Carb Cycling for the beginner

OK, to start this out let me say one thing:  this is by no means the definitive guide to carbohydrate cycling.  I’m putting this together for any readers who may want to try it and explore the possibilities of this approach to a body recomp.  This is very, very basic.  Carb cycling has been around for a long time, and there are many ways to go about it.  What I’m going to attempt to do here is provide a crash course to get you started.  This diet approach can be used indefinitely, you just have to tweak numbers to fit your goals.  The basic goal to carb cycling is drop fat, and increase strength, but you can use it for lean bulking as well.  Right now I am currently in the middle of my carb cycling/contest cut for strongman nationals.  I’ve managed to drop from 200lbs to under 185 currently and zero noticeable loss in strength.  Let’s move on to the meat and potatoes of this whole thing.


You break your daily diet into 3 different days.  These three days are basically low carb, regular carb, and high carb.  Now I’m a man.  That means I like meat.  If you’re reading this and think you’re a man but don’t like meat very much, check your pants because you’re probably missing some critical plumbing required of men.  You cycle through these days during the week.  Typically you would do a low carb day on a non training day, a high carb day on a hard training day like squats or deads, and the normal carb day works pretty good for upper body days.  If you don’t have a day that you squat or dead lift, please see the same info on meat eating if you’re a man.  If you’re a woman however, please see the pic.  If your harder days are the days you bench and curl in the squat rack, you’re doing it wrong.


Let’s talk about the days.  When I say low carb, I mean low carb.  Processed carbs should be zero.  Actually you should limit your intake of them anyway, but we’re human.  Two or three days out of the week shouldn’t be too difficult to not eat bread or pasta.  My low carb days I only eat veggies for my carb source.  I’m easily under 50g of carbs on these days and probably closer to 30g.  This isn’t an exact science, you’ll have to figure out what works best for you.


Normal carb days are how you should normally be eating.  Don’t start packing in donuts and spaghetti on this day.  Actually I’d advise against donuts most of the time, but it’s your body so do what you want.  This is the day I eat “normally”.  I’ll have some sort of carb in the morning, lunch and/or preworkout, and postworkout.  Into the evening I won’t have any, but still have my protein sources.  I’m typically in the 100-150g range for carbs on this day.  These numbers have been working for me, so I won’t change them.  I like complex carbs, and carbs from veggies and fruits.


High carb days are just as they sound, high carb.  This is the day I will go up to 300-500g of carbs.  It’s also my hardest and heaviest day of training.  To give you an example of where I put this day, I have a training cycle that puts 2 heavy days one week, and 3 heavy days the next.  So the first week I have 2 high carb days and the next week I have 3.  One of these high carb days is always on the weeked.  Why?  I’ll tell you why my little minions, if I’m going to have a high carb day I’m going to plan it for a time of entertainment as well.  Go out to dinner, watch some football with the boys, go see some ballet…I mean MONSTER TRUCK RALLY.  You get the idea.  Just don’t go hog wild and throw down 1,000g of carbs on this day.


So by now I would think you have a pretty basic idea of how this should be set up.  If you know what a carb is and how to read a nutrition label, you should be able to do this quite easily.  Since we all have different goals, I’m not going to go into the quantities of the other macros and total calories.  You’re just going to have to make sure those quantities are in line with your goals.  All I really ended up doing for my carb cycling diet is took a close look at my typical daily intake of total calories, and the breakdown of fats, carbs, and protein.  On low carb days I cut out most of the carbs with the exception of carbs from veggies, and added in a bit more protein and fat.  Normal days were just normal days.  High carb days I added in extra fruit and starchy veggies, and maybe an occasional slice of cake.  If this entire post did nothing for you, I hope I can leave you with a positive image.





~ by steamcrypt on September 25, 2012.

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