T Nation

Carb Cycling Progress is Stagnating

22 y/o
lifting for 4 years (more or less intermediate: high bar back squat is 400, deadlift is 430, best bench is 285–more like 265 now, push press 3x2x200)
Supplements: creatine, whey, BCAA’s, magnesium, zinc, Tribex, vitamin D3 daily

I’ve been carb cycling for about seven months now, eating most of my surplus on training days. I followed a 5 day split for the layers system from and gained about 25 pounds between November and April. The most I’ve ever weighed is 215 at about 25% bf (that was a little over a year ago). I’m 5’7, btw. Before I started the layers system and carb cycling I’d leaned down to 175 and 10-12% bf with a ketogenic diet, only eating carbs peri-workout. I slowly reintroduced carbs in the first few weeks, working my way up to a max of 300 carbs on training days. I continued this way, hitting 250-300 grams of carbs on training days and 100-200 on non-training days until I reached 200 pounds and 19% body fat. I didn’t want my body fat to go any higher at this point, so I dropped my carbs lower on the rest days. For the past month I’ve been hitting anywhere from 40-80 grams of carbs on non-training days and 170-200 grams of carbs on training days. My protein intake has stayed constant throughout at 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. On non-training days I’m taking in about 2400 calories, more or less 45% protein, 5-10% carbs, and 45-50% fat. On training days I’m closer to 2700. I switched from the layers system to the complete power look program (wrapping up week 9 now), and I haven’t been doing any cardio yet. All my carbs come either in the morning or peri-workout. Peri-workout I have 30 grams of maltodextrin and 15 grams of fructose or dextrose. When I was doing the layers system, however, I was using 30-60 grams of dextrose peri-workout, which I think accelerated my fat gain.
So here’s the question: I’ve been eating lower carb/calorie for about 6 weeks now, but I have yet to notice any changes in body composition. My weight has stayed around 197 (with only one or two pounds +/- fluctuation that I attribute to muscle glycogen) and if anything it seems like my lower belly fat has increased. I am doing everything that I know to do: cinnamon, blueberries in the morning, timing my carb intake as per the carb cycling codex suggestions, 8-10 hours of sleep a night, very low general life stress, and eating all of the clean foods that the article recommends. After finishing the power look program I’ll be on vacation for two weeks. I plan to take the opportunity to drop carbs back a little more, as I won’t have access to any heavy weights (i’ll just be doing some light hypertrophy work with dumbbells and machines). When I return home I’m thinking of starting Built for Bad or some kind of strength circuit and maybe slowly introducing some metabolic sessions to the ends of my workouts to start leaning out again. Can anyone see anything here that I’m missing? Am I just being impatient?