Low Carb Dieting

Just to add my two-pence worth. For dieting down, for me low carb works like nothing else. Problem is, I can’t keep the plumbing working thus my spells on low carb were short and intermittent. I had no mood swing or libido problems, in fact I usually feel much better. My friend, a hockey player feels the same but his plumbing works perfectly. Now I have found the following by trial and error. When I work out, which is done as follows. Sunday ( squat based), Tuesday ( bench press based ), Thursday ( deadlift based) and Saturday ( chin-up based). All these are major muscle group exercises and the 1 hour workout has a significant effect on my motabolism. The effect is such that for about 12 - 18 hours after the workout, I can eat what I like and not gain fat. On the following day when the motabolism has slowed, that is a different storey thus I cycle the diet as I cycle the workouts. ie Following the Sunday workout I load with carbs right through to Monday lunch. Then from Monday lunch to Tuesday lunch , no carbs. If I am on a diet phase, then calories are low this day or alternatively if I am on a Mass phase, calories are high. From lunch on Tuesday I FEED IN SOME LIGHT CARBS IN READINESS FOR tUESDAYS WORKOUT. aND SO IT GOES. In short, I alternate each day between a 30p/70f/0c one day and a 40p/30f/30c the next. It keeps the plumbing working, keeps the workouts good, I feel fine and I can loose or gain as I feel. How’s that ? Any comments? JR

I’m neither an opponent or proponent of either diet plan, as everything works for me sometimes and will eventually fail, but I think that perhaps there’s a better way for those who want the advantages of both aspects.
I doubt that anyone here (other than a few of the head T-Mag men,) has heard of the plan titled “Animalbolics,” a targeted ketogenic diet made with the intention of sparing lean mass, offering the possibility of growth, and keeping one from getting that horrible feeling often experienced on ketogenic diets. If memory serves correct, you’ll want to combine the aspects of both carb-free and 40/30/30 dieting into one. I haven’t studied the plan in well over a year, but I did get decent results on it and plan to do it again soon. My version is a bit modified from Animal’s plan, but it worked for me.

This example will be based on the schedule of someone who lifts at 6PM evenings:

You’d wake up at whatever time, (5-8 AM) do some aerobics if you’re so inclined (no more than 30 minutes maximum) and have a carb-free breakfast afterward (eggs, bacon, sausage, whatever.) Next meal would be around noonish, same thing with no carb eating. Third meal would be at around 4:30 PM, Eating a 40/30/30 meal with low-GI carbs for sustained energy for the upcoming workout. Go the the gym at 6 PM, lift for 30-60 minutes, then it’s time for the recovery feeding consisting of 40-50g protein with anywhere from 40-100g of high-GI liquid carbs, and as little fat as possible. Assuming it is now 7 PM, wait until 9-9:30, and feed yourself with another 40/30/30 meal once again. If you’re still under caloric limit for the day and feel the need for a snack, have a no-carb low saturated fat meal after 11:00 of something like a scoop of protein powder with a tbsp. of flaxseed oil before bed. According to the way it is supposed to work, this diet will allow for mild ketosis to be hit by morning, allowing you to reap the benefits of a ketogenic diet during the first half of the day until you train, where you actually supply enough carbs for recovery post-training to keep from the dreaded loss of lean mass so many suffer from while doing an extended ketogenic diet. I’m actually surprised that nobody else seems to mention this type of plan, but it does work fairly well and walks the line between what everyone has been talking about. Well, hopefully this will shed light on the fact that there are more options other than just 40/30/30 and the low/no carb plans everyone always talks about.


John, I’ll e-mail all the studies I can to you when you write the article, I don’t want to take up too much room on the forum. I’m sorry if I insulted you and I respect what you’ve done. It’s just EVERY liscensed nutritionist in the world is arguing on what the ‘best’ diet is. Some say you have to cut out all fat, another all carbs. Then others say you need moderate amounts of both, then another says you should cycle through low-carb/high fat and high-carb phases. Still another says all you have to do is cycle calories and you’ll be fine.

But we’re all different and respond to different things differently. I gain to much fat when I eat >10% carbs day in, day out. I produce too much insulin or something. And there are people who can’t oxidize large amounts of fat. I know I’ve been pig-headed in the past about this and I hope everyone can see that, yes, we are different.

Well, This debate has gotten interesting and I think it’s a refreshing change from all the androsol questions and injection descriptions. Even more interesting since we dont all agree. I think everyone has made some valid points and one of the points of my original post was made. The realization that we are all different and may need different diets to accomplish our goals. Again, Im not totally opposed to low carb dieting. Ive done it often. In fact I might do one month of low carb dieting every 6 months or so just for variety. I dont feel good on it but I do it for a change of pace and to drop my fat % a little below normal. Again, I just think following it indefinately is a mistake.

Individual differences recognized, when the low carb proponents suggest that everyone can follow these diets, view their suggestions critically.

Couple more comments: 1)A few guys mentioned some novel ideas about eating different ratios per meal rather than following 0 carb or 40/30/30 every meal. Ive followed this type of plan for a while. Lonnie Lowery (you guys might remember his part in the rountables) and I have been talking about this for years. We just havent published anything on it yet but maybe it's time to. I think that eating by the meal might be a good approach. I dont know why people assume that every meal of the day should be the same ratio. Your physiology, metabolism, and endocrine system are not operating the same all day so why feed the body the same. It's interesting that the old adage, eat for your upcoming demands has gotten swept aside in the age of fad diets. And in regard to eating differently each meal, just cause you are on a daily plan of 40p/30c/30f doesnt mean that you need to eat that ratio each meal. When I recommend this diet to people they make the mistake of thinking Im talking about the Zone or something and they assume that I want them to eat 40/30/30 every meal.

2) With the above stated, this is how I eat...2 of my daily meals are only fibrous carbs carbs (salad) and high protein which makes them about 60p/30f/10c. 3 of my other meals are around 40p/30f/30c or so. And my postworkout is high carb 30p/60c/10f. So if you average the day out, it ends up being about 40/30/30. And when I have a cheat meal, it's either high fat and low carb or it's high carb and low fat. Knowing that the worst scenario is to eat high fat and high carbs at any time, you should avoid that combo.

3) As flax said, this type of "per meal" % change might be a great way to keep the body from putting on fat while simultaneously avoiding feeling badly and muscle loss. You're right, flax...there are more options and people do need to be aware of them. But first I think people need to open their minds a bit to experimentation. So many people write me afraid for their lives that the minute they eat a freakin carb, they will instantaneously fill up their adipocytes and become big, fat bastards. It's just not the case. I havent seen that animal diet, but I must be following something similar to it...

Maybe Lonnie and I will put our thoughts down on paper about this.

Oh yeah, and Michael, I read my response to you earlier again it seemed a bit harsh in retrospect (with the tournaquent comments and all). Sorry if that came off the wrong way. If you have any refs that you think might be valuable to me and might help clarify your point, Id be glad to take a look. You'll find my email at the bottom of most of my articles.

This diet pattern may be called something, or described elsewhere on this site, but I’m working with eating a high GI carb/High protein meal immediately after a worksession, low GI about a 40 30 30 for 24 hours or so after, then near zero carbs untill next worksession. This seems to be the most intuitive way to work this for myself, comments?

I think -everyone- is right. For the past 3 years I’ve been experimenting. I tried the Zone diet for 8 months with pleasant results (I won’t kill you with details). I stopped eating Zone and gradually put on 20lbs. Ran into a friend on Atkins and his testimonial was so powerful that I gave it a whirl and have had a great time ever since. I love eating fats and proteins until I’m satisfied.

My hunger has gone down over time and I don't experience the 'shitty' feelings some of you guys are talking about. I 'powerfully' went off the diet here and there including a 2wk stint with intranasal andro where I jammed carbs down my throat to gain size. 20lbs in 2 weeks...8 muscle. Learned my lesson.

Since then, however, I've had a great time experimenting with CKD and TKD. BodyOpus has been INVIGORATING to say the least. If you haven't tried it yet, get out of the battle trenches and just give it a try for 1-2 weeks. It's helping to refil me and saved me from that flatter look that comes with reduced glycogen stores.

In any case, I’ve enjoyed my time spent with the CKDs but I’m starting to see things John’s way. Noone’s saying KD’s don’t work. It’s just that they don’t work indefinitely…


Hey guys! I just wanted to give you a ideal of my dieting experience. I have been using a diet plan very similar to the one that Flaxoil was talking about. It is also very similar to the T-Dawg diet except I do not eat the mess-o-greens meal. My theory is that after I have consumed caarbohydrates (post-workout) then most of the fat in the mess-o-greens will be stored as fat (just a my theory). Here is a rough outline of my diet on a workout day:
1st Meal:4 Eggs and 3 pieces of sausage. 2nd Meal:4 pieces of string cheese and a 2 ounce pack of peanuts. 3rd Meal:4-6 ounces of steak of lean ground beef (it doesn’t have to be lean meat). 4th Meal (1 hour before workout):35 grams of a high glycemic carbohydrate dink with 5-10 grams of creatine and maybe a stimulate to help get through my workout. 5th Meal: 2 scoops of Grow! mixed with 2-3 cups of 2% milk. 6th Meal:Same as 5th meal. On non-workout days I folow the same nutritional plan except I substitute a very low carb and low fat High protein drink for my 4th meal and I also do not consume my 6 th meal (depending on how I feel). There are more specifics to my diet but these are my basic guidelines. I definetely feel as though this is the best and most convenient diet for me. If anyone else has tried a similar diet please let me know what kind of results that you may have achieved.

john, i am on the final week (thank god!!!) of my tdawg diet. i planned to do the diet for four weeks for a few reasons: 1)i am studying abroad soon and i dont think ill be able to contorl/manipulate my diet effectively while overseas. 2) i dont have that much weight to lose. ive always been relatively lean and i think i would look sickly if i did a ckd any longer. 3) i don think i can keep this thing up for more than a month.

but, (and this fits in perfectly with your most recent article on diet periodization) i plan on using massive eating after my diet to get huge & lean. ive always had trouble gaining mass because i never had a big appetite. but i must say, this ckd has taught me how wonderful food is. im not starving myself on the ckd, but im learning how to space out my meals more so that i can eat more. the ckd has helped me get lean, but above all else, it gave me so much more respect for food. before i started, i would calculate my daily caloric needs based on your massive eating articles and then think to myself, “ill never be able to eat all those calories!!!” after four weeks of this low carb stuff, i look forward to eating more than anything else. all those calories…i cant wait!!!

ill post my final results from my diet in a week, and then, in a few months, post the progress from my massive eating program. but at this point, for those of you who arent consuming enough calories, and if you are hesitant about massive eating (as i was, based on a fear of coming up short with my caloric needs), id say give a ckd a try for a few weeks (please feel free to disagree with me here...im sure jb has a better suggestion). i feel funny saying this, but my ckd TAUGHT me how to eat. good luck all.

I have to say that when on steroids a Body Opus/Anabolic diet works like a dream for preserving muscle while getting lean.
The downside for me was the carb cravings.
Strength actually went up and I experienced incredible pumps throughout the week despite
the low carbs.

I think it is a mistake to mention macronutrient percentages without a mention of the glycemic index. One can be a on a high carb diet (50% of calories from carbs) and have starkly different results depending on whether those carb calories came from white rice or from black beans. I know because I can get ugly fat from rice while get ripped with beans and lentils. I’ve tried low carbs too. I found myself overeating proteins to compensate for the lack of carbs. I think those who have failed with moderate carb approaches, most, perhaps not all, will succeed with lower GI carbs while suffering far less than being on a low carb diet. I dismissed the GI of carbs for a long time because I thought, “If zero carbs produce such and such result, then low GI carbs will produce something in between a high GI, high carb diet and a zero carb diet.” When I finally gave a low GI carb diet a try, boy was I surprised. What seemed like a minor adjustment made a HUGE difference. Not only did I feel great, I got leaner, a lot leaner than on a zero carb diet. I was great having my libido back too. I put the Warrior Diet in the same category as the zero carb diet in that it produces mediocre results while causing a great deal of suffering. When I was on the Warrior Diet for three months, I crashed so often that I felt like a Microsoft application. JMB, if you are considering writing a diet article, I’m keenly interested in seeing it.

Hyok, I might be mistaken, but I think the diet article you are hoping for has already been published. The Massive Eating series is probably what Mr. Berardi was working on at the time. This post is like 7 months old. How did it resurface again? I missed it the first time though, so its cool to see it now.

Hyok: I’m posting this on Sunday, so I HAVE to give you an “AMEN”!. All carbs are not created equal, and our bodies responses will vary a LOT. (I don’t know if its been your experience or not, but when people decide to cycle off one of these low carb and/or ketogenic regimens, OR they decide to “eat a little more carbs”, the choice is usually not beans, lentils, broccolli or cauliflower, but more simple carbs).

Something else that I see GROSSLY missing from this discussion (and Chris and JB have brought it up before in discussion). It is a BAD precedent to set to make ANY macronutrient “good” or “bad”. If we do, we end up with the “all fat is bad” type craze of the 80’s, where muscleheads were pushing almost zero fat diets. ALL MACRONUTRIENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR OPTIMAL BODILY FUNCTION, PERIOD! To eliminate one macronutrient for extended periods of time will not allow for optimal physiologic functioning, ESPECIALLY complex carbs that provide the body with its best defense againt free radical damage (phytochmicals, vitamins, ORAC units, etc.)and aide in overall physiologic fuctioning. And believe me…between microtearing of muscle and tissue, aerobics, sometimes extreme fluctuations in weight and fatty acid oxidation/protein metabolism, us muscleheads are free-radical time bombs…So…Protein: Good ; Fat: Good ; CARBS (read my lips!: GOOD!!!

I happen to actually like low carb dieting, and it really is the only thing that works for me. Christ if I eat a bowl of pasta I gain fucking five pounds, but thats just me

James: I don’t think the controversy is their effectiveness in helping us shed fat…they do that. The debate is in their use for extended periods of time…and my point is that ANY diet that favors the elimination or near elimination of ANY macro and or micro-nutrient for long periods of time will ultimately be detrimental…and will NOT lead to optimal physiologic function, all antedotes and testimonials to the contrary notwithstanding…

Flax, Animalbolics is a good diet. I’ve used it before in the past and I’m using it right now, it works great! I live on protein shakes and tuna salad during the day, drink a carb drink during my workout, then I have a post-workout carb+protein shake. An hour after that I have a 40-30-30 meal. I don’t do the 40-30-30 meal before the gym because for me it always seems like it takes too long to digest.

So here is something to chew on T-Men and if any staffers would join in I’d appreciate your opinions. Can you take in too much protein when dieting. I know you can take in too much of anything and too much of anything is bad but I’m on an even more refined diet taht i ahve used to become very lean in the past and its not working. I’m taking in 2200-2250 calories a day with 250 grams protein 60 grams fat coming from mostly flax oil and 150 grams of carbs from oatmeal and surge. could the 250 grams of proten be too much. Could my body be getting all the protein it needs? 250 isn’t a disgusting amount considering i weigh 175. I would reduce it to find out but i do not want to lose muscle as I’m doing 2 x a day cardio along with lifting 3 times a week and 8 hours a day of work. Just wondering …what are your thoughts…Mike

Lately I’ve been trying to get completely ripped up. I’m on my second week of T2 doing four caps a day (two in the morning two in the evening). I’m doing the massive eating protein/fats and protein/carbs except for one variation, I’ve basically eliminated complex carbs. Normally I eat brown rice and occasionally some oatmeal. I’ve found that when I don’t do any carbs I can’t cope for more than four days both physically and mentally. Anyone else tried anything similar to my no-complex carb diet? Any other tips you can offer for getting ripped out, as always, would be greatly appreciated. Lata.

"MB Eric: Your Great American Inhumanoid. Since 1788."


E-Man, wassabie! I swing from the same tree, in the same jungle, my friend. That which I speak of is the Shredded Jungle of course. You said no “complex carbs” but you also said you do pro+carbs, so I’m assuming you meant starchy carbs, no? Meaning that you’re getting all your carbs from fibrous veggies? If that’s the case, I think you’re good-to-go, and well on your way to Ripped City, Massive Shreddedness! I’ll do something similar every once in a while where I’ll only use veggies as carbs (I don’t eat fruit)–mostly fibrous, but some starchy (corn, peas)–and think it’s an awesome route to go for maximum leanness and muscularity! Keep swinging from those treetops, my man, you can see the lights of Ripped City!

While I agree that you can’t be on a low carb diet forever. I think they are great for losing fat while losing little muscle. I for one love the Anabolic diet, and have used it to great success. Let’s see since last may, when I started to diet and workout again after about a year and a half off, I’ve lost over 60 lbs. and gained quite a bit of muscle. A lot of this is with the help of workouts and supplements I’ve read about in T-mag. But the fat loss primarily came from the Anabolic Diet. I went on it last year for 7 weeks then I took a 10 days off and went back on for another 6. I then did a couple of Androsol cycles and gained some decent mass w/o getting fatter. Then I went back on the diet for another 6 weeks to lean out. I then stayed off the diet for a couple months doing a couple of more cycles of Androsol. I have NEVER gained any noticeable amount of fat any time I have come off. Whether that has anything to do w/ Androsol I don’t know. I’ll gain my 3-4 pounds of water weight and that’s it. The rest is usually muscle, at least that is what the calipers tell me.

Now I’ve been on the AD since late Feb. taking 10 days off every 6 weeks. I’ve used Androsol a couple of times during the diet too. Granted, I’ve only gotten a little stronger and have lost a little muscle and overall size. But the bodyfat has really come off. I actually have tweaked the diet some I take in about 75 grams of carbs on workout days. Mostly in my postworkout shake. I’m down to about 9% now and can see my top two abs. I’ve only got a little ways to go to see them clearly. So all in all I’m happy with my success. Yes, I’d like to gain some more muscle, but I want to be able to see that muscle first. At 6’1" 207 and about 9% b.f I think I look pretty good. As soon as I hit my goal in about 2 or 3 weeks of 6.5% I’m going on a 6 week cycle of Finasol to pack on the mass. So eating won’t be a concern cause I don’t think I’ll get too fat. It’s afterwards that concerns me. Which is where a I think a diet like John’s will come in handy. One more thing to note. Having done the AD so many times I really don’t crave sweets that much anymore, so think that is a very good thing. That’s about all for now. Sorry for the long post.

John,with all due respect,I think you have unfairly lumped all low-carb diets together and then canned them collectively.There is quite a wide range of diets that fall into the low-carb category.As with most things,quality and effectiveness can vary dramatically between different low-carb plans.
Years ago I tried The Anabolic Diet'.I could only handle 3 weeks of it- I felt like complete crap the whole time.I did lean out noticeably without losing any muscle,but the misery just wasn't worth it.As you know The Anabolic Diet’ advocates eating large amounts of saturated fat-laden meat and dairy products-not what I consider to be the healthiest diet in the world!
My current diet is composed of totally different foods to The Anabolic Diet',yet still falls into the low-carb category.Basically it is a hunter-gatherer’-type diet.I take in free-range lean meats(mainly kangaroo,wallaby,chicken,turkey,fish,seafood),cruciferous vegetables,salad greens and small servings of a wide variety of fresh fruits on a daily basis.Every meal also contains a moderate amount of good'fat from sources like nuts,seeds,avocadoes,olive,flax and macadamia oils,tahini,lecithin etc.If this is not a healthy diet for the long-term,I don't know what is!I certainly do not feel hungry all the time’ ,or `feel like shit all the time’!Quite frankly ,I’ve never felt better!I find this style of eating makes it very easy for me to stay lean year-round,even in winter when I’m not doing so much cycling.

Carb intake averages around 100-120g on non-training days,higher on training days because of post-workout carb intake(100-300g of carbs plus aminos,depending on type and intensity of activity).I have my clients on similar eating plans,and they invariably remark how much better they feel eating like this.Because it still allows a wide variety of foods,unlike the ketogenic diets,I haven’t found compliance to be a problem.
When I was on the high-carb diet years ago my energy levels would bounce up and down like a frog on speed.I tried the Zone(30-30-40)diet and noticed an immediate improvement in my energy levels.After a while I started experimenting with even lower-carb diets and noticed further improvements-my energy levels remained much more constant,and I also noticed I was more mentally focused.
I do believe if someone is going to try low-carb diets as a long term option(something I would encourage) I recommend for them to experiment with the levels of protein,carbs and fat they consume until they get the mix just right.I don’t believe in one size fits all prescriptions.For example, one of my clients can get by with next to no carbs (apart from his post-workout carbs) and he does fine,despite his pretty demanding work schedule.If I was to consume that same amount of carbs,I would feel less than 100%,and my girlfriend functions better on a slightly higher percentage of carbs again.
I agree some of the CKD and TKD diets are kind of radical and for most people are probably only a short-term option.However this is not true of all low-carb diets.If they are constructed intelligently I think they are a fabulous,healthy,practical long-term option.