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Old 03-01-2007, 01:15 PM   #1
Jed Johnson
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I am trying to build & maintain muscle and am eating the Paleo way, lots of fatty meats, fish, eggs, minimal fruits & vegs. I am eating very low carb as well, and keep hearing how "near impossible" it is to gain muscle eating low carb.
Is this possible? I have tried studying about the huge "glycogen" thing, but its pretty difficult for me to understand, so basically my question is can i gain lots of muscle eating low carb or do i need a certain amount of carbs to build muscle?
Also, is there something about eating low carb and your muscles eating themselves if not getting enough calories can someone explain that? Thank you
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:24 PM   #2
Daniel Miller
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Jed,

As per Paleo, yeah you could build muscle but I think it would be very hard if not impossible to do so without carbs.

The short answers to your questions, would probably be debatable but ultimately;

Is it possible do build on a lowcarb diet: No. Mostly because glucagon (something you would have a lot of in your blood if you're eating low carb) works together with epinephrine (not the best chemistry for anabolic (cell building)).

In terms of what glycogen is and what it does; it is one of the fuels that skeletal muscle can both store and use to make ATP (energy yielding compound). In order for your muscles to do Work(moving a force over a distance) in the capacity that grows or puffs up your muscles, you need a ready store of glycogen. This doesn't mean that you carbo load or fuel your muscles via carbohydrate in the blood instead that you rely on the glycogen stored in your muscle and your liver. Glycogen is most readily stored after you exercise, which is the reason why even on some very low carbohydrate diets, one would take a post-workout, insulin spiking shake with easily digestable carbohydrate.

The last question is one of energy balacne and the incredible thing our bodies can do to maintain themselves. In order to produce glucose for your brain (the only fuel it will use) your body can break down amino acids or fatty acids. If you don't have enough fuel on board and with particularly stressful hormones on board, muscle is broken down to produce fuel for the rest of the body. So, if you are not getting enough energy (calories) your body will break itself down and one of the areas of this demolition project are your skeletal muscles.

This stuff is all quite confusing. I'd suggest using a food log and just going for ample calories if you're trying to bulk up. For me, I need 4000 per day to add 1 lb of muscle per week. In the end, eating carbs in the post-workout window is a great way to help with recovery, build, maintain your performance, and help add to the small mountain of food that is 4000 calories a day.

cheers.
-dan
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:50 PM   #3
Mike ODonnell
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I agree with Daniel...PWO timing for carbs is critical and essential in my humble opinion
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:07 PM   #4
Skylar Cook
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I third it. Sounds like you're combining Paleo and Atkins- I would advise against combining two relatively "extreme" diets.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:49 PM   #5
Garrett Smith
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Minimal veggies, for the sake of low-carb, is a one-way ticket to poor health. The relatively small amount of carbs from non-starchy vegetables and the alkalinity they bring to your body will only help you in your quest.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:37 PM   #6
Nick Cummings
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All of the above.
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Old 03-04-2007, 10:20 PM   #7
Greg Battaglia
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I disagree. The most muscle I've ever gained in a short period of time was on a ketogenic diet. The key is getting enough calories, avoiding "cardio" and doing very heavy compound exercises. Powerlifts and O-lifts are ideal. Sprinting is ok too. Just make sure you keep your fat intake up, and like Dr.G said, eat tons of low starch veggies and then some more. Daniel, you're forgetting about increased GH release on low carb/ketogenic diets, which has a powerful effect on muscle anabolism.
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