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Thread: Carb Cycling 101 & 102

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    Default Carb Cycling 101 & 102

    For those who are considering a carb cycling/timed carb diet, this should help get you started.

    Keep in mind there is no 100% right or wrong way to design your cycle. Creating your cycle with two low/no carb days back-to-back is ideal for rapid fat loss becuase the less insulin present, the more fat your body will oxidize for energy. If, on the other hand you are trying to maintain/gain lean mass while burning fat using carb cycling, and you do not like, or can not tolerate having back to back low/no carb days, there are many different ways to utilize a carb cycling/timed carb diet.

    It is also important to make certain your will be replenshing glycogen post WO (expecially after weight training). And thus, heavy training days (such as legs, back, chest) should be done on high-carb days. You may also find that lifting in the AM after a high carb day works well, then eat carbs in the two meals following the AM training sessison and then switch to protein and fat for the remainder of the day. This is a variation of carb-cycling/timed carb diet for that particular day. There are other factors involved, btu I am trying to keep this simple.

    I have tried many different cycle vairations of low,no,high days. These provided the most rapid fat loss. I have also tried (and currently using) a carb cycling/timed card pseduo diet by eating carbs in my first 3-4 meals, and then fats and protein only for the remainin 2-3 meals. Here is some basic information on the subject. I also like the way Iron Addict (Wes) explains his theories on the subject. Links to his website and my carb cycling thread are listed below. I have also included a post I made on my carb cycling thread (listed below) entitled Carb Cycling 101 to get you started...

    My Carb Cycling/Timed-Carb Diet Thread: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=457715
    Another nice viewpoint on TCD from Iron Addict (Wes):
    http://www.ironaddicts.com/More%20timed%20carb.html &
    http://www.ironaddicts.com/timed%20carb.html?t=1761

    Carb Cycling 101

    Use this calculator to figure what your daily caloric intake needs will be based on your goal (i.e maintenance, weight loss, rapid weight loss). http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm

    Next, take this daily kcal amount, and plug into this calculator http://www.freedieting.com/tools/nut...calculator.htm to determine macronutrient (carb, protein, fats) needed to hit these totals.

    As for the macro ratios to use, some basic suggestions would look like this:


    No-Carb Day
    15% of kcals from Carbs
    45% of kcals from Protein
    40% of kcals from fats


    Low-Carb Day
    30% of kcals from Carbs
    45% of kcals from Protein
    25% of kcals from fats


    High-Carb Day
    45% of kcals from Carbs
    40% of kcals from Protein
    15% of kcals from fats


    Keep in mind the following:
    1 gram of protein = 4 calories
    1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
    1 gram of fat = 9 calories



    Example: For bodybuilder whose maintenance level is 3,000 kcals and is looking to lose weight slowly to ensure minimal muscle loss. His target daily kcal intake is approximately 2,500 kcals per day...


    Hi-Carb Day: (2700 Calories)
    40% Protein x 2700 Calories = 1080 calroies from protein (approx 270g)
    45% Carbs x 2700 Calrories = 1215 calories from carbs (approx 303g)
    15% Fats x 2700 Calories = 405 calories from fats (approx 45g)

    **Hi-Carb Note: Allow for a few extra total calories because of hi-carb intake and the fact that you do not want to sacrafice any protein intake**


    Low-Carb Day: (2500 Calories)
    45% Protein x 2500 Calories = 1125calories from protein (approx 280g)
    30% Carbs x 2500 Calories = 750 calories from carbs (approx 185g)
    25% Fats x 2500 Calories = 500 calories from fats (approx 55g)


    No-Carb Days: (2500 Calories)
    45% Protein x 2500 Calories = 1125 calories from protein (approx 280g)
    15% Carbs x 2500 Calories = 375 calories from carbs (94g)
    40% Fats x 2500 Calories = 1000 calories from fats (approx 111g)


    The next step will be choosing the right foods in each of these groups to hit the desired totals. Not all carbs, fats and protein are created the same. I recommend researchign insulin sensitivity also for anyone who is not familiar with the importance of creating this within your body.


    Here are some good choices in each macro:

    Carbs:
    Sweet Potatos/Yams
    Long Grain Rice
    Oatmeal (I prefer rolled oats)
    100% Whole Wheat Bread (if you need bread this is the best choice. darker the better)
    Beans/Legumes
    Granny Smith Apples
    Melon (very alkaline; helps keep ph lower)
    Trace carbs found in dairy products.

    Protein:
    Tuna (drained well)
    Salmon
    Chicken (skinless)
    Turkey
    Lean Beef/Steak
    Whey
    Cottage Cheese/Caseinate
    Skim Milk
    Peanuts

    Fats:
    Sesamin/Sesam Seed Extract
    Flax Seed/Oil
    Fish Oil
    Hempseed
    EV Olive Oil
    Natural Peanut Butter
    Walnuts
    Cashews
    Almonds
    Pecans

    Fibrous Greens: (fiber is very useful in shielding carbs from being idgested. is also useful in aiding satiety; i.e. "feeling full".
    Spinach (raw)
    Broccoli
    Basically anything dark green, save cucumbers (water) and avacoados (fats).


    Note: There are many other choices which would fit in the above. This is just a base list.

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    Carb Cycling 102

    In Carb Cycling 101 (above) we gathered the information needed to design our macronutrient (carbds, protein, fats) totals for no, low and high carb days. We also now have an incompete, starter list of the "approved" list of foods we can use to hit these macro totals.

    Now, we need to deisgn a weekly carb "cycle" of no, low and high carbs days, designed around our weekly exercise regimen. This is where it becomes important to "time" our carb intake, or "limit" it to the times when our body actually needs the glucose.

    Insulin Sensitivity vs. Insulin Resistance:

    It is important to realize that your body will retrain itself to use stored adipose (fat) for energy in the prolonged absence of insulin. Insulin is produced in repsonse to raised levels of blood sugar. The more "sugary" a food you eat, the more insulin you body produces in repsonse. There is one additional factor involved, and that is the topic of insulin sensitivity vs. insulin resistance. Training your body to become more sensitive to insulin means you will produce less and less in repsonse to food, and protein/carb uptake into your muscles will be much easier. Not only will lower insulin levels aid in glycogen/protein resynthesis, it will trigeer you body to produce the fat burning hormones and enzymes,and thus your body will urn to fat for energy versus glucose. The following link is a must read on this subject: http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/magaz...urningdiet.htm

    That said, we now have a base understanding on how our body works, and how to manipulate our body to choose fat for energy. Another interesting note is your body will begin to spare glycogen when turngin to fat, and this is great news for bodybuilders becuase yor body will only use stores glycgen in the lover and muscles during high-intensity exercise. Post WO is when we will need to replenish our glycogen stores and eat our carbs...

    Post Workout:
    We should always have at least .1 gram of carbs per lb of lean bodyweight post weight training, regardless of the time of day. Here is an example:

    200lb bodybuilder with 20% Bodyfat...

    200lbs x 20% BF = 160lbs lean bodymass (LBM)
    160lbs LBM x 1.0 = a minimum of 160g of carb post WO

    This is your "window of opportunity" to replenish your intra-muscular glycogen stores, which not only store energy for future workouts, but also give your muscle that "full" look. Here is another must read on this particular subject: http://abcbodybuilding.com/windowofopportunity.php

    Here is a quote for a personal trainer I highly respect called Iron Addict (Wes), who outlined this in an easy to understand way...



    Rest of the Week:

    On non-training days, that is when we should put the emphasis on avoiding carbs during our last 2-3 meals and stick with fats and protein only. There are many variations to this, including avoiding carbs all week except post WO on training days, followed by a weekly "refeed" or "carb-up" day. You combine this with having "no-carb" days on non-weight training days. (These are the same principles I have tried to follow when doing full on carb cycling.)

    Example: (200lb bodybuilder; 20% BF having carbs Post WO only)
    Monday - No Exercise - No-Carb Day
    Tuesday - Chest - Front Delts, Tris - No-Carbs Pre WO, 160g carbs post WO
    Wednesday - Back, Rear Delts, Bis - No-Carbs Pre WO, 160g carbs post WO
    Thursday - AM Cardio - No-Carbs
    Note: you will want to perform cardio at low intesnity, say 60% max heart rate to prevent your body from turning to glycogen for energy.)

    Friday - Legs - No-Carbs Pre WO, 200g carbs post WO
    (legs are large muscles so increase carb intake some.)

    Saturday - No-Exercise - Carb Refeed Day 250-300g complex carbs.
    Have a cheat meal if you need one )

    Sunday - No Exercise - No-Carb Day

    Note: If you are having carbs on non-training days, you will NOT need 1 gram oer lbs of lean bodyweight post WO. Lessen this amount in accordance with how many carbs you eat at other times.

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    Great thread!!

    I used this as a template when I created my Carb Cycling/Timed Carb style diet.

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    Awesome post man, this is what I need to try and do to cut up. I did Atkins for a year and lost 50 lbs but coudn't gain much muscle at all without carbs. I've actually gained most of the weight back from bulking again and getting back into supps. If it's ok, I'm gonna copy and paste this to a txt file for myself (not to plagerize at all) so I can print it out and have it handy on my wall.

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    yeah man this is good stuff...when plan my cut next spring i'll definately have to check this out again...

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    Carb cycling is definately the way to go.

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    i've been thinking of trying a carb-cycling diet for a while, so maybe i'll give this a go soon. nice post!

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    For anyone who has used a carb cycling / timed diet could you post your workout splits / carb days here?

    will definitely be trying this diet on my next cut...

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    glad i found this post, i restructured my diet and will post it soon on my log.

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    Default new here, looking @ carb cycling

    Been checking out this thread and the t-nation link for carb cycling codex.

    Anyone built a handy dandy spreadsheet for calculating your feeding needs? i'm working on one for me but then thought maybe some spreadsheet guru (who also happens to be a musclehead) may've already built one that would allow one to input weight and get bmr, adjust bmr for fatloss or muscle gain, and preferably have actual calorie/macro splits for the HighCarb/ModerateCarb/Low Carb days.

    like i said, i am making one for me but it probably wont be all that polished, so just wondered if anyone knew of a spreadsheet out there or had made one theyd like to share.
    i'm always amazed at how easy it is to let nutrition fall by the wayside when you dont keep it all in check. looking at today's calories, i'm WAY under my protein requirement if using 1.5g/bodywgt. no wonder i've been dragging and feeling stalled this last couple of wks. but you just get busy with life, get distracted etc. thanks.

    if mine ends up looking ok upon rough draft, i'll share and see if any of you want to offer up edits to make it more accurate or fix any mistakes in logic.
    Last edited by zoemorn; 02-12-2009 at 03:33 PM.

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    Default Bulk

    Can you bulk using the same concept? I have read different articles on it, but I am kind of confused.

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    I am doing this and my maintenance is quite low, don't know if that is the right number.
    Also on my low-carb days I am supposed to have 273g of carbs. Usually this would be the number I would hit on high carb days. I always thought low-carb is anything below 120g.
    Now to my question is, would I still be able to lose fat even though I am consuming 273g of carbs?

    Any help would be appreciated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NocturnalReign View Post
    I am doing this and my maintenance is quite low, don't know if that is the right number.
    Also on my low-carb days I am supposed to have 273g of carbs. Usually this would be the number I would hit on high carb days. I always thought low-carb is anything below 120g.
    Now to my question is, would I still be able to lose fat even though I am consuming 273g of carbs?

    Any help would be appreciated!
    It depends on alot on the carbs you take in bro. If u are staying to whole grains, veggies, oats, sweet potatoes, and other slow digesting(complex) carbs, then your chance of gaining fat will be lowered alot. Idk how much you weigh but for me, 273 would be an ok amount of carbs to take in(Im roughly 193 and very fast metabolism. If you are not sure, give it a few days and track yourself in the mirror. Your body will let you know! Good luck man
    "Greater love hath no man, than to lay down his life for a friend" John 15:13
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerson12 View Post
    It depends on alot on the carbs you take in bro. If u are staying to whole grains, veggies, oats, sweet potatoes, and other slow digesting(complex) carbs, then your chance of gaining fat will be lowered alot. Idk how much you weigh but for me, 273 would be an ok amount of carbs to take in(Im roughly 193 and very fast metabolism. If you are not sure, give it a few days and track yourself in the mirror. Your body will let you know! Good luck man
    I am 5'8 and weigh 160 pounds. I always hear that low-carbohydrates are the way to go. Then again, being chubby when I was younger makes me fear carbohydrates. I don't know if I have a fast metabolism or not, but I had always been 160 pounds throughout my life even when I ate crap. Guess I would have to experiment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NocturnalReign View Post
    Guess I would have to experiment.
    That sounds like a plan. It shouldnt take too long for you to figure out. But I gonna guess that amount of carbs is good.
    "Greater love hath no man, than to lay down his life for a friend" John 15:13
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    Who in their right mind would drink 160g of carbs in a PWO shake though

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    Default resurrection

    So, things are a little quiet on the forums, or at least the forums i've been looking into.

    Wondered if there's anything new in the realms of carb cycling to update what is already mentioned in this thread? I want to employ carb cycling (or SOMETHING) to help get my BF down to a % in which my belly fat would finally give way to glorious abs. I constantly argue with a pal of mine regarding dieting down as he says I need to eat eat eat and focus on bulking up.
    I read the article http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_a..._about_bulking
    i believe posted elsewhere around here, and one statement in there seems to indicate it'd be best to get your BF to where you kinda want it and then proceed with adding enough cals that you're gaining (without adding too much mind you) - and I think this is what I'd like to do. just still having a struggle to both maintain some resemblance of muscles while trying to get that stubborn belly fat down (its not a lot, i just think it hides my abs too much for my preference).
    The information here looks really good, but i just realized that for the last week or so, i've been messing up what was supposed to be "low carb" days, and mine were more like no carb keto days. So if you're me, and would really like to kill a little bit of that lingering belly fat hiding the abs you work hard at getting in the gym, would ya go "keto" days for a couple days, switching to carb up days on bigger days like legs/back, or chest?
    advice, links to updated carb cycling info, or just further carb cycling tips appreciated.
    thanks.
    my specs are:
    5' 7
    usually holding at around 162-165 lbs depending on if i'm eating alot or not.
    not sure of my BF, but with the fat around the mid section i'm guessing i'm still in the 13-15% zone wanting to be at <=10%
    low carb days really drain me, making me irritable and don't like them very well, but i'm just not confident that going ahead and taking those carbs in along with cardio a few times a week is gonna allow me to get that BF down, but maybe someone you more experienced can lend me assurance or tips.
    Currently i've started trying to increase cardio some by jogging 1 - 1.5 mi once or twice a week, usually in the 13-14 minutes range. I do like HIIT, and probably need to fit that in some more, my workout sessions are really tight due to work so its tough to get it in. doing a 4 day split, maybe should cut it back to 3 day split and see if i can then also do 3 cardio session alongside it (2 on off days, 1 during an "on" day)

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    I use carb cycling during m contest preps. I go 100 grams of carbs more on the 2 days I do legs. I do this for its obvious fat loss benefits and also because when my calories are low a heavy leg workout can be tough to get through. That is if you are doing legs the right way! Yes that was a shot at half sqautters and leg pressers, thighs to chest, ass to calves, if not dont count it as a rep.
    If you have to tell people how good you are, you probably arent that good.

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