The Benefits of Carb-Cycling

Good morning you lovely lot! Sorry for the quiet spell on the blog, it’s been pretty hectic at Amy Lee headquarters! Planning loads of upcoming bits and my online coaching books will be opening again soon, it’s all very exciting! So I figured this week I’d hit you all up with some diet info and something I personally like to do, Carb-Cycling.

What the hell is carb cycling? baguettes on bicycles?

No, you won’t be seeing any bread items trying to reach those pedals! Essentially carb cycling is a nutrition programme where you alternate your carbohydrate intake each day. I personally do this with all my personal training clients, I structure them as Low-Carbohydrate, Moderate-Carbohydrate and High Carbohydrate throughout the week. It’s been proven to aid in fat loss whilst keeping your energy levels high, no negative effects to your metabolism and because we never drop that calorie goal low or cut out carbohydrates it also stops those craving and hunger pangs you get on a stupid low-calorie plan. (I’m not naming-names, but seriously – stay away from sachets thinking they’re meals)!

Amy you always have some math in these nutrition posts, where it is…

The above statement is so correct, nutrition and fat loss is math. It’s energy in vs energy out at the end of the day, it’s an equation. Nutrition alone can’t help you reach your goals, but I’d say it’s a good 75-80%.

Now this is how I structure the days out, and I’m not saying my way is the right way but one of my girls has almost lost a stone in under two months following my nutrition plan and HOME body weight workouts – so you have no excuses, do the work and get the results.

High Carbohydrate days are a split of – 30% Protein – 20% Fats – 50% Carbohydrates

Moderate Carbohydrates are a split of – 30% Protein – 35% Fats – 35% Carbohydrates

Low Carbohydrates are a split of – 40% Protein – 40% Fats – 20% Carbohydrates

Cool beans, now I’ve got my macro percentage split – now what

Now you need to implement the above to your benefit, if you do heavy leg training on a Saturday there is no point having that as a low carbohydrate day. On training days you need the extra fuel for energy, if that fuel isn’t available you’ll fatigue before you’ve even really started!

My advice is to utilise those low carbohydrate days as your rest days, and the carbohydrates you have in your meal plan – consume earlier on in the day while you’re up and about. If you get home from work at 6pm, have tea then sit and catch up with Corrie, doss on social media then go to bed – there is no point having a heavy carbohydrate meal for your tea as your body doesn’t need the energy. You’d be better off fuelling it with some high quality protein, a good mix of fibre rich vegetables and a small portion of complex carbohydrates. This breakdown will aid your muscle repair as you relax, fibre rich vegetables will help your digestive systems and complex carbohydrates will be slowly released so won’t give your body a blood sugar spike before you hit the hay!

On your high carbohydrate day try to have a good amount of complex carbohydrates before your training sessions to give your muscles the glucose they require for energy, excess dietary carbohydrates are also converted into glycogen by the liver. Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscle cells and is a secondary source of energy. If you were to cut your carbohydrates too low this glycogen wouldn’t be available and the body would rely on your muscle for energy, again as I explained on a previous post – your body will utilise your muscle for energy before it utilises the fat store.

Post workout you want to have something high protein and simple carbohydrate based to help drive the nutrients into the bloodstream to help feed your muscles. One to two hours post workout your body is in the anabolic phase which means your muscle cells are primed for muscle-building. Simple carbohydrates spike your insulin levels, this pushes amino acids into the muscles to start the process of repair.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 00.51.55

 

Above I’ve made a little chart to show you the glycemic index, the red is the simple carbohydrates (high sugar) the green is your more complex carbohydrate (low sugar) and amber is anything in-between! If you have a sweet fruit like pineapple, you know it’s high in natural sugar so it’s not going to be low on the GI list. Depending where you are post workout you could have an egg white omelette on brown toast with a bowl of yoghurt and mixed fruit with granola. This creates a good mix of quick and slow release energy with high protein, simple and complex carbohydrates and fruit for vitamins and minerals.

What else can I expect from Carb-cycling

So it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, unfortunately on those high carbohydrate days you will experience water weight gain. For every gram of carbohydrates we consume we store four gams of water, insane right? So for myself I average a carbohydrate intake of over 200g so that means I store 800g of water on these days. I kept my maternity jeans for a reason, not just for the all you can eat buffet!

Again, other than post workout really try to stick to those complex carbohydrate options. The other thing to consider is – it’s not an excuse to binge on high carbohydrate days. Yes, you have more carbohydrates available that day but still be conscious of what you’re consuming and ensure you stick to your calorie goal.

Ensure you consume two litres of water per day – just while I feel like a teacher telling you what to do! Consuming enough water will stop dehydration, it also helps your organs work optimally. This alone increases your metabolic allowing you to burn more fat, and lastly it allows nutrients and oxygen to travel to organs and cells. Water also regulates our body temperature, removes waste and protects joints and organs!

I hop you have found that interesting and hopefully helpful, f anyone has any questions please just drop me a comment or message on here! Don’t forget to go give me a follow over on Instagram to see what I’m up to day-to-day and to take part in future polls of what products to review and posts to write. I continue to put these posts up to try help as many people as I can, I remember what it was like when I first started training – there is conflicting information EVERYWHERE! So if I can be of some help my job is complete!

I will be doing a product review shortly, and I will also be posting a little update of my strength training programme (this is week four). I’ve had a stomach bug this week so that has pushed things back a little but I’m listening to my body and resting up, hopefully I’ll smash at least one workout this week. Recovery is key though!

Thanks for reading and please drop me a like if you enjoyed this post – Peace xo

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