Muscle Loss-- considering Metabolic Diet

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Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 39

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 07:19
Good Morning Ladies and Gents!

I have been on Atkins since the end of January 2012. I started working out seriously about a month ago and noticed some things that are disturbing me:

1) I've lost weight, but have not gained any muscle mass despite very intense weight training.
2) My energy level during workouts declines quicker than ever.
3) I'm not getting any new or exciting "cuts" to encourage me to continue weight training.

Now, I know that alot of people probably don't see the big deal, but I enjoy having a good amount of muscle. I was at one point in life down to about 15% body fat and really enjoyed my reflection in the mirror. Now at 30%, there is quite a difference, and certainly none of the enjoyment.

I've done some research on the web and found that my diet, Atkins, may actually be conter-productive to building muscle. It is for this reason that I've been considering the Metabolic Diet. It appears to be low-carb during the weekdays, then high carb on the weekends (approx 24-48 hours of "carb-loading"Wink.

I was wondering if anyone has tried this with success? How does the carb-loading effect fat loss? Any input would be GREATLY appreciated. Have an awesome day!

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 25

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 07:49
Hi. Smile
I lost 14 lbs on Atkins 2 1/2 years ago and then followed a low-carb eating plan after and I have never felt so exhausted - not good because I am an exercise instructor. Additionally I had TERRIBLE cravings for naughty stuff and people said I looked scraggy. Eventually I put all the weight back (plus another 7lbs and nothing I did would stop the poundage piling on). I'm not knocking Atkins because it initially did the trick, but I do have some reservations now about it as an ongoing plan.
I shall have a look at the Metabolic Diet, but on the strength of the info you have supplied it sounds a bit bonkerz (IMHO). Smile
That said, we are all different so I wish you health and good luck with whatever you do Smile
ps. I am currently following a plan that gives me just enough starchy carbs daily to counteract tiredness (and that indelicate problem that plagues Atkins followers) and the weight is falling off nicely, and the cravings have gone (hurrah).
Marlboro Man

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 418

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 07:54
first off carbs dont effect weight loss or gain - they're just non-essential which is why they are first to be reduced in a diet.
body weight is a factor of caloric balance so yes Atkins is quite stupid and you should quite.
you cant gain muscle without eating in a surplus - the Law of Conservation of Energy makes that pretty clear.
Carbs are the bodies preferred fuel so yes not having carbs will affect energy levels.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
"It's not a diet, it's not exercise, it's a lifestyle."

Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 39

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 08:06
Maria, thank you for sharing your personal experience. It confirms some of my thoughts about a long-term carb-restricted lifestyle. It may not be exactly the right fit for me given my goals.

Marlboro Man, I'm not sure about the accuracy of what you are saying, but I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

I'm worried about making an abrupt switch from Atkins to something less restrictive as I believe the bloating and weight gain may mess with my psyche in a baaaad way. Any advice?

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 74

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 08:17
hi there. something that i follow as closely as posibble is the biogenitic diet. all it means is that you can eat what you want, but try not to eat protein and carbs at the same time, so your typical meat, potatoe & 2 veg is out the window. I am sure you can google the rest.I just stuck a sheet on my cupboard til it became 2nd nature of what is in which food group. the neutral foods combine well with either protein or carbs. it is then easier for the body to digest whatever you give it, and it will give you the energy you need Smile best point. NO CRAVINGS! hope this helps.
Marlboro Man

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 418

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 08:22
Chyldblue wrote:

Marlboro Man, I'm not sure about the accuracy of what you are saying, but I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

hahahahahahahaha continue following some diet plan based on the founder making money, not the simple fact the calories in v calories out regulates body weight. i suppose ignorance is bliss
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
"It's not a diet, it's not exercise, it's a lifestyle."

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 83

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 08:31
I too have had poor results with the no/low carb diet. I read "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes (ties eating refined carbohydrates to insulin resistance and weight gain), and cut carbs out of my diet for a period of about two weeks. My mom did the diet at the same time.

I was already fairly active - running probably 10-15 miles per week. As soon as I started the diet I found I had no energy at all and only convinced myself to run once during that two week period. Once I started adding some carbs back into my diet, I had the energy to go running again.

My mom, on the other hand, is not a very active person, so her activity levels did not change very much during that period. In fact, she felt like she had more energy than before. She kept going past that two week period (it's been about 6 months now) and she has lost 20 pounds without changing her level of activity.

So I think you are correct - for an active person, the low carb diet is not conducive to exercise or fat loss. I think it works best for people who are developing insulin resistance and are not very active to begin with - my mom has dropped almost two pants sizes just by making this change.

Start: 170 on January 1
Goal 1: 160 by April 1
Goal 2: 145 by June 1
Goal 3: 130 by August 1

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 08:32
If you have a very high body fat %, and you're an untrained beginner, you can - with proper nutrition and the right training program - add muscle while losing body fat. Otherwise, weight training while you're in a calorie deficit will help preserve your existing muscle. But you won't grow new muscle.

If you want to grow new muscle, you need a modest calorie surplus, resistance training that incorporates progressive overload, and sufficient daily protein.

Dietary CHO has at least an indirect effect on muscle growth. You can add new muscle on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, but many (a large majority, probably) people find that CHO in their diet improves performance in the weight room, and therefore results. Some don't. It's more about personal preference.

...all of which is to say, try it and see for yourself, if you're curious. Anyone claiming that carb cycling categorically will or will not provide you with the results you're looking for, is barking up the wrong tree.

Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 39

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 09:09
Thanks for the input guys and gals! You've helped me tremendously. Have an awesome day.

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 202

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 09:50
It's obvious most everyone who's posted on here so far is pretty ignorant about how Atkins works (and by his definition Marlboro man must be a very blissful person). One general truth about the body is that it's not very good at storing protien reserves for later use. It either uses it to build muscle or it converts it to glucose to be used as fuel or converted to glycogen for muscle energy and then it simply excretes the rest not used up. We don't have any protien cells that work like fat cells, and protien cannot turn into fat.

And, Marlboro man, after following years of no/lowfat dieting I can confirm without a doubt that carbs alone, meaning without being attached to fat or protien, can and do convert into stored fat. That's the whole point, carbohydrates are metabolized into fat, our body's most usable form of fuel, and whatever fat is not burned is stored for later use in fat cells.

On Atkins without the carbs the body converts some protien into glucose. If a person on Atkins is losing weight while truly limiting carbs, as you Chyldblue seem to indicate, then the protien you were consuming was being used up as fuel for your brain (which uses almost exclusively glucose for fuel) and glycogen in your muscles, apparently so much so that you were not able to build muscle mass. You were still burning stored fat also or you would not have been losing weight. So Atkins was successful in helping you lose fat stores--just as the program promises.

In the absence of carbs the body goes into ketosis, using primarily stored fat as fuel, but the protien eaten, the part not used by the body to maintain muscle mass, will be converted to glucose for the brain and as stored glycogen for quick energy bursts or needs. These glycogen stores are quickly used up in people that are very active or that workout often (which explains the loss of energy while working out) and it takes the body time to recover these glycogen stores, requiring more protien be consumed or if necessary the body will begin to use muscle mass to replace the glycogen if no carbs, or not enough carbs, and eaten protien are available. (I could be wrong about this, but I don't think the body makes glycogen from stored or consumed fat.)

The answer is not in trashing, berating or scrapping the diet, but to find the balance that works for each person. A very active person can and should eat more carbs than Atkins induction level and they should still benefit greatly from a carb controlled way of eating.

Chyldblue, even for a body builder, the key is keeping watch on your protien needs, your protien consumption and your carb needs and consumption. Be aware that in carb deficit (as Atkins intentionally achieves) the body will convert consumed protien into the glucose it requires for survival while sparing existing muscle mass (this is an awesome benefit for those truly fighting obesity as most lowfat diets don't preserve existing muscle mass) but building muscle mass will be difficult unless you also consume adequate protien and enough carbs also to provide easily converted glucose into ready glycogen needs.

You should study how the body stores glycogen and make sure you are getting adequate carbs to keep those stores filled and available as needed.

I know this doesn't help answer your original question. Bodybuilding is a very interesting science and requires flexibility in eating to be able to adjust your diet as needed to balance building muscle mass, controlling stored fats, and eating enough carbs to keep energy levels up.

I don't have the information for that and can't help you there, but I do know, in defense of Atkins WOE, there are a lot of people who did not take the time to truly understand the diet, attempted some form of low carb eating that failed to meet their expectations, and now spend a lot of time ignorantly and unfairly trashing the program.

Best wishes for success with whatever program you choose!
<>< D'Lynne
"Your words were found, and I ate them," Jeremiah 15:16

Joined: Mar 12
Posts: 119

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 10:27
Excellent post reply. Very informative, thanks.
If you have the right mindset then nothing can stop you from reaching your goals! Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!

Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 39

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 11:36! That was a wondefully, intelligent response. You reiterated many of things I've been learning online about the science behind the Atkins WOE. I hope you do not think that I'm at all trying to bash Atkins, because certainly, it is a verifiable, sustainable way to manage weight. I am just looking for a WOE that would work for what I'm trying to achieve. On this topic, you offered great suggestions that will spur additional research on my end. Thank you so much for your response.

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 202

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 11:57
No, I wasn't referring to you. And saying someone is ignorant isn't meant as an insult, but to identify a lack of knowledge. Sadly, much "science" today, especially online and in many diet books, is based on a lot of assumptive results and not facts or genuine research either, leading to a WHOLE lot of confusion.

While body building it's very important to consume enough protien. If specifically building muscle is your goal you'll likely not be looking to achieve ketosis. You'll need just the right amount of carbs for energy (which could be a considerable amount if you're spending a lot of hours in the gym), enough protien to prevent the body from stealing any already built muscle, and enough fat to keep from being hungry. So you're certainly looking to control your carbs, but I don't know if a ketogenic diet is the best for body building. Good luck!
<>< D'Lynne
"Your words were found, and I ate them," Jeremiah 15:16

Joined: Mar 12
Posts: 8

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 12:02
Agree everyone is different, I'm not a nutrionist but I've done lot's of reading and talked to many people about it. I'm close to losing 60 pounds this year from a simple equation I read a lot about.


I walk 3 miles 6 days a week. I do lots of cardio and weight lifting. No doubt I've lost close to 60 pounds and have gained 5-10 pounds of muscle to my body. I can see it and feel it. Every pound of muscle gained burns 50 extra calories a day so gaining 10 pounds of muscle over a 6 month period my body burns 500 extra calories a day. At least this what I've read and been told and the weight is falling off me.

I always try to intake at least 130g of protein daily. Chicken, turkey, fish, etc. I don't count carbs but I did swith to helathy carbs..whole grains, wheat, nuts, etc.

I have TONS of energy during workouts and throughout the day, my body is getting so much stronger and changing shape!

Joined: Aug 11
Posts: 203

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 12:05
I hate to jump in, but me and my co-worker just had this same conversation yesterday. He says, calling someone ignorant is better than saying their stupid. Ignorant means doesn't know better (knowledge). Stupid means the opposite. someone knows the difference, but doesn't use the knowledge (does the opposite).

Hope I am making sense!


My Goals to a NEW ME! ...starting weight 365
355 lbs - skipped it & went straight to 352.2 lbs. (SMILE) 8/16/2011
345 lbs - skipped this goal also & weighed in at 344.6 TODAY! 9/20/2011
334 lbs - to lose 10 lbs. more by October 15th (334.6 lb) accomplished this goal 10-4-2011 at 331.4
328 lbs - Goal accomplished 10-15-2011
319.4 lbs - Goal accomplished 10-18-2011
299.8 lbs - Goal accomplished 12-20-2011


300 lbs -


smooches! Yolanda (BeautifulYno)

I started my weight loss journey on August 15, 2011.. ACTUAL START WEIGHT 427

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Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 12:10
Everyone has their own opinions about atkins and diets in general. I think the best advice is to find what works for you in the long run. If you can't stay low carb forever because of negative effects, then try something different. I would suggest carb cycling which will give you some balance, energy and will allow you to not feel deprived. I would also suggest intermittent fasting which is easy to do long term. My main point is if something isn't working and it is unenjoyable, then try different approaches to your plan. The end result should be learning to live a healthy lifestyle that becomes natural and is good for your body. My personal opinion is that the body needs carbs, protein, and fats. These are all necessary and we should be having them all in moderation and from sources that also give us nutrients.

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 202

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 12:17
@kanan, no one on Atkins will argue that the body needs carbs, protien and fats. You are absolutely right about that. It's the ratio that allows weight loss that makes Atkins more appropriate than other diets for some of us.
<>< D'Lynne
"Your words were found, and I ate them," Jeremiah 15:16

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 345

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 12:18
I recommend looking into the new (2012) book by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, "The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance." Volek & Phinney are long-time researchers on low carb "diets" and also co-authored "The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Living" and "The New Atkins for a New You" (with Westerman), among other books.

The subtitle of the 2012 book is "A Revolutionary Program to Extend Your Physical and Mental Performance Envelope."

IMO....if anyone knows what low carb does and does not do, it's these guys. I'd go with actual, referenced research any day over what sometimes purports to be research on the Net. Smile

Good luck.

Joined: May 10
Posts: 1,400

Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 13:19
OP, this metabolic diet you're considering sounds similar to a carb cycling program I followed for close to a year. I ate low-carb/high protein 6 days a week then high-carb/mod protein/low fat for one day. I was also lifting weights pretty aggressively & doing some running, & I didn't have any issues with my energy levels that really stand out to me. In my case I never dropped my carbs below 60g though, so it wasn't Induction-level low-carbing.

It is possible to do endurance sports while following a low-carb plan; if you're that married to it, read up on Paleo athletes. They'll fat load before a race instead of carb load. I can't explain the metabolic reasons for doing this, but if you want to know I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding that info.

Personally, I liked eating low-carb & I gained a ton of strength over that year. I couldn't tell you specifically if I gained muscle or how much, but I definitely got stronger so I must have gained some. It did get a little old just because I was tired of planning my meals to such specific macro targets so I switched to the Spike Diet. Similar, but I only had to focus on total caloric intake & sufficient protein. Since I am currently running 5-6 days a week, I prefer to eat higher carb because you can't beat it for energy.

I did not transition out of low carb by gradually stepping up my carbs as the Atkins book recommends when you switch to maintenance so I was prepared to see a temporary gain on the scale. Surprisingly, that didn't happen, which I suspect was a result of my body being conditioned to cyclical dieting, but I don't know for sure.

At any rate, if you do decide to carb-up one day a week - & if you want to lose more weight, you should limit it to 24-36 hours, stretching it to 48 might be too much - you will absolutely see a gain on the scale the following morning. It was not unusual for me to gain 4-5 lbs in that one day. But inevitably, over the next 6 days of low-carb eating I'd lose 4.5-5.5 or more. If the gain will freak you out, then don't weigh daily. Weigh weekly on the morning of your carb-up before you start eating because that will typically be your lowest weight.
Kat | NO EXCUSES, JUST RESULTS | Next milestone - 256: 60 lbs lost
2013: still up from 1/1, but coming back down...
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Posted: 25 Apr 2012, 13:37
I actually put on muscle quite easily on Atkins. A few years ago (pre-baby) I lost 17% body fat (and 2 dress sizes) but only 5% of my weight in 3 months doing strict Atkins and exercising regularly (cardio 5x/wk and weights 3x/wk). I actually have high metabolic resistance. I didn't have any problems with energy level, but I found I did have to eat many small meals in order to keep my energy level up. Hunger was no longer the signal of needing to eat due to ketosis.

If I ate about 200 calories of protein and fat about 30-60 minutes before my 1-2 hour long workout sessions, I was fine. Once you get to maintenance and you don't have fat on your body to burn any more, of course you have to fuel your body with some pre-workout carbs, but while you have fat to burn, if you are in ketosis you should be easily burning the fat on your body. If you only eat enough carbs that you burn in your workout then theoretically you could stay in ketosis, or at least return to it quickly.

To the person who tried Atkins for 2 weeks and said they had no energy, it was probably because you were still detoxing from carbs. It also took me a while to get to a stable eating regimen on Atkins because it took me a while to realize that I needed to eat more often when I no longer felt hunger. Doing a diet for 2 weeks does not provide an accurate example.

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