Boost your metabolism and burn more fat with carb cycling. Here’s how it works…
I get so many messages from women asking me about burning more fat. How can I burn that stubborn belly fat!?
The old me would have told you to increase the intensity of your workouts and to watch what you’re eating. Basically, eat less calories, burn more calories!
But lately, I have changed my tune around this old school stance on weight loss, and now, I would tell you something very different. There is a lot of new science out that debunks the myth of calories in vs. calories out. If calories in vs. calories out were to hold true, we could all lose weight easily just by adjusting the number of calories we are eating and burning. Simple, right?
But how many of you have done this before and failed miserably??
I sure have. Many times! And I know so many men and women who struggle with this.
This is why I’ve done a complete 180 degree turn in my stance on calories and weight loss.
Instead of preaching to my Drop a Dress Size challengers to just eat less and workout more, we now focus on optimizing hormones through nutrition!
Specifically, we focus on reducing our carbohydrate intake, increasing our healthy fat intake, and moderating our protein intake.
There has been a lot of talk about carbs over the past few years, and I have seen a trend towards low-carb diets lately, which is a good thing. However, I’m not convinced that an extremely low or no-carb diet is the way to go when you want to lose weight and make this a lifestyle change.
First off, your body needs carbs to function properly.
I’ve personally tried going on an extreme low-carb diet, and I failed miserably. I felt sick from eating so much fat and I actually started gaining weight. Am I saying a very low carb diet won’t work for you? No! This just proves that every body is different!
Just because I failed at a very strict low-carb diet doesn’t mean I’ve ditched the fat and now only eat carbs. In fact, I still like to keep my fats pretty high, but I now rotate between higher-carb days and lower-carb days.
WHAT IS CARB CYCLING?
Carb cycling is an eating plan that alternates high-carb and low-carb days. Yes, it’s that simple!
So why alternate high-carb and low-carb days? On high-carb days, you’re stoking your calorie burning furnace so that on low-carb days, your furnace burns FAT! This pattern tricks your metabolism into burning a lot of calories, even on your low-carb days.
BENEFITS OF CARB CYCLING:
Some of the benefits of carb cycling include:
- It’s easy to fit into any lifestyle
- You get to eat more of the foods you love
- You’ll build lean, strong muscles
- You burn more fat
- You have more energy
- You’ll feel more empowered
There are some things you should know about carb cycling before you try it:
HIGH-CARB DAYS SHOULD BE ON YOUR HEAVIER TRAINING DAYS
In order to see your best results, your high-carbs days should be on your heavier training days. For many, that would be on leg day! It could also be on a total-body workout day.
Your body needs carbs on these heavier training days. Carbs will help your muscles recover better and give you more energy for your workouts. Having a high-carb day on a heavy training day also assures that those carbs won’t turn into fat.
MAKE SURE TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CARBS
Just because you are eating more carbs doesn’t mean you want to be choosing unhealthy carbs like cookies, cakes, chips, etc. When it comes to choosing your carbs to eat, think grain-free carbs (i.e. sweet potatoes, yams, white rice, white potatoes, more vegetables, fruit.)
When you choose these carbs, your body burns them differently – they are stored in your muscles and therefore NOT converted into fat. But if you choose simple carbs like foods containing white flour and white sugar and even whole grains, your body will likely convert these carbs to fat since they aren’t stored in the muscles as readily.
DECREASE FAT INTAKE ON HIGH-CARB DAYS
Don’t forget to decrease your fat intake on your high-carb days. When most people increase their calories, they tend to increase both their carb AND fat intake for the day. But when you increase both your carbs and your fats, your body is going to turn that excess into fat, and that is NOT what we want.
For example, on my high-carb days, I aim to eat 25 – 35% carbs and 45-55% healthy fats. On my low-carbs days, I aim to eat 10 – 20% carbs and 60 – 70% healthy fats. My protein usually stays the same (around 20%.)
YOU MAY EXPERIENCE SOME WATER WEIGHT GAIN
Expect to experience some water weight gain on your high-carb days. For every gram of carbohydrate you consume, you’ll store four grams of water.
Don’t get alarmed over this! It’s a normal process and you aren’t gaining fat. On your low-carb days, you’ll notice that this gain will decrease. So my advice: STAY OFF THE SCALE!!
FIND THE RIGHT FORMULA
There are many different carb cycling schedules. How many days you want to eat high carb depends on you, your goals, fitness level, etc.
For example, I aim for five low-carb days and two high-carb days. My higher carb days (carbs being around the 25 – 35% range) are on my leg day and my total body day.
Just make sure not to put all your high-carb days back to back, you should space them evenly throughout the week.
Some people may do better with three higher carb days and four lower carb days. No matter which plan you choose, be sure to monitor your progress and consider adjusting your schedule to see what brings the best results for YOU!
Here is an example of my carb cycling meal plan:
So now that you have the information about carb cycling, do you think you’ll give it a try? Let me know in the comments!