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Gain Muscle on a Low Carb Diet?
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Joaquin
Level 3

Join date: Mar 2003
Posts: 56

Is it possible to gain muscle on a low carb, >50 carbs/day, diet? Let's say that you eat well in excess of your daily maintenance to create a calorie surplus of at least 500+ additional low carb calories a day and you gain weight. Will that weight be mostly muscle?

I really enjoy low carb eating and don't like to ever really carb up. I am about 8-10% BF, 205 lbs and 6'tall. I workout mostly performing BB style workouts. I am wondering if someone has any experience with a this or knows where this may be documented?

muchas gracias!

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spadesofaces
Level 4

Join date: Aug 2008
Posts: 349

Its possible, but not as effective as if you were to use carbs. You can achieve a similar effect to carbs using BCAAs, specifically leucine, and glutamine can help replenish muscle glycogen stores.

read this: http://www.T-Nation.com/...81&pageNo=3

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chimera182
Level 5

Join date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4120

As long as you're eating more than you're taking in you can gain weight

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Standard Donkey
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Join date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1461

chimera182 wrote:
As long as you're eating more than you're taking in you can gain weight


I'm not sure..sounds kinda tricky.

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VibeAlive
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Join date: Sep 2006
Posts: 696

You can indeed... Fats.. lots of them... oils... butter... nuts... etc... If you aren't doing something like playing hockey 3 x a week... and live a fairly sedentary life... (aside from lifting of course)... then you should be fine to gain on low carb... just make sure you get in enough calories...

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chimera182
Level 5

Join date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4120

Standard Donkey wrote:
chimera182 wrote:
As long as you're eating more than you're taking in you can gain weight

I'm not sure..sounds kinda tricky.


You're right, and for $1000 dollars an hour I can fill you in on the specifics

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Dave Rogerson
Level 3

Join date: Jul 2005
Posts: 348

Logic would tell you that with a positive energy balance and enough nutrients to support muscle growth that yes even on a low carb diet you can gain muscle.

But it gets tricky, yes glycogen replenishment is an issue, and certain glucogenic amino acids can help support this process, but I think that the issue of anabolism goes beyond simply glycogen replenishment.

If we look at how low carbohydrate diets function for the most part, and especially when an individual wants to lose bodyfat, essentially by eliminating carbs we create an environment for the use of other available fuel sources as energy. By eliminating carbohydrates from the diet, metabolism shifts from one that favours storage (due to the absence of certain hormones and alterations in the presence of certain enzymes) to one that favours energy liberation.

Carbohydrates have some pretty useful functions and for the most part do not have to be removed from the diet to see favourable alterations in fat or muscle tissue. In the past carbohydrates have been wrongly promoted and demonized equally. As many authors have discussed, quality and appropriately timed carbohydrates probably wont lead to the myriad of health problems and loss of bodycomposition as has been suggested prior.

For the majority of people, and especially when trying to get bigger, carbohydrates shouldnt be feared.

It isnt neccessarily the carbohydrates that make you fat, but the mismanagement of the carbohydrates.

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LIFTICVSMAXIMVS
Level 1

Join date: Apr 2005
Posts: 11983

Joaquin wrote:
Will that weight be mostly muscle?


This is dependent on your activity level. Dr. John Berardi calls it "G Flux" for a lack of a better term. The more you eat and the more energy you expend the leaner and more muscular you will be, on average.

The largest and most powerful animals in the jungle only eat meat and expend huge amounts of energy trying to obtain it. (But they also eat the mineral rich organs and nutritious fat, too.)

Humans are opportunistic eaters but our bodies favor meat for its restorative properties and fat for energy. If you are of mostly European decent eating grains is acceptable and a great way to add weight but should be kept to a minimum as these were not available year round for 99% of human evolution. Our bodies still treat carbohydrates like they are very scarce which is why they quickly turn to fat for storage.

Cycling your bulk phase with the seasons is a good way to gain muscle and cut body fat naturally. Take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season and put on some lean mass with additional calories from whole grains in late summer and autumn.

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steel_12
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Join date: Apr 2008
Posts: 147

No you cannot gain muscle on a low carb diet.you will gain weight,but not muscle.but thats just my opinion.You need complex carbohydrates to gain muscle.Muscle growth does not occur when glycogen levels are depleted,period.Low carb lowers testosterone and insulin.Both are key elements when wanting to gain muscle.To put it simply, Without insulin,the protein will not be delivered to the muscle efficiently. With low testosterone,protein synthesis will be at a minimum.

Dave Rogerson is right;it is not the intake of carbohydrates that makes you fat,but the mismanagement of carbohydrates.

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LIFTICVSMAXIMVS
Level 1

Join date: Apr 2005
Posts: 11983

steel_12 wrote:
No you cannot gain muscle on a low carb diet.you will gain weight,but not muscle.but thats just my opinion.You need complex carbohydrates to gain muscle.Muscle growth does not occur when glycogen levels are depleted,period.


Certain amino acids can synthesize into glycogen via the gluconeogenesis pathway.

Also, you must consider, how do carnivores gain muscle mass if they do not eat carbohydrates?

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Professor X
Level 5

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 51898

There is just too much FAIL here to even jump in and attack it.

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jehovasfitness
Level 10

Join date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12547

lol, I clicked on this link to see your take on it Prof X, only to get a nice pic attached, lol.

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Tiribulus
Level 1

Join date: Aug 2006
Posts: 16196

Professor X wrote:
There is just too much FAIL here to even jump in and attack it.


There's about a dozen definitions that need to be settled (again) before this discussion could have gotten anywhere (again)

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LIFTICVSMAXIMVS
Level 1

Join date: Apr 2005
Posts: 11983

Professor X wrote:
There is just too much FAIL here to even jump in and attack it.


Feel free to leave and not comment.

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Professor X
Level 5

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 51898

LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Professor X wrote:
There is just too much FAIL here to even jump in and attack it.

Feel free to leave and not comment.


Dude, spending 4 pages arguing with you about why you think people from certain continents need to eat completely differently is not how I plan to spend my day.

Have a great one!!!

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LIFTICVSMAXIMVS
Level 1

Join date: Apr 2005
Posts: 11983

Professor X wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Professor X wrote:
There is just too much FAIL here to even jump in and attack it.

Feel free to leave and not comment.

Dude, spending 4 pages arguing with you about why you think people from certain continents need to eat completely differently is not how I plan to spend my day.

Have a great one!!!


I am not asking you to argue with me. In fact, quite the opposite.

Back at you, my good prof x.

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Sentoguy
Level 3

Join date: Nov 2005
Posts: 6114

Dave Rogerson wrote:
Logic would tell you that with a positive energy balance and enough nutrients to support muscle growth that yes even on a low carb diet you can gain muscle.

But it gets tricky, yes glycogen replenishment is an issue, and certain glucogenic amino acids can help support this process, but I think that the issue of anabolism goes beyond simply glycogen replenishment.

If we look at how low carbohydrate diets function for the most part, and especially when an individual wants to lose bodyfat, essentially by eliminating carbs we create an environment for the use of other available fuel sources as energy. By eliminating carbohydrates from the diet, metabolism shifts from one that favours storage (due to the absence of certain hormones and alterations in the presence of certain enzymes) to one that favours energy liberation.

Carbohydrates have some pretty useful functions and for the most part do not have to be removed from the diet to see favourable alterations in fat or muscle tissue. In the past carbohydrates have been wrongly promoted and demonized equally. As many authors have discussed, quality and appropriately timed carbohydrates probably wont lead to the myriad of health problems and loss of bodycomposition as has been suggested prior.

For the majority of people, and especially when trying to get bigger, carbohydrates shouldnt be feared.

It isnt neccessarily the carbohydrates that make you fat, but the mismanagement of the carbohydrates.



Good post.

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SteelyD
Level 4

Join date: Jun 2007
Posts: 12067

Professor X wrote:
There is just too much FAIL here to even jump in and attack it.


NAW, c'mon-- you're gettin' soft in your old age ;)

Put on your failmail suit and jump in!!!!!

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dwall33
Level

Join date: Jul 2008
Posts: 110

steel_12 wrote:
No you cannot gain muscle on a low carb diet.you will gain weight,but not muscle.but thats just my opinion.You need complex carbohydrates to gain muscle.Muscle growth does not occur when glycogen levels are depleted,period.Low carb lowers testosterone and insulin.Both are key elements when wanting to gain muscle.To put it simply, Without insulin,the protein will not be delivered to the muscle efficiently. With low testosterone,protein synthesis will be at a minimum.

Dave Rogerson is right;it is not the intake of carbohydrates that makes you fat,but the mismanagement of carbohydrates.



Yea this guy knows his shit from experience, look how jacked and tan he is.

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kickureface
Level

Join date: Feb 2008
Posts: 631

I've done low carb timed in the morning and pwo with ~200carbs and didn't gain at all over 2-3 months despite eating 20-23 calories per lb bodyweight. Then I started making potato wedges with cheese and evoo drizzled on top and gained 8lbs in a few weeks.

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chimera182
Level 5

Join date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4120

why is there still a discussion? Caloric surplus=weight gain. Caloric surplus plus weight lifting= muscle gain. Your body will figure out how to survive (i.e. building muscle) with what it has

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superalpha
Level

Join date: Dec 2008
Posts: 27

iv tried a low carb high calarie diet. i lost alot of muscle and got significantly weaker. your body needs good carbs and alot of it to be able to grow. on the other hand i think you can get lean and sill maintain a good body weight with a low carbs and high calarie diet.

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tribunaldude
Level

Join date: May 2008
Posts: 3247

If you're going to avoid carbs when gaining, your caloric intake is probably going to have to be waaaaaay higher than otherwise. I'm dieting and have to drink olive oil all day long to get enough calories to lean out maintaining strength.

Also, you WILL need periodic carb loads (like the 12-24 hour loads on the AD) or you're not going to gain much muscle (if any) regardless of your caloric intake going keto all the time - at least that's what DD, MP and LMD say.

IMO, only someone with a very high propensity to gain fat should try gaining with a low carb diet....maintaining size and strength should be easy though, I think someone mentioned a WSM competitor who follows low carb in the off season (with periodic carb ups).

superalpha wrote:
iv tried a low carb high calarie diet. i lost alot of muscle and got significantly weaker. your body needs good carbs and alot of it to be able to grow. on the other hand i think you can get lean and sill maintain a good body weight with a low carbs and high calarie diet.


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MrZsasz
Level 1

Join date: May 2005
Posts: 1015

tribunaldude wrote:
If you're going to avoid carbs when gaining, your caloric intake is probably going to have to be waaaaaay higher than otherwise. I'm dieting and have to drink olive oil all day long to get enough calories to lean out maintaining strength.

Also, you WILL need periodic carb loads (like the 12-24 hour loads on the AD) or you're not going to gain much muscle (if any) regardless of your caloric intake going keto all the time - at least that's what DD, MP and LMD say.

IMO, only someone with a very high propensity to gain fat should try gaining with a low carb diet....maintaining size and strength should be easy though, I think someone mentioned a WSM competitor who follows low carb in the off season (with periodic carb ups).

superalpha wrote:
iv tried a low carb high calarie diet. i lost alot of muscle and got significantly weaker. your body needs good carbs and alot of it to be able to grow. on the other hand i think you can get lean and sill maintain a good body weight with a low carbs and high calarie diet.




I was chatting with someone who competed in Canada's Strongest Man this year, and he said quite a few of the competitors were on a low carb or carb cycling diet. Hugo Gerard being one of them if memory serves me.

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Professor X
Level 5

Join date: Oct 2002
Posts: 51898

MrZsasz wrote:


I was chatting with someone who competed in Canada's Strongest Man this year, and he said quite a few of the competitors were on a low carb or carb cycling diet. Hugo Gerard being one of them if memory serves me.


That's all fine and well if you are already big. Most of those guys aren't really trying to put on another 50lbs either. That are at a stage where they might be bringing up lagging muscle groups if anything.

I wouldn't exactly recommend someone who is just starting to worry about carb cycling. It all depends on what stage of lifting you are at. Most of the guys on this site under 180lbs need to just fucking eat.

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