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Carb Depletion and Loading by Chris Aceto

Heavy Loading By Chris Aceto "An Illustration to Carbs Depletion Process"

The process creates a temporary illusion. It's a "quick fix" that allows a bodybuilder to appear a lot harder by virtue of fuller-looking muscles combined with less water retention.

Whether you're a bodybuilder who wants a quick fix to sharpen your physique for a contest or just for a trip to the beach, these are the steps to deplete and then supercharge your body with carb loading. You may be shocked by how much better and bigger you'll look in just one week.

Step No.1
Increase sodium intake

- In the week prior to starting your carb-cutting program, boost your intake of sodium - plain table salt. The simplest way to do this is to sprinkle salt on all of your meals. Elevating sodium increases water retention in the body and decrease the water - retention hormone aldosterone. Remain with the higher than usual sodium intake until one day before carbing up during the program (In step 7). When you suddenly reduce your sodium intake at that time, and while aldosterone levels readjust, your body will excrete even more water - most of it directly from beneath the skin. This will lead to greater definition.

Step No. 2
Preprogram: Increase water intake:
When you increase sodium. It's important to take in roughly 50% more water than usual. That is, every time you would normally have a cup of water, make it a cup and a half, so that by the end of the day, you've boosted your fluid intake by 50%. Greater water intake sets up the body for greater definition at the end of the process. Maintain this intake until you reach step 10.

Step No. 3
Day 1-2: drop carbs 50%
Here's when the carb cutting program really begins. Drop your carb consumption by 50%. This first drop will help prevent the shock of taking your carb count too low too quickly. If you were previously eating approximately 1500 calories from carbs per day ( about normal for a 200 pounds bodybuilder who consumes 3000 calories a day for bodyweight maintenance), then cut your total carb intake to 200 grams per day, focusing mostly on complex carbs, early in the day. Still, for these two days, maintain your pre- and post-workout nutrition simple carbs at approximately 50 grams, divided between those two meals.

Step No. 4
Days 1-5; mildly increase protein

Some people go wrong at this step. When carbs drop, you must increase protein consumption to prevent muscle breakdown. However, if you increase your protein intake too much, a lot of that extra protein is burned as fuel, sparing the body from emptying its glycogen stores. Therefore, to experience the muscle-saving effect of extra protein without inhibiting the depletion of glycogen stores, elevate your protein intake only by about 50 grams daily on each lower carb day. A 200 pound bodybuilder who normally eats a gram of protein per pounds of bodyweight should consume about 250 grams of protein during this phase.

Step No. 5
Days 1-5: train with high reps

When depleting carbs for five days, you should train with higher reps 12 to 20 per set and performs 50% more steps than normal. For example, if you perform 10 sets for biceps go to 15 sets (50% more volume work) and aim for 12 - 20 reps per set. Of course you have to decrease the weight in order to hit that volume. However, the goal here is to lower carb reserves, and volume work is tremendously effective in doing so. It all goes back to super-compensation. The more carbs you can deplete, the greater amount you can store during the carb up process, leading to bigger and tighter- looking muscles.

Step No. 6
Days 3-5: further deplete carbs

On these days, drop your carbohydrate intake to 100-150 per day, emphasizing complex carbs sources, such as yams, oatmeal and brown rice. Take three in early in the day and target about .7 g of carbs per pound of bodyweight (a 200 pound bodybuilder should take in about 140 grams of carbs daily). When carbs drop, reserves of glycogen begin to decline. As glycogen decreases, the body begins to pump up its production of glycogen storing enzymes. When you later pack in greater quantities of carbs, those carb storing enzymes will help pack away these additional carbs as new glycogen, yielding fuller looking muscles.

Step No.7 Days 5-7: reduce Sodium
The day before adding carbs back, drop the additional salt you've been putting on your food. When sodium levels decline, you'll experience changes in aldosterone that favor water excretion and a tighter look. You needn't zero out your sodium intake. Cutting all the extra sodium should be enough of drop.

Step No.8
Days 6-7: carb up

Now the fun begins, after five days of depleting carbs, along with performing volume work, your muscle will be tremendously low in fuel, screaming to be replenished. When you switch to a high carb intake, much of what you consume will be directly stored in your muscles. I suggest eating 3 grams of carbs per pounds of bodyweight daily, minimum, and up to 5 grams per pounds for those with a faster metabolism or those who weigh more than 220 pounds. Avoid using fruits and sucrose (table sugar) or high fructose corn syrup. Starchy complex carb sources are ideal, and good choices include potatoes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, white rice and brown rice.

Step No. 9
Days 6-7: Reduce protein consumption

When you're carbing up, you can drop the added protein of step 4. This follows the simple edict that carbs and protein work like a sea-saw. When carbs drop, you have to eat more protein; when carbs dramatically increase, you don't need the added protein. Take in just a gram of protein per pounds of bodyweight on each of these days.

Step No. 10
Days: 6-7: Reduce water intake

In step 2, you increased water intake. Now, reduce it to 50% what you would normally have on any given day prior to step 2. If, for example, you would usually drink a gallon of water, reduce that to half a gallon. Since carbohydrates require water to make new muscle glycogen, many people assume that they have to drink like a thirsty camel to make glycogen. Not so, because in the face of restricted water and increased carbs, muscles make up for the water shortfall by dragging some from under the skin into the muscles. The results is less subcutaneous water retention and harder looking physique.

Step No. 11:
Days 6-7: take it easy and don't train

As a rule of thumb, when carbing up, it's best not to train, as that siphons off some of the incoming carbohydrates, preventing an optimal carb - up and fuller muscles. This might be why many bodybuilders appear fuller a few days after a competition. The days off allow for optimal compensation of carbohydrates. In fact, avoid energy expenditure as much as possible to allow your muscles to fill up.

Step No. 12
Day 7: pump up and take pictures

Pump up your muscles a bit right before you step onstage, do a photo shoot or strip off your shirt to impress people. Use light weights (or isometric movements) and go through a full range of motion, feeling the stretch, contraction and pump. Keep reps low - you don't want to burn up carbs.
On this day, you maybe in the best condition of your life. Have some one take pictures of you to capture the moment and to use as a record of comparison for the next time you carb deplete and carb load. Photographically documenting your condition and muscle mass is a great way to determine that you are continuing to progress as a bodybuilder.

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