Fat Loss Transformation Tip 3: Carb Cycling for Fat Loss
Holy cow, UP must have put out another of their too good to be true, fake fat loss transformations!
If that’s what you thought when you saw this photo, then I will excuse you if you’re just a recreational personal trainer or totally new to the sometimes astounding world of physique transformation. If you are a professional Personal Trainer and this photo gets you all fired up because you think it’s not possible, or that it sets unrealistic expectations, then let me spell it out for you very clearly – get another job my friend, because great, results focused body composition requires a creative mind, an optimistic can-do attitude, and an abundance of passion. Our client in this photo is clearly in possession of all these qualities, as he’s totally turned his life around, and so is his personal trainer, UP City’s Nick Daniel, who is without a doubt, one of our best ever specialists in dramatic fat loss transformations.
These results are the product of four months of hard work and dedication. And I’d like to make one thing clear, that for me, these photos are there for everyone to take heart and inspiration from. Yes, the man we are looking at has one distinct advantage, he can afford expensive UP personal training, and I know this isn’t something that is in the spending power for everyone. But he also has a lot going against him, that maybe you don’t have quite so much of he is middle aged, never the ideal starting point, and he could only train three times a week because of his job. Said job in the City, is a 70-100 hour work week full of stress, deadlines, and multiple clients entertaining every week, where he needs to exercise the willpower to say no to the gin and tonics and prawn sandwiches! And we all know how hard turning down free food is, and then compound that with low carb induced cravings. I can tell you that he doesn’t fit the bill of the ideal client, because all of you out there who do regular transformation work, will know at some stage that we will want to step up the training volume, and most crucially of all, the hungriest and most dedicated clients are usually those with minimal work distractions and for whom (and think about this for a second) the personal training is a financial stretch. Put it this way, for results alone, I’d rather be a trainer in a northern English town than London, where egos are often more driven by bonuses and fast cars than sporting a six pack.
So the take-home message should be, that if our once corpulent friend on the left can do it then so can you. If you remember from Fat Loss Transformation Tip 1- if you’re like the photo on the left then carbs really are your enemy and your entire life, if you want to get healthy and get in shape, it needs to revolve around blood sugar management. By the time you’re 75% along the way of looking like the photo on the right, you should at least start experimenting with carbs to see how they impact upon your cosmetic appearance, your energy levels, and your training performance. This does not mean that you need carbs, some of you will have screwed your insulin resistance up so badly that it may take years of doing the right things (namely resistance training, lower carbohydrate eating, and maintaining low body fat with higher muscle mass) before you can lean up optimally using carbs, but in my experience, there always comes a time when introducing carbs is the right thing to do for both accelerated fat loss and increased muscle gain.
The big question in introducing those carbs and carb cycling for fat loss is what type, how much, and when. Anything I tell you here is a very general guideline, and where a great Personal Trainer like Nick Daniel comes into his own, is that he closely monitors the small ongoing changes that a diet can make. If you don’t have access to a world-class coach, all is not lost because IF you can be objective and patient then you are your own best coach, as no one knows your body better than you. Monitoring your own biofeedback is absolutely essential, but to be fair it can be a challenging job for even the most experienced, and this is one of the reasons why at UP we are lucky enough to work with some world-class bodies.
Carb cycling for fat loss, is in my opinion, the very best way to progress most physique transformations from the OK to the stellar. Once we’ve gone through our low carb period, we slowly introduce carbs at crucial times. This would be at one or both of post workout and the last meal of the day. Yes, all the science says post workout is best, and you certainly won’t go wrong doing it this way, but often I prefer adding something solid and filling like oatmeal as the final meal of the day as it can help calm you down and sleep. It is something a lot of people struggle with on a strict diet, and mentally it is so much more satisfying than having a carb powder in your post workout shake!
You might add a few of these extra carb meals in, over the course of the week, how much and how often is as usual going to be down to a host of factors including energy expenditure, new found insulin sensitivity (or not, as the case maybe), muscle mass, and overall goal. After a few days with the added carbs what we do is review the changes and then ramp up, ramp down or just let things stay the same. The truth is that this principle can and should be applied to both carb cycling for fat loss and muscle building goals.
One extra point, and a reason why I personally am a believer in keeping a track of calories in the latter stages of a diet, is that what happens to our energy intake (calorie intake in another more simple and easy to contemplate way) on the days when we go high carbs? After all, if we add a 400gms of carbs in one day when the normal baseline carb intake has been 100gms we are going to be consuming 1200 extra calories. For dramatic fat loss, unless you’re severely depleted, this may make a difference to the speed of results, as an energy deficit is part of leaning up. In cases like this, you will need to reduce one or both of fat and protein intake, not necessarily by as much as 1200 calories, though. This is where it can get complicated and I honestly believe that not getting too anal over tiny numbers is the right approach. We can easily get twisted up in knots, for example, did you know that it takes 475 grams of excess carbs to manufacture and store just 150 grams of fat. Knowing this, you might then think a regular carb fest is on the cards, but that would only work for fat loss (especially in the latter stages of a diet) if you dropped your energy intake and reduced the intake of the two other macronutrients.
To keep it simple start by adding carbs and reducing the calories from fat (and maybe protein if you have been going very high, remember that carbs are protein soaring, so the higher the carb intake the lower the protein within reason) by half of the extra carb calorie amount. After that, you really need to play around with the macronutrients based on the usual feedback of energy, appearance, and performance.
Carb cycling for fat loss (once proper blood sugar management has been established) is a proven way to create a truly spectacular physique transformation so experimenting on yourself is definitely the way to go once you have fulfilled the criteria in this, and the previous Fat Loss Transformation Tips. If you have any questions on carb cycling for fat loss please fire away in the comments section below. And if you don’t live near a UP Personal Training Gym and want to work with our team, maybe you should check out our very popular, one-to-one coaching, online personal training service.