T Nation

Body Comp Change with Carb Cycling Codex


#1

Dear Thib, dear Community,

I’m in need of an advice in terms of body composition change. I’m 27 years old, 180cm tall
and weigh 75 kilogram.

I’ve been training for about 7 years, using a bodybuilding approach. As enthusiastic as I’ve
always been with my training, my approach on nutrition was the exact opposite. Since
eating has always been a pain in the ass for me and gaining weight was always
very hard for me, I never really paid much attention to it and therefore, I
only progressed very slowly, but that was ok for me. My goal was to get to 80
kilogram bodyweight, which as much muscle as possible while still having some
upper abs showing and slowly I got there.

Then, about a year ago, something must have changed with my body because I started
accumulating belly fat, although I only ate a little more calories, but not
from junkfood or something like that. Before, I could feel my abs pretty close
under my skin when I put my hands on my belly but now I could feel that there
was a growing fat layer covering them, especially underneath the belly button.
By that time I had reached 78 kilogram so I decided to eat a little less and
was at 74,5 kilogram within a couple of days, my body has always dropped weight
that quickly if I didn’t eat enough. The only problem was that the fat layer
stayed the same.

After a couple of weeks without any change I decided to follow a diet for the first
time in my life and chose the “Carb Cyling Codex” by Thib. Since my primary
goal was to regain my belly leanness and then get visible abs, I calculated my
maintenance calories based on 75 kilograms, thinking I should first pursue my
leanness goal, before using the diet to get to lean 80 kilograms of bodyweight.
If been now following this diet for three months and sticked to it very
closely, only doing one cheat day per week. And that cheat day consists of
junkfood and not forcing myself to eat past my appetite, feeling full all day,
so I think I’m eating less than my daily caloric demands for maintenance on
that day. I accompanied the diet with three days of training, using a
chest+shoulders/legs/back-split. So I diet-wise I had 2 high carb days, 2
medium carb days and 2 low carb days plus one cheat day (eating 30% carbs in
the morning and 70% carbs peri-workout). I’ve now been using this approach for
about three months, my bodyweight went down to 74 kilograms and I noticed that I
look more muscular in certain areas of my body. Unfortunately, nothing changed
with the belly fat. Referring to your “Shredded in 6 days”-article, my level of
leanness is between Level 1 and 2,my goal being Level 2 (and maybe in the
future Level 3, but one step at a time). A month ago or so, I restructured my
low carb days following the Carb Backloading Approach, so I ate most of my
carbs in the evening, but still, no visible changes.

I’ve thought of many scenarios of what to do and there are probably a lot more which didn’t
come to my mind:

  • adding cardio
  • increasing the calories
  • lowering the calories
  • cutting carbs and raise fat intake
  • changing the training approach (maybe to Athlete Lean Athlete Strong or The Layer
    System)
  • doing more core exercises

So could you please give me some advice on my problem? Thanks so much in advance!


#2

Thanks for posting, I’m sure a lot of people will have some good recommendations. Just my opinion, I don’t think your problem is a complicated one. It looks like you recently started trying to cut, like a few months ago, had a little bit of success and then your fat loss stopped. You still give yourself a cheat day a week, and only train 3x per week. The goal of being “x” weight seems arbitrary right now, if you want visible abs you need low body fat, then you can start slowly adding LBM. Just my thoughts here:

-Having visible abs means you need low body fat, around 10%. If you want a really visible 6 pack with clear lower abs probably closer to 8%. You can’t target belly fat specifically, fat loss happens everywhere, and the belly is often the last place to hold onto fat.

-If you’re serious about cutting why are you giving yourself a “cheat” day? Cheat days are HIGHLY overrated and should be calculated and utilized as a tool when needed. You should eliminate your cheat day and stick to a diet, you could easily undo quite a lot of progress eating like that one day a week. If you have trouble mentally sticking to a diet, then you need more willpower. When you want to achieve your goals more than you want to eat junk food, it won’t be a problem.

Unless I’m reading this wrong you’re only training 3 days a week, plus a cheat day a week, it should be no surprise you’re not losing fat. Try the Indigo Training Programs or something similar, or another 5 or 6 day a week program.
OR
Continue training 3 days a week and do fasted cardio on your off days, with a couple of HIIT workouts throughout the week on non training days.

Your primary goal is fat loss, so your training and nutrition need to support that, currently neither of them really do fully. So in summary, and again this is just my opinion:

-Train more frequently
-Add some cardio and HIIT
-Stop with the cheat day it’s not helping
-Do this until you reach your goals.

Hope this helps, be sure to post back with any questions.


#3

Nutrition will always win for fat loss. Ditch the cheat meals and adopt a diet you will stick with. I find Intermittent Fasting easy to follow when I am trying to drop fat. TC’s Athlete Lean Athlete Strong is excellent for Fat Loss, the Layer system would work best in a calorie surplus. I am a big fan of walking everyday and it aids in fat loss with almost no impact on recovery or joints (check out the article on walking on T-nation). I would avoid adding a lot of running or other high intensity cardio, beyond a once or twice a week short sprint session, as it interferes with recovery from your main lifts during a calorie deficit. You have to continually evaluate your calorie balance especially when losing weight but drastically cutting carbs is a bad idea. Eat as many carbs as you can while still losing weight.


#4

Hey guys,

thanks a lot for taking the time to reply to my question, I really appreciate it! Yes, the 3 training days per week are a result of my busy work schedule, but you’re really right. I shouldn’t do a cheat day, when I want to lose fat and I will add a cardio day, and maybe even a training day. After all, it’s not only my wish, but my goal to achieve that body composition, so I gotta work for it.