In a recent blog I promised I’d talk more about the details of carb cycling. Carb-cycling is INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE, absolutely healthy and energizing – AND, depending on how ‘extreme’ you take it, gives you CRAZY sexy results! It’s a win-win. It’s the ‘diet’ of choice for many athletes and an absolute must in the body-building world. So here are the basics to getting to SUMMER READY in a relatively short period of time! Read on for the deets….
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Carb cycling literally entails cycling your eating between high and low carb days. When I’m in high-gear, I do this by eating low-carb for two days (Mon and Tues), high carb for one day (Weds), low carb AGAIN for two days (Thurs and Fri), followed by another high carb day (Sat). On the seventh day (Sun), I eat higher carb again, with an INDULGENCE meal (including dessert) preferably mid-day. Be prepared to closely monitor your progress and consider adjusting your schedule to see what brings the best results for you. Sometimes adding a third low carb day is called for, but you really need to listen to your body.
Ideally, you should be eating every 2.5 to 3 hours. I know this sounds CRAZY, but the goal is to try to put something in your mouth to keep your engine (aka – your metabolism) cooking (aka – burning FAT). After three hours of not eating, your ‘fire’ goes out, slowing down metabolism and taking you out of fat-burning mode. Eating healthy carbs on certain days keeps your metabolism on HIGH, and sticking to protein and vegetables on the other days keeps your insulin low so that you burn fat without losing muscle. This gets you RIPPED!
You can either eat 5 small meals a day OR eat three larger ones with two nibbles in between. Nibbles should be something quick and easy – a non-fat protein or veggies like peppers, cucumbers, celery…. Root veggies are higher in carbs and should be avoided. On a high-carb day – an apple can be a nibble (or a little fruit) because fruits are higher-carb. Doing 5 meals or 3 meals with 2 nibbles is up to you! It just depends on your lifestyle.
Here are examples of low and high carb eating days:
Monday and Tuesday – low carb days: Each meal consists of a protein, veggies and a fat.
Breakfast, Meal 1, 7am
Egg white and spinach omelet (or Tofu Scramble with spinach) made with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. (Or a protein smoothie with protein powder and two handfuls of kale. Depending on your protein powder, you may want to a few sweet drops.)
Meal (or nibble) 2, 10am
If you are doing three meals and two nibbles, your ‘nibble’ can be a handful of red and yellow peppers. If you’re doing 5 meals, your ‘meal’ can be the smoothie mentioned above. Feel free to add a teaspoon of almond butter!
Lunch, Meal 3, 1pm
Huge salad of romaine, watercress and spinach with either grilled chicken breast or tempeh and one T of salad dressing (or 2 T of lowfat dressing)
Meal 4, 4pm
If small nibbles and 3 big meals: Celery and cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of tahini-free hummus or 2 tablespoons of guacamole. If 5 small meals: Romaine boats made with large romaine leaves and pile on some hummus and a veggie pattie or some salmon. Add a little sriracha for a kick!
Dinner, Meal 5, 7pm
Veggie stir fry! Stir up (using 1-2 t of olive oil and coconut aminos, soy sauce or veggie broth instead of more oil) broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale – you name it! Use lots of seasonings and herbs (I love basil and cilantro and hot crushed red pepper flakes!). Add in chicken or ground beef or Boca crumbles for your protein! And that’s a typical low carb day!
Now, to make this EASY – all you do for a high-carb day is TAKE OUT THE FAT (so no avocado/guac or olive oil or nuts/nut butter) and ADD IN 1/2 cup of a healthy carb (that would be quinoa, brown rice, lentils, black beans, 1/3 of a baked sweet potato, 100%whole grain of something, lots of great options…). 5 servings of that healthy carb is what you need in a day, so if you’re doing three meals and two nibbles, spread those servings out accordingly. Oh, and drink a TON of water! It really DOES help speed things up!
And that’s carb cycling in a nut shell 😉 As I’ve said in previous posts, this is how I counsel my clients who want to lose weight and get into great shape. Exercising is a huge part of this too and makes a HUGE difference. Btw, amounts of food vary depending on your current weight and your ultimate goals. Amounts for obese clients looking to lose a lot of weight are different than portions for clients looking to shed a few lbs and get super-toned.
Okay folks! Happy cycling! As always, I really look forward to your questions/comments!! 😎