If there is any macronutrient that gets the worst wrap, I’d say it was carbohydrates. Even MORE than fats, it seems like carbs are treated like the big ole boogeyman! The diet industry has everyone thinking that this simple ENERGY substrate, that consists of 4 simple calories per gram, can almost take down an entire nation or world (or something) with its infinite power to… MAKE YOU FAT. Ugggh! Such hogwash! So what I want to do for you today is help you to take a step back, and learn another way of viewing carbs. And more specifically talking a little bit more about MY favorite way to shed fat. Today, I want to discuss with you my best tips when it comes to carb cycling for fat loss.
On Your Low Carb Days – Keep Fats Higher
This is one place I can say that I see a lot of folks making the mistake when it comes to setting up a PROPER carb cycle. Here’s the thing, the reason why I love carb cycling for fat loss is because it just works! But the only way it works well is when you take a sane approach to your dietary set up.
Think about this – and it will actually be one of the most important things to apply to your carb cycling set up… Fats and carbs work conversely in the diet. As one goes down, the other must go up to make up for the calories needed on your plan. If you lower your carbs, you will need to thus increase fats to prevent your diet from hitting starvation levels, AND to make sure you have some form of energy for you to use to live!
Instead of just looking at fats and carbs as simply “macros”, see them as they actually are…
Energy sources for the body! Your body has a preference for using carbs to fuel you through daily life and training. However, in the absence of carbs in the diet, the body will gladly use fats in its place. This fat isn’t only going to come from your fat stores themselves, but from the foods you eat as well. Have you ever tried to eat BOTH a low amount of carbs and fats on a plan? I bet you were feeling fuzzy brained and had low energy. Doing something as simple as raising fats, while keeping carbs low, could have changed the game for you.
So don’t be afraid to up those fats higher than what you normally would, when tying to adhere to a carb cycling approach. And make sure it’s coming from healthy sources like nuts/nut butters, omega-3 fatty acids, avocados, lean meats and fish, as well as oils such as avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and red palm oil.
Have Your High GI Carbs Post Workout
Now, I’ve got a great secret to share with you… There are some really smart things you can do to make the most of your carbs – and it all has to do with meal timing. And this can be specifically be put to use on your low carb days.
Before I get into that, let’s talk about the difference between High and Low GI (Glycemic Index) carbohydrates. In general, Low GI carbs usually are higher in fiber and don’t have a tendency to spike insulin sky high during digestion. Whereas High GI carbs tend to have lower amounts of fiber, higher amounts of carbs per serving, and a tendency to spike insulin higher during digestion. And so get this…
High GI carbs are GREAT post workout.
The reason is because they help kick up muscle protein synthesis (the building of new muscle tissue post activity) by spiking insulin. Insulin gets a bad rap but it is in fact a powerful hormone in the body. Responsible for helping to usher nutrients into the muscle, liver, and fat stores. Because your body is low in stored glycogen post workout, high GI carbs will not only spike insulin faster than low GI carbs, but will also allow for quick storage right into the muscle as well. So post-workout is where they can be BEST used.
Play around with this and see how YOUR body responds. Typically, you want post workout carbs to be around .25 x BW in Pounds which equals the amount of carbs in grams you need post workout. So if you are 140 pounds, having about 35g of carbs post workout is ideal.Post Workout Carbs = .25xBW in LBS. Choose high GI carbs to help w/ recovery & building muscle. Click To Tweet
Make Sure to Have a High Carb Day at least Once a Week
The final tip when it come to carb cycling for fat loss is one more related to carbs… The KEY to your success isn’t only the low carb days on your plan, but the high carb days are just as crucial. What you might not consider is that during low carb dieting, your body downregulates a ton of hormones that drive and control metabolism. And research has found that by increasing carbohydrates, you can effectively increase those metabolism boosting hormones – perhaps even bringing them back up to baseline.
When it comes to HOW MUCH you should eat, a general rule of thumb is that on high carb days to consume about 2xBW in pounds. For food choices, you have a ton of freedom. Personally I like to have (and instruct clients to have) a mix of carbs like rice of any kind, potatoes of any kind, bread, pasta, and even my favorite breakfast cereals! For something really fun, I like to throw in waffles or pancakes for breakfast. In fact, most of my contest prep clients eat waffles or pancakes WEEKLY at least once a week going into their shows around 4 weeks out.
And if that isn’t enough for you, how about fat free or low fat ice-cream? Because you can definitely have it as well. The point is as long as it fits your macros, you should be good. Keep your fat under 40g for the day, and protein about .8 to 1xBW in pounds as the rest of your diet for the day.
Your DIET is the Driving Factor Behind Fat Loss
I hope this article has opened your eyes to a bit of a SMARTER way of approaching your nutrition and fat loss goals.
This stuff can often feel like rocket science, but the good thing is that it DOESN’T have to! One of my biggest passions is helping folks to understand the game, and LEARN how to play it in a way to win at reaching their goals. I’ve studied nutrition for many years, because I knew that as a professional, it would take my ability to transform my clients to new levels if I could coach them in what to eat, and HOW to eat for their goals. And that’s exactly what I want to be able to do for you.
If you feel like your diet has been stumping you…
Like you can’t seem to eat enough each day, and you KNOW you need to eat more to see the changes you want to see. Or if you feel like your body is stalled and you KNOW that your nutrition is the key to getting unstuck – and off that plateau. If you really know you can and should be doing things BETTER and smarter with the way you are approaching your nutrition, and how you eat… Then I have the perfect solution for you.
I offer personalized and 100% customized meal planning for folks of any goal, any fitness level, and any background. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or you eat meat – I can help you to sort out the food game, and get you on the path to your goals ASAP.
What are YOUR Thoughts on Carb Cycling?
Have you tried carb cycling for fat loss? What have you found worked for you in the past with your set up? What kind of tips would you share with those looking to use this kind of approach in their own meal planning?
Share your comments and thoughts below, I’d love to discuss them with you!