Are Carbs Your Enemy or Ally?

June 10, 2016 — 1 Comment


Yes, that’s right, I’m eating PASTA 16 days precomp! Instead of treating carbs as the enemy and having to avoid them, carbs become one of my muscle’s best allies thanks to ‪#‎NutrientTiming‬, ‪#‎NutritionalCleansing‬ and ‪#‎CarbCycling‬.

CARB DEPLETION = MUSCLE CATABOLISM: This is the Scientific Case for Maintaining Carb Intake

While most competitors are “dieting down” with very restrictive diets that limit carbs to very low levels I keep my carb intake levels up until 7-10 days pre-competition! It’s the unique combination of proper nutrient timing, carb-cycling and nutritional cleansing that puts carbs to work FOR ME versus AGAINST ME. Here is the REAL DEEP SCIENCE behind why it’s not only unnecessary but may be detrimental to deprive the body of carbs for prolonged periods. There’s no arguing that lowering carb intake has been effective for leaning up, but what if there was an even better way to build/maintain MORE MUSCLE while getting LEANER!!!


A Review of Issues of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2006, 16, 129-152)

The consumption of large amounts of protein by athletes and bodybuilders is not a new practice (1). Recent evidence suggests that increased protein intakes for endurance and strength-trained athletes can increase strength and recovery from exercise (2, 3, 4). In healthy adult men consuming small frequent meals providing protein at 2.5g/kg/day, there was a decreased protein breakdown, and increased protein synthesis of up to 63%, compared with intakes of 1g/kg/day (5). Subjects receiving 1g/kg/day underwent muscle protein breakdown with less evident changes in muscle protein synthesis. Some evidence suggests, however, that a high protein diet increases leucine oxidation (6, 7), while other data demonstrate that the slower digestion rate of protein (8, 9), and the timing of protein ingestion (with resistance training) (10) promote muscle protein synthesis.

One important role of dietary carbohydrate (through pyruvate) is in anaplerosis, the replenishing of Krebs cycle intermediates, (or tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates—TCAI). The primary role of this cycle is to generate reduced forms of the enzymes NADH and FADH2, transferring high energy electrons to the mitochondrial electron transport chain for use in the resynthesis of ATP (11). IN OTHER WORDS FOR THE MORE EFFICIENT PRODUCTION OF ENERGY! Five of the intermediates of Krebs cycle are involved in additional reactions which involve amino acids and will be limited if insufficient carbohydrate is available. Oxaloacetate and α-ketoglutarate are used in the synthesis of several amino acids such as phosphoenolpyruvate. Heme synthesis uses succinyl CoA, glutamine synthesis draws upon α-ketoglutarate, and citrate is the source of acetyl-CoA in the cystol and is used for the synthesis of lipids and amino acids (12, 13).

Nutrient Timing InterventionAdequate dietary carbohydrate during exercise is thus critical, because its availability is inversely related to the rate of exercise protein catabolism OR MUSCLE TISSUE BREAKDOWN (14), hence adequate carbohydrate can prevent cataplerosis, the reverse of anaplerosis, which takes place in the absence of sufficient pyruvate (from carbohydrate). Gluconeogenesis (THE CREATION OF GLUCOSE FROM OTHER SOURCES SUCH AS AMINO ACIDS FROM MUSCLE TISSUE & DIET) can be considered cataplerotic and can result in a “drain” of Krebs cycle intermediates (13), which may result in a decreased production of ATP, and an increased muscle protein breakdown. There may be a critical minimum intake of carbohydrate to provide a sufficient flux of pyruvate to maintain anaplerosis (3), and prevent muscle protein breakdown via gluconeogenesis.

This has practical significance to fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and bodybuilders where 150-400g of protein can be consumed per day (16-18), especially if consumed at the expense of sufficient carbohydrate. In elite athletes it has been clearly established that low glycogen availability for exercising skeletal muscles leads to fatigue more rapidly in prolonged or intense exercise (19, 20). Other studies show the time until the onset of fatigue during high-intensity exercise in untrained individuals consuming diets deficient in carbohydrate is shortened (21-24), however similar results are not found in trained individuals (25). In high-intensity resistance training, fatigue may also be associated with carbohydrate depletion (26).While high protein diets have focused on protein and its value in building lean muscle and preventing protein breakdown, it is vitally important for athletes to understand that high protein consumption at the expense of sufficient amounts of carbohydrate can be potentially detrimental to lean muscle.



1. Schenk, P. Die Verpflegung von 4700 wettkampfern aus 42 Nationen im Olympischen Dorf wahrend der XI. Olympischen Spiele 1936 zu Berlin. Muench. Med. Wochenschr. 83:1535-1539, 1936.

2. Lemon,P.W. Do athletes need more dietary protein and amino acids. Int. J. Sport. Nutr. 5:S39-S61, 1995.

3. Wolfe, R.R. Regulation of muscle protein by amino acids. J. Nutr.132:3219S-3224S, 2002.

4. Tipton, K., and R.R. Wolfe. Exercise, protein metabolism and muscle growth. Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab.11: 109-132, 2001.

5. Forslund, A.H., A.E. El-Khoury, R.M. Olsson, A.M. Sjodin, L. Hambraeus, and V.R. Young. Effect of protein intake and physical activity on 24-h pattern and rate of macronutrient utilization. Am. J. Physiol. 276:E964-E976, 1999.

6. Pacy, P., G. Price, D. Halliday, M. Quevedo, and D. Millward. Nitrogen homeostatis in man: the diurnal responses of protein synthesis and degradation and amino acid oxidation to diets with increasing protein intakes. Clin. Sci (Colch) 86:103-118, 1994.

7. Bowtell, J.L., G.P. Leese, K. Smith, P.W. Watt, A. Nevill, O. Rooyackers, A.J. Wagen- makers, and M.J. Rennie. Modulation of whole body protein metabolism, during and after exercise by variation of dietary protein. J. Appl. Physiol. 85:1744-1752, 1998.

8. Boirie, Y., M. Dangin, P. Gachon, M.P. Vasson, J.L. Maubois, and B. Beaufrere. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial accretion. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 94: 14930-14935, 1997.

9. Dangin, M., Y. Boirie, C. Guillet, and B. Beaufrere. Influence of protein digestion rate on protein turnover in young and elderly subjects. J. Nutr. 132:3228S-3233S, 2002.

10. Tipton,K.D., B.B.Rasmussen, S.L.Miller, S.E.Wolf, S.K.Owens-Stovall, B.E.Petrini, and R.R. Wolfe. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 281:E197-E206, 2001.

11. Gibala, M.J. Regulation of skeletal muscle amino acid metabolism during exercise. Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab. 11: 87-108, 2001.

12. Zubay, G. Glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and the pentose pathway, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. In Biochemistry 4th Ed. Dubuque, IA: Wm.C. Brown Publishers, pp. 294- 343, 1999.

13. Brosnan,J.T. Comments on metabolic needs for glucose and the role of gluconeogenesis. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 53: S107-S111, 1999.

14. Lemon, P.W., and J.P. Mullin. Effect of initial muscle glycogen levels on protein catabolism during exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 48:624-629, 1980.

15. Gibala, M.J., M. Lozej, M.A. Tarnopolsky, C. McLean, and T.E. Graham. Low glycogen and branch-chain amino acid ingestion do not impair anaplerosis during exercise in humans. J. Appl. Physiol. 87(5):1662-1667, 1999.

16. Lemon, P.W. Beyond the zone: protein needs of active individuals. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 19:513S-521S, 2000.

17. Forslund, A.H., A.E. El-Khoury, R.M. Olsson, A.M. Sjodin, L. Hambraeus, and V.R. Young. Effect of protein intake and physical activity on 24-h pattern and rate of macronutrient utilization. Am. J. Physiol. 276:E964-E976, 1999.

18. Poortmans, J.R., and O. Dellalieux. Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney functions in athletes? Int. J. Sport. Nutr. Exerc. Metab.10: 39-50, 2000.

19. Costill, D.L., and M Hargreaves. Carbohydrate nutrition and fatigue. Sports Med. 13:86-92, 1992.

20. Hawley, J.A., E.J. Schabort, T.D. Noakes, and S.C. Dennis. Carbohydrate-loading and exercise performance: an update. Sports Med. 24:73-81, 1997.

21. Greenhaff, P.L., M. Gleeson, P.H. Whiting, and R.J. Maughan. Dietary composition and acid base status: Limiting factors in the performance of maximal exercise in man? Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 56:444-450, 1987b.

22. Greenhaff, P.L., M. Gleeson, and R.J. Maughan. Diet induced metabolic acidosis and the performance of high intensity exercise in man. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 57:583-590, 1988.

23. Maughan, R.J. and D.C. Poole. The effect of a glycogen-loading regime on the capacity to perform anaerobic exercise. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 46:211-219, 1981.

24. Balsom, P.D., G.C. Gaitanos, K. Soderlund, and B. Ekblom. High-intensity exercise and muscle glycogen availability in humans. Acta. Physiol. Scand. 165:337-345, 1999.

25. Hargreaves, M., J.P. Finn, R.T. Withers, J.A. Halbert, G.C. Scroop, M. Mackay, R.J. Snow, and M.F. Carey. Effect of muscle glycogen availability on maximal exercise performance. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 75:188-192, 1997.

26. Lambert, C.P., and M.G. Flyn. Fatigue during high intensity intermittent exercise: application to bodybuilding. Sports Med. 32:511-522, 2002.

One response to Are Carbs Your Enemy or Ally?


    Thanks for sharing Jeff! Great to see some valid data from exercise and nutrition science supporting recommendations! Keep up the good work!

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