We’ve all been given the advice that you need to look at your carbs if you’re going to lose weight right?
And by cutting them out you’ll shed a load of weight and feel a lot healthier?
Chances are, you’ve cut them out before.
And it has worked short term but you just couldn’t hack it.
How long did it last for?
A few days?
A few weeks?
Is restricting your carbs going to dramatically change your physique and answer all your weight woes?
But, there are ways, proven ways, which have been shown to be beneficial when looking to drop fat.
Because at the end of the day, we’re all interested in dropping fat and not weight.
I think most people have been hooked on the idea of carb manipulation because initially when cutting them and remaining in a deficit, you do lose weight rather quickly.
But that’s because carbs make your body retain water and glycogen.
So by depleting your carb stores or drastically reducing them you’re going to lose a lot of water weight and glycogen.
Thus appearing to lose weight faster.
And when you go back to normal eating, all that will just go back to normal.
So what carb cycling strategies can you apply to help you burn fat and retain muscle?
[bctt tweet=”Any diet will help you lose weight IF you’re in a caloric deficit and your protein is of a decent amount” username=”team_ufit”].
The answer to most people’s questions when starting to lose weight is to look at your energy balance.
You need to be burning more calories than you’re consuming and once you’ve got the hang of that?
These 3 strategies might help you take your results to the next level.
So what are they? And how can you use them?
Cycle your carbs between training and non-training days.
This typically means a higher carb, lower fat training day and a lower carb, higher fat non-training day.
Why does this work though?
Carbs fuel your performance, it’s why gives us our energy. It also helps us build muscle.
On the other hand you’ve probably heard it wreaks havoc on our metabolism, triggers fat storage and spikes our insulin levels.
So we have a dilemma?
Do we or do we not consume carbs??
Well by having higher carb days on the training days it will fuel our workouts, by refilling glycogen stores and positively affect our hormones.
and by having lower carb days on the days we require less energy it’s supposed to ramp up fat burning as we’re not going to be storing as much energy for the day when it’s unneeded.
But it’s important to note you have to stay in a deficit in order for this to work.
A typical week may look like this
Monday – Training – High Carb
Tuesday – Not Training – Low Carb
Wednesday – Training – High Carb
Thursday – Not Training – Low Carb
Friday – Training – High Carb
Saturday – Not Training – Low Carb
Sunday – Not Training – Low Carb
Have carbs around your workout.
Our bodies are most receptive to carbs when we’re working out.
Our muscle & glycogen stores become depleted and so it’s probably a wise decision to fill them back up again.
Carbs spike your insulin and help transport protein to the required muscles.
They kick start your recovery process so by using them around your workout period you supposedly store less as they’ll be required by the body to do its work.
They’ll fuel better performance which in turn means you can lift heavier weights, go harder in the gym and in turn build more muscle.
Ever tried to do a workout depleted of energy?
Yeah, it’s a real bugger and not a fun experience.
By using this method and having a carb based meal after a workout, your body will be ready to soak up all those nutrients.
Try putting the majority of your carbs in the workout window.
That’s before, during and after.
A typical day may look like this
Meal #1 – High Protein & Fat
Pre Workout – High Protein & Carb
Intra-Workout – High Carb
Post Workout – High Protein & Carb
Meal #2 – High Protein & Fat
Meal #3 – High Protein & Fat
Go Low and refeed every 1-2 days.
This one is a little tougher and requires a bit more of a sturdier mind but if you’ve got it, and your body fat levels are already quite low, then refeeding is certainly a tool you should be thinking about.
You should also be comfortable with tracking your foods on apps like Myfitnesspal.
And it would be wise to get the basics right first, before moving on to more advanced stuff like this.
A refeed is a day where you’ll increase your overall carbohydrate intake in order to boost leptin levels and increase your fat burning rate.
And a hormone that is affected when dieting, and one that’s pretty important in your fat loss efforts is leptin.
Extended periods of dieting, being in a deficit and losing body fat means your levels of leptin drop as your body attempts to spare your body fat levels.
Again, your refeed should only occur when you have two things
- You’re trying to drop more body fat
- You’re in a deficit.
Just like the other two points above.
And when you’re getting leaner, remaining in that deficit is harder as your rate of fat loss slows.
So by introducing a refeed not only are you helping boost your leptin levels but you’re giving yourself a psychological boost.
And that is hugely important in determining the success of your program.
Refeeds are dependant on a few things, though, such as
- How lean you are
- How long you’ve been dieting for
- Your current carb intake
- How big your deficit is
How often should you be doing them then??
It’s difficult to say as everyone is different but once you’re down to around 25% for women and around 20% for guys.
Start with one every 1-2 weeks and see how that goes.
Increase your carbs by roughly 50% and put your calories back up to maintenance levels.
(This may mean you need to drop your protein slightly which is totally cool).
There you have it.
3 proven strategies for faster fat loss that you can incorporate.
I would follow the order here and not jump straight to a refeed if you haven’t started on the training / non training day splits.
Test it, measure it and tweak it as you go along.
If this all seems to much for you, you should probably check this out…