Getting Started With Carb Cycling
We have covered the basics of carb cycling, now it is time to dive into a little more detail. As we know carb cycling is different for each person depending on bodyweight, body fat, and goals (although the basics stay the same). The less body fat you have the more carbs you can eat and tolerate, therefore you will be able to have more high and medium carb days than someone with higher body fat.
Below is a simple guide to determine how many carbs you should incorporate when carb cycling and how to break up your high carb, medium carb days, and low carb days.
As was stated in part one, if you are currently over 15% body fat you should focus on having six low carb days followed by one high carb day each week. Once your body fat falls below 15%, you can start to incorporate more and more carbs into your diet. But until that time your focus should be to follow a lower carb routine throughout the week with just one high carb day each week.
Now lets take a look at carb cycling for those under 15% body fat:
To keep things simple, we will be using the following carb cycle routine:
• High carb on training days
• Medium carb on training or rest days (preferably training days)
• Low carb on rest days
You should not have two back to back high carbs days on this nutrition plan. You should cycle through each of the high, medium, and low carb days for best results (see example below).
No matter if doing a medium or high carb day, you should try and eat the majority of your carbohydrates before or after your workouts. Look at the example high carb workout day below (In our example a high carb day is 200 grams of carbs):
Breakfast: 50 grams of carbs
Pre-workout: 75 grams of carbs
Post-Workout: 75 grams of carbs
Timing your carbs around workout times and earlier in the day will help maximize lean muscle growth and minimize fat storage.
In part one, I mentioned that you should divide up your macronutrients evenly over the course of your meals. However, on higher and medium carb days it is more beneficial to keep the majority of your carbohydrates around workout times. As for protein and fats, you should spread those out over the course of your meals.
Next I would like to go over a basic version of carb cycling. These are not exact numbers, but enough to get you started. So be sure to adjust for best results.
Depending on your current body fat will determine the amount of high, medium, and low carb days you will have each week. If you are closer to 15% body fat you should stick to having one high carb day per week while having more medium and low carb days. If however you are closer to 6-8% (or lower) body fat you can get away with having up to 3-4 high carb days and see great results.
If you are unsure of where to start, it is always best to start lower and adjust up. You don’t want to start out by incorporating too many carbohydrates and start gaining unwanted fat. Depending on body fat, start with 1-2 high carb days per week and adjust accordingly.
Between 10-15% body fat
If you are on the higher end of our body fat range, you should use the carb cycling system below:
High Carb Days Per Week: 1-2
Medium Carb Days Per Week: 2-3
Low Carb Days Per Week: 2-4
High and medium carb days should be done on workout days and lower carb days should be on off days. If you are closer to 15% body fat you should use the lower number of days for high carb days and higher number for low carbs days.
Under 10% body fat
High Carb Days Per Week: 2-4
Medium Carb Days Per Week: 2-3
Low Carb Days Per Week: 1-3
Keep in mind, the lower body fat you have the more high carb days you can enjoy. So if you are closer to 5% body fat you can have 3-4 high carb days per week while if your closer to 10% body fat you should stick with the lower number above!
Carbs per pound of bodyweight
Below I will cover a basic outline you can follow for determining how many carbs you should be eating on certain days. These are estimate so be sure to adjust accordingly:
Between 10-15% body fat
High Carb Days: 1.5-2 grams per pound of bodyweight
Medium Carb Days: 1-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight
Low Carb Days: .5-1 gram per pound of bodyweight
If you are closer to 15% body fat you should use the lower end of the numbers above.
Under 10% body fat
High Carb Days: 1.75-3 grams per pound of bodyweight
Medium Carb Days: 1-2.25 grams per pound of bodyweight
Low Carb Days: .75-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight
Once again, the lower your body fat the more grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight you can handle.
It is always better to start with eating a lower number of carbs than to start too high. So adjust up instead of having to adjust down. This will ensure that you do not gain unwanted fat!
Carb cycling takes a little bit of time to get used to and to really find the sweet spot of how many carbs you should be eating. The guidelines above are far enough to get you started and then you can simply adjust accordingly for best results. Find the amount that works best for you and start cycling!
Carb Cycling Example
In our example, we are going to use a 200 pound male who has 10% body fat. He works out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and does sprints on Saturdays. Here is what a carb cycling week may look like:
Monday (Workout Day): High Carb
Tuesday: Low Carb
Wednesday (Workout Day): Medium Carb
Thursday: Low Carb
Friday (Workout Day): High or Medium Carb Day
Saturday (Sprints): Medium Carb
Sunday: Low Carb
Notice how high carb and medium carb days are on workout days and low carb days are on rest days. Next, take a look below at the amount of carbs the person in our example will indulge in on each day:
200 pound male with 10% body fat:
High Carb: 200 pounds X 1.75= 350 grams of carbs
Medium Carb: 200 pounds X 1= 200 grams of carbs
Low Carb: 200 pounds X .75= 150 grams of carbs
As you can see, you can refer back to the guidelines above and find how many carbs you should be eating on each day. Once again, it is better to start with a lower amount of carbs and adjust up rather than starting out eating too many and having to adjust down. Once you get going it is very easy to find the sweet spot on this plan.
Protein and Fat
When carb cycling, your protein intake should stay around one gram per pound of bodyweight. Unless your carbohydrates are very low, there should be no need to go much higher than that. On your low carb days you can get away with eating up to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight but other than that a great rule of thumb is to stay around one.
As for fats, you should not be scared of them if you are eating the right kinds of fats. This includes eggs, coconut oil, grass fed butter, etc. On higher carb days it will work better to have less fat while on low carb days it is fine to have a higher amount of fat. However if you stay consistent and stay away from the bad fats, you will see great results.
Carb cycling will bring you some incredible results when done correctly. The guidelines above and in part one are far enough to get started right now. Work on finding your sweet spot on this nutrition plan and watch as you melt off fat and build ripped, lean muscle in a very short period of time.
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