Over the years, I have heard about more diet plans than I can count. Eat carbs, don’t eat carbs, low carbs, high fats to fill out, and blah, blah blah. I recently witnessed over a few months ago a couple of bodybuilders that looked really good before their shows and the day of, they just looked smooth and soft, WHY? The carb up was just too much for their body to handle.. I keep getting the same question over and over, he ken, can i just fill out my muscles with carbs right day of the show, maybe start Wednesday and carb up 400-600 Grams of carbs since the body can fill out the muscles glycogen, right? Well lets put this “Theory” into action. In my opinion, I see many top level pro bodybuilders carbs up on crazy amounts of carbs, 500 a day, 600 a day some up to 1800 a day before the show and pull it off. well my friend, unless you have been using insulin for years and maintaining your body fat levels under 10% if not 8%, then I would stay away from the 4-1000 range or more of carbs.
Kevin English can weigh in at 202 for the Olympia and carb up for 2 days with 1800 grams, yes 1800 per day and hit his conditioning on the dot. Not only does he nail his conditioning and do really well and come in absolutely shredded, full and striated, he gains over 20 pounds between weigh ins and the pre judging. If you think your gonna pull this off as an amateur bodybuilder doing your first or first few shows, dude, i’d stop before you blow your past 16 weeks of pre contest training down the toilet.
Remember, someone like Kevin is a life long bodybuilder that has tested this over and over and over and maybe over again until he got this down. It is not a one time shit in the dark protocol for the carb up. Now there are exceptions, there are some guys that can eat junk and more junk prior to a show, (Juan Morel) and get lean. Juan has to eat pop-tarts while dieting because of his crazy physique and can’t keep weight on while dieting. Most of us just can’t do it. Now most people will say that these pros are loaded in so many chemicals, so that is why they can eat so much food and get so lean. There are no real proven steroids that have shown to burn off body fat. Some people make the claims that this compound will burn fat, and this other one will not. There are some competitors that can diet on the bulking drugs and do just fine while others just can’t. This has been a real debate for years. I am not taking any sides here, just clearing the air, and you can do what you want, but beware, your not going to be ripped by carbing up in a few days especially if your super lean.
I’ll never forget in the early 90’s there was a guy in my Golds Gym in Pittsburgh, PA and this guy was getting ready for the Mr Pittsburgh and he was big, hard, lean and very balanced, we thought he was going to blow everyone away no matter who showed up. He was all of 235 lbs great legs, calves, forearms, chest, I mean this guy had it all and he trained with a vengeance. I won’t say who he was, but he was back stage carbing up before the show eating a few potatoes, sipping water then he started on Palomar Jelly. He started getting leaner as he kept posing, dryer, it was an amazing transformation right before our eyes. Then he asked his wife to go buy some more jelly, it was working.. so she ran to the store, got more jelly, 2 jars, and he started slopping it down.
He just got harder, and harder. So as he got on stage we just amazed at what just happened. The judges called out his class and as he walked on stage we could not find him, I mean seriously. There was a guy that looked like him, the blonde hair, but no Eric. Oh wait, that is him the stay puffed marshmallow guy that his him. He looked like someone stuffed pancakes under his skin. His wife started to cry and we just looked at each other and could not believe it. How did he go from dry to puffy all in about 30 minutes or so. It’s called spillage. That was it, he went from 1st to worst in a blink of an eye. That entire year of training right down the toilet.
Yes your body holds more water with more carbs, but you do have limits. Some hold more and some hold less. So when your getting ready for a show, make sure you limit your carb load. I would never let an athlete carb load in massive doses unless they were extremely depleted and dieting really hard for a long time, and, they have been working with me for more than one show. Furthermore, they would need to show a history of eating carbs in the off season and NOT gaining body fat, then we can carb load in extreme. Otherwise, you need to yield to side of lower carbs until you get it right.
Most competitors find that a slightly higher increase in carbs a few days out from a show is fine. Maybe 20% increase in carbs is good enough. Good lunk to all in your next show and remember, its best to look flat and lean than full. Looking full normally means, your just fat..