Carb Cycling For Summer

EXCLUSIVE tips from physique pro Joe Ballinger...

16APR15 ARTICLE

Some dieting strategies quickly go in and out of fashion, while others are unscientific or simply don't work! However, carb cycling is a scientific approach to nutrition that's used by virtually every serious physique trainer during contest preparation to burn fat and feed muscle! Furthermore, it's a highly effective method for regular guys to use over a 4-6 week burst to develop a leaner, more muscular physique in time for summer. We caught up with Joe Ballinger to give you the essential information you need for successful carb cycling – including how to ensure it burns fat optimally, while maintaining muscle mass.

A PRIMER ON CARB CYCLING – BURN FAT:BUILD MUSCLE!

Carb cycling is the concept of manipulating the density of carbohydrate rich food in a physique training diet – specifically cycling between periods of low (typically 50-150g or less daily) and high intake (typically 200-350g). In general, carbohydrates are a double-edged sword for anyone wanting to build an awesome physique. On the one hand, having muscles loaded with glycogen maximises training intensity, boosts mental drive and supports maximum muscle anabolism and metabolism. But on the downside, excess carbs can impair fat loss by elevating insulin levels and shifting the body into a sugar burning (as opposed to fat burning) mode. Furthermore, chronic carb consumption can impair the insulin sensitivity of muscle cells – AKA their capacity to suck-up anabolic nutrients and maximise lean growth!

DEPLETION PHASE

When stacked with intense training, a hardcore approach to slashing carbs will deplete muscle glycogen and produce low levels of insulin in the blood stream – creating the ideal cellular environment for a fat burning storm. At the beginning of the depletion phase, you're able to train with hardcore intensity, despite the ultra-low carb intake.

The potential benefits:The potential negatives:
  • Burn-up stored muscle glycogen
  • Metabolic rate reduction
  • Elicit hardcore fat burning
  • Low training energy
  • Increase insulin sensitivity in muscle cells
  • Muscle catabolism
  • Reduced natural anabolic hormones
  • Reduced leptin levels and hunger cravings

 

Supplement essentials: Once muscle glycogen falls, your body will switch to burning other sources for energy – that means fat, but also potentially muscle! The other downside is reduced training focus and energy. These negatives can be off-set with a pre-workout such as X-PLODE RIPPEDCORE™ stacked with BCAAs such as AMINO INTRA RIPPEDCORE™ during training.

RELOAD PHASE

Strategically using high carb re-feed days is the key to ensuring you get the benefits of low carb days – while minimising the risks and re-setting your physique building environment.

The potential benefits:The potential negatives:
  • Replenishes muscle glycogen
  • Fat storage from consuming excessive carbs
  • Resets metabolic rate and anabolic hormones
Key tip: To avoid 'over-spill' into fat storage, start out with approximately 200g of carbs on re-feed days. Stick to this for 10-14 days and monitor results and training quality. You can then experiment with a further 50-100g more carbs. The leaner you are – the more carbs you're likely to benefit from.
  • Drives growth nutrients into muscle tissue
  • Resets leptin levels to kill cravings

 

HOW TO CYCLE CARBS TO BURN FAT & BUILD MUSCLE

Now we've covered the basic of why carb cycling can burn the fat and feed your muscle this summer – it's time to put the strategy into action and set-up a plan. There are a lot of different carb rotation diets on the web – but Joe’s basic carb cycling rotation plan is a good place to start:

CARB ROTATION (1:3 RATIO HIGH:LOW CARB DAYS)

DAYCARB INTAKETRAINING
1200-300g30-40 minutes HIIT cross-trainer/rower before re-feed
250gHeavy lower body weights
350gRest day
450gHeavy upper body weights
5200-300g30-40 minutes HIIT cross-trainer/rower before re-feed
650gHeavy lower body weights
750gRest day
850gHeavy upper body weights
9200-300g30-40 minutes HIIT cross-trainer/rower before re-feed
1050gRest day

 

Protein intake: Keep it around 2g/kg body mass daily on all days.

Calorie and fat intake: Start with a daily calorie intake around maintenance (try 15kcals x body mass in lbs) then adjust depending on your results after 10 days. If you're not getting leaner then reduce your calorie intake by 250-500 daily on your low carb days. However, remember to replace most of the calories from carbs with healthy fats on your low-carb days (e.g. olives, fish oil, nuts, eggs, avocado, coconut, cottage cheese).

Example LOW CARB day:

In general, your low carb days should be based on protein and fat meals (e.g. steak and eggs, or protein shake and almonds). However, while ultra-strict carb cycling plans often recommend only consuming carbs from non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, you'll get most of the benefits by simply keeping your carb intake in the sub-50g to sub-150g zones, and consuming them post-training when they'll get absorbed into muscle without significantly affecting fat oxidation. This will also increase your capacity to train hard all week long. Being able to eat a snack such as a DIET PRO® FLAPJACK or banana on your low carb days is a highly effective way to forget you're dieting – sustaining you until your next re-feed day.

Meal 1: Steak + eggs + spinach + TRI OMEGA EFA™

Meal 2: Greek yogurt + almonds

Meal 3: Hard boiled eggs + tuna + green salad + olives

Meal 4: DIET PRO® FLAPJACK

PM weight training session + intervals

Post-workout: ULTRA WHEY™ PROTEIN

Meal 5: Grilled lamb kebabs + broccoli

Meal 6: GRS 9™ PROTEIN SYSTEM

Example HIGH CARB day:

On your high carb days, keep fat low and load-up on a variety of carbohydrate rich foods. If you have cravings, then some high glycemic carbs are OK – for example a couple of scoops of low fat ice cream and protein pancakes post-workout. Some research suggests the large insulin spike created by stacking high GI carbs and protein is ideal for restoring metabolic and hormonal function, following low-carb phases. However, ensure you then switch to more nutritious carbs such as sweet/jacket potatoes and oatmeal.

Joe BallingerAM interval training/weights circuit

Post-workout: OMNI MX® RIPPEDCORE

Meal 1: White rice + lean chilli mince then low fat ice cream + protein pancakes

Meal 2: Sushi + DIET PRO® FLAPJACK

Meal 3: Banana + Greek yogurt

Meal 4: Jacket potato + remainder lean chilli mince

Meal 5: OMNI MX® RIPPEDCORE + oats

THE BENEFITS OF CARB CYCLING

If you're looking for a 4-6 week summer physique fix to get lean and muscular – carb cycling is well worth considering. However, the principles of nutrient timing can be used all year round, without following a strict carb cycling plan:

Carb timing – Consume the majority of your carbs post-workout within 3 hours.

Low and high carb days – Boost carb intake on weight training days and taper them down on rest/cardio days. Replace some of the calories with good fats. You can also eat a calorie surplus on training days and at maintenance/a slight deficit on rest days, to promote leaner gains.

Cardio sessions – Don't consume significant amounts of carbs before cardio/interval sessions, if you're wanting to maximise fat oxidation.

Carb cycling when bulking-up – If you're looking to pack on serious mass for the beach, then you can still use the principles of carb cycling to get awesome results. For example, try taking 2 servings of OMNI MX® RIPPEDCORE every day for a hit of growth stimulating carbs and nutrients – but keep carbs low from other sources. Then load-up with a higher carbs on the days you hit the weights.

GET LEANER & MORE MUSCULAR – #BOSSIT WITH CARB CYCLING!

 

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