EAT FAT, GET LEAN

Ev­ery month for a year, nutri­tion­ist Drew Price fol­lows a dif­fer­ent nu­tri­tion strat­egy. This is­sue…

Men's Fitness - - Front Page -

THE DIET

The an­abolic diet is a carb-cy­cling diet that’s aimed pri­mar­ily at body­builders and strength and power ath­letes. It in­volves cy­cling be­tween pe­ri­ods of low and high car­bo­hy­drate in­take with the aim of gen­er­at­ing op­ti­mum con­di­tions for build­ing mus­cle and burning body fat.

THE CLAIM

The diet’s cre­ator and au­thor of The An­abolic So­lu­tion, Dr Mauro di Pasquale, says that by cy­cling your in­take of fat, pro­tein and carbs, you’ll boost your body’s lev­els of an­abolic hor­mones such as testos­terone and growth hor­mone, while in­creas­ing its use of stored fat as en­ergy. This means you can use the diet to bulk up by build­ing lean mus­cle or to re­duce body fat while main­tain­ing ex­ist­ing mus­cle mass, depend­ing on how much food you eat.

THE METHOD

The diet be­gins with a low-carb phase that lasts be­tween six and 12 days, dur­ing which your body adapts to us­ing fat as its pri­mary fuel source. This means you keep your limited sup­plies of mus­cle glyco­gen in re­serve for when you re­ally need them – dur­ing train­ing. Af­ter the low-carb phase the diet proper be­gins, and this in­volves ‘cy­cling’ five to six low-carb, high-fat, high­pro­tein days each week with one or two days of eat­ing mostly carbs.

THE RE­AL­ITY

The ini­tial low-carb adap­ta­tion phase – where you’re pur­posely run­ning down your stored carb sup­ply – is very tough phys­i­cally, and my con­cen­tra­tion and en­ergy lev­els re­ally suf­fered. But once my body had switched to us­ing fat as its pri­mary food source, I felt great and full of en­ergy.

My food choices dur­ing the week were fairly meat-heavy, and I was free to eat fatty foods such as cheese and but­ter, so I never felt too re­stricted or hun­gry. I was also pleas­antly sur­prised to dis­cover that Di Pasquale con­doned a de­gree of drink­ing and par­ty­ing dur­ing the ‘high-carb’ week­end days – most booze and junk food is car­bo­hy­drate-heavy, af­ter all – which made it a lot eas­ier to main­tain a de­cent so­cial life and helped me to stay strict and mo­ti­vated dur­ing the week.

THE RE­SULTS

The amount of weight I was lift­ing in train­ing didn’t in­crease spec­tac­u­larly over the month, but it didn’t drop dur­ing the low-carb days ei­ther. How­ever, I did no­tice a dip in car­dio per­for­mance dur­ing the week as my body ran out of glyco­gen.

I saw small but sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in body com­po­si­tion, gain­ing half a kilo­gram of mus­cle and drop­ping a kilo­gram of body fat. My choles­terol pro­file im­proved too – all while eat­ing cheese, ba­con and pancakes!

THE VER­DICT

Veg­e­tar­i­ans and peo­ple who do a lot of car­dio train­ing or team sports will strug­gle on the low-carb days, but if you’re pri­mar­ily fo­cused on weightlift­ing or body­build­ing and you’re happy eat­ing plenty of meat and fish, this diet could pro­duce ex­cel­lent re­sults – pro­vided you can deal with the ini­tial adap­ta­tion phase.

‘I was free to eat fatty foods, so I never felt too hun­gry’

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