What if you could have your cake and eat it too?
What if you could build muscle without adding fat while still enjoying your carbs?
STOP! This article has been completely updated. The NEW GLAD diet article is here.
This is the power of the Glycemic Index and the Glycemic Load. The following bodybuilding diet program will be suited to those who find it too difficult a task to drop carbs to around 30 grams a day for 5 days (as in a cyclical carbohydrate diet). For carb lovers, this is as good as it gets!
For ease of reference, this is called the GLAD diet i.e. The ‘Glycemic Load Anabolic Diet‘.
What Is The Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates based on how much they contribute to a person’s blood sugar level. The higher the GI, the more rapid the spike in blood sugar levels. GI is ranked from 0-100 (0 having no impact on blood sugar, 100 having the most).
What Is The Glycemic load?
The GI doesn’t tell the whole picture though. If a food is high in carb content, it will still produce a high blood sugar level, even if it has a low GI rating. This is where the Glycemic Load comes in. The GL takes into account the amount and GI rating of carbohydrates to give a fuller picture of the effects on blood sugar levels. A GL rating of 10 or below is considered low.
How Does This Relate To Bodybuilding?
If you want to build muscle without getting fat you need to accomplish two things simultaneously:
- Eating enough to fuel muscle growth
- Keeping blood sugar levels stable in order to keep insulin levels low and steady (apart from the post-workout period – more on this later)
We can accomplish this by eating enough daily calories but ensuring that our carbs are of the Low Glycemic Load variety.
How Does This Work?
As I stated in ‘What If You Can’t Get Fat On A High-Fat Diet?‘ and the ‘MuscleHack Anabolic Nutritional Strategy‘, I believe fat accumulation is regulated by the hormone insulin. The higher your Glycemic Load total for any given day, the more insulin will be secreted in response to those carbs. It works like this:
* Insulin is secreted in response to carbohydrates in the diet
* More specifically, more insulin is secreted quicker to Higher-Glycemic Carbohydrates
* Insulin transports glucose to the fat cells to be burned as fuel
* Alpha-glycerol phosphate is produced from glucose when it’s burnt for fuel
* Glycerol (from the alpha-glycerol phosphate) binds fatty acids and stores them in the fat cells as triglycerides i.e. you get fatter
* Also, glucose that is not used up through energy expenditure will be converted by the liver and stored as triglycerides in the fat tissue (again, you get fatter).
Therefore, if we can eat carbohydrates that break down slowly and give a more gradual, less pronounced rise in insulin, we can maximize increases in muscle while minimizing fat gains.
So now we can see why a Low Glycemic Load approach to a bodybuilding diet is desirable.
How Do I Know If I’m Eating Enough?
Unlike MANS, you are consuming more carbs on this diet and you’ll need to watch your calories. What you want to do is to eat around 200-300 calories a day over your maintenance calories i.e. 300 more calories than what it would take to simply maintain your current weight. The more ectomorphic your body-type, the more calories you’ll need.
(Go here to find out how many calories per day you need to gain muscle on this diet).
The 40/30/30 Ratio of Carbs/Protein/Fat
For this diet we’ll be using a macronutrient ratio of 40/30/30. That’s
- 40% of your daily calories from Carbohydrate
- 30% of your daily calories from Protein
- 30% of your daily calories from Fat
So let’s take our subject who needs 3000 calories per day to bulk. That means he/she would be eating:
- 1200 Calories from Carbohydrate
- 900 Calories from Protein
- 900 Calories from Fat
Which equates to:
- 300 grams of Carbohydrate
- 225 grams of Protein
- 100 grams of Fat
Do I Have to Count ‘GL points?’
No. Most GL dieters are regular, sedentary folk. They count their GL points for the day as a means of controlling blood sugar. As you’ll be counting total calories from carbohydrate, this takes care of itself. All you need to concern yourself with is consuming foods that are considered low GL.
What Kind of Foods are Low in Glycemic Load?
(Note – all protein and fat based foods are low GL e.g. ALL meats, eggs & cheeses. Only carbohydrate-based foods have GL ratings).
- Soy Beans
- Burgen Bread
- Buckwheat Bread
- Wholewheat Tortillas
- Rolled Oats
- Kidney Beans
Obviously I can’t list them all. However, there is a fantastic resource where you can check the GI and GL rating of all your favorite foods here (click on ‘GI Database’ to the left). I recommend you bookmark this link for future reference.
A Sample Day on the GLAD Diet Program
* Rolled Oats & Protein Shake. Supplementation – Fish oil, Magnesium, Multi-vitamin
* Wholewheat Tortilla with chicken, onion and hummus. Protein Shake
* Big tuna and onion sandwich in burgen or buckwheat bread
* Steak, Quinoa & broccoli
* Post-Workout Shake with carbs (see below)
* Chicken Salad with Olive Oil. An apple
A Note About Post-Workout Carbs on GLAD
Again, unlike MANS, you are not saving yourself for an insulin spike at the weekend. A post-workout insulin spike will therefore be beneficial at this stage to shuttle amino acids into those hungry muscles. However, most people over-consume post-workout carbs so use the following formula to avoid this:
0.8 x lean bodyweight in kilograms (Kg = pounds /2.2)
A 150lb man with 10% body fat carries 15 lbs of fat. His lean body weight is therefore 135 lbs which equals 61.36 kg.
61.36 x 0.8 = 49.09 grams of carbohydrate (let’s call that 50 grams of post-workout carbs). Bear in mind that this is for workouts lasting up to 45 minutes, longer sessions will require more carbs. However if you’re working out the MuscleHack way, you won’t be going over 45 minutes, right? 😉
So your post workout shake should look something like this:
- 40-50 grams whey protein isolate
- 5 grams creatine
- 5 grams L-Glutamine
- 50 Grams of glucose/dextrose
So there you have it folks. A powerful alternative to a cyclical carbohydrate bodybuilding diet. I hope you enjoyed it!
Comments are welcome and don’t forget to bookmark this article by clicking on one of the icons below (especially Digg and Stumble – I would appreciate that guys 😉 ).
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Excellent article, Mark! You very closely match my own research into Low GI/GL nutrition and break it down into a set of steps easy enough for anyone to follow.
One question: Why did you chose the 40/30/30 ratio? I see that a lot in diet plans but I’ve never seen any hard evidence for why it is being advocated. Seems like as good a starting place as any – I’m just curious on your reasoning.
Thanks for all the hard work!
Mark , great work as usual. Good to have other options too. I assume this way of eating would not be as powerfull as the straight MANS diet? But still enable fat burning, towards showing off the new six pack ;0)?
@ ZenLC. 40/30/30 is like a default, it can be tailored for individuals though. It stops overconsumption of carbs, prevents the horrors of a low-fat diet and gets protein about right (possibly a bit high in imho). 40/30/30 is a great guideline for this type of diet though.
@ Andrics. Yes that’s my opinion. I’ll still be doing MANS myself but wanted to give others another bodybuilding diet that minimizes fat gains while building muscle. No, this type of program is strictly for bulking, people shouldn’t expect to lose a lot of fat on this.
Hi, this is in deed great post. The art of working on lean mass is not so complicated and demanding as many try to make us believe. Really we all need practical and effective guidelines in order to advance and growth, doesn’t matter if goal is getting huge or just toning up a bit. I keep seeing same thing in my gym: those who are not using their mind power to keep up with new experiences and stay closed to anything outside their box – they give up , sooner or later usually sooner 🙁 Therefore I want to emphasise importance of places like you have here. All the best .
What a nice comment!
read somewhere that L-glutamine and creatine compete for the same receptors and should preferably not be taken together. One you may want to look into?(sorry didnt take down the source) keep up the hard work
Mark could one cut on the GLAD diet? rgds A .
Yes, if calories are restricted – around 500 below maintenance. However, muscle will be lost too. That’s why the best way to cut is to become a ‘fat-burner’ and to then put in place a system that ensures that more and more body fat is released for energy in the body over time, as in Total Six Pack Abs.
In short though, yes you could cut with GLAD.
Hi mark fantastic info ive been following your MANS diet for five weeks now I started to gain then levelled out and pretty much stop gaining. Im very very ectomorphic I find it really hard to eat enought your monster shake helped loads but I cant drink them alday thats just not good for anyone.
Its frustrating me so much I need help i sick of the site of eggs everytime see the hundreds of peprami bars I get instant heartburn its got to be more enjoyable then this.
This is what brings me to this section of your bril’ site because i can then eat things like cereal for breakfast rather then cooked food which I just cant stomach, a much more variety of food can be eaten altogether.
I am pledging to you for any info that could help me stick to MANS or help me on my way with the GLADS please please please.
Mark do post work out cards have to be fast acting or will bread or pastas do?
Well, you want to ingest the carbs along with your post-workout protein, so it would be best to have them in liquid form.
High GI is the general consensus as you do want to create an insulin spike on this diet.
However, the rest of the time keep your carbs nice n’ low GL.
I’m somehow lost here. It’s about the post-workout shake and why we should or shouldn’t consume carbs. In the MANS plan you say NO, while it’s YES for the GLADS. I think there is contradiction here. MANS wanted to enhance hGH, IGF-1 and Testosterone, this is why no post-workout carbs. But, why not apply the same strategy for the GLADS diet assuming that the carbohydrates intake is already high? I’ve read elsewhere that carbs shouldn’t be consumed till 2 hours after workout to enhance hGH.
So if i’m following the 40/30/30 plan and after workout i’m consuming 30g whey then 1hour later eat a normal meal, wouldn’t be better than consuming whey+high GI carbs? This way, i’ll be giving more room for hGH production and later replenish muscle glycogen levels.
I will take your rss feed, it’s surely great sites for noob like me,thx
Hi Mark, just discovered your page and am finding it very helpful. Ive read your MANS diet and may feel something like this is better for me. I play a lot of basketball and cardio-vascular fitness is a higher priority (as opposed to a traditional bodybuilding routine). Do you believe this diet may be a better option for me as i have a strenuous weight training and cardiovascular routine? (which includes a lot of HIIT conditioning)
I am 190 lbs and have around 165 LBM (14% BF).
I’m cutting right now.
Would it be a good thing for me (trying to follow GLADs) to ONLY eat low GI/low GL foods PostWO (about 50gs=200cal) and the rest of my cals from fat/protein.
I realize I TOTALLY screwed up your
30% fat ratio
I’m guessing GLAD is not as good for Cutting as KETO or MANS is?
thanks for all the help
would it be ok to substitute Waxy Maize Starch or Vitargo S2 for the glucose/dextrose in the post work out shake?