Advanced Nutrition Made Easy: Carb Cycling
In case you haven’t noticed, new weight loss tricks pop all the time. Pills, elimination diets, five-minute workout programs, and more spam tabloid covers. It doesn’t help that big time celebrities like Dr. Oz push products that are absolutely worthless, but that’s a story for another day.
As you may or may not know, I run an online coaching program, and work with a good number of clients. This has allowed me to work with clients of all shapes and sizes, from all over the world. In case you haven’t noticed, the tricky thing about dieting is the longer you do it, the harder it gets.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and I’m going to share one of them with you now. Please note that these aren’t necessary if you’re chugging right along and making progress; this is for those of you who exist in what I call the nightmare zone – you’ve been losing weight, and now you’re stuck with the last ten pounds.
Enter carb cycling.
More than just an old school bodybuilder’s trick, I believe carb cycling is one of the better ways to break plateaus and get shredded. In addition to looking better, it can also do wonders for your insulin sensitivity, help you balance out your hormones, and overall is just an easy way to drop some pounds.
Now, when working with clients, I use some pretty specific numbers that are client specific, where rest days carbs are set anywhere from 20-150g, and workout day carbs can be as high as 400g. It’s all situational depending on the individual’s carb tolerance, but I won’t bore you with that.
For our purposes, let’s take it to the most basic way of setting this up. For rest days, we are eliminating all starchy carbs. You’ll eat protein, moderate fat, plenty of veggies, and one to two servings of fruit. On workout days, fat will be lower, and you’ll be loading up with 50-80g carbs both pre and post workout.
To calculate how much fat to add to your macros, I would say just add 1 gram of fat for every 4 carbs you subtract. Sure, this doesn’t even out, but we don’t want it to. The goal is to use carb cycling to put yourself in more of a caloric deficit. Remember, this is for those who are hitting sticking points and slowing down with the diet, not those just beginning a diet.
Wait what? That’s confusing…
Let’s say we have someone taking in 2,200 calories, at 200g protein, 220g carbs, 60g fat on a daily basis. Dropping workout carbs to 160 on workout days (80 pre/post training), and down to 50 on rest days (trace carbs in fruit/veggies), give us the following intake. Remember, for our rest days, we are adding 1g fat for every 4 carbs we subtract.
Workout Day: 200g protein, 160g carbs, 60g fat = 1,980 calories (320 cal. deficit from before)
Rest Day: 200g protein, 80g carbs, 95g fat = 1,975 (325 cal. deficit form before)
Those numbers will change depending on the person, but that’s just an example of how it could look with a real person. As you can see, by simply manipulating carbs and fat slightly, we have created a slight caloric deficit, nothing too severe, and completely eliminated starchy carbs on rest days.
If you find yourself stuck on the road to shredded, hopefully this little trick can jumpstart your progress and get you rolling towards your goal again. If you feel you need more help, you can always apply for my newly revised coaching program, and I’ll handle all your training and nutrition for you.