Carb cycling can be a great way of shedding some body fat and tightening your up your physique. Whether it’s for a challenge, a bodybuilding competition, vacation, or an event, it’s a great tool to get the results you want.
Now to be honest, I personally didn’t use carb cycling for figure competitions because I’ve always gotten myself pretty lean like that stage shot below. Many competitors do it a few weeks prior to a show to get leaner and add fullness to their muscles and shape, but instead I experimented with carb cycling when I came back from an extremely difficult pregnancy.
I have always dreamed of being that strong and disciplined mom when I got pregnant someday, although I was quickly humbled to learn discipline had absolutely nothing to do with my story. That’s for another day, but today is about carb cycling!
When I was finally released to work out again after having the baby. I started from scratch, like push ups from my knees and bodyweight squats until I can finally use a bar again. Again, humbling, but we all start somewhere. I started slowly four months after my emergency c-section, and still looked pregnant as you can see in my transformation photo.
HOW TO CARB CYCLE TO LOSE FAT
For carb cycling to work, you’ll need to be in calorie deficit already, and then on certain days reintroduce carbs. Something to love about this method, is that obviously being in calorie deficit makes you hungry, but the light at the end of the tunnel, is that you have more carbs to reload and feel amazing. You have those carbs to look forward to.
Another benefit, is that when you are on the hunt for fat loss and need to be in a calorie deficet to get there, carb cycling can help you from yo-yo dieting.
Save those reload or high carb days specifically for your training days for energy and to refuel after your workouts. For example, I try to group all my heavy training days in the beginning of the week, so therefore those are the same days I’ll have high carbs. And then at the end of the week, I’ll go low or medium carbs when it’s either an off day or an active rest day. By the time Monday comes around for training legs, my body is soooooo ready for those carbs again! Really revs up the metabolism!
HOW TO BE BALANCED WHILE CARB CYCLING AND STILL GETTING RESULTS
There are a few different ways to carb cycle, down to counting each macronutrient, but if you have known me for a while, I’m obsessed to find measurable ways without having to track calories and macros. Let’s get our faces out of our phones every once in a while and pay attention to living all while making progress at the same time, right?
If prepping for a show or a professional athlete, you will need to track them then, but when not prepping, I’ve found it’s crucial to give your mind and body a break.
I use the gold standard by Precision Nutrition, that you can find at the in this post 8 Ways Food and Nutrition can Transform Your Body.
It’s how you can use your hand to measure your meals plus awesome tips to make meal planning easy without counting calories. You can tweak according to your own body and specific goals. It’s a great way to find a healthy balance to lose fat while in calorie deficit.
START CARB CYCLING 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR EVENT
A few weeks prior to your event or if you are doing our 90 day challenge, you can take your fat loss to the next level with carb cycling.
Once you’ve gotten a good grip on your own customizable meal plan from portioning your meals with your hand in 8 Ways Food and Nutrition can Transform Your Body, you can start playing around with carb cycling like I did.
In combination of lifting weights three days a week, and carb cycling the last 2 -3 weeks, I was able to make the transformation below. And the transformation doesn’t end there.
You can keep building, experimenting, transforming and having fun with it.
NORMAL CALORIE DEFICIT BEFORE STARTING CARB CYCLE FOR BEST RESULTS
I found the meal plan that worked best for me was tweaked from the infographic to have a lean protein the size of my palm, a fat the size of my thumb, veggies to fill me, and then would have only 2 or 3 servings of carbs each day. The carbs were the size of a cupped handful.
I ate two or three meals like that, and then two snacks were protein shakes with at least 20g of protein, and coupled with either a thumb-size of fat or about 1/4 cup berries.
I was very specific about my carb timing, as I’ve learned from coach and bodybuilding legend, John Meadows IFBB Pro. The most important meals of the day are your pre-workout meal 1-3 hours before training, a Granite Supplement while training (Essential Amino’s to get leaner or Intra-Carb if you want more muscle) and then the post-workout meal 45 – 60 minutes after training. You can also get a whole supplement stack for your specific goal, and use promo code BaileyD10 for a discount.
I am religious to timing my meals around my workouts because it contributes to the best progress, energy, strength, and recovery.
WHEN READY TO START CARB CYCLING
There are many ways to play with carb cycling, and like I said, I focus on ways to make progress without having to count every macro or calorie. The method I did was pretty simple.
I’m all about making things less complicated than what they need to be so you can still make progress while enjoying what matters most in life.
Once I’ve established a healthy calorie deficit from the infographic with my 3 meals and 2 shakes, I referred to that as my ‘medium carb day.’ All while keeping the protein the same.
High Carb Days or Carb ‘Reload’ Days
I used my training days which were usually Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, for my high carb days, which meant I literally doubled the amount of carbs I typically ate. Very specifically 1-3 hours prior to training and 45 – 60 minutes after training, then another meal with double carbs, and then my two protein shakes.
Medium Carb Days (Normal Carbs)
Thursday and Friday were medium carb days, which was my basic day, just normal carbs. I even played around with taking out the medium carb days and only doing high carb and low carb days just to experiment.
Low Carb Days
Saturday and Sunday were low carb days, where I didn’t have anything starchy, but just vegetables and maybe one small serving of fruit. Even then, I usually kept the fruit out just for those two days. By the time Monday rolled around to train legs, my body was READY to eat up those carbs, and not store it as fat.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE RESULTS EVEN MORE WITH NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS
And if you combine your dialed in nutrition and carb cycling with great supplements and training, you are totally setting yourself up for success. Hooray for making everything less complicated and loving your nutrition and life at the same time!
You can burn body fat, get energy and mental clarity, and be able to recover with Granite Supplements. That’s exactly what their Fat Burning Stack is, in combination with their recovery supplements.
I strongly believe in their ethics and science, so I became an ambassador and can get you a discount when you use my code BaileyD10.
While lifting weights, I drink their Recovery and Essential Amino’s whether I’m about to get on stage for a competition, or relaxed about my training and intensity. If I want more muscle, then I add Intra-Carb while lifting.
Use code BaileyD10 for your Fat Burning Stack and supplements at Granite Supplements.
May your Fitness Journey Continue!
It’s been such a fun journey, to say the least. From being a competitor obsessed with every single macro or to being the sickest pregnant lady ever. To establishing a life where I can learn to love my body through every single season whether it’s contest shape or my post-partum body or somewhere in between, it really is possible to make it all less complicated.
I want to connect with family, friends, and life around me, not my attention so caught up in counting macros and calories that the important things come second. I want a healthy relationship with food, myself, and others, not addicted to myfitnesspal tracking it all. And to have all of that, while making progress in my own strength, health, and fitness.
I know it’s possible because I do it and so can you!