THE CRUX OF THE METABOLIC DIET
Study below shows that fat adaptation occurs after five days of being on the Metabolic Diet and persists during one day of carbing up. Burke L. et al. Effect of fat adaptation and carbohydrate restoration on metabolism and performance during prolonged cycling. J Appl Physiol 89; 2413-2421.
How And When To Increase Dietary Carbohydrates
I’ve found it usually takes about three to four weeks on the phase shift part of the Metabolic Diet to see if we can survive and thrive on this low level of dietary carbs or if we need more carbs throughout or just at one time or another. However, for the sake of assessing whether or not the strict Metabolic Diet suits you I decided to do it 2 weeks at a time. If, after the first two weeks you feel OK, then you merely carry on with the 5+ days at 30 grams and 1-2 days in the higher carb phase.
If you’re mildly to moderately tired and otherwise affected then you go through another 2 week assessment phase to see if things even out. If you’re severely affected then you go on to one of the variation diets where you selectively take in more carbs depending on when you’re feeling punk.
If you feel good from Saturday to Wednesday and start to get tired and generally unwell by the time Thursday rolls around, then a Wednesday carb-spike day should do the trick. So on Wednesday you should increase your carbs to at least 100 grams and usually more. You might try incorporating between 0.5 to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight of carbohydrates and see how you respond.
If you’re OK most of the time but just don’t have enough energy for your workouts, then you might try taking in around 50 to 100 grams of carbs after your training. You can vary the amount of carbs you use after exercise by using anywhere from 10 to 150 grams and see what works for you. The type of carbohydrate you use also makes a difference in this case. For various reasons I’ve found that the use of a combination of high glycemic and low glycemic carbs works best.
One word of caution, don’t take any carbs prior to working out. That’s because carbs at that time will decrease GH and IGF-1 production and effect, increase insulin and decrease the use of bodyfat as an primary energy source during training. The ideal pre-workout supplement is my Resolve (see below), which has no carbs but is meant, among several other things, to selectively increase growth hormone and insulin simultaneously to maximize their synergistic anabolic effects while minimizing insulin adverse effects on lipolysis and free fatty acid oxidation.
If you’re tired and feel bad for most of the low carb weekdays then we can try and double the carb intake to 60 grams per day on the weekdays to see if this helps. If that doesn’t help we then increase the carb intake by 30 grams per day once a week for as many weeks as it takes for you to feel normal and function optimally.
Most people who have to increase their daily carbs usually level off between 100 and 200 grams per day. I’ve found that about one-half to one gram of dietary carbs per pound bodyweight per day is the norm in those who are relatively poor fat oxidizers. In a small number of cases it may be necessary to work up to as much as 3 grams of carbs per pound of body weight, depending on the individual and the activity that he or she is involved in.
When you have to increase the level of carbs in your diet it will take a while before you discover what your carb set point is (see Problem-Solving Guide). I’ve found that it takes people about two months on the average to find their ideal dietary carb level. Once you discover your Metabolic Set Point, you can fix your diet at that level for several months while you work on changing your body composition.
Varying your daily calories
Some people find it difficult to stick to a daily calorie limit but may find it easier to work on a weekly calorie limit so that on some days they can take in more calories while on others less. If you’re strict about your weekly calorie intake there’s no reason not to count calories on a weekly rather than a daily level. In fact some bodybuilders find that they make even better progress by keeping the body guessing rather than having it adapt to fixed daily calorie intake.
- Work on weekly calorie intake and vary carbs every other day or every third day or whatever suits you.
- For example, total weekday calories is set at 3,000*5 = 15,000 calories. Can take 2,000 one day, 3,000 next, 5,000 next, 2,000 next and then on the last weekday take in remaining 3,000.
Steps to take in determining your carbohydrate set point – the ideal level of dietary carbs for your body.
By following this short guide you can determine just how much and when to take the carbs your body needs to function optimally.
If you’re feeling fine:
- I’m starting on a 2-Week Assessment Phase of the Strict Metabolic Diet to see how well I do on the 30g Carb Weekday, 150g+ Carb Weekends.
- I’ve been following the 30g Carb Weekday, 150g+ Carb Weekends for 2 weeks now and I’m doing well. What do I do now?
- You’re an efficient fat burner and your system has made the shift successfully. At this point you can start with the weekly 5 day 2 day phase shifts, limiting your carbs during the week and then increasing your carbs over 1 to 2 days of the weekend.
If you’re feeling tired:
I’m feeling tired and I need some help with the carbohydrate part of my diet.
- I only have low to moderate tiredness at this time so I will do another 2-week Assessment Phase to see how well I do?
- Yes carry on with another assessment phase. In most cases this extra 12 days usually results in a success on the diet and a disappearance of the tiredness.
- I’m still tired after the second 2 week assessment phase. What do I do now?
- The next step is to determine when you’re tired and increase your carb intake appropriately.
- I’m tired all the time.
- Increase your daily carb intake by 30 grams per day until the tiredness disappears. Once you’ve reached a level of carbs that works for you try to slowly cut back on the daily carbs until the tiredness returns. Then jack the carbs up slightly until you feel normal.
- I have ‘Mid-Late Week’ tiredness, so what do I need to do?
- Try a ‘Mid-Week Carb Spike’ of an additional 120g+ of carbs just on Wednesday and see how well you do.
- I did the ‘Mid-Week Carb Spike’ and/or increased my daily carbs so I’m not tired normally but now I lack energy during training?.
- You need to take from 30 up to 100g of carbs half an hour after training to combat this lack of energy on training days. This should increase your muscle glycogen levels for subsequent training days and give you all the energy you need to train.
- I tried increasing my carb intake during training but I’m still lacking energy during training, so what can I do?
- Increase your daily carbohydrate intake by 30 grams a day until the tiredness disappears.
Trouble Shooting Guide & Experimenting With Foods
- Increasing carbs:
1. Increase daily carb intake by 30 grams or more at a time.
2. Midweek Carb Spike – a few hours to all day
3. Carbs added after training. Spike in muscle glycogen, intramuscular fatty acids and protein synthesis.
1. Metabolic Diet Ongoing
2. Don’t Count Calories at First
3. Fat Adaptation
4. What To Eat
5. When To Eat Your Carbs