Sunday 13 May 2018

Throughout my teenage years and early twenties (and thanks to TOWIE), I was let to believe that carbs were the enemy. I'm not saying that eating a pizza or bowl of pasta every night is good for you, because it's not and you will notice your junk getting bigger progressively. However, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to follow a 'no carbs before Marbs' diet just to get your body looking it's best. The truth is there is not one plan that fits everyone, as everyone's body is different. For me I've found a combination of intermittent fasting and carb cycling work for me, whereas I know others who practice keto (high fat/no carb) and find that works for them. To put it simply, carb cycling is well, cycling your carbs. If you want to find out more about carb cycling, how I do and examples of carb cycling keep reading my bread loving friends.

carb cycling

What is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is essentially 'cycling' the amount of carbs you eat on a particular day. So on certain days you will be getting a higher amount of your macros from carbohydrates than on others. I tend to keep my protein levels at the same amount (130-135g) and raise my fat levels slightly on my lower carb days. It's important to know that you shouldn't be filling yourself with simple carbs and cakes just because you 'can' as you probably won't get the results you're looking for and will be disappointed. 

Why does carb cycling work?

Carb cycling works because it keeps your body guessing and it doesn't get used to pulling energy from one source and more importantly, doesn't stall your metabolism. When on a low carb diet, your insulin sensitivity increases which can help with burning body fat instead of energy. When eating high carb, you produce more of the hormone leptin which keeps you fuller for longer, and therefore you are less likely to binge eat.

The problem with following a low or no carb diet for a long period is that a. your body starts to get used to this and stops burning fat, your metabolism slows down, and eventually you're going to be so deprived of carbs that you're going to walk past a cake shop and run for everything and then need to run for the Gaviscon after. 

Creating your carb cycling plan

There are different approaches to creating your carb cycling plan. Some people change the amount of calories they consume in the day and may also change their fat/protein levels accordingly. Some people strictly do high carb days and days where they consume 0 net carbs. I try and keep things as simple as possible. 

The first thing you want to do is calculate your normal macros to either lose, maintain or gain weight/muscle. This calculator does a pretty good job of working it out for you. 

My protein levels always remain at 1g of protein per lb of body weight so I try to aim for 132g of protein daily. 

According to the IIFYM calculator, my daily fat intake should be 56g of fat

The rest of my calories I will get from carbs which tends to be around 129g of carbs

In terms of calories, I will try and aim for 1400kal. 

How my macros/calories change on lower/high carb days. 

I split my cycle in to 3 amounts - low, medium and high carb days. My macros for my medium carb days usually look like the above, or I try to aim for 100g of carbs. I plan my high carb days (twice a week) when I'm going to be lifting heavier weights and working on the booty (because we want that to keep growing) and on those days I will slightly increase my carbs and lower my fat so my macros look like this:

Protein: 132g
Fats: 25g
Carbs: 150g - 175g 

On my lower carb days, I aim for upper body workouts and cardio. I actually feel more lethargic when I eat larger amounts of carbohydrates so find I have higher endurance levels with these macros. My macros for these usually look like this:

Protein: 132g
Fats: 65g
Carbs: 50g 

In a week my typical week split may look something like this:


My experience with carb cycling

I know what you're probably thinking, this seems like a lot of work and calculations G. Which is why I don't follow it religiously and there are weeks where I don't follow it at all. I just try and plan ahead roughly whether I'll be having a H/M/L carb day and factor in foods that fit those macros. For example if I know I'm going out for pizza with my friends on Saturday, I'll make that my high carb day & leg day, because I'm deffo gonna be consuming over 150g of carbs ya get me?

I found this has been a good system for fat loss and curving cravings as I know I don't have to say goodbye to pasta, toast / mayo and cheese and such for good. I do find it's a good plan that fits with my fitness regime and will allow me to maximise my results. I am hoping to do this for a month continuously and cut down on the cardio just to see what my 'gainz' are.

As always, this is just a guide from my findings and experience, but it isn't something for everyone! To show my appreciation for carbs in the comments, I'd love to know what your guilty carbalicious pleasures are - for me it's always pizza and cheesy garlic bread. 


carb cycling

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