T Nation

Carb-Cycling

Tampa Terry,

You mentioned your Carb-Cycling protocol that you have been experimenting with as of late.

Could you detail how you combined your training and nutrition together? Did you weight train on both LC and HC days?

Did you do any energy-system work or strictly weight training?

Thanks for your insights,

You beat me to it!

TT - going back to what we were saying in another thread, this is something that I’ve been looking into. The approach I mentioned related to a daily diet similar to T-Dawg 2.0 but with greater attention to the amount and frequency of refeeds - in an effort to manipulate leptin levels and avoid bodyfat plateaus. I’d be very interested to hear more detail about your carb-cycling.

w-o-f

Tampa-Terry,
Thanks very much for offering to share what you have learned from your experience of carb cycling. You mentioned on the other thread various carb ratios VNC, LC and HC days inrelation to bodyweight. I am guessing that the calculation would involve using ones bodyweight in kilos. Some further clarification on this would be nice.

thanks,

bikeboy

Is good(CC) in Mass Phase ?

K-battis, the easiest way for me to give you an idea of how it works is to use you as an example.

A few questions: What days of the week do you work out? What’s your TBW, LBM and body comp goals?

Carb cycling is a concept or an approach, more than it is a RIGID, precise plan to which you have to conform. It is a rigid plan as far as carb choices go. But as far as how you cycle your days, it’s exceedingly flexible. Since everybody’s goals, needs, body comp and workout schedule are different, each plan would be slightly different.

It takes 3 weeks for the body to settle into new eating patterns. Adjustments to the program (if needed) are typically made at 2 or 3 weeks. That’s the beauty of the approach. It can be adjusted for fast or slow metabolisms.

In answer to your question, though, I decided to test this approach sans cardio; i.e., without cardio of any description. Energy system work can be done and is complementary, but it is not a critical component.

What I have noticed about carb cycling vs other dietary approaches is that scale weight is not lost quickly, especially if you’re doing a type of resistance training that provides a stimulus for growth/hypertrophy (EDT; ABBH, HST).

Maybe I can get apayne to stop by and share his experiences with CC.

Will-of-Iron, the same offer holds for you, since you’re the guy who started this whole thing. (grin)

There are many approaches to managing/maintaining leptin levels; cheat meals, Cyclical Ketogenic Diets (weekend refeeds), refeed meals, refeed days. The CC diet does positively and effectively manage leptin levels. One of the things I like about the diet is that cravings are non-existant. I don’t miss my cheat meals. I turn my nose up at pizza. I don’t lie in bed at night dreaming of chocolate birthday cakes (my particular “thing”).

T-Dawg 2.0, modified or not, and a CC approach are two entirely different animals, though. There is nothing in common between the two. Not that you can’t evaluate the approach, but it’s more of an either/or thing. You either do T-Dawg OR you do CC.

Bikeboy, the numbers I gave are based on pounds. If you were 100 kg, convert that to 220 pounds and use the numbers I gave.

I’ll lay out a plan for the first person that gives me the answers to my questions.

Tat, absolutely, yes, CC is an excellent and effective approach to bulking. There would be more HC and LC days. Whereas if the goals were to cut, there would be more LC and VNC days. That’s why I’m saying the approach is highly individual.

Tampa-Terry,

Thanks for your offer to help. Here are my current stats and some other info that might help. I look forward to your reply and thanks again for your insights:

Current bodyweight: 224 lbs.
Current BF %: 14-15%
Goal: 9-10% BF while staying as strong as possible

Current Meal schedule (very flexible): 6:30, 9:00, 11:30, Workout at 2:00 followed by immediately by Post-Workout Shake, 1 hour later I will eat again, 6:00, and a small protein/fat meal before bed.

Training Schedule: 4 days/week of intense resistance training, typically on a M,T,Th,F split. This is very flexible as well.

I am open for anything Tampa-Terry and I look forward to your response.

Thanks TT. I guess i was all wrong there. That is considerably more carbs than i expected.

this sounds a lot like dr squats zig zag diet…

they cycle total calories per day not carbs…I think :slight_smile:

but they also eat more on training days etc…

tterry have you tried that particular nutritional aproach??

santiago

Okay, Kbattis, no pun intended, but you’re the first up to bat, so let’s have some fun! (grin)

Protein Requirements = 1.0-1.5g x TBW/day (245g-367g/day). “Ideal” Protein Intake = 285g/day.

Notes: The protein in 4 of your meals should come from lean sources:

  • Chicken (white meat)
  • Turkey (white meat)
  • Tuna fish (canned, water packed, or fresh)
  • Fish (flounder, shark, etc.)
  • Shellfish (all types)
  • Protein powder (LC, of course!)
  • Lean beef (including lean cuts of steak)
  • Egg whites (Egg Beaters)

The protein in 2 of your meals should come from fattier sources:

  • Chicken (dark meat)
  • Turkey (dark meat)
  • Salmon (canned or fresh)
  • Eggs (half whites, half whole eggs)* Steak and other meats (not exceptionally high-fat cuts)
  • 14g of fat from peanut butter, mayo, olive oil, flaxseed oil, heavy whipping cream

Fat Requirements = .4-.5g x LBM/day (76g-95g/day)

Meal Requirements = 6 meals per day. Since you have higher protein requirements, you can have a middle of the night protein shake as a 7th meal.

If you have a slow metabolism, difficulty losing weight or low energy expenditure during the course of your day, start at the low end of the range.

There are three types of days. Virtually-No-Carb (VNC) Days, Low-Carb (LC) Days and High-Carb (HC) Days. Based on your current workout schedule, I’d recommend the following:

Eating Patterns Based on Workout Schedule
Sun = Low-Carb
Mon = High-Carb
Tue = Low-Carb
Wed = No-Carb
Thu = High-Carb
Fri = Low-Carb
Sat = No-Carb

Carb Requirements

VNC = 3 servings of green veggies in 3 separate meals

LC = 245g/day in 3 P+C meals; 3 servings of fruit; 3 servings of green veggies (all in separate meals)

HC = 490g - 980g in 4 P+C meals; 4 servings of fruit; 3 servings of green veggies (all in separate meals)

Notes:

  • A serving of fruit = 50-100 cal.
  • A serving of green veggies = 1 cup. Any veggie that is <50 cal per cup is okay.
  • Carbs on HC days should come from brown rice, yams, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, Kellogg’s All-Bran (High Fiber) Cereal.
  • Make sure you eat the minimum amount of carbs on HC days (2g x TBW). Eat until you are full and satisfied, but not stuffed. Remember that you can eat up to 4g x TBW.

Kbattis, the information above is based on your situation. I’ll include some general, philosophical information in separate posts.

Additional Notes:

  • One of the carb meals on LC and HC days should be Surge if you work out on those days. Never neglect your PWO nutrition.
  • Make sure you’re getting roughly equal amounts of polyunsaturated fat (fish oil), monounsaturated fat (olive oil or avocados), and saturated fat (found in the meat you eat).

Why/How Carb Cycling Works

A deficit is created on the Virtually-No-Carb days. High-Carb days replenish glycogen and help maintain leptin levels. Due to partitioning effects (and the overall weekly calorie deficit), one is unlikely to gain fat even with a caloric surplus on the High-Carb days.

Don’t Let the Scale Derail You

Whatever you do, do NOT weigh yourself on a daily basis. Wild weight fluctuations are going to occur as you deplete and refill glycogen stores. Remember that for every gram of glycogen stored (or lost), 3 grams of water are also retained (or lost). Also, you are likely to look and feel bloated at the end of (and the day after) your High-Carb days. When you do weigh yourself, make sure it is on the same TYPE of day.

Cooking & Food Preparation

Carb Cycling is a strict diet. It does not allow for calories (whether they be fat, sugar, or what-have-you) added at the preparation or cooking stage. You cannot fry or add butter or oil. You cannot add salad dressing (except for Walden Farms and even then, only 2 tablespoons) or breadcrumbs. You cannot add sauces or glazes.

You can use no-cal or very low-cal substitutes. As an example, vinegar, soy sauce, and mustard are fine. Pam is recommended, as are most spices and grilling, broiling, boiling and baking.

You are allowed to drink diet sodas, coffee or tea (black with artificial sweetener only), sugarfree Jell-O, and Crystal Light, and other things containing artificial sweeteners.

Uh-oh! Terry just hit y’all upside the head with the new hotness!!! The secret is out! Seriously, just wanted to share my results when TT used me as a guinea pig. Started at 206 13% bf. Wanted to lean out before bulking and at the same time (gasp!) put on some LBM lbs. Terry outlined the CC diet for me and I trained using OVT. Followed the diet quite strictly, that is to say I followed all the guidelines and didn’t include any thing that wasn’t specifically mentioned. No issues with hunger really. As long as you don’t mind eating the same things all the time it’s a pretty easy diet to follow. After three weeks I was calipered again and was 9.2% bf at 200 lbs. Fat loss of 8 lbs and LBM gain of 2.3 lbs. I also got stronger, but I would attribute that largely to OVT training. Oh, and no real cardio sessions were included. The diet, all diets, can be modified for different goals. I wanted to share my results and experience and say thanks to Terry for all her assistance on this forum…Anybody seen that cheesecake I left in the fridge?

Santiago, yes, they do sound similar, don’t they! (grin)

I remember looking at Dr. Squat’s Zig-Zag diet, but I haven’t tested it personally.

List of Approved Green Veggie Carbs

Alfalfa Sprouts, Artichoke Hearts, Arugula, Asparagus, Bamboo Shoots, Bean Sprouts, Beet Greens, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Celery Root, Chard, Chicory, Chives, Collard Greens, Cucumber, Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Endive, Escarole, Fennel, Garlic, Hearts of Palm, Jicama, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce (all types), Mache, Mushrooms, Okra, Olives, Onion, Parsley, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radicchio, Radishes, Rhubarb, Sauerkraut, Scallions, Snow Pea Pods, Sorrel, Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, String Beans, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Water Chestnuts, Wax Beans, Zucchini

  • Any vegetable that contains less than 50 calories per cup is acceptable.

That’s a very important point that apayne made. Repeating, this is a very strict diet. Strict does not mean you go hungry. Quite the contrary. High-Carb days are a real effort for some people; trying to get all your carbs in! But it does boil down to one simple concept, if it’s not on the list, it’s not allowed. NO substitutions, detours, free or cheat meals allowed.

On the upside? It works! (grin) CC can be used to bust plateaus. It’s great for people with particularly stubborn metabolisms, and it can be used to diet down to ultra-low BF percentages, say for a BB show/comp.

Hey TT,
On the Lowery thread you used 1.5gms x LBM for protein, but for Kbattis you used TBW x 1-1.5gms protein. Also I came up with different numbers multiplying the 224lbs1.5=336 for gms of protein, but you got 367. I’m a little confused.
If I’m 200@20%bf, then my numbers would be:
160
1.5=240gms protein
160*.4= 64gms fat
200gms for LC days and 400gms for HC days. Am I correct?
Thanks for the help.

Hey TT,

Thanks for your recommendations! I will read through your posts and formulate a meal plan based on your recommendations.

Any other relevant tips in relation to Carb Cycling? What advice do you have if life gets in the way and I can’t weight train that day? Would it be wise to alter the carb content for that day if I did miss my workout?

Thanks for your help and I’ll let you know how I do!

Kyle

FNF, good catch! I don’t know where I got 245 pounds from. Let me try again:

Protein Requirements = 1.0-1.5g x TBW/day (224g-336g/day). “Ideal” Protein Intake = 285g/day.

The “ideal” number, FNF, is LBM x 1.5g. I like to use a range for a number of reasons. A range requires you to be less anal; i.e., you don’t have to hit a specific number. It also allows you to eat less when you’re not hungry and a little more if you are. And finally, if someone has a particularly stubborn metabolism, I can lower protein down a bit, towards the low end of the range.

As far as your number go, yes, for the protein range use 1 to 1.5g x TBW, with 1.5g x LBM being the "ideal.

Range would be 200g to 300g, divided between 6 meals (and a 7th protein shake in the middle of the night if you like). “Ideal” would LBM x 1.5g or 240g/day.

Fat requirements for you, yes, would be 160 x .4 = 64g fat

Carb requirements on LC days are 200g and 400g - 800g for HC days. Make sure you hit 400g (fruit requirements do not count towards the carb total), but do not exceed 800g. Eat until you are full, happy, satisfied, satiated, but not like a Thanksgiving turkey, stuffed, eyes bulging, ready to throw up. In other words, listen to your body.

Carb meals, once again, on HC days need to be divided between 4 meals. If you work out, Surge will be one of those 4 meals. Make sure you have at least one of your 4 P+C meals before your workout.

Remember that you are going to feel really full and bloated on HC days and the day after. Do not step on the scale after a HC day. Doing so causes people to start cutting back on their carbs, which will cause your metabolism to slow down (if not crash).

kbattis/Kyle, you’re going to follow that schedule of High, Low, No, High, Low, No whether you get your workout in or not. If you worked out, you’re going to want to eat more and will be capable of eating more. You would not, obviously, use Surge as one of your 4 meals on a HC day or one of your 3 meals on a LC day if you did not work out.

Once again, listen to your body.

Hey TT,

How would you suggest structuring a CC split on the ABBH program where I am lifting every other day? It seems that it would be difficult to assign a consistant rotation where one is not working out on a VNC day. Thanks.