February 13, 2011

What Everyone Needs To Know About Carb Depletion And Loading So You Can Look Your Best In Just One Week

I’m not a nutritionist, or dietician, but I do a fair bit of research on nutrition, simply because it is directly related to strength and conditioning, and in my studies have found an effective way to go about getting yourself into your best ever condition in one week, given that your bodyfat percentage is where you’d ideally like it to be. If your bodyfat is too high then no diet in the world will get you into your best ever shape in one week. In my article on basic nutrition I laid out some general guidelines to follow to achieve your ideal body. The basic guidelines were as such.
1.5 – 2 grams of PROTEIN/lb per day
1.5 – 2.5 grams of CARBS/lb per day to gain weight
0.5 – 1 gram of CARBS/lb per day to lose weight
0.4 – 0.8 grams of FAT/lb per day

Let’s say for example you are currently taking in 1.5 grams of PROTEIN/lb per day, and 2 grams of CARBS/lb per day and drinking a gallon of water each day.
One thing you want to do before entering your last week is, increase your sodium and water intake. Basically just add plain table salt to everything you eat and drink 50% more water than usual, bringing the total up to 1 ½ gallons per day. Increasing your sodium intake will increase water retention and reduce your aldosterone levels, which is the water retaining hormone.
On the first two days you want to reduce your carb consumption by 50%. So if you’re taking 2 grams/lb per day, drop down to 1 gram/lb. Try to keep complex carb consumption to early in the day. As for pre and post workout, rely on simple carbs and keep the amount at 50 grams total, between those two times. Dropping only 50% will help prevent the shock of taking your carb intake too low too quickly.
For the first five days increase your protein by 50 grams/day. Protein must be increased to prevent losing muscle when you lower your carb consumption but if you add too much you risk burning off protein instead of glycogen as you attempt to deplete your glycogen stores.
For day three, four and five reduce carbs by another 30% or to about 0.7 grams/lb per day. When your carbs drop your glycogen reserves begin to decline. As this happens your body compensates by pumping up its production of glycogen storing enzymes. This will be of added benefit when you start loading up on carbs.
For day five, six and seven eliminate sodium as best as possible. This will have a positive effect on making you appear tighter on competition day.
On day six and seven, after five days of depleting carbs your muscles will be ready to soak up much of what you consume. Aim for at least 3 grams of carbs/lb of bodyweight. Avoid sugars and stick to starches. You can take more than 3 grams/lb if you weigh above 220 lbs.
When you begin carbing up on day six it is important to reduce your protein intake back down to 1 gram/lb of bodyweight.
On day six when you begin to carb up it is also important that you reduce your water intake. Drop it to half of what you normally take in. If you drink a gallon a day, then just drink half a gallon a day. Your body will begin to pull excess water from between your muscles into the glycogen stores as you carb up with a reduced water intake, leaving you with a tighter, harder look.
As far as the work outs go, train on days one through five. High volume (total sets x total reps) is especially important in depleting glycogen stores. The greater you deplete the glycogen stores, the greater amount you can store during the carb up process, leading to fuller and larger muscles.
When you begin to carb up on day six and seven you do not want to train at all. Avoid expending energy as much as possible to allow your muscles to fill up as best they can.
Here’s how it looks day by day
        Week Before     Day 1     Day 2     Day 3     Day 4     Day 5     Day 6     Day 7
Carbs/lb             2                   1               1            0.7          0.7          0.7             3             3
Protein/lb          1.5               +50           +50        +50         +50         +50            1             1
Sodium                                 [As much as possible]                            [As little as possible]
Water(gallons)  1½                1½            1½         1½          1½          1½            ½           ½
Workout Y/N   Yes                 Yes           Yes         Yes        Yes         Yes           No         No
Even if you don’t plan on competing, if you have any sort of occasion where you want to look your best you can give this a shot and see how it works for you. Keep in mind, this type of dieting will only maximize your look if your bodyfat percentage is low enough. If you have a high percentage of bodyfat there is NO DIET that will make you look your absolute best in just one week.

If you have any questions about carb depletion and loading, feel free to contact me at ben@paramounttraining.ca. I'm available for online consulting and personalized program design, as well as one on one training if you are located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

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