If you’ve been following the blog you’ll know that over the summer I experimented with ‘carb-cycling’ in an attempt to get a flatter stomach and those ever elusive abs. I wrote a post to explain what carb-cycling was and promised an update once I’d finished. I always cringe at my own photos but I’ve put some photos at the end of this post so you can see how I’ve been getting on since the start of this crazy fitness journey (and I still have a long way to go).
This was by no means a new or ‘magic diet’, it still created a calorie deficit over the course of a week but just alternated high and low carb days. This meant some days were higher in cals with big pasta bowls and others lower cal but over the course of the it still added up to less calories than I would eat usually over the course of a week.
Here’s an snapshot of a weeks food on the plan that I followed (designed by one of my awesome coaches) which was tailored to my bodyweight, height and activity levels. It would vary hugely from person to person and needs to be tailored so copying what I ate doesn’t mean it will work for you. The plan alternated high carb days with lower carb days and kept protein high so I didn’t risk any muscle loss. There was also a massive ‘re-feed’ day every 10 days or so.
|High Carb Day
|Low Carb Day
(every 10-14 days)
|Breakfast||50g Oats, 200ml Almond Milk, 20g Wholeearth peanut butter
150g pineapple chunks
|3 eggs scrambled, 2 pieces of wholemeal toast, ½ avocado.||100g oats, 15g whey powder, 300ml Almond Milk, 80g blueberries, 15g honey.|
|Lunch||120g salmon, 250g sweet potato and greens.||150g chicken, 250g sweet potato and greens||Whole tin of tuna, 250g sweet potato and greens.|
|Dinner||150g chicken, 50g brown rice and greens.||200g lean mince, 50g brown rice and greens.||150g chicken, 50g brown rice and greens.|
|Snacks||Greek Total 0% yoghurt 170g pot.
4 x chocolate chip Snackajacks.
4 x rice cakes.
|1 x banana
1 snack size pack of rice cakes.
|Pre-WO||Protein shake||Protein shake||Protein shake|
|Post-WO||50g oats, 200ml Almond Milk, scoop of protein powder.||
Greek Total 0% yoghurt 170g pot.
|100g oats. 300ml Almond Milk. 100g Strawberries and cinnamon.|
Before starting the plan I tracked my food intake on My Fitness Pal and aimed for around 1700 calories a day, balancing it out over the course of the week so I never had to be 100% strict every day. On the plan I then alternated high calorie days of around 2000 calories and 250g of carbs with lower calorie days of 1500 calories and 120g of carbs and still kept track of it all on My Fitness Pal.
I found the high carb days unusual to start with as I wouldn’t normally eat so many carb heavy meals. However, after a few days I really began to enjoy them and looked forward to being able to eat so much! The pasta, rice and oat portions seemed huge and I felt like I should be putting on weight eating so much but I trusted the process and stuck with it.
The low-carb days were probably about the same as I how I ate before so I didn’t feel a huge difference there until I got use to the high carb days and then I began to feel really hungry on the lower carb days. Especially around training. The first time I really noticed this was on a heavy training day doing deadlifts which coincided with a low carb day and I felt really lethargic and low energy, struggling to lift around 70% of what I would usually. This showed me how much I need my carbs and snacks on those training days! I found I also slept better on the high carb days especially after the high carb evening meals.
The re-feed days seemed insane and to be honest I struggled to eat everything on the plan. When I was eating my second massive bowl of oats that day I felt like I was eating just for the sake of it and wasn’t actually hungry. I’ve always thought I had a big appetite but this seemed like a serious amount of food!
I followed the plan for around 6 weeks and definitely felt leaner at the end of the cycling. The diet is only supposed to be short term so your body doesn’t get use to it/adjust to the quantities and also it’s also a pretty strict way to live and keep it up for a longer period. The diet coincided with probably one of the most socially heavy months in my calendar so I had a few days where I deviated from plan which I know will have impacted on the results. By the end of 6 weeks I definitely noticed more definition on my stomach in terms of lines appearing down either side and some lower stomach definition (which for me has always been the hardest area to tone). I’ll definitely give it another go in the run up to Christmas.
Personally I’d recommend carb-cycling for when you’ve got to a weight that you’re happy with and if you’re looking to take things to the next level to see some more muscle definition. I used a traditional calorie deficit diet to lose around a stone and half before moving on to carb-cycling.
If you’ve tried carb-cycling or are considering it I’d love to hear how you get on.