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What's better? Carb refeed once a week, or every workout day?

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  • What's better? Carb refeed once a week, or every workout day?

    This question can also be interpreted as a question about how muscle glycogen works. I currently participate in carb refeeds every workout day according to the principles of LeanGains, which for me, is 3 times a week. As I understand it, this is to restore depleted muscle glycogen, so that protein can be spared for muscle repair, thereby gaining strength. I've also read that eating high carb once in a while raises leptin levels, helping with fat loss.

    However, another way (referred to as the anabolic diet) is to do a carb refeed for 2 days in a row every week. I've considered changing to this method since I've recently become suspicious that I don't need high carb every workout day. Mark Sisson frequently speaks in terms of averages, saying not to worry about having too much or too little of anything, so long you make up for it within the next day or two. The way I see it, my bodyweight exercise routine, followed by Tabata sprints, isn't enough to deplete muscle glycogen enough to need high carb every workout day, and I'm getting tired of the water weight retained from eating high carb. So I'm really interested in people's opinion on which would be better (if it even matters): carb refeed after every workout or a 2 day carb refeed once a week.

    Just a few matter what kind of refeed I do, I will still do the following:
    -Eat lots of protein after workouts
    -Eat just one large meal a day, so I'm fasted most of the time
    -Even my low carb days still have about 40-50g of carbs

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    i'll be honest, i prefer to eat about 100 grams of carb a day, every day. i lift only twice a week, kind of my own hybrid between body by science and starting strength. doug mcguffs ideas of exertion and recovery, and rip's concepts of proper barbell training. after working out, i focus more on overall caloric load than on specific marconutrients - a big hit of protein and carbs, primarily, but i don't shy away from fat at that point.

    doing leangains though is a much more specific program, and i think macros play into it more. does martin ever recommend going down to 40-50 grams of carbs a day? i don't think so, that's keto level.

    also, i think the carbs are about more than just replacing muscle glycogen. you have liver glycogen too, and then your body's basic glucose needs when not in ketosis, which you would ideally want to meet by taking in glucose, rather than converting protein.


    • #3
      I don't want to have to worry about shying away from fat either, another reason I'm considering a 2 day carb refeed once a week. Assuming one of my workout days falls during the refeed, then the other two workout days would fall on my high-fat/low-carb days. This is not the way the LeanGains works, and while LeanGains is a fine program that has slowly been working for me, I'm wondering if I will benefit more from the 2 day carb refeed once a week. I started thinking about this once I calculated my average daily carb intake. 40-50g on rest days, but 300+ grams on 3 workout days puts my daily average at over 150g, which is higher than I'd like it to be. And I realize Martin doesn't like keto-level carbs. The only reason I eat that low on rest days was to bring the average down, and as I just showed, that average is still too high for my taste.

      Thanks for pointing out liver glycogen. It makes me want to shy away from carb refeeds after every workout even more. Most people who follow LeanGains are heavy lifters and I can understand how they will benefit from refeeding on carbs as often as they do. I, on the other hand, practice just bodyweight exercises according to the PB e-book, followed by a Tabata sprint session. I don't think this is intense enough to deplete all my glycogen, which is why I started thinking my carb refeeds should be unassociated with my workouts.