I hope everyone had a great weekend. It was extra- special for us because we celebrated Joseph’s 1st birthday! I was scared we would have to cancel because Joseph had an ear infection on Thursday and I woke up with the crud on Friday! Luckily we both felt better by Sunday and Joseph had a blast!
Now, since I have posted a picture of my child eating an entire cake by himself- let’s talk about carb cycling! 🙂 I have had some questions about it so I wanted to BRIEFLY shed some light on this method. Note- this is a BROAD overview and by no means a conclusive explanation of the process.
Disclaimer: Although I am an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, I am NOT a nutritionist. This information is knowledge I have acquired while researching and testing out these strategies for myself. Always consult a physician before any change in your diet.
So, whats the deal with carb cycling?
If you are in the fitness industry or just spend a lot of time working out, you have probably heard of ‘carb cycling’. What does this mean and how does it benefit you? Who should use this method and how complicated is it? Today I will be answering some of the most common questions about carb cycling.
What exactly is it?
Carb cycling is an eating plan that alternates between high carb days and low carb days. People use this plan to burn fat while still maintaining their muscle. Your high carb days should be on your most intense workout days (leg day, full body workouts, etc.). Your body will have to pull from your stored energy source for power, which will burn fat.
What should I eat?
Below are some guidelines that most people follow:
Protein: eat about 1-1 ½ gram of protein per pound of body weight. This amount does not need to change throughout the entire process. Protein helps build muscle and remember we are trying to burn fat without losing any muscle mass. Make sure it is lean protein such as fish, chicken, turkey and egg whites.
Fats: healthy fats are imperative to your diet. The general rule is to keep it at around 20- 30% of your daily calorie intake, less than this on your high carb days. Healthy fats to go with: olive oil, natural peanut butter and walnuts.
Carbs: Carbs is a major source of energy for the body, and carbs is what will be manipulated in this diet for it to be effective. You need to eat complex carbs and fiber, think, brown rice, wheat pasta and whole wheat bread.
How does it work?
The key is to keep your calorie intake at a level that is optimal for fat loss. We all know that 1lb of fat equals 3500 calories, so to lose a lb a week you would need a 3500 calorie deficit.
If you are maintaining your weight at 2100 calories a day, your weekly intake is 14,700 calories. To lose one lb a week you would reduce your weekly intake to 11,200.
Obviously since you are carb cycling you would not have the same amount of calorie consumption all seven days (which would be 1600 a day) because the high carb days you will consume more.
Say you have 3 high carb days a week- on the high carb days you decide to consume 2300 calories, this means you would consume 1,075 calories on low carb days; that may seem like too little calories for some, but this is how you will get results.
Who is this for?
Most people who use this method are weight lifters/ body builders. They usually go through a stage where they beef up their weight lifting for a couple months, or in ‘off season’ and lay off the cardio. This will allow them to really build muscle. The downside of this is they will put on fat as well. When they have built the muscle mass they want and are ready to burn fat they carb cycle, allowing them to burn the fat without losing muscle.
This is just a brief overview of how carb cycling works. I have listed some more in depth articles if you are interested in trying this method.
I also have a workout for you guys coming this week!
Have a great Tuesday!