Dieting is essential to a bodybuilder’s success, and trainer Milos Sarcev has come to understand that over the years. In a recent The Menace Podcast, Sarcev, joined by Dennis James and Chris Cormier, discussed keto-friendly diets, eliminating sugars, and consuming fewer carbs the week before a contest.
In order to build an IFBB Pro League-level physique, competitors must exercise discipline whether it be from dieting, supplementation, training, recovery, or all of the above. En route to gracing the stage, athletes typically alter their carbohydrate and water intake to accentuate the features of their physiques.
One legend of the sport who operated on low carbs was former three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane. Known for his aesthetics and detail, Zane followed a strict low-carbohydrate diet year-round to achieve his statue-esque appearance. Even though some thought his measures were rigid, Zane admits he never saw it as a diet when he competed actively.
A nutrition plan that is low in carbohydrates, but has high fat and moderate protein is called a keto diet. When you limit your intake of carbs, the body finds another way to fuel itself. Instead of relying on glucose from carbohydrates, the usual source of energy, it uses fats. This metabolic switch in the body is called ketosis, the origin of the keto diet’s name.
Milos Sarcev Talks ’24-Hr Diet for Any Human Being on This Earth’: ‘Keto Until You Need Glucose for Fuel’
“You know that many times guys are way off and you have one week and what do you do? You go on zero carbs, put them on twice a day on cardio, zero, zero, zero, zero, and things are going to change. Back in the 70s and 80s and maybe early 90s, the way they were doing it – I’m sure in Germany too, in Russia, zero carbs, zero fat,” said Milos Sarcev.
“You know when bodybuilders say they are on zero carbs, they always have some carbs,” Dennis James replied.“For me, it was zero, yeah. Listen, you can see the picture of the carb on the paper,” said Sarcev. “There was only chicken, turkey, fish, and beef, right because he’s allergic to eggs. Lettuce salads, right [for Regan Grimes]. He had three scoops of peanut butter which has 20 grams of carbs in total. I mean, as long as you are under 50 right, it’s considered — you’re going to keep your stuff in ketosis.”
“I’ve done some Olympias and some shows Arnold Classic, like this, the last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, was just all beef and vegetables. Steak and vegetables, steak and vegetables, then the morning of, the morning on Saturday, then I’ve had a little bit of burger,” said Chris Cormier.“I placed well,” added Cormier.“That’s what I used to do as an amateur, I didn’t eat carbs,” Dennis James explained. “I used to do the same. This is what I learned listening to other people when I was an amateur, I didn’t have no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know anything until I met Milos, to be honest. But before that, I was just listening to people, I said listen what do you do, they say, ‘Okay, you don’t eat carbs the week before and you wait until the day of the show and then you have some carbs,'” Dennis James said.
“My whole theory that I started from the beginning, and you stopped me. My diet, my 24-hour diet for any human being on this planet earth, keto until you need the glucose for fuel in the muscle. That’s it. Keto, you don’t need carbs. What do you need carbs for? Your body can use fats as a fuel no problem. High-intensity training is weightlifting and muscle contractions, it needs glucose as a fuel. Whether you provide it or not, your body is going to find it. It’s going to find it.So why would I convert bad-tasting amino acid and the protein and all this shit to get good tasting carb instead of taking my carbohydrate, my good-tasting carb anyway? Why is carbs protein-sparing? Why is carbohydrate protein-sparing? Oh, because if you don’t take the carbs, the protein amino acids are going to be converted into glucose. That’s why it spares the protein,” Milos Sarcev shared.
“When sugar works for you which is during a training, right immediately after to replenish the glycogen, muscles need sugar as a fuel. You don’t have it, you’re going to compromise. The body is going to find that sugar somewhere. So, if you’re on keto diet anyway, you don’t have glycogen storage anyway, then amino acids have to be converted, whether protein amino acids that you’re taking or muscle that exists,” Sarcev shared.
“I really got to say, I feel better, I really do. But listen, I did not eliminate it [sugar] because I thought I should. It just happened that way that I all of a sudden didn’t feel for it anymore. I started losing interest in sweets, I used to have a sweet tooth, Milos knows that. I used to love sweets. If I travel somewhere, it doesn’t matter, shows or anywhere, I be buying Snickers, Kit Kats, for at night at the hotel when you wake up,” said Dennis James.