T Nation

Carb Cycling

CT I read your carb cycling article years ago, and wondered if you still a) recommend the basic carb cycling numbers and b) do YOU carb cycle continuously to keep your bodyfat sub 10%? Or when you get down under 10 is it easier to maintain where you are?

I am around 13-14% bodyfat, but I’ve come down from over 25%. In fact a couple of years ago I was at about 230 with estimated 26% bodyfat, and now I am at 195 and maybe 13.5, but stalled there.

This is primarily on a LOW, but not VERY low carb diet that is pretty consistent from day to day. I eat between 100 and 200 grams of carbs a day and about 2700-2800 cals to maintain, and of course try cutting 300-600 a day to bring my fat down.

What is the best way to get down from 13 to around 10% if I have stalled, and once I am there, should I have to do anything special to stay there?

CT has said he doesn’t like talking diet.

I’d read all the articles from Jade Teta on this site, and then take a look at Nate Miyaki’s recommendations. If you are stalled, you may need to boost your metabolism with more food to get the lean-out going again. I am in the middle of a “reverse diet” experiment, having dropped about 50 lbs of fat, and then stalled. My target macros were similar to yours.

Recently, I have been adding weight and keeping/improving my leanness by switching out more carbs and less fat on days I train, with all the extra carbs in the pre/post-workout window. Overall, my calories are up only about 200/day from before, and worked that for two months, then I dropped back to my previous plan of 120-160g carbs for two solid weeks, and brought out veins in my legs I’d never seen before.

I will probably go back and do that kind of cut again later, but for now I am trying to fine tune the carb intake on training days and add some lean mass. I’ll say two things about raising carbs:

  1. Don’t freak when you gain 4 lbs after one day at 300g of carbs. Its water weight, and will disappear after going low carb again for a day or two. However, you’ll want to be in that water-filled state to have stronger workouts and bring the metabolism up.
  2. Raising carbs around the workout is good, but it messed with my low-carb psyche/discipline that I had ingrained. I started eating carbs at other times, which is no longer strategic, its just cheating. I basically had to plan out only certain workouts to add the carbs, to make sure I wasn’t self-talking my way into more carbs at other times.

@Mert… I know this sounds against the grain from what you a lot of articles will say, but going through pictures of progress of mine, I’ve came to the conclusion that when I eat in tune with my body (hunger cues) and focus my eating on recovery and performance, rather than thinking in terms of fat loss…I always end up with my best results. If you are training hard and often, this applies even more. Many times for me eating more has led to more fat loss.

Yea, in the past as I’ve gotten into the 13s, I would eat more for a while (1-2 weeks), but get lower skinfolds and 4-7 pounds on increased weight. The problem I had was that it got me back on a carb-craving diet which also interferred with my sleep. My first instinct is to up my cals for a week to 10 days, I’m just worried that I’ll become insomniac again and just end up eating when I should be sleeping.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
CT I read your carb cycling article years ago, and wondered if you still a) recommend the basic carb cycling numbers and b) do YOU carb cycle continuously to keep your bodyfat sub 10%? Or when you get down under 10 is it easier to maintain where you are?

I am around 13-14% bodyfat, but I’ve come down from over 25%. In fact a couple of years ago I was at about 230 with estimated 26% bodyfat, and now I am at 195 and maybe 13.5, but stalled there.

This is primarily on a LOW, but not VERY low carb diet that is pretty consistent from day to day. I eat between 100 and 200 grams of carbs a day and about 2700-2800 cals to maintain, and of course try cutting 300-600 a day to bring my fat down.

What is the best way to get down from 13 to around 10% if I have stalled, and once I am there, should I have to do anything special to stay there? [/quote]
I’ve heard a lot of people say to take a break from dieting after about 12 weeks. I just never heard how long of a break. In the past , I lost all the fat I wanted just cycling carbs…high 350-400 gms on training days and low about 150 all in the 1st two meals of the day…rest of the day just vegetables for carbs on noon training days.

@Mert: I personally do better with no carbs 2-3 hours before sleep or high glycemic if I do…my sleep quality improves dramatically.

Pretty conflicted on this topic. I carb cycled in 2013 and really didn’t notice a huge difference between when I just counted kcals. The only thing was under more carbs, I’d be more puffy from water, but that was so transient.

Is this really something intended to make a difference in the already quite lean (10%bf)camp?