PWO Carbs for Body Comp, Leptin + Thyroid Hormones, & MPS

cortextcortext ✭✭
edited November 2016 in Physical Performance

Lately, I'm doing around 30-50g net carbs per day via vegetables. WIthout an effort to eat more starches & fruits, I'm on keto diet template. I tend to go back and forth between wanting to put on more muscle / weight, then not liking the added body fat I get during this hypercaloric process or the drop in energy / focus / productivity I get when I'm eating more carbs to try to boost MPS.

To improve body composition, I feel like a strategic insertion of carbohydrates somewhere in my diet & training regimen is going to be a useful tool... but just not quite sure what the best practices are for utilizing them. As far as energy in the gym & recovery / sleep goes, I don't really need the carbs.

I usually train in the morning, around 9 or 10am, 2-3x a week. Would it make sense to have 40-80g net carbs above my usual diet on these mornings immediately PWO to give me that leaning hormone balancing effect, or do I need to carb up over the entire day to really stimulate that process (maybe as a low-fat day?) Would I do better eating fat for breakfast and lunch (~2000kcal at this point at ~150g of fat), then moving my training to the evening and throw in an extra 50-100g net carbs above energy balance at dinner / dessert, to hit something like 2800kcal? Or, should I try to eat low calories all day on training days, then train before dinner, and eat a stupid amount of carbs?

Another idea is to eat my usual veggie meals, but have a small amount of dessert each night before bed (maybe 20-30g more net carbs to bring my total up to around 75g/d net) via some berries or jello, or maybe a sweet potato with dinner each night. Or, maybe eat to satiety above energy balance with training, but throw in a 36h fast each week to clean up fat spillover (this doesn't seem very sustainable or beneficial for hormonal health.)

I'm trying to get the most Leptin + Thyroid + Body Recomposition bang for my buck without throwing blood sugar out of whack. What's the best approach for using carbohydrates to help this goal? I find when I keep carbs restricted and insulin very low without interruption I tend to put on a little bit more weight / fat, where my appetite goes up and a caloric deficit is more uncomfortable. When I stayed down in the 30-50g net carb range for months on end uninterrupted, I also noticed some really high blood sugar spikes the few times I did eat a meaningful amount of carbs without fat (~160-180 mg/dL at the peak), so I'm thinking more frequent splurges might help maintain that metabolic flexibility (plus, insulin increases glutathione synthesis.)


  • cortextcortext ✭✭
    edited November 2016

    According to my drivers license, I was 170lb @ 5'9" back when I was eating SAD foods and hadn't gotten into clean eating / exercise. I don't think I was ever that heavy, but apparently thats not too far off. I got into a paleo diet and evened out around 150lb after a couple years -- I lost all the excess weight except around the love handle area / thighs while making some awesome noob gains and developing some V-taper. I then got further into IF, fasted training, carb + calorie cycling, and hit an all time low of 136lb -- ripped, but probably too low to be healthy (my face was starting to look really under-weight.) This was veiny abs and skinny jeans territory with lots of calisthenics (I worked up to a pullup set of 50.) From there, I went with a PerfectHealthDiet style 150g net carbs, 100g protein diet with fats to satiety and went in and out of ketosis, until I got back to around 150lb @ 11-12% bf. During a period of ketosis here, I noticed the issue with physiological IR. This was a weird time when it often seemed like I was losing muscle, losing endurance, and gaining fat. Now, I'm at that weird spot where I kind of like the ripped thing I had going before, but I'd like to do it at a higher body weight and maintain it without the typical bulk / cut cycling routine. I know that carb+calorie cycling did this near effortlessly, but I was often tired & unfocused on those carby days (~3 days out of the week) and my A1C was getting up there. On low carb keto, my A1C is around 4.6-4.8%. With carb cycling, it's measured 5.3 - 5.4%.

    I have a Withings Cardio Scale that I step on most mornings -- here's a recent snapshot with an interesting bump up in weight following a high amount of carb refeeds + heavy training + casein. I ended up ditching the casein and slowing my roll as I was feeling really tired / inflamed / overtrained.

    Today, I tried training at night -- it's interesting, I think I might do better with pre-workout carbs at night. I don't need them at all in the morning, but I was feeling kind of hypoglycemic toward the end and really thirsty like "shit, I better go home and cook dinner." I did 5x5 bench at 165lb, 3x1 deadlifts at 325lb, then a bunch of slow isolation / cable stuff in the 5-8 set range at the 8-12 rep range. I threw down a PWO banana while making dinner, had some veg + salmon + basmati rice, then finished up with strawberries + blueberries + blackberries + raspberries (I have a big ass mixed bag) with ceylon cinnamon. This ended up around 130g net carbs at dinner out of a 185g net carb day. Now, I'm thinking on a training day that I would want these carbs at a caloric surplus to better stimulate leptin / thyroid hormones, MPS, and all the useful things carbs do (with the hopes that this brings down hunger on my other high-fat / low-carb non-training days) ? I feel the sluggishness of insulin, but it doesn't really get in the way at 7pm when I'm winding down for the day. I would be curious to check blood glucose on these meals, but I'm out of strips.

    I found a Poliquin article that sounded like I might only need 40-60g of PWO carbs to pull off what I'm doing, although I've read some Kiefer / Berkhan stuff recommending a ton more than that (varying from a very carby dinner all the way to a very carby day). I'm not sure where the minimum effective dose is.

  • cortextcortext ✭✭
    edited November 2016

    @Jason Miller said:
    Yes you are very light, at your height you would be better filled out at 190-200lbs, 150 is more of a female weight (no offence intended of course). You can of course morning train if you like, the pre workout meal would be your late night snack the day prior, and most people find that carbs before bed improve sleep anyway. I'm wondering about your training program with respect to volume/frequency. If you are only training 3 days/week with low set volume (for example), there is very large room for improvement that can me implemented, you would do well to find your maximum recoverable volume, and nutrition plays a large part in that of course.

    Haha, none taken. It's funny when I was first getting into it, I was really chasing that Bruce Lee / Brad Pitt in Fight Club physique. I got there, but it came with the realization that it's actually a pretty scrawny, not too difficult thing to achieve. I think they call it "otter-mode."

    I've been thinking about switching my routine up and trying out german volume training for a while, with those big 10 set exercises and supersets. I haven't had to really deal with lactic acid buildup and full muscle exhaustion in a while. Where I'm at now, there's basically no DOMs and I'm generally recovered by the time I wake up, although my CNS takes longer to recover. I usually do 1 day on, 2 off. I have done periods of 3 on / 1 off in the past when I was more enthusiastic about it.

    If I was to switch back to AM training (I have more energy here fasted), would I do something like 50g net carbs PWO as a low-fat meal, then eat high-fat the rest of the day at a caloric surplus through a HFLC style dinner? Or, would I AM train, then maybe save the carbs for dinner? Then maybe on rest days, just HFLC it all day with no real carbs at night, maybe at a slight deficit? If I had to pick a goal, I'd most like to optimize for strength : body fat moreso than my increasing ability to pick really heavy stuff up at a heavier body weight.

  • dazdaz today is a good day ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016

    Out of interest @cortext ,
    When you achieved your 'Bruce Lee / Brad Pitt (Fight Club)' look, were you at ~136 lb or ~150 lb ?

    fake it till you make it

  • cortextcortext ✭✭
    edited November 2016

    @daz said:
    Out of interest @cortext ,
    When you achieved your 'Bruce Lee / Brad Pitt' look, where you at ~136 lb or 150 lb ?

    Oddly, I think I looked more muscular at 136 than 150. I was more often around 142, but one morning I hit 136, from there, I gradually gained. I'm digging around for some selfies, but I'm not seeing much. Here's when I was up a little higher, before the veiny abs and striated shoulders really set in. I've never been able to do as many pullups as I did that summer, although it's kind of cheating when you're so light and carbed up.

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