite suppression and energy but I really have not given other approaches a fair go because I usually fear not being in the Zone, it is like an addiction! But at times when I have carb loaded after workouts I wake up the next day and the the difference in glycogen/muscle size is quite shocking.

    So next time while 'bulking' I will add a hefty dose of carbs after the workout to get a kick start on recovery/protein synthesis.

    Thanks again [​IMG]
  7. vicious

    vicious New Member

    I'm a big fan of the Zone too. But there are somethings Barry never adequately explained.

    The index he uses for the protein requirements is written for per lean body mass. I've seen that index in other places, and in every other place it's written for per body weight, lean and nonlean. I think Barry's application for protein needs is probably right, protein requirements really should be tuned to your LBM, but to calibrate your caloric recommendations from it means that there simply isn't enough calories to guarantee much of that protein won't be used for energy, or too much of the carbohydrates won't be stored. While I think he's right that eating enough fat could produce somewhat of a carb sparing effect, that wouldn't hold true for anaerobic exercise. His sections on exercise seem to center on strictly moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.

    Which is why I tend to figure out maintenance, then apply the 40-30-30 ratio. From there you can add fat for extra energy, readjusting the ratios after a month or so.

    Perhaps one way to go is to follow Zone throughout the day, except the 4-hour period around your workout. Things could "roughly" add up to the 40/30 P:C ratio, but you would eat more protein here, more carbohydrates there. For example, don't eat any carbs for the formal meal before your workout. Eat the 100-160g carbs right after. The meal after that, eat mostly protein. Switch to normal Zone after that.

  8. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    That is similar to Jay Robb's ideas. Are you familiar with them? If so what do you think? Better than Zoning? He has a sliding scale of carbs with most being eaten at end of day/after workouts.

    I think his idea of carb loading after the workout would hasten recovery better than Barry's idea of having a 1 block snack post-workout followed by a Zone meal two hours later.

    My experience with HST and Zone has been that I will go into keto within one low carb (<20%) meal after switching to a lower carb diet. This suggests I am 'surviving' on liver glycogen stores, enough to stay just out of keto but not enough going to the muscles. Having the bulk of carbs post-workout when the muscles are primed for glycogen synthesis makes sense. Sound right?
  9. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    O.k here is another thing cheesing me off, WRT fat loss if I use Zone ratios my protein level is about 112 grams at 1500 cals (500 below maintenance). My LBM is 140 and I am training HST and some martial arts averaging 30 mins 3xweek.

    Considering activity level & calorie deficit I am worried this will not be enough protein to minimize LBM loss.
  10. vicious

    vicious New Member

    One problem with going strictly from protein requirements is that a good portion of the protein can get used as energy, depending on how many carbs and calories are eaten around them. Most studies have shown that nitrogen balance is more affected by caloric than protein intake. In effect, the more food you eat, the less protein you need.

    Another thing is that the insulin levels on a caloric deficit, low-to-moderate carb diet are a bit on the low side. The amino acids in your bloodstream only stay around for 3-5 hours, and then must be either excreted, burned, and/or converted to glucose (if that hasn't already happened.) Without a strong insulin signal, the amino acids won't go into the muscle efficiently.

    I guess that also strengthens the case against eatin too much protein. Protien boosts glucagon; glucagon prevents storage. However, I'm not sure if that's enough to counteract the increase # of amino acids available from eating more protein, so long as a proportionate amount of carbohydrates are eaten.

    In theory, though, you could mantain/gain with as low as 0.5g / LBM. I, however, eat at about 1g/BW because I like the hormonal effect for attention span and sleep needs.

    I'm not familiar with Jay Robb's ideas, but I believe that your metabolic needs dictate your food intake. At the end of the day, things balance out calorically. But, things don't balance out for the BBer because you're trying to do three things at once: shuttle carbs into muscle, prevent protein from being used as energy or excreted, and prevent calories (which can be used elsewhere) being stored in the gut.
    Absolutely. Even if Barry's pre/post-workout ideas are valid for controlling cortisol and GH levels, they do not address glycogen depletion from anaerobic exercise. Considering that you can burn 300-600 calories, almost all in sugar, with a full-body workout session, this must be dealth with immediately. In that 3-4 hour window, the likelihood that carbohydrates will cause excessive insulin levels is low because, effectively, you will remain in "caloric deficit" until your body can absorb the calories it burned during that session, plus the 3-4 hours following. Raising the insulin level, when the body needs the nutrients, is ideal.

    That's about right. You don't have that much glycogen in your muscle (after all, how can you if you're only eating 150g of carbs while training actively?!?.) Most can go into keto with a sub-50g carb intake. Throw in anaerobic exercise and frequent aerobic training, and you *could* go into keto with <100g.

    In a worst case scenario, if you train 3 days a week, you'll only be eating "out" of Zone for a total of 9-12 hours for the entire week. Even then, you can "balance" the total protein and carb calories for that window.

    All in all, though, you know the issue is ultimately calories. Timing is about managing the surplus, not replacing it. Sears' recommendations cannot give you that surplus.

  11. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    Thanks Jules,

    The 'bulking' plan you have come up with is pretty much the same as Jay's ideas for endurance athletes, 30/40% of cals as carbs with all meals and snacks but with a card load every 1 day. Oddly, his recommendations for BBs are slightly lower carbs during the day (~20%) but I have read that he changed that. Jay's book was apparently out before Barry's too [​IMG]

    I just did my first 15s workout for my 5th cycle. I plan to be slightly under maintenance for the 15s/10s and hopefully shed about 4 pounds of flab, then ramp up the cals for the 5's/negs as above.
  12. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Hmm. Maintenance as in just under 12*BW, or maintenance as in Barry's zone-blocks rec?

    20% Sheesh, then I should be exploding in mass! [​IMG]

    I'm not a huge fan of large total carb intake either. Post-WO carb loading is a time-tested practice in bodybuilding. I took a look at Jay's book at Amazon. Hmm, it seems kind of close to what I do. [​IMG]

  13. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    12*bw , or Zone blocks, or lbm*lbm/10 [​IMG]

    They work out the same for me. Zone blocks for losing = 18, which is about 1670 cals. double the fat as Sears' suggests for maintenance= ~2000. My maintenance is about 1960 based on the other methods.

    Im not sure whether to add the carb load during the 'diet' or just do strict Zone. If I add the carb load I have to reduce the carbs in other meals in order to keep protein up and the cals down.

    The 3rd installment of Lyle's interview is up on with some further insight into the carb issues. Between a CKD or TKD he sides for the TKD because of the post carbs. I agree, it is just that the Zone makes dieting alot easier because of the hunger thing!
  14. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Oh I hate ketogenic diets. They probably work better, but they nutter my brain! :)

    I'd do strict Zone during the diet cycle. Only carb load if you start to feel really tired.

  15. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    O.K. I am going into 'growth' phase as of now...

    I have been reading Berardi's/Par Deus' ideas on pre-post workout feeding and have a few Qs that I need help with.

    1. The concensus seems to be that a 50/50 blend of dex./malt. is best. Since I am going to take in a larger amount of carbs (~100-150g) in order to keep Zone ratios for my other meals and would rather use some real food, what would be good choices? Bread/bananas/potatoes/pasta?

    I am thinking that the higher carb content of moderate GI foods may offset the need for the higher GI liquid?

    2. If I do use the liquid meal, how much water is needed? Berardi says that 1-2 litres is needed! There is no way I can hold that down after a workout [​IMG]
  16. vicious

    vicious New Member

    You may want to try dates and figs. They're tasty, compact (2 dates = 40g carbs) and have even higher GI than white bread or soda. Figs are nutrient packed too. Ripe bananas are fairly high too.

    I think so, as in glycemic load = GI * amount of carbs. I personally feel just loading in a high amount of carbs is more important than strictly high GI-food.

  17. Keebler Elf

    Keebler Elf New Member

    My first two carb loads haven't gone too well...I feel like s#@t, my limbs feel like lead, keep nodding off during the day and my brain feels like it is water-logged/headaches [​IMG]

    If this is recovery I think I'll pass! I think I will stick to what works and keep that blood sugar steady ;)

    I'm going to stay with 40/30/30, but set my protein at 1g/pd (160g) that will give me ~200g carbs, the rest in fat. I'll also eat my biggest meals after w/o so that if I have two 6 block meals and a couple of snacks before bed I'll be getting over 100g carbs in post-w/o. A compromise to feeling good [​IMG]
  18. restless

    restless New Member

    I know exactly what you mean, it's disgusting. One of these days I'm gonna go low to moderate carb for good.
  19. Steve McDermott

    Steve McDermott New Member

    I agree. I always feel more fatigued in general when eating an abundance of carbs. Over the summer when I was eating around 100g carbs on non training dasy and 200 on training days I felt much better. I also notice that high carb feedings after training do not have this same effect on me.

  20. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Unfortunatedly, it means it's working. :lol

    I do three things to get around this. I ignore all the malodextrin, "insulin spike" advice and just eat a large amount of fruit. Second, I do a very short session (~5 minutes) of HIIT cardio. Third, I avoid carbs entirely before working out.

    One big reason why I don't follow the protein advice is that I need to mantain a C:p ratio to keep my blood sugar levels steady. If it doesn't cause optimal glycogen storage, so be it.

    I'm skeptical about the studies cited by Thinkmuscle regarding the 50:15 C:p ratio. I've done something like that before and I just felt lousy


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