In today’s society the consumption of food is very similar to sex.
Beat that caught your attention; food AND sex in the same sentence. 😉
I think though that more people look for pleasure with food than they do with sex. You don’t see people constantly seeking pleasure from sex in the way they do with food; rather, sexual pleasure, or any enjoyable activities is viewed to be indulged in at appropriate times.
Food on the other hand can almost be indulged at anywhere at any time of the day. Hence we will see people fornicating in the streets from what the hot dog vendor sells and not necessarily the hot-dog vendor himself.
With that said, for some individuals (mostly in the American culture) food becoming the new version of sex has led to some physiological and physiological issues, most notably obesity and the thought that we are ALWAYS hungry and that every time we eat we must have some form of a ‘foodgasm’.
Outside of the Western culture food is simply viewed as nourishment, not necessarily for pleasure. Sure eating some great food can be one of life pleasures buts that should NOT be food’s purpose.
So where am I going with all this talk of food orgies?
Yes carb cycling
Now you may have just realized that MAYBE you’ve been breathing a lot hotter and heavier with all the food and sex talk, and you’ve just be shot down with the same feelings of a letdown irritated night where you’re rolling over in bed because someone is not in the mood.
Let me explain how the two work.
What is Carb Cycling?
In the shortest most broken down version carb cycling is where you are consuming an ever changing amount of carbs on a daily basis. So an example would be the days you workout you have carbs and the days that you DON’T work out you do not have any carbs.
Carb cycling can get down to the nitty gritty of carb timing and amounts but for the purpose of this blog we will keep it fairly simple so not to overwhelm or bog you down with some of the finer details.
So how does this relate to sex?
Well, let’s use this metaphor; it’s like having one day of awesome sex then waiting a few days to do that again.
Now I can already hear what you’re about to say… “Why not just have awesome sex every night of the week?” Oh I wish it were that easy, but eventually something’s going to give.
Eventually even the awesomeness of promiscuous fornication can become predictable and routine… just like the body’s metabolism.
See… told you I would relate the two 😉
With the body on a chemical and hormonal level it can quickly adapt to a set routine and pattern structuring its energy systems to accommodate your dietary intake.
Look at it this way, the metabolism is just like a muscle and if you train a muscle the same way every workout your progress will eventually stagnate, sure you will have seen SOME improvements but probably NOT everything that you wanted.
In regards to metabolic hormones, they function in the same manner as a trained muscle. In most cases you will have noticed that you did get about 75% of the results that you were looking for BUT if you don’t change and manipulate things a bit you probably won’t see that last 25% you were wanting.
This is where we start carb cycling to really speed things up and begin getting that last % of change that you want.
Without getting to much on a nerd topic what we are doing is manipulating some key hormones in the body to help expedite the fat loss and muscle building process and carbs are some of the easiest way to manipulate these hormones.
Here are a few examples of a carb cycle program that I have put people on.
***Understand that these are starting points and as you get to know your body better you’ll have a better idea of how much you need to carb up or down and how often***
Day 1: High Carb
Day 2: No carb
Day 3: Low Carb
Day 4: Repeat Cycle
Day 1: High Carb
Day 2: No Carb
Day 3: Low Carb
Day 4: Low Carb
Day 5: Repeat
Day 1: High Carb
Day 2: No Carb
Day 3: Low Carb
Day 4: Low Carb
Day 5: Moderate Carb
Day 6: No Carb
Day 7: Low Carb
Day 8: Repeat
What are High Carb and Low Carb Days?
My methods for determining carb amounts for clients change as I go though our assessments but here is a starting point:
I tend to want to see about 40% of a person’s diet come from carbs ( the other percentage should be 40% from protein and 20% from healthy fats) and I will traditionally cycle around that number.
So a low carb day is about 20% of your days calories should be in the forms of carbs
Moderate carb day is about 40%
High Carb day is about 60%
I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you want a no carb day is 😉
If you don’t want to take the time to factor in percentages, sometimes I don’t blame you, here are some concrete numbers you can use as a starting point.
Low Carb is below 50 grams, moderate carbs would be 125 grams and a high carb would be 200 grams.
On days that your carbs change it’s important to make sure that you change your fat and protein intake so that you’re still hitting your calorie goal for the day. If you don’t you’ll end up doing a lot of calorie cycling and if you’re already in a caloric deficit it may not be the best thing for you to do in conjunction with the carb cycling.
Before you Start
Before you do ANYTHING I want you to have a full 7 days of zero carbs. This will completely flush out all the glycogen out of your system and start telling your body to go into a state of ketosis (long metabolic process of fat burn), thus when you are in this state the carb cycling just further manipulates the body’s state of ketosis accelerating fat loss.
You CAN start the carb cycling without the 7 day carb depleation BUT results happen a LOT faster if you carb deplete first.
I will say though that during your inital carb detox week (the first seven days) you can expect to have some carb withdrawl systpoms: headaches, lethargia, irritability, due to yoru body trying to make adjustments to its fuel systems.
THERE is a light at the end of the tunnel though because these withdrawal syptoms usually subside after about 3-4 days then you’ll wake up and feel fine, you’ll be surprised how much energy you will have because your body has begun to use FAT as its primiary fuel and NOT glycogen.
Which One Should You Do?
Here is the tricky part… it really is subjective per person and I generally factor into account exercise history, goals, current diet and intolerances etc… BUT I can give you the basic criteria that I follow when deciding what cycle that I want to have my client on.
Men that are below 10% body fat, and women below 19% body fat will usually start with the first option (option 1). Since they are in a lower body fat state their body’s can generally process carbs much at a much more efficient rate than most.
For men that are between 11-15% and women 20-25% will start with my moderate, option 2, carb cycling phase; for those men that are above 15% and women above 25% I will have them start with my third option.
As you body fat gets lower you eventually move into the different carb cycling options because as you get leaner you can eat more and if you’ve got some significant body fat to lose you essentially need to eat less carbs.
“You mean to tell me that if I need to lose weight I need to eat less carbs!?” <==== ground breaking science I know lol
Before I change topics I’ll say to get the most out of your carb cycle make sure that you are eating clean natural carbs; no funky processed sugars. I tend to follow the Paleo principle of “if you can’t grow it don’t eat it.” I have found that one tip alone makes a world of difference in the speed of results that you will get with a cycling program.
What can you expect to happen
These are tactics that bodybuilders and fitness enthusiast have used for years to really get themselves in a constant state of dropping body fat while preserving, if not in a lot of cases, gaining muscle at the same time.
The trick here is to pay attention to your body and see how you respond to the cycle, from there make adjustments to see where you lose fat faster.
You WILL lose body fat, on average I say a good goal is 1-2lbs of fat loss a week (fat loss and scale loss are two different things). I just want to make sure that you make an adjustment here or there to see where you lose it FASTER, from there you’ll have yourself pretty dialed in fat loss program.
As you get leaner, you feel sexier, and if you feel sexier the more sex your going to want. Don’t even act surprised that I brought that up again, lol.
A big reason that people work-out and manipulate their eating is that they want to look good naked and I’m here to tell you NOTHING is wrong with that.
When you feel that you look good then you’ll notice that just about everything is better… including (see pic above) 😉
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, CES, RBT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.
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