Saturday, November 13, 2010

Advanced Diet Strategies Part 1 Carb Cycling

When dieting I believe that one should start from a simple broad approach based on general good habits and utilize simple habit changes for as long as possible before moving into a more detail oriented approach.

This being said I myself tend to prefer a more detailed approach to dieting. This tends to be true for individuals who have more of an "all or nothing" personality. Whether this is healthy or not is debatable. I am not qualified to make a distinction there, but I will give my recommendation on several methods of carb cycling.

Method 1: Tapering throughout the week.
This method would start with a couple of higher carb days, followed by a couple of medium carb days and finishing the week with several low carb days. For example your week may look like this.
Saturday: high carb
Sunday: high carb
Monday: medium carb
Tuesday: medium carb
Wednesday: low carb
Thursday: low carb
Friday: low carb

This would be a good setup for somebody who has spare time on the weekends to train probably both Saturday and Sunday, and also allows them to socialize on the weekends. I would recommend this person exercise on a 4 day per week schedule (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) putting their heaviest day on either Saturday or Sunday.

Method 2: Carb cycling based on training.
This setup puts higher or medium carb days on training days and lower carb days on rest days. This is more of a setup for somebody who may work on the weekends, or have an irregular schedule. This is also more adaptable to different numbers of training days. This setup would work as follows.

Sunday: training day high carb
Monday: rest day low carb
Tuesday: training day high carb
Wednesday: rest day low carb
Thursday: rest day low carb
Friday: training day medium carb
Saturday: rest day low carb

This method is what I generally use for myself. I like this because it is highly adaptable to different schedules and training programs.

Method 3: Within a day carb cycling
This approach is a bit more meticulous with timing of carbs. This method can be used as tapering carb intake throughout the day, or strategically placing carbs around your training. If you were doing the tapering carb approach your day might look like this

8:00 high carb breakfast with a starchy carb
10:30 medium carb snack with fruit or starchy carb
1:00 medium carb lunch with fibrous carb and fruit
3:30 lower carb snack with fibrous carb
6:00 low carb dinner with fibrous vegetables

This approach tends to work well with people who have more time in the morning to prepare their food and who don't mind having lighter meals later in  the day.

 Placing carbs around training might look like this.
8:00 lower carb breakfast
10:30 low carb snack
1:00 low carb lunch
3:30 high carb snack
5:00 TRAIN
6:30 high carb dinner

This approach tends to work well with people who need carbs to fuel their training and who may not like to eat heavily in the morning, but prefer larger meals later in the day.

These options can be combined as well. These approaches to diet seem to benefit some people more than others. There are many people who prefer to eat about the same amount each day, while others like to change the amount that they are eating throughout the week.

I will outline other more advanced techniques that you can employ when the simple strategies don't yield results any longer.

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