Dieting Strategy: Carb Cycling

Dieting Strategy: Carb Cycling

Andrew Berry / October 27, 2013

“Carbohydrate cycling” is the method of dieting where you rotate your carbohydrate intake using either “high and low days” or “high, medium and low days.”

Low Days:

on these days your body is not producing much insulin due to the lack of carbohydrates. Remember that insulin blocks the actions of the fat loss initiating hormones and enzymes when it is present so these days are your fat burning days. Proteins and healthy fat intake will be higher. These are the days where you will not be weight training but you can do cardiovascular.

High Days:

these days are the opposite of your low days. Your carbohydrate intake will be several times higher than the low carbohydrate days. Having these high days does several things. First off it stimulates and keeps the metabolism high. Remember that when you are on a diet, your metabolism will drop if you do not hit the metabolic “reset” button. Having several high days throughout the week will keep your metabolism running high. Additionally, the high carbohydrate days will allow you to refill your glycogen stores, letting your body refill the muscles and liver with usable energy (glycogen) to power your workouts. These high days are for your harder and heavier workouts like legs and back. Spread these days out so that they are not back to back.

Medium Days:

are similar to High days just not quite as high. They should also be used on weight training days and are better for lower intensity bodyparts and workouts.

Based on each individual’s progress, the number and amount of each type of day can be adjusted to fit their needs and goals. If you the results are not coming quick enough, first add an extra 35 minute cardio session to the weeks total and then change a High carbohydrate day to a Medium carbohydrate day.

Sample week setup if you are using a typical bodybuilding bodypart split:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Body

Part

Delts

Biceps

20 min Cardio
45 Min CardioAbs

Back

20 min Cardio

45 Min Cardio

Chest

Triceps

20 min Cardio

45 Min Cardio

Abs

Legs

Day

Med

Low

High

Low

Med

Low

High

Sample week setup if you are training in an Upper/Lower fasion:

Macronutrient Set Up: Men
Carbohydrate Protein Fats
High BW in lb. x 1.75 g/lb. BW in lb. x 1 g/lb. low as possible
Medium BW in lb. x 1 g/lb. BW in lb. x 1.25 g/lb. BW x .2 g/lb.
Low BW in lb. x .25 g/lb. BW in lb. x 1.5g/lb. BW x .35-.4 g/lb.

Macronutrient Set Up: Women
Carbohydrate Protein Fats
High BW in lb. x 1 g/lb. BW in lb. x .7 g/lb. low as possible
Medium BW in lb. x .5 g/lb. BW in lb. x 1 g/lb. BW x .15 g/lb.
Low BW in lb. x .20 g/lb. BW in lb. x 1.2 g/lb. BW x .25 g/lb.

Remember that the actual calories will be a little higher to account for the extra calories that we don’t count such as the protein in oatmeal. We count the total calories but not the protein because it is incomplete.
Sample Carbohydrate Rotation Meal Plan for a 185 pound Male (High Day)

Protein: 185 lb. x 1 g/lb. = 185 g (31 g/meal)

Carbohydrate: 185 lb. x 1.75 g/lb. = 325 g (65 g/meal over 5 meals)

Fat: as low as possible

Meal 1: 32 g Protein, 65 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fat

8 egg whites
¾ cup oatmeal w/ non-calorie sweetener
2 slices of ezekiel grain bread
1 fish oil pill

Meal 2: 32 g Protein, 65 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat

5 oz chicken breast
2 medium sweet potatoes
4 asparagus stalks

Meal 3: 30 g Protein, 55 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (pre-workout meal)

4 ¼ oz chicken breast
1 cup white rice

Meal 4: 30 g Protein, 90 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (post-workout)

1 ¼ scoop of whey protein
50 grams of dextrose or waxy maize
½ cup oatmeal w/ 20 raisins

Meal 5: 32 g Protein, 45 g Carbohydrate, 0g Fat

5 oz chicken breast
1 cup brown rice

Meal 6: 30 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 11 g Fat

6 egg white + 1 whole egg
⅕ cup feta cheese
½ cup spinach
1 fish oil pill

Daily Totals: 2132 kcal, 320 g Carbohydrate, 186 g Protein, 12 g Fat
Sample Carbohydrate Rotation Meal Plan for a 185 pound Male (Medium Day)

Protein: 185 lb. x 1.25 g/lb. = 231 g (38 g/meal)

Carbohydrate: 185 lb. x 1 g/lb. = 185 g (37 g/meal over 5 meals)

Fat: 185 lb. x .2 g/lb. = 37 g

Meal 1: 38 g Protein, 34 g Carbohydrate, 11 g Fat

9 egg whites
¾ cup oatmeal w/ non-calorie sweetener
1 fish oil pill
1 tbsp. almond butter

Meal 2: 38 g Protein, 38g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat

5 ¾ oz. chicken breast
1 large sweet potato
4 asparagus stalks

Meal 3: 38 g Protein, 30 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (pre-workout meal)

5 ¾ oz. chicken breast
¾ cup brown rice

Meal 4: 42 g Protein, 50 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (post-workout)

1 ¾ scoop of whey protein
25 grams of dextrose or waxy maize
½ cup oatmeal

Meal 5: 32 g Protein, 30 g Carbohydrate, 9 g Fat

5 oz chicken breast
¾ cup brown rice
1 tbsp almond butter

Meal 6: 40 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 14 g Fat

9 egg whites
⅕ cup feta cheese
½ cup spinach
1 tbsp. almond butter
1 fish oil pill

Daily Totals: 1967 kcal, 182 g Carbohydrate, 228 g Protein, 35 g Fat
Sample Carbohydrate Rotation Meal Plan for a 185 pound Male (Low Day)

Protein: 185 lb. x 1.5 g/lb. = 278 g (46 g/meal)

Carbohydrate: 185 lb. x .25 g/lb. = 46 g (all post-training)

Fat: 185 lb. x .35-.4 g/lb. = about 70 g

Meal 1: 44 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 11 g Fat

8 egg whites plus 2 whole eggs
1 cup spinach
2 slices of ezekiel grain bread
1 fish oil pill

Meal 2: 46 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 10 g Fat

7 oz. chicken breast
1 tbsp almond butter
4 asparagus stalks

Meal 3: 46 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 10 g Fat (pre-workout meal)

7 oz. chicken breast
1 tbsp. almond butter

Meal 4: 48 g Protein, 50 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (post-workout meal)

2 scoops of whey protein
25 grams of dextrose or waxy maize
½ cup oatmeal w/ splenda

Meal 5: 46 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 16 g Fat

7 oz. lean top round steak
large green salad
2 tbsp. olive oil & vinegar

Meal 6: 48 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 17 g Fat

9 egg white + 2 whole egg
⅕ cup feta cheese
½ cup spinach
1 fish oil pill

Daily Totals: 1888 kcal, 50 g Carbohydrate, 278 g Protein, 64 g Fat
Sample Carbohydrate Rotation Meal Plan for a 140 pound Female (High Day)

Protein: 140 lb. x .7 g/lb. = 98 g (16.5 g/meal)

Carbohydrate: 140 lb. x 1 g/lb. = 140 g (28 g/meal over 5 meals)

Fat: as low as possible

Meal 1: 16 g Protein, 28 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fat

4 egg whites
2 slices of ezekiel grain bread w/ glaze of low carb sugar free jam
1 fish oil pill

Meal 2: 16.5 g Protein, 24 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat

2 ½ oz. chicken breast
1 medium sweet potatoes
4 asparagus stalks

Meal 3: 16.5 g Protein, 28 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (pre-workout meal)

2 ½ oz. chicken breast
½ cup brown rice

Meal 4: 18 g Protein, 30 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (post-workout)

¾ scoop of whey protein
½ cup oatmeal w/ 20 raisins

Meal 5: 16.5 g Protein, 28 g Carbohydrate, 0g Fat

2 ½ oz. chicken breast
½ cup brown rice

Meal 6: 16 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 6 g Fat

4 egg white
⅕ cup feta cheese
½ cup spinach
1 fish oil pill

Daily Totals: 1015 kcal, 138 g Carbohydrate, 100 g Protein, 7 g Fat
Sample Carbohydrate Rotation Meal Plan for a 140 pound Female (Medium Day)

Protein: 140 lb. x 1 g/lb. = 140 g (23 g/meal)

Carbohydrate: 140 lb. x .5 g/lb. = 70 g (23 g/meal over 3 meals)

Fat: 240 lb. x .15 g/lb. = 21g

Meal 1: 24 g Protein, 24 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fat

6 egg whites
½ cup oatmeal w/ non-calorie sweetener
1 fish oil pill

Meal 2: 23 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat

3 ½ oz. chicken breast
4 asparagus stalks

Meal 3: 23 g Protein, 23 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (pre-workout meal)

3 ½ oz. chicken breast
½ cup brown rice

Meal 4: 24 g Protein, 24 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (post-workout)

1 scoop of whey protein
½ cup oatmeal w/ non-calorie sweetener

Meal 5: 21 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 7 g Fat

3 oz salmon filet
2 cups broccoli

Meal 6: 27 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 14 g Fat

6 egg whites
¼ cup feta cheese
½ cup spinach
1 tbsp. almond butter
1 fish oil pill

Daily Totals: 1050 kcal, 71 g Carbohydrate, 142 g Protein, 22 g Fat
Sample Carbohydrate Rotation Meal Plan for a 140 pound Female (Low Day)

Protein: 150 lb. x 1.2 g/lb. = 168 g (28 g/meal)

Carbohydrate: 140 lb. x .2 g/lb. = 30 g (all post-training)

Fat: 140 lb. x .25 g/lb. = 35 g

Meal 1: 22 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 6 g Fat

4 egg whites plus 1 whole egg
1 cup spinach
1 fish oil pill

Meal 2: 30 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 5 g Fat

4 ¾ oz. chicken breast
½ tbsp almond butter
4 asparagus stalks

Meal 3: 30 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 5 g Fat (pre-workout meal)

4 ¾ oz. chicken breast
½ tbsp almond butter

Meal 4: 24 g Protein, 32 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat (post-workout meal)

1 scoops of whey protein
½ cup oatmeal w/ splenda + 20 raisins

Meal 5: 27 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 8 g Fat

3 oz. lean top round steak
large green salad
1 tbsp. olive oil & vinegar

Meal 6: 24 g Protein, 0 g Carbohydrate, 5 g Fat

6 egg white
½ cup spinach
½ tbsp. almond butter
1 fish oil pill

Daily Totals: 1021 kcal, 32 g Carbohydrate, 157 g Protein, 29.5 g Fat

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