First, lets look at the ABCDE diet. Originally ABCDE Diet (Anabolic Burst Cycling of Diet and Exercise) was proposed by Torbjorn Akerfeldt in an old issue of Muscle Media 2000. Basically, you ate your heart out for two weeks, which would elicit all sorts of different anabolic responses and cause you to add muscle. Then for the next two weeks, you would turn things around by going on a strict Low-Caloric diet. Done correctly, you’d lose the fat you gained during your hog fest and keep most of the muscle. That’s of course in “theory” meaning it works like crap with the average bodybuilder. ABCDE diet is great for people who do not easily gain fat or who easily lose fat. But what if you rapidly gain fat and cannot seem to be able to get rid of it? What will happen is that by feasting for 2 weeks you will accumulate a tremendous amount of fat.
This accumulation occurs in two forms:
Each fat cell will hypertrophy. Once fat cells reach critical size they release certain growth factors which, in turn, build up new fat cells. This hyperplasia will occur in a matter of days if your adipocytes are already big enough, i.e; as you are fat in the first place. Of course, as the diet state, you can diet down the hypertrophy, but you cannot get rid of newly formed fat cells. As you repeat the ABCDE cycles you will add new fat cells. Intense training (because of cortisol) plus a high carb and high fat diet is a great way to induce adipose tissue hyperplasia in people who are prone to gain fat.
Your body fat percentage is the reflection of the size of the fat cells multiplied by their number. You can shrink fact cell size but only up to a certain point. You’re not able to lose fat cells. In other words, as you start a low calorie diet, you will only have a single variable to play with (reducing fat cell size). But once you have reduced fat cell size up to a point (which is quickly reached) they won’t shrink anymore. So you will not have any variables left.
The diet stops working and you are stuck at a high bodyfat percentage. The only way to lose fat cells is to use weird drugs, or to undergo liposuction. I think the concept of the ABCDE diet is valid but not appropriate for fat people or drug users. For those people I propose a variation of this diet that I have been using for some time. I call it the anabolic/catbolic diet (let’s call it ACD diet).
It is based on the fact that there is a constant turnover of protein in our muscles. We are constantly adding protein (anabolism) but also losing protein (catabolism). It is the balance between the two which determines the size of our muscles.
So whenever someone complains of only gaining 5 pounds a year, this is not strictly true. He gained maybe 200 pounds of muscle but he also lost 195 pounds. This (contrived) example points out that we are able to gain a tremendous amount of muscle every year. As we cannot hold on to those 100 pounds, it means we are doing something really wrong. As its name implies, the ACD diet is composed of two distinct phases.
An anabolic phase lasting 10 to 20 days and a catabolic phase lasting 5 to 10 days. When I say a catabolic phase, I really mean it; we do whatever it takes in order to lose muscle. Our body will detect something is very wrong and will attempt to stop this rapid muscle loss. It will deactivate the ATP-dependent proteolytic pathways. So far, almost no drug that I know of can do this. The more catabolism you seek, the more your body will fight it. After the catabolic phase, we will be in a position where both anabolism and catabolism are very low. But anabolism is ready to be accelerated to catch up growth while catabolism is reduced to a minimum for a while no matter what. During the anabolic phase, we will try to boost anabolism as much as possible.
During the first week, catabolism will stay very low. So, there will not be an anabolic catch up, there will be an overshoot. How do we do that? During the catabolic phase, the goal is to lose as much fat as possible no matter what the cost is for the muscle mass. I mean a low carbohydrate, low fat and low protein diet. If you are using creatine stop it. Oral anabolics will be stopped 48 hours before the beginning of this phase while 5 days before the injectables are stopped. Thyroid medication (T3) will be started at day one. Clenbuterol will be used at day one and maybe on day four or fine at massive doses (15 to 20 tabs). Of course, if you are new to Clenbuterol do not use that much. At that dose, used acutely you should feel sore all over which will only enhance catabolism.
Overtraining is a must and don’t forget about the daily (at least) one hour of aerobics. During your first few catabolic cycles, please do not play with so many variables. Avoid too much aerobics and don’t be too hard on the diet. Make it last only 5 days. As you get used to it, add days and variables. The following anabolic phase will start with either a carb load or a fat load lasting only on and a half days. But be careful about not eating too much. Many people get sick whenever they try to load on food after starving themselves. On the other hand, one or two days sick in bed is a good way to end up the catabolic phase but only if you are very advanced. The fat load consists of the following: on the last day of the catabolic phase do 2 hours of low intensity cardio. I like the rowing machine since it involves both lower and upper body. Repeat this cardio workout again on an empty stomach before the fat load.
As its name implies the fat load consists of eating fat with some proteins but no carbs at all. This will direct the fat inside the aerobically trained muscles not in the subcutaneous adipocytes. Whenever you are eating carbs along with fat, this fat will tend to be esterified in the subcutaneous adipose tissue not inside the muscles. I know the ABCDE diet tells otherwise, but oh well¦. Even though you are not eating carbs, don’t forget the creatine. It will find its way in the muscles without insulin. The oral anabolics will be started ruing the first day while the injectables will be used as late as possible the day before. Along with the carb up, use creatine and ALA. In the first few days, eat a high carb, low fat and moderate protein diet. The protein should be of the highest quality possible to make up for the moderate amount. The more protein eaten the sooner the ATP-dependent proteolytic pathway will recover.
Of course the thyroid medication, the Clenbuterol, the aerobics and the overtraining are stopped. In fact, it is better to reduce training to a bare minimum in the first few days. During the remainder of this phase, do not eat too much. Unless you want to gain fat cells, you should just eat over maintenance and no more. I do not think overfeeding builds up muscle. My belief is that the measuring techniques are biased.
Whenever you eat too much and gain weight, they are going to tell you have gained muscle mass along with the fat. But whenever you diet it down, the bias will take place the other way around. The apparatus will tell you that you have lost muscle along with the fat. Your overfeeding gains just evaporated.
The length of the anabolic phase is determined by the length and the severity of the catabolic phase. The shorter the latter is, the shorter the former should last. Of course, this kind of radical cycling is much more appropriate for steroid users than for drug free bodybuilders. It allows anabolics to keep working for a long time as it is frequently stopped during a short catabolic phase. This will fully restore their potency. In case you are a drug free bodybuilder, it is better not to go to the extreme. Shoot for a moderate catabolism not an extreme one.