Why High-Fat Low-Carb Diets Suck for Athletes

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a01b97a7d8fe0c32547710359bd1ea94My thinking on the whole high-fat, low-carb dogma has been evolving very steadily over the last 2 years.

Listening to Jason Ferruggia’s brand-new podcast „Renegade Radio„, there is something Jay said that resonated with me:


„A lot of Paleo, Crossfit, low-carb people are very misguided. They don’t understand that there is not that much that has changed about sports nutrition probably since the 1980s. We went through the high-carb, low-fat phase and then there was a complete 180 degree turn where eveybody is all about high-fat, low-carb.

But that’s good if you are a couch potato. If you are doing a lot of anaerobic training, if you’re lifting and sprinting, all those high fat meals are not that great – they’re not good for performance, they’re not good for physique transformation, you will look worse.

Cutting carbs is actually a horrible idea for a lot of people. And people who are doing Crossfit – that’s anaerobic training. You are not having carbs to fuel and you are going to look like shit. Nate Miyaki discussed this with us last time where he touched upon this.“


I very much share Jay’s opinion. I used to be on the high-fat, low-carb bandwaggon in 2012 myself. In hindsight, it didn’t do me much harm because I wasn’t looking to lose weight but rather adding mass to my frame. In that regard, all the calories from the crazy amounts of fats I gorged on were actually helpful. See my transformation HERE.

However, I now know better and my body actually likes and handles carbs very well. Carbs make your muscles look fuller and more round because glycogen stores are topped off. I have yet to hear about any serious bodybuilder who swears by a high-fat, low-carb diet to get into contest shape. As Jay points out, with „all those high-fat meals (…), you will look worse!“

When I did my „Lean & Jacked Program„, do you think that I went low-carb for the 6 week diet duration? Hell no! I didn’t want to my muscles to look deflated and feel like shit. I actually used carbs to get into the best shape I have ever been in my life..

If you work out hard and move a lot, don’t fall into the fucking low-carb trap. Your workouts will suffer if you adhere to the low-carb dogma and your life will be miserable  because you won’t be able to enjoy all the delicious carb meals in existence. Bear in mind though, that the reason that high-carb diets work great for physique transformations is that fat intake is kept relatively low. So, don’t do High-Carb+High-Fat. You wil probably end up gaining fat because you will likely consume too many total calories on this diet combo.

Enough said – I am off to inject some post-workout glycogen into my muscles with 300g of steaming hot Basmati rice (+coconut curry chicken topping).

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  • MC

    You should look into carb backloading by DH Kiefer. Though you might already know of it. You can basically eat all the carbs you want, based on the timing of the day/after a workout, but leading up is low carb.

    • MC

      Never mind, just looked through your site some more, you’ve got more knowledge than me. Cool blog.

      • http://www.biohacks.net/ Stephan R

        Appreciate it man. Thanks. Kiefer’s CB has worked very well for me. It’s decent to lean out. But it’s nothing totally revolutionary – just intelligent timing of macros. I have found however, in the end timing is less important than actual calories and macros consumed.