The Fun of Cyclin’ Them Carbs!

Posted: August 15, 2012 in Fat Loss, Muscle-building, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

We are in an ever-changing world, evidenced in the year 2012 more so than any years past. We landed a rover on Mars, and unprecedented feat to say the least, and we are developing a never before seen (well, aside from science fiction games, novels, and movies) aircraft that can speed from Tokyo to France in less than two hours! But nothing is more revolutionary, more life-changing, more ground-breaking than………….Carb Cycling!

Ok, I may have exaggerated for a pronounced effect, but this idea is still cool, though not at all new. Without going too far into the scientificy approach to the dieting system ( as you can find tons of articles on the internet), I will first discuss the basic tenants of the idea, then segue  into how this idea can benefit you new dads, moms, and busy, working youngsters.

As I stated previously, this method is not new nor is it all too revolutionary. It is one method among many to lose those stubborn pounds around your chest and midsection that you just can’t tick away no matter how many damn sets you do. or pack on that quality, lean muscle that has eluded you for all these months or even years! Let’s begin with the basics:

Your days of the week are going to be divided into three different diet patterns all based around the manipulation of your carbohydrate intake. They are High, Low, and Moderate or Medium. Dependant upon your body weight, you will consume a certain amount of carbs within each of the three “cycles.”

Now let’s be real here , no one reading this has the time to nitpick each and every gram to “maximize” your fat loss or muscle gain nor does anyone really want to partake in this form of madness (except you anal people out there!  You know who you are). Therefore I am going to make this easy for you.

The theory behind the practice is that by cycling your carbs, you body’s metabolism will not stall as it tends to do during a long fast from carbs (30 days or more), and your body will be better equipped to maintain the muscle it already has because it is being refueled or “refed” every few days or so on those high carb days. Oh, and the most important part, you get to eat however much you like for 1-2 days during the week so your mind doesn’t explode! Let’s begin!

According to the FDA, a person should arbitrarily consume around 2,000 calories per day regardless of age, sex, frame, or weight (Crazy! I know!) but i digress; 1,200 of these calories should, in theory, be obtained from carb sources such as bread, rice, vegetables, and fruits (your body’s primary source of fuel and greedy desire). That is around 300g of carbs as each gram of carb contains 4 calories. So, basically, the FDA recommends that 60% or our daily sustenance be derived from these nasty, fattening carbs that we hear so much about. That is a whole lot and does not leave enough room for protein (which translates roughly to  “in the lead” or “primary” signaling its great importance to organic life) or dietary fats(secret: some fat actually helps you lose weight!). But the other macronutrients are topics for another day.

The reason I bring up the FDA’s version of proper nutrition is to illustrate the exaggerated need for carbs. Don’t misunderstand me, carbs are fantastic for fueling everything from a cloudy mind to tired muscles and there is no substitute for their brand of power, but the sheer amount of carbs recommended by this agency is astronomical and does not reflect the actual energy expenditure that the average American produces. Basically, we don’t need that many carbs because most of our time is spent either in a desk or in front of the television. There are times throughout the day where carb intake is optimal and where the bulk consumption should be taken. But enough introduction; let’s get into the nitty and the gritty of this concept.

Let’s begin with the low or no carb day. You will consume anywhere from 3-6 meals evenly spaced throughout the day, composed primarily of proteins and dietary fats to make up for the reduction in carb intake. Protein sources should be derived primarily from whole food sources such as chicken, tuna, eggs, turkey, milk among other sources, the rest obtained from protein powders and the like. Your dietary fats should come from sources such as nuts and nut butters, healthy oils, and fatty fish such as salmon. Carb intake should be reserved (if at all consumed these two days) for the very early morning and after a good workout when your glycogen, or carb stores, in your muscles are depleted and should be refilled.  These should be composed of whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, vegetables and the more fibrous of fruits. Now, as I stated earlier, we have busy lives and counting calories is one hell most of us would like to avoid. So skip that part, eat a lot of protein and don’t overdo the fats and you should be well on your way to fitness!

Now that we have the foundation laid out and we know what to eat, let’s discuss the other two sections: the moderate (medium) days and the high carb days. For the moderate day we must maintain our decorum so as to not undo the previous no/low carb cycle and take the carb intake easy. For breakfast you can have your whole grain bagel and your low-fat cream cheese (throw in an egg or two for good measure) and for lunch you can have your nice, juicy piece of chicken and that small hill of brown rice. But eating more carbs means that you need to workout that day. Carbs are a source of energy for the body and should be burned off accordingly or they tend to be stored as fat. After your hard workout (I know you can break a hefty sweat!) you can consume your “white” carbs without too much consequence because your muscles have no sugar left. These include white bread, white rice, and other sugars. You are well on your way now!

The high carb day is fairly self-explanatory, just eat more carbs and burn them off that same day! On one of those days for one or two of those meals, go splurge. Eat whatever you want because you deserve it and your brain needs it. This ensures your adherence to the diet and is the beauty of this plan. You know that in three or four days you are going to tear up that piece of cake or scarf down that juicy fattening burger and it makes eating that plain ol’ chicken today much easier!

So that’s pretty much it. You can schedule your week in several different ways, for example: Mon-Tues: Low/No carb,  Wed/Thurs/Fri: Moderate, Sat/Sun: High. My tip is to schedule whatever works best for you, just make sure you get in the three cycles. You may have lunch meetings with clients on Tuesdays and Wednesday so you may want to have your High carb days then or you need to take out all of your weekly frustrations out on mountains of food during the weekend so you splurge on Sat/Sun. Don’t worry if you slip up a couple of times, that is what keeps us sane. Just make sure you jump right back onto the fit train come the next day. Good Eatings!

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Comments
  1. anonymous says:

    excellent post.informative and fun! you definitely know your foods. thanks!

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