Carbs have many different effects on the body. When you consume very few of them, you begin to loose fat. But then your metabolic rate, the number of calories your body burns everyday, also decreases. By cycling your volume of carbs, your body doesn’t get the chance to adjust and slow down your metabolism. You will actually increase your metabolic rate, even on the higher carb days. The body naturally wants to store fat and slow down your metabolism, so by cycling the amount of carbs, you confuse your body, and just rev that metabolism through the roof.
In a previous article we spoke of eating your carbs all around the workout window, and low carb the rest of the day. It works great. But to take that to the next level, you need to fine tune a little more..
What should you eat: typically healthy foods, including high protein foods, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, shakes, fruit and vegetables. Rice, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes etc.
What you shouldn’t eat: Foods high in both fats and carbs. Have your fats with your protein only. So on your very low carb day, have extra protein, and fat. On your high carb day, reduce your protein a little, and eliminate your fats as much as possible. Keep your carbs as clean as possible, if your trying to lower body fat.
Benefits: We are creatures of habit and tend to eat the same thing over and over. Carb rotating forces you to make a plan, and choose different foods. Write it out! The low carb days help you to loose body fat and the carb load helps your muscles get fuller looking while reducing fat. It is simply the absolute best way to maintain muscle, and loose fat.
How do you do it? There are several ways:
a) You can have a low carb, medium and high carb day. You could do this on a 3 day rotation. This tends to be more for people where mass is a little more priority, but want to gently lean down, or maintain.
b) Another way is to have several very low carb days, then 2 carb load meals in a week. Example Monday, Tuesday, very low, Wednesday high carb, Thursday, Friday, Saturday low carb, Sunday high Carb. This is more ambitious on fat loss, and maintaing metabolism.
c) The most aggressive carb cycle rotation is low carb every day with only one carb loading meal per week. Some people only carb load once every two weeks. This could impair your metabolism depending on your fat and protein intake and how you train. This is more at the level of someone who is in the last few weeks before a show.
Different strategies work for different people with the level of activity they do, level of body fat they want to loose, or maintaining a show shape body year round for photo graphs. Maybe you just want to do this a few months before your next vacation!
How much carbs? That will depending on how much carbs is your baseline. Meaning, find the number of grams of carbs that your stable on. Another words, you don’t gain or loose weight on. So for example; say that number is 250 grams per day. You may only need to drop them say to 150, and have a carb load once a week at 300 grams. For others, it could mean a low of 30-50 grams of carbs with a high of 100-150. The best way to start is depending on how much fat you need to loose, is to start slow. Once you plateau, you can drop a little more carbs, and then a little more. I know of several Physique Competitors, who go on zero carb for many weeks before a show, and no carb load until the show prep. That’s brutal. It will vary on where you starting from, your body type, age and how hard you train. Just remember, things like oatmeal in the morning, sweet potato after your workout, and fast carbs around the training window. Make sure in your meal planning you plan to succeed at least 90% of the time. Life can’t always be 100%, but we can come close if we choose to do so! We are referring to both cheating and missing meals. See you on the beach!