Low Carbs Big Muscles

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You can starve and build big muscles.

You can starve your body of carbohydrates and make your body crave muscle building protein.

I am sure most of you reading the title "Low Carbs Big Muscles" are scratching your heads thinking I have lost my mind. I mean, how can you possibly build massive size while eating low carbohydrates? It is common knowledge that having sufficient carbohydrate intake while attempting to gain muscle is critical in sparing precious amino acids and essential fatty acids for being utilized towards muscular growth. However, having that continuous influx of carbohydrates in a mass building phase is a double edge sword, and people need to understand why.

Most Bodybuilders and even recreational weight lifters are extremists when it comes to pursuing physique goals, whether gaining ultimate size or cutting down to extreme body fat levels. It is the mind set of "all or nothing" when it comes to attaining the desired goal, and being narrow minded can cost you not only achieving your physique goals, but even your state of health.

A major flaw in the train of thought regarding carbohydrate consumption with each meal is the continuous stress you put on your pancreas. Every time carbohydrates enter the blood stream the pancreas is signaled to secrete insulin to help facilitate the clearance of sugar out of the blood stream, and into bodily cells. After several months of this regimented eating habit, the pancreas becomes less efficient and begins over secreting insulin in response to each consecutive carbohydrate feeding, thus inducing the undesirable state of insulin resistance.

 Insulin resistance also referred to as Syndrome-X, is a very unhealthy condition that typically leads to a host of metabolic disorders, namely Type 2 diabetes. Once you start becoming more insulin resistant, your body will begin taking a turn for the worse. 

Read on…

Insulin Resistance Can Lead to the Following –

  • Prolonged elevation of blood glucose levels
  • High levels of blood triglycerides
  • Increased fat storage
  • Decreased nutrient uptake into muscles

You may ask yourself, "if eating carbohydrates with each meal is counter-productive to gaining muscle mass, then how do I preserve my amino acids to help build new tissue"?

Well let's try to solve this dilemma and find the appropriate solution. You will indefinitely be burning various energy substrates while reducing carbohydrate consumption, namely glucose (via gluconeogenesis from protein), free fatty acids from dietary fat (and body fat). You will need to modify your carbohydrate usage, not completely abandon them, I repeat, modify your carb usage, not abandon…

When you strategically incorporate carbohydrates infrequently throughout your diet, you dramatically increase insulin sensitivity. For the avid Bodybuilder that trains rigorously, this means heightened insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells. By inducing this condition, you just set yourself up for a very conducive hormonal environment for extreme muscle growth without excessive body fat accumulation.

Insulin Sensitivity Can Lead to the Following –

  • Healthy blood glucose levels
  • Healthy blood triglyceride levels
  • Increased nutrient uptake into muscles
  • Increased fatty acid oxidation

When I say infrequent carbohydrate usage, I am referring to using them (carbs) at key times. That could mean a lot of different things to different people depending on their lifestyle regarding work, training, and daily activities.

However, everyone who wants to benefit from this practice should only use carbs at the bare minimum for most days of the week. For instance, infuse carbohydrates post workout only on big muscle group days, i.e.,back, legs, and chest. Ingest a larger portion of carbs on big muscle group days in the 60-90 gram range, which will translate into a larger glycemic load, which is not bad when used infrequently.

On smaller muscle group days, i.e., arms, calves, delts, consume carbs post workout in the 30-60 gram range (smaller glycemic load), and on some days just skip ingesting carbohydrates altogether. By following this type of eating plan, you are essentially turning your body into a nutrient absorbing machine.

Large muscles to be trained –

Back (width & thickness) – 60-90 grams carbohydrates post workout

Legs (quads & hamstrings) – 60-90 grams carbohydrates post workout

Chest (upper,middle & lower) - 60-90 grams carbohydrates post workout

Small muscles to be trained –

Arms (bi's & tri's) – 30-60 grams carbohydrates post workout

Delts (includes traps) – 30-60 grams carbohydrates post workout

Calves (forearms optional) – 30-60 grams carbohydrates post workout

Your body has special proteins called Glucose Transporter type 4 proteins, aka "GLUT4" transporters, which are solely regulated by insulin and are located in adipose tissue and striated muscle tissue throughout the body. These special proteins are a Bodybuilders friend or foe when it comes to extreme nutrient partitioning to either muscle cells or fat cells.

Luckily for you, adhering to my proposed infrequent carbohydrate plan will yield you extreme nutrient uptake into muscle cells, while avoiding fat cells.

Now remember, we are trying to build muscle while applying this dietary practice, so we cannot be in a calorie deficit for long or at all for that matter, so dietary fat must take the place of excessive carbohydrates.

Please stop reading right now if you think I am going to tell you to fill the void in carbs with pepper jack cheese, bacon, whole cream, and butter like an atkins or Cyclic Ketogenic Diet, because this surely is not optimal for our ultimate goal of building lean muscle.

I will encourage you to eat very high protein content (around 2 grams per pound of bodyweight) and consume modest amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides
(coconut oil is great) with each non carb, high protein meal.

Various studies have shown that MCT oils positively influence insulin sensitivity, and down regulates expression of adipogenic genes. Also, MCT oil (namely coconut oil) has a very high smoke point so you can cook with it, which makes it easy to incorporate into your diet. One other benefit I will touch base on with MCT oil is the fact that it is readily absorbed into the blood stream upon ingestion and can give instantaneous energy, similar to glucose. This attribute alone is worth its weight in gold for intense training sessions.

 So a sample meal plan for attaining Big Muscles from Low Carbs would look something like this – (Sample diet for large muscle group trained)

 Meal 1:                                         Meal 4: (post workout)

2 scoops whey isolate                    3 scoops whey isolate
3 whole eggs                                  2 cups basmati rice
1 tbs coconut oil                            10 grams creatine
5 oz steak
 

Meal 2:                                           Meal 5:

10 oz chicken breast                      8 oz steak
1 whole avocado                             Asparagus
Asparagus                                      1 tbs olive oil
 

Meal 3:                                          Meal 6:
12 oz cod                                       5 whole eggs
1 tbs coconut oil                             2 scoops casein
1 oz raw almonds

Lastly, it would be in your best interest to incorporate an occasional cheat day or carbohydrate loading period where you ingest copious amounts of calorie dense foods to induce the state of super-compensation.

Super- compensation is the physical state of dramatically increasing the body's ability to store and process nutrients. By following the Low Carbs Big Muscles diet plan, you naturally induce this physical state by increasing your insulin sensitivity.

Let's recap:

  • Dramatically reduce your carbohydrate consumption to 1 meal a day

  • Increase your protein intake to at least 2 grams per pound of body weight

  • Do not replace carbs with unhealthy fats (cream, margarine, bacon, cheese)

  • Replace carbs with healthy fats (olive oil, raw nuts, mct oil, egg yolks)

  • Ingest carbohydrates post workout only (no carbs on rest days)

  • Eat more carbs post workout if training big muscle groups (back, chest & legs)

  • Eat less carbs post workout if training small muscle groups (arms, delts & calves)

  • Incorporate cheat days or high carbohydrate loading days

Remember, there is always more than one way to build big muscles, but building them while eating low carbs seems to be the most OPTIMAL.

References:

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