-A personal experience with nutrition and exercise-

Friday, April 2, 2010

Overfeeding, Increased Testosterone and Diet Composition

As most know, for the body to create new tissue, the body must be in a caloric excess. When a person eats more than the body can utilize, the excess is stored as fat or wasted through generating heat.
What I have been reading recently is that what you eat has an effect on what happens with excess calories that are consumed.

"This was different from the response
in our carbohydrate overfeeding study
(1), in which all subjects had an increase in
basal metabolic rate (mean 12%). One possible
explanation for this difference is that carbohydrate
overfeeding increased serum T3 levels
in all subjects (mean 32%), whereas in this
study mixed overfeeding did not always increase
serum T3 levels. It seems unlikely that
a small increase in serum T3 levels alone could
increase total energy expenditure very much,
since pharmacologically doubling T3 levels
(without overfeeding) increases basal metabolic
rate only 6% and does not affect the
thermic effect of meals or exercise (23). We
cannot rule out the possibility that increased
conversion of T4 to T3 in tissues contributes
to the increase in metabolic rate during overfeeding,
and increased responsiveness to T3
during overfeeding cannot be excluded as a
factor in the increased metabolic rate."

In this study the increased carbohydrate content increased T3 serum concentrations which in turn raised the metabolic rate. This is exactly what you want as a suppressed metabolism means suppressed hormones. It should be mentioned that the added calories in the diet were from extra desserts taken at meals (sucrose). Therefore they found that insulin levels were higher after the overfeeding, but I feel this would be different had the carbohydrates been glucose or starch based. It should be noted that in other studies:

"It has been observed that diets rich in
carbohydrate improve glucose tolerance (12,

Therefore I feel that overfeeding on a unrefined high starch diet will allow the greatest amounts of muscle to be gained while also limiting fat gains to zero or extremely low.

Diet composition plays an integral part in the hormones of the body. To gain the greatest amounts of muscle you must stimulate the muscle, feed the muscle, and have proper hormonal balance.

Many bodybuilding diets focus on consuming large amounts a protein. Extra protein that is not necessary and is a burden on the systems of the body. Protein is not a normal energy source and is extremely inefficient if it is called on to become one. While doing much studying, I have found yet another reason to avoid too much protein:

"The significant negative correlation between protein and resting T concentrations is consistent with the findings of Anderson et al. (2), who demonstrated that a low-protein diet (10% of total energy) was associated with higher levels of T compared with a diet higher in protein (44% of total energy)"

"Testosterone concentrations in seven normal men were consistently higher after ten days on a high carbohydrate diet (468 +/- 34 ng/dl, mean +/- S.E.) than during a high protein diet (371 +/- 23 ng/dl, p less than 0.05)"
"In contrast, cortisol concentrations were consistently lower during the high carbohydrate diet than during the high protein diet (7.74 +/- 0.71 micrograms/dl vs. 10.6 +/- 0.4 micrograms/dl respectively, p less than 0.05)"

Increased Testosterone and decreased Cortisol!! That is the perfect combination. It appears that a high carbohydrate is extremely anabolic and anti-catabolic.

By this chart, that correlates the effects of macro-nutrients on testosterone concentrations, you can easily see that the optimal diet is one that contains High Carbohydrates, Moderate Protein, and a High ratio of Saturated to unsaturated fats. This diet seems to be consistent with what Matt Stone's RRARF and my own recommendations. So as you you look to build muscle keep these variables in mind.
My next post I will discuss proper exercise regimens and how the utilize them.


  1. Nice looking forward to the next post as you seem to know what you are doing when it comes to weight lifting. Great research and concise posting, really enjoying the blog.......

  2. Riles, nice post man. I am interested to see what you will ne writing on next.

  3. JT
    I want to know about your training and diet style. I ask no to replicate but just to get an idea of what you do.I have been reading a lot at the Scott Abel forums and it is painting a better picture of what his ideas are. I am a "poor" student right now and can't afford to purchase any of his materials at this point.

    I hope you dont mind answering these questions but I would appreciate it. I like your idea about the asian rice cooker, I think im gonna pick one up.

    Why is it that you prefer chicken for your main protein as apposed to say lean beef?
    Why did you choose casein over whey in your workout drink, so you consume it during the entire workout as opposed to right after?
    What does one of you "free meals" look like?

    When you say that it takes 2 years of maintaining a set-point to make it "stick", is that for both gaining and losing weight?

    Do you train for bodybuilding purposes or other?

  4. Riles, I follow a typical bodypart split hitting each bodypart once a week. My diet is a pretty typical bodybuilding diet too. I just try to get some protein and carbs 5-6 times a day. The only reason I choose the protein types that I do is because that is what I feel best on. I am very aware of how different foods affect my body and mind, and I choose the ones that are best for me. You should pay attention to the way different foods affect you. It probably won't make a big difference if you choose whey or casein or beef or chicken or fish. Your goal is to gain, so you shouldn't worry about small stuff like supplements, or which type of protein is better, just make sure you are eating enough high quality food, and you are training hard with enough volume.
    I was talking about gaining when I said you had to hold the weight for 2 years, so if you are going to bulk be sure you are ready to do it for long enough to keep the gains.
    The sanyo rice cookers are a good brand.

  5. Also, I don't train because I want to compete in bodybuilding. I just want to feel good, and look good naked!

  6. Great points. I train for the same reasons as you. I think Im trying to do the same as you by gaining slowly as to keep fat gains very minimal/non-extent. I may getting to the point that I am feeling pretty good about my composition and considering toying with how different foods effect me. I really want to try the sugar thing but the (starch-only) is working really well for me right now and I dont want to change too many variables at once.

    I am also going back to my bread + butter routine this week that is similar to what you have described. Maybe that will get me back into my groove.

  7. I had 24 oz of orange juice today just because it's available in the fridge for me. My stomach acids are now filling up and I'm burping some of it up. Come to think of it excess simple carbohyrdrates feed the yeasts in your gut, not ideal. I've been having this problem and I've been consuming lots of organge juice. It gets in the way of me gaining weight or even feeding my muscle. It leads to me cramping for some reason. Some days I lose my appetite completely. I'm just going to quit any simple carb period. Except for whole fat milk as I never have problems with it.

  8. Riles,
    Stick with the starch. It is more anabolic than sugar as it has a greater insulin response. Most seem to have better results aesthetically with starches too. I still eat mostly starch and only have sugar during my workouts. You are smart to only change one variable at a time, that way you will know what works for you. This is hard to do, but discovering what is best for you will be the most valuable thing you could do.

    If you are wanting to gain slowly without adding too much fat then you should give the cycle diet a try.

  9. JT, I would really like to try the Cycle Diet because I like the science and concept behind it. I just don't have extra money to spend on the DVD and consulting with Abel to get all the details for it. I know that the focus is re-feeds and supercompensation.

  10. Riles, just read the forum on the topic and you should be able to get a better grasp than what I could summarize. The DVD is very informative though, and worth it. Don't spend anymore money on supplements and use the money to get information instead, this will give you much more gains in the long run.

  11. JT, No more supplements except for the creatine that I have, but haven't really used yet. Don't know if I even will right now.

    I have been trying to read up on the cycle diet, and am picking up little tid-bits as a read along. So I may ask you some questions to clarify information along the way.

    When the time comes, what is a better purchase, ADP: Abel Diet Principles or Science Behind the Cycle Diet?

    Side question, what type of rice do you feel best eating? I'm thinking about doing a little potato break and trying rice again.

  12. Get the cycle diet first. It will give you a good foundation to get started then the ADP kind of fills in the blanks and provides the nuanced information. I mostly use basmati rice because I like it best, but sometimes I will do sushi, jasmine, or brown if I get bored.

  13. Just to let you know my hand healed up with the camp bell's gravy and 2 times of magnesium baths. They both had their benefits. I also drank whole fat pasteurized milk which has calcium and other minerals in it. I drank Crystal Geyser mountain spring water that has trace minerals in it. My hand almost feels completely recovered. It's been feeling better in the past couple days.

  14. JT, I'm thinking about ordering the Cycle Diet DVD possibly this week. In it, does it explain how to set up and follow the "diet" so that a person can do it with out extra consultation? I've read that it is aimed more at already very lean persons, is this true? Can you tell me how long you have been following it?

  15. Yes, you can get enough information from the dvd to do the diet. I don't do the cycle diet exactly because I don't want to be that strict right now. If you want to do it, you will have to be strict all of the time except for you refeeds. I pretty much just eat on diet all of the time and then eat whatever I want 2-3 times a week. This works better for me since I travel a lot and have business dinners etc...

  16. the only thing about Abel, in his videos... he looks so big and muscular, and it looks like he is not very flexible or capable of climbing up a tree in a mad dash. Not bashing him... it just looks uncomfortable to be that big.


  17. You'd be surprised though. I've seen guys Scott's size that are very flexible. They can do the splits. Wish I could recall the book. I just read what was there to learn and threw it away. A lot of big guys aren't flexible because they don't practice flexibility as a part of the routine. At least not the in depth practices I'm aware of. For a big guy to be flexible all he has to do is practice the same things a smaller guy practices. There's so many falsehoods being thrown out there like they are fact. Therefore I always go back to either Yoga Illustrated or Real Men do Yoga to sharpen up on quality stretches. Breathing is a big part of it. IMO, Some "expert" big guys are just plain lazy.

  18. Riles,
    Have you experimented with adding fruit or sugar into your diet yet or are you still eating just starch as your carb source?

  19. I haven't done any sugar-ing yet. But I have plans to try some out pretty soon. The starch thing has just been working to well right now and I don't want to possibly impede any changes that are going on. I used to be pretty fat in high school(though I played football and threw the shot in track) and I want to make sure that may leptin sensitivity and other hormones are as optimal as possible.

    Just the other day I ordered Scott Abel's Science behind the Cycle Diet DVD. I have plans to use the cycle diet, then when I reach "supercompensation" I will use that as a doorway to adding in sugars.

  20. That is smart Riles. Don't mess it up, if what you are doing right now is working so well for you, keep doing it.

  21. You didn't like the advice the Championship Bodybuilding e-book had to offer Riles? I would be interested in hearing how Scott's book is different.

    For what it's worth on the High Volume/High Intensity going to failure argument this is what I have to offer: I have found only 1 set per an exercise to be optimal. Anything more and my central nervous system is over burdened and takes longer to heal. I don't always go to failure, especially now that I'm getting back into it. I can tell that there's a certain point that if I keep pushing the reps to failure I just get way too sore. This isn't always the case but with some days it is.

    This is after getting off of stuff that is just like illegal steroids. It's not really legal but since the company keeps a low profile they don't get caught. It's taken me over a month to stop cramping, getting sore, and for my joints/tendons/bones/cartilage to catch up to the mass I've put on. The magnesium chloride, full fat milk, and stock gravy really helped too. First time back in two months and I can do a full squat. I can also bench pressed 225 pounds 8 times. My all time best was 225 pounds 16 times when I was 175 pounds of body weight at 18 years of age.

  22. Dan, I have reached the point that I feel that I can tell when an exercise is stimulating my muscles and I personally feel that 1 set is not enough for me. The routine that I have personally had the most success with is with Serge Nubret's suggestions. I feel that his ideas offer the most. He is also very down to earth and promotes things that I have never seen any other pro do. I also like Vince's stuff but I feel some of his diet ideas are behind the times.

  23. Riles,

    What study did

    "It has been observed that diets rich in
    carbohydrate improve glucose tolerance"

    come from?


  24. Hey Danny,
    That quote was from this study: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/41/5/881.pdf towards the top.

    It was referencing this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6350813 and another(Himsworth HP. The dietetic factor determining the glucose tolerance and sensitivity to insulin of healthy men. Clin Sci l935;2:67-94) that i cant pull up the abstract for

  25. There are supplements that definitely boost testosterone levels in short time but the first better way to help your testosterone level is to adopt natural ways of food,exercise and lifestyle changes for making it better.So the Men testosterone level is also associated with other issues that could affect the life more worsen, when you have lowest level in the body.

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