Warning: This is long!!
Originally Posted by blank
Never looked into this. Can you give an overview?
There are typically 2 schools of thought with carb cycling. Quick Comparison: 1. is more of a mild ketogenic diet and perhaps a misnomer. 2. doesn't typically lead to ketosis and is based on zigzagging calories. 1. Lower carbs to virtually nothing over a space of 4-5 days and then have a refeed. Something would be perhaps 400g of carbs on a high (refeed) day, then <50g for the next few days followed by another refeed. The benefit to this is (1) you stay in a ketogenic state for a longer period of time, and (2) you get to eat junk food on refeed days. I've done a form of this before on a longer timeframe (refeed day once every 2 weeks) and I lost fat blazingly quickly, but I lost a good amount of muscle and felt absolutely terrible every day, including my refeed day (I have a weak stomach and if I eat junk food I don't feel well. On this type of refeed I was supposed to eat something like 7-8k calories and I just can't do that eating clean foods.). 2. This is my preference. I feel so much better when I have carbs in my system. My workouts are better, I feel more alert, and it's generally amazing. The downside is there's no cheat days... like at all. ever. Of course the occasional cheat isn't going to ruin everything, but it isn't necessary in the way many other diets work, imo. here's the jist of how it works:
You have a baseline level of calories based on some formula that I forgot the name of. You then have an "activity level" modifier for how much exercise you typically do. Say your BMR is 1800 kcals per day. If you have moderate activity (e.g. desk job + you work out that day), then I use a multiplier of 1.6 giving you a total of 2880 calories for that day. That is the number of calories to maintain what you have. If you want to lean up a bit you'll subtract between 10 and 20% from that number. If you want to build muscle you add between 10 and 20% to that number. I set protein at 1.5g/lb of bodyweight. that number * 4 = calories from protein. For carbohydrates I use 0.75 (or maybe 0.5?), 1.0, and 1.25 (or maybe 1.5?) for my multipliers. High carb days are 1.25g/lb bodyweight, moderate is 1.0, and low is 0.5 or 0.75g/lb bodyweight. Take your moderate day * 4 kcals and add that to your protein kcals. Take your BMR* multiplier and subtract the protein+carb kcals. That number divided by 9 gives you the grams of fat you need in the day. This stays constant. Your calories zigzag up and down throughout the week because protein and fat stay the same but you alternate carb intake, and thus calories. This gives a bit of boost to your metabolism because you're changing the amount of energy you're getting every day. I reevaluate at the end of every week and if your weight changes I change that input and recalculate my macros. 3 low carb, 2 moderate, 2 high. Based on your workouts and their intensity (e.g. want legs bigger? legs on a high carb day.) If you're eating say 2k cals per day and you drop it to 1200, your body eventually figures out how to run on 1200. if you hit your target weight and go back up to 2000, you explode back up. That's the essence of why yo-yo diets suck. re. insulin timing: You're insulin sensitive in the mornings and just after your workouts. Mornings I presume because your body hasn't eaten in hours and is energy deprived (note: this is also why the smaller meals theory works. The longer you go without food the more insulin sensitive you are, so the smallest amount of carbohydrate intake will spike it more rapidly. This is fine if you need to replenish glycogen or muscle - this is not okay if you haven't worked out. You'll store it as fat. I'll address how this is dealt with in 2, my preferred method of cycling, in just a second.). post workout because you just wrecked your glycogen stores and have broken down muscle tissue that needs to be repaired. The way to deal with this is how you time your carbohydrates to match up when you need the energy. You eat carbs it converts to glycogen over a certain period of time. In the morning this is fine because you'll need to replenish whatever you've just used through the night, and you have all day to use whatever is extra. Post workout you will hopefully have worked hard and find it necessary to rebuild and replenish your stores that you've just ravaged in a balls to the wall session. Take your total daily carb intake and divide it by 4. You have 1/4 in the first meal, 1/2 in the post workout meal, and 1/4 in the meal after the post workout. Sugars are good at spiking insulin so that's when I eat them and satisfy my sweet tooth in the process. I generally have 20-25g of sugars with dry oatmeal (i just throw it in my shake and down it). I love jelly beans so I use those. [if it's high fructose corn syrup, don't eat that shit. it bypasses insulin pathways and is generally worthless in every way imaginable. look on the package and make sure it says "sugar".] Carb choices for me are always fruit in the a.m. with oats, jelly beans with oatmeal in the shake post workout, and either oatmeal or rice in the meal after. sweet potatoes are supposed to be splendid for you, but I don't like them so I won't eat it. No fats with those 3 meals. take fat number and divide by 3 and have it in the other 3 meals throughout the day. Protein is (bw*1.5)/6, dispensed equally. I eat veggies with fat meals. They are carbohydrates but they have no insulinogenic effect. Non workout days should be low carb days and for my starchy carbs I'll use oatmeal in the a.m. still and beans for the next 2. They are "starchy" but high in fiber and less insulinogenic. You'll divide carbs by 3 and the first 3 meals is where you'll get them all on non workout days. I'm certain I'm missing some things (read: a lot of things). There are a lot of minor nuances you learn through trial and error and what works best for you. This just happens to be what works best for me. The only exception is when I water deplete for a shoot. You have to glycogen deplete as well so you don't come in bloated or flat, and use a method more similar to method 1. In general method (1) is best for those who have a hard time losing fat and don't need carbs to stay happy. Method (2) is for people who struggle to hold on to muscle and don't mind the slower pace. I MUCH prefer (2). I put together some excel spreadsheets that I use. They're very basic because I used it in conjunction with some more refined software to develop diet plans, but it's great for the basic stuff. (e.g. I stick to certain foods all the time so I don't bother with exchanges or anything any more.) I used to charge $20 for it but if anyone is interested send me a PM with your email address and I'll try and get it out to you in the next few days. Yeah I love you guys.
It definitely needs work and refinement but whatever... I find it useful.
Originally Posted by blank
Also, lifting 3-4 days a week, very healthy person. Trying to lift a lot, eat a lot, and have been doing 4 of your 6 exercises religiously for the past 5 months or so, working deadlifts and dips in now. Seeing progress, getting bigger, putting on muscle, very happy. I have some L-Glutamine tablets from Whole Foods and want to integrate them into my diet. Know they help prevent catabolism but don't know how much to take, when to take (morning? night? before workout? after?). Also, can you elaborate on: (1) why you oppose fruit during the day (2) good sources of carbs post-workout (i consume 40-50 grams Isopure whey already)
Glad you're working towards a healthier lifestyle. Progress is amazing to see and a real motivator in the beginning. Though hell on your clothing budget. L-glut is supposed to prevent catabolism, but I'm fairly certain you need quite a high dose and it's very hard on your stomach (as in... too hard to take it for that result). I'd recommend just taking 3-5g with your carb-heavy meals. Shoot for 10-15g per day if you can. Post workout and Night are definites, and get the third dose just whenever you can. Morning is perfectly fine. re. fruit: fructose goes to liver glycogen and not necessarily muscle glycogen. It takes less fructose to spike insulin levels than dose sucrose or dextrose. (14g of fructose I believe is all it takes. something like 7g HFCS which is another reason why it's terrible. It spikes insulin but will bypass all the positive insulin effects like glycogen restoration). If you're going to exercise afterwards and use the energy, then by all means eat the fruit. It's full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and micronutrients (don't drink the juice... it loses a lot of the whole fruit benefits. Juicers it depends.) So what I meant is it's fine in the morning and pre workout because you'll use it. Any other time it's going to spike your insulin and lead to excess fat gain. re. post workout carbs. like I said above I like some sugar to spike insulin (jelly beans! <3) 20-25g and I use complex carbs for the remainder of the intake. I like oatmeal because I can just blen it in my bullet, but rice is supposed to be better. Waxi Maize is the rage now. It's a complex carb that spikes insulin through the roof (ideal post exercise). However, I've read some research where it works great by itself, but when taken with protein it's no better than standard maltodextrin which is way the hell cheaper. It tastes like flour to me too, so I just don't eat it. That's not to say you shouldn't though, because I know several people who swear by the stuff. I'd say get a bottle if money isn't an issue (it isn't super expensive) and try it for a month. If you can tell a difference, use that. phew.... sorry I know that's long. I'm sure I missed something. Just ask if I did.