WARNING: Be Aware of Bad Advice

The Joslin’s Canadian Open grappling tourney is coming up this weekend, and I’m getting ready for it along with a bunch of others.

I was talking with a buddy of mine at the dojo yesterday and he was asking me about carb loading. Carb loading is a method of altering your carbohydrate intake to maximize how much glycogen (stored form of carbohydrate in the muscle for energy) your body can store in the muscle for a specific competition date.

In effect, you can trick your muscles into storing more glycogen through proper application of the principles carb loading. Having more glycogen in the muscles is highly beneficial to a competition like a BJJ tournament because the anaerobic lactic energy system is heavily relied upon, especially if you’re winning and fighting 4, 5, or 6 matches in one day.

He mentioned to me that a personal trainer at the gym he goes to told him that to carb load, you don’t eat any carbs the 2 days prior to an event, while loading up on carbs the 3 or 4 days previous to your 2 non-carb days.

I just shook my head and basically said to follow the exact opposite of what the trainer said to carb load properly.

Without even going into the science of the topic, just think about it logically.

If you follow Joe Dumbass’ carb loading scheme, you take in excessive carbs for 2-3 days. The body, wanting to keep at a certain normal level, then increases the rate at which you burn the carbs, normalizing the level in your body. You’ll also put on a little fat doing this, because once the muscles are full, the carbs have to go somewhere, which is towards energy use and fat storage.

Now, because your body is used to processing carbs faster, if you suddenly go low carb for the 2 days right before your competition, your glycogen levels will go below their normal, due to the upregulation in carb utilization. This is exactly what you DON’T WANT. Makes logical sense, right?

Instead, what you want to do is go low carb for 2-3 days, on top of exercise, thus depleting your muscles stores of glycogen. Then, the 2 days prior to your competition, load up on the carbs, while keeping exercise intensity low to moderate.

Because your muscles are depleted, they’ll be starving for carbs, and when you eat them, they’ll soak them up, and more. So for competition day, your muscles (and liver) will have more glycogen than normal.

So anyway, before following anyone’s advice, even if it comes from a supposed expert, the first thing to do is to think logically about it. If something doesn’t seem to make sense, then ask someone you trust or do your own research before coming to a decision on what to do.

I just hope Joe Dumbass is grappling this weekend so he can gas out in after 3 or 4 minutes and someone can choke him out and put him out of his misery.

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Santiago Sanchez
Santiago Sanchez
7 years ago

So whats your opinion on carb cycling and would long term carb cycling or carb loading have any after effects

7 years ago

Carb cycling in general is a good idea… Cycling MOST things in life is a good idea, probably, other than water intake…

8 years ago

Speaking of bad advice… I’ve heard trainers saying: If you don’t puke when you train you haven’t trained hard enough.

Personally, I think this is counter productive to any MMA athlete. Shouldn’t we train our athletes to a point where yes, they are fatigued but able to walk out of the gym without throwing up and dizzy… and through periodization eventually they could go further and harder in their training without EVER having to throw up?

What’s your thoughts on this subject as I’ve found two sides: yes its good – no its bad.

8 years ago
Reply to  Glenn

I’ve written a bunch of articles about that on my site… one is here: