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  • Carb Refeed Query

    Hi All,

    I've been primal for a while and am doing well (all digestive issues cleared up). I'm 5'9" and around 165 lbs (75kg) with body fat just above 10% I'd guess. I play rugby and as the season is almost upon us, I wanted to get some advice regarding carb refeeds. I've never really tried them before but have read they are beneficial for multiple reasons. My question(s):

    (1) Will the refeeds help add a bit of extra muscle mass (assuming training and overall calories are adequate)?
    (2) Will they help with energy levels for a rugby game (80 mins)?
    (3) Crucially, when would be the best time to do the refeeds (I'm thinking once a week around game time, but should it be evening before game, morning before, after...)?

    Apologies if this has been answered, but most things I find on refeeds relate to weight loss/boosting waning metabolism, etc.

    Many Thanks

  • #2
    For someone like you, I'd say you don't need to worry so much about carb refeeds unless you are eating very low carb. Mostly carb refeeds are done by people trying to lose a lot of weight or eating VLC for some other reason. If you are in this category, eating more carbs, say double or triple your normal intake, in the 24 hours prior to 24 hours after your most intense exertion of the week can be helpful. Mark wrote a little piece about it just yesterday in his blog.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by otzi View Post
      For someone like you, I'd say you don't need to worry so much about carb refeeds unless you are eating very low carb. Mostly carb refeeds are done by people trying to lose a lot of weight or eating VLC for some other reason. If you are in this category, eating more carbs, say double or triple your normal intake, in the 24 hours prior to 24 hours after your most intense exertion of the week can be helpful. Mark wrote a little piece about it just yesterday in his blog.
      Oops, that's what I get for looking at the blog a couple of days ago, then going straight to the forum today to post this...

      I'll give the refeeds a miss then as I don't desperately need to lose any fat right now. Will just up the fat to try and bulk up a bit.

      Comment


      • #4
        1.) Caloric surplus adds mass. The goal is to make as much of that extra mass muscle as possible with as little fat gain as possible. Generally, post-workout that is a high protein/high carb meal. The explanation is as follows:

        a.) Your body will utilize the protein to grow muscles.
        b.) You are glycogen depleted, so carbs will go to glycogen storage, not converted to fat.
        c.) You are in a highly insulin sensitive state, and any excess carbohydrate that may be consumed at this point with all your elevated anabolic hormones will skew it to muscle mass instead of fat mass. Protein will follow this as well, but much less efficiently.

        So, essentially for most of us, the post-workout enemy is fat if you are eating a caloric surplus.

        2.) Yes. Immensely if you are coming from chronic low-carb. The difference will be extreme.

        3.) A moderate protein/moderate carb (fat variable) meal a few hours beforehand may help, but spaced enough so you're not weighed down by food. Your high carb/high protein/low fat refeed meal is best saved for post-workout, and this should be the big one where you're focusing on gaining muscle. Sometimes I perform better completely fasted. You may want to experiment with not eating if your games are in the morning or early afternoon. If they're late in the day, my n=1 experiment shows me my strength starts to decrease after ~12 hours of being fasted. Waking up and working out within a few hours without eating = good for me, but going all day...not so much.

        Since your workouts are cardio-centric, they may not fit the typical weight lifter paradigm. 80 minutes of rugby isn't going to drive the growth hormones of 60 minutes of powerlifting including sets to failure, so you're going to have to experiment with your macros and food quantities. In otherwords, the typical Leangains meal of 3 lbs of potatoes and 1.5 lbs of 96% ground beef may not be what you're looking for. YMMV. You may want lower GI carbs, you may need more dietary fat, or maybe the constant movement will burn so much glycogen you'll need way more carbs with as high a GI as possible. I just don't know. I've never been in your situation.
        Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 08-01-2012, 10:42 AM.
        Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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        • #5
          Thanks CT, a nice detailed answer.

          I lift heavy weights 3 times a week, as well as rugby training once or twice, and a match each Saturday afternoon. So, shouldn't be too much of a problem growth hormone-wise.

          I'm moving house soon and will be right around the corner form the gym (literally); once I move I think I'll just up the carbs/lower the fats for dinner after a weights session (I currently have at least an hour between leaving the gym and getting home, so a genuine post-workout meal is tricky). This should allow me to bulk up a bit without excess fat gain

          I'll also experiment with the pre-match carb/fat ratio and see what works best.

          Thanks again

          Comment


          • #6
            Post-workout is the meal that happens...post-workout. I usually don't eat until 2 hours after my workout these days. It hasn't hurt my progress at all. There's no reason to eat immediately after. If you can find the time 2-3 hours after your workout, you'll be fine.

            PS - I recently bought a blood glucose monitor. My fasting blood glucose was shown to be 73. Post heavy lifting, it was 78 (clearly some amino acid breakdown happened, which means glucose being dumped into the bloodstream at the expense of lean tissue...as expected). I went home and ate 2 lbs of sweet potatoes and 1/4 of a watermelon with a bunch of cherries. Lots and lots of carbs. 1 hour after the meal my blood glucose was 84. ~250g of carbohydrate did nothing to spike my blood glucose, so it does to show you how little carbs impact you when you're extremely insulin sensitive and have available glycogen storage. Contrast that to the sedentary, grain-eating couch potato whose blood glucose shoots up to 180 an hour after eating a slice of cake. Don't sweat your meal timing. 2 hours later and I'm still exceedingly insulin sensitive with a post-refeed blood glucose superior to the average person's fasting BG. You'll be fine.
            Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 08-02-2012, 10:32 AM.
            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
              Post-workout is the meal that happens...post-workout. I usually don't eat until 2 hours after my workout these days. It hasn't hurt my progress at all. There's no reason to eat immediately after. If you can find the time 2-3 hours after your workout, you'll be fine.

              PS - I recently bought a blood glucose monitor. My fasting blood glucose was shown to be 73. Post heavy lifting, it was 78 (clearly some amino acid breakdown happened, which means glucose being dumped into the bloodstream at the expense of lean tissue...as expected). I went home and ate 2 lbs of sweet potatoes and 1/4 of a watermelon with a bunch of cherries. Lots and lots of carbs. 1 hour after the meal my blood glucose was 84. ~250g of carbohydrate did nothing to spike my blood glucose, so it does to show you how little carbs impact you when you're extremely insulin sensitive and have available glycogen storage. Contrast that to the sedentary, grain-eating couch potato whose blood glucose shoots up to 180 an hour after eating a slice of cake. Don't sweat your meal timing. 2 hours later and I'm still exceedingly insulin sensitive with a post-refeed blood glucose superior to the average person's fasting BG. You'll be fine.
              That timing data is really interesting; guess I was brainwashed into the "you must eat within 30 mins of your workout" line so often trotted out. The outcome - I'll start with the "post-workout" high carb/low fat meals right away and see how I get on. Thanks again CT

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                Post-workout is the meal that happens...post-workout. I usually don't eat until 2 hours after my workout these days. It hasn't hurt my progress at all. There's no reason to eat immediately after. If you can find the time 2-3 hours after your workout, you'll be fine.
                I can usually go about 30 minutes before I get *very* light headed after training and need food to make it go away. I always have a PWO shake handy and start drinking it once I feel it. So, as Choco said, you could go 2 - 3 hours but be ready, just in case.
                People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by IcarianVX View Post
                  I can usually go about 30 minutes before I get *very* light headed after training and need food to make it go away. I always have a PWO shake handy and start drinking it once I feel it. So, as Choco said, you could go 2 - 3 hours but be ready, just in case.
                  Really? I feel fantastic when I fast post-workout. I'm on an adrenaline high. It's like a mild shot of morphine or something where I'm almost buzzed with a tingly feeling. Eating takes away that feeling. Even if I can eat right away I typically don't because I love the hormone high so much.

                  I'd be really interested to see your blood glucose right before and right after working out. I wonder if you become hypoglycemic after working out.
                  Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    maclr, with that amount of exercise I think you would see very good results if you up the carb intake, especially after heavy weights sessions. You can eat an awful lot post workout without it effecting the waistline, and it can greatly improve your rate of muscle gain.

                    It is one of the few times you have where high carb, and even junk food, is not going to negatively effect fat gain.
                    The blog: Lean Ape

                    100 Steps To YOUR perfect Body

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                      Really? I feel fantastic when I fast post-workout. I'm on an adrenaline high. It's like a mild shot of morphine or something where I'm almost buzzed with a tingly feeling. Eating takes away that feeling. Even if I can eat right away I typically don't because I love the hormone high so much.
                      Me too.

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                      • #12
                        Cycling between high carbs around workouts and lower carbs at other points in the day seems to work well for me.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lean Ape Dave View Post
                          maclr, with that amount of exercise I think you would see very good results if you up the carb intake, especially after heavy weights sessions. You can eat an awful lot post workout without it effecting the waistline, and it can greatly improve your rate of muscle gain.

                          It is one of the few times you have where high carb, and even junk food, is not going to negatively effect fat gain.
                          Yep, did my first high carb/low fat post workout meal yesterday; some grilled squid, whilst waiting for... 2 sweet potatoes and a tuna steak. Whilst I appreciate that post-workout gives you some flexibility in terms of what carbs you eat, what do people recommend? I occasionally eat sweet potatoes and rice already, but what else is dense in carbs (and gluten free)?

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                          • #14
                            If you're not on a typical fasting regiment, does the phrase "2 hour fast post workout" just mean you're not eating anything until your next meal (let's say dinner)? Trying to figure out the semantics.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                              Really? I feel fantastic when I fast post-workout. I'm on an adrenaline high. It's like a mild shot of morphine or something where I'm almost buzzed with a tingly feeling. Eating takes away that feeling. Even if I can eat right away I typically don't because I love the hormone high so much.

                              I'd be really interested to see your blood glucose right before and right after working out. I wonder if you become hypoglycemic after working out.
                              I experience something simliar, i can feel like shit prior to the workout, but after the first few sets i get a bit of a buzz and feel good after finishing, this is before i've had anything to eat for the day usually. Perhaps now and then i mite have a piece of fruit before a workout but generally lifting weights gives me a bit of a boost or spark in energy which feels great. Granted my lifts might not be as strong as they could due to my way of eating, but energy wise i feel ok.


                              I came to this thread to ask about carb refeeds, which i've started doing since my workouts are more consistant. Is there a general rule of thumb about how many carbs are needed by an individual? The point is to refill glycogen from my understanding, so if i push to my limit during my workouts, how do i know if i've eaten adequate amoutn of carbs and thus replenished enough to finish off my next 2 workouts for the week, assuming i workout 2-3 times a week.

                              I don't want to eat more carbs than what i need, due to digestive issues, but i can't go low carb neither as it doesn't do me much good, at least no longer than a 2 day interval.

                              Which is what i had planned, if i workout 3 times with a 2day carb break in between to give my body a break from carbs, before refeeding again post workout. So i was just curious if there were any signs that my glycogen levels are adequate and no more carbs are needed. I know by my energy and muscle tightness and soreness when i think i've done low carb for too long, so i've always go that to go by.

                              Also, is it possible to just do 2 carb refeeds a week, if working out 3 times a week? Lot of questions i know but just looking for some insight.

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