There are numerous articles found on the internet about carb and calorie cycling.
The purpose of this article is to give anyone a blueprint to lose body fat via Carb Cycling.
Whenever a person starts a Carb Cycling diet, there are three important factors to consider and implement:
- One must understand how their specific body type (Somatotype) processes and responds to insulin. Remember insulin is the regulating hormone released by the pancreas when one consumes carbohydrates.
- To maximize the effectiveness of a carbohydrate cycling diet, one must utilize a sensible weight lifting/resistance training program. An effective carb cycling program is based on carb intakes on weight training days versus off days.
- What is one’s ultimate goal when using carb cycling? There are 3 distinct phases to choose from-Maintenance of current body weight–Body fat loss (what this article is about) and Lean Muscle Gain.
Common rules of thumb for Carbohydrate Processing
- Endomorphic This is a naturally heavy person. Under 75 grams of carbs on Training Days and as close to Zero as possible on non training day (Green Veggies and Salads are OK)
- Mesomorphic– This is a naturally muscular person. up to 300 grams of Carbs on Training Days and up to 100grams of Carbs on Off Days
- Ectomorphic-This is a naturally very skinny person often known as a ‘hardgainer’ body type. same Training and Non Training as Meso (but rarely are pure ectomorphs looking to lose body fat. *Most* Ectomorphs are not as carb efficient as Mesomorphs and usually need lower amounts)
For simplistic purposes, we outline an effective carb cycling 7 Day Week Plan so anyone reading this article can adapt it around their training program and lifestyle. (understanding the purposes of this article is for fat loss)
- Training Day of Chest and Biceps (training normally done between 6-8pm)
- Wake Up-Do 20-45 minutes of Morning Fasted Cardio (depends on whether or not you believe in short duration intervals or longer duration moderate intensity -Both work and your fat burning supplements (thermogenic supplementation) will be specific to whichever cardio modality you choose)
- Meal 1–Protein Shake with Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil or Udo’s Oil for EFA’s. (If Intermittent Fasting(IF), make drink with Water and Flavored Electrolytes like Mio or generics. Remember if you use a BCAA Formulation you are NOT FASTING due to protein ingestion.
- Meal 2– 3 1/2 to 4 Hours after Meal 1 (This will be first feeding if doing Intermittent Fasting)-Lean Protein and Low Glycemic Carbs like Brown Rice or Green Veggies (We eat Turkey Meatballs and Brown Rice from Trader Joes)
- Meal 3– 3.5 to 4 hours later-Same as Meal 2-(Some Intermittent Fasting folks like to eat a handful of carbs about 30 minutes prior to training for some glycogen uptake. An apple or a specific carb bar usually can offer some fast burning carbs for this purpose)
- Meal 4 -Protein Shake during intra training window-25-50grams of GlycoFuse or Cyclic Dextrin Carb Powder and 25-50grams Protein (again carbs vary based on type of body type (somatotype) and protein based on bodyweight)
- Meal 5-Post workout Shake similar to intra workout shake with maybe a bit less carbs
- Meal 6-Final Meal-Salmon, Salad-Newman’s Own Italian Dressing along with one small size Sweet Potato (with nothing on it)
- Training Day of Legs and Calves (between 6 and 8PM) (this will be heaviest Carb day due to the intensity required to train legs)
- 20-45 Minutes of Fasted Cardio
- Meal 1– Same as Day 1
- Meal 2- Same as Day 1 (If Intermittent Fasting, can add small sweet potato beyond normal carbs to get more carb grams)
- Meal 3 Same
- Meal 4-Shake during training can be higher in Cyclic Dextrin carbs-same protein
- Meal 5-Same as Meal 4 and also higher carbs if you want
- Meal 6 Same as Day 1 but also higher carbs if want (your carb intake is always dependent on how your body type handles their ingestion)
- Off Day-No training with weights. Much lower carb intake for all body types (Somatotypes) on off days.
- AM Fasted Cardio same as Day 1 and 2
- Meal 1-Same as first couple of days
- Meal 2-Lean Protein but less carbs (if used to eating Brown Rice or Yams-just eat Green Veggies like Broccoli-Green Beans or Asparagus)
- Meal 3-Same as Meal 2
- Meal 4-Dinner-Salad and Lean Protein (low to no carbs)
- 2nd Session Cardio-Low Impact and Low to Moderate Intensity (this session really depends on how much fat you have to lose and how your metabolism responds to cardio-some ectomorphs can’t do cardio as they will lose muscle tissue. Usually ALL ENDOMORPHS can do a second cardio session.
- Meal 5-Liquid Protein (preferably Casein) with Udo’s Oil or MCT Oil. (especially if doing 2nd session of Cardio)
- Training Day of Delts and Triceps (between 6-8pm)
- All meals will be essentially the same as Day 1
- Training Day of Back and Traps (between 6-8pm)
- All meals same as Day 4
Day 6 and Day 7 (Weekend for most folks)
- No Training
- Cardio can be done both days and twice a day if necessary. It can also be skipped altogether.
- The more fat you have to lose-the more structured and frequent your cardio sessions
- You have one unstructured-relaxed meal per day on Weekends (or two days a week)
Here is Jay’s 7 Day Carb Cycling Grid for Fat Loss demonstrating the following:
- Cardio/Training (Cardio is 1x (Morning)-Training Days, 2x(Morning/Night) on Day 3(Off Day) and 1x (Morning)Wknd (Days 6 & 7)
- Macronutrient intake detailing the variance in Carb, Protein and Fat calories daily
- Total Caloric intake by Day
Click on this image and choose ‘ZOOM IN’ from your browser then ‘VIEW MENU’ to look at this grid in greater detail
- As continually discussed in our podcasts, it is important to establish BASELINES and self experiment to figure out how your body type individually responds to your carb intake. (As a general rule of thumb, you must design your diet and calorie intake based on your goal. For the purposes of this article it is assumed one is trying to lose 10 pounds of body fat and thus eating reduced calories overall.)
- Your carbs should come from the following sources. If you are Endomorphic (naturally heavy) and possess a slower metabolism (usually more insulin sensitive) stick with Green Veggies as your primary carb sources except during or immediately post weight training.
- Fats when carb cycling should always come from EFA’s and preferably MCT Oil, Udo’s Oil, Coconut Oil and Pure Salad Oils like Olive Oil etc.
- Protein Powder Supplements are variable and should be based on quality and affordability. Fab Fit Over 40 recommends the following formulations.
- You CAN’T under any circumstances COMBINE SATURATED FAT and HIGH GLYCEMIC CARBS (SUGAR) TOGETHER. For example-don’t load your Sweet Potato with Butter and Sour Cream. You can’t also go out on the Weekend and destroy your progress by eating Apple Pie-Fudge and Ice Cream together. Avoid INSULIN BOMBS.
- Learn how to use Glucose Disposal Agents to better absorb carbs and protein into your muscle cells. Cinnamon, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Metformin, Gymnema Sylvestre, Chromium Picolinate are all great supplements to use before and after ingesting higher carb amounts.
- To keep your understanding of good carb sources simple, eat primarily Brown Rice–Sweet Potato(Yams)and Oatmeal. If you stick to these three sources of carbs and don’t put any refined additives on them you’ll be golden.
- Avoid or minimize Alcohol always.
- If you are attending a party or work function-have a small piece of whatever you’re being offered. Don’t be a robot. Remember do not combine FAT & SUGAR if at all possible.
- Order some 5-HTP and use it before bed to help restore serotonin levels. This is important if you have a lot of body fat to lose and want to carb cycle for extended periods at reduced overall calorie levels.
- Fat Burners (Thermogenics) are great for those choosing to utilize Intermittent Fasting (IF) as they significantly help with appetite suppression.
- If your goal is a single digit body fat %, reading this article will help with the last bit of stubborn fat.
If you would like us to design a program that’s fully customized for your unique lifestyle, go here.
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