My contest prep starts on Friday. As I have said several times, I am SO excited to start leaning out!!!
This year, I have a different game plan. I have spent the off season working really hard to build as much muscle as possible. We all know, that is a difficult task for women. Last year I cut calories and did a ton of cardio. This year I am trying my best to keep my calories higher and do minimal cardio. I am not a fan of cardio, so if I can get out of it, it’s a great thing ha ha ha. My game plan this year will be carb cycling.
Yes, imagine it will be like this on some days ha ha ha ha. I do love my carbs 😉 There is no cookie cutter method to losing fat. This is the method I want to try this year. Carb cycling, not only aids in weight loss, but also helps you maintain strength, muscle, and possible still build some. There are two ways I have read to do it. One is have high, moderate, and low days. the other is high, low, and no carb days. I decided to go with that option. Most seem to have less high days, but I decided, especially with it being the beginning of my prep, to have 3. You rotate the days to accommodate your training. For me personally, my high days will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Those are my heavy lifting days. With Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday being my low days, since I either do not lift heavy, or they are just a cardio day. Saturday will be my no carb day, because it is always my rest day.
With Carb cycling, your higher days almost act as refeed days. Your hormones, t3, and leptin levels raise naturally which aids in fat loss. On your low days, your calories are lower, so your body starts using it’s fat reserves for energy. These days I will probably do LISS to help burn more. As I get further into prep, I may or may not adjust how many high days I have. I may add moderate days. It all depends on how my body will react to the changes.
High Carb Days:
- stimulate an insulin response that moves nutrients in your muscle cells, causing them to grow
- replenish glycogen stores that fuel your muscles
Low Carb Days:
- promotes fat loss by tricking your body into burning fat for fuel (instead of the sugar from the carbs it would normally get)
- keeps your body more receptive to insulin, improving your body’s muscle-building response
Initially, I was intimidated by the idea of carb cycling. I had first heard about it when I did Jaime Eason’s LiveFit program back in 2011. I had skipped that part, because it seemed very complicated. Last year, same thing, the idea of trying to track my macros differently everyday seemed very difficult. To be honest, I had never really researched how to carb cycle, nor it’s benefits.
Learning what is going to work for me is what I am experimenting with now. On high days, fat grams are lowered and vice versa. I have calculated mine this way….
High days: Carbohydrates 2g per lb
Protein 1g per lb
Fat .15g per lb
Keeping my fiber at 30g
So my macros will look like this
2136 Kcals, 320g Carbs, 160g Protein, 24g Fat
Low days: Carbohydrates .5g per lb
Protein 1.5g per lb
Fat .35g per lb
Keeping my fiber count at 15g
Macros will be 1784 Kcals, 80g Carbs, 240g Protein, 56g Fat
No Carb days: Carbohydrates 30g or less
Protein 1.5g per lb
Fat .5g per lb
Fiber will not be an issue on this day
Macros will be 1800 Kcals, 30g or less Carbs, 240g Protein, 80g Fat
Just as I always do, the bulk of my carbs (about 70%) will be eaten pre and post workout.
After 3 weeks, I will take 1 week off and keep my macro moderate.
1920 Kcals, 160g Protein, 224g Carbs, 25g Fiber, 43g Fat
I am excited to not only try a new approach, but to see how it works!!!
Have you ever carb cycled?
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References: http://mountaindogdiet.com/media/interviews/dr-layne-norton/ http://www.simplyshredded.com/layne-norton-the-most-effective-cutting-diet.html http://www.machinemuscle.com/carb-cycling-101/ http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/carb-cycling-cardio-10981.html https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/shredded-cutting-diet-plans-eating-tips-freaky-physiques.html