|Low-carb lunch: sweet potatoes, turkey and vegetables|
Over the past few months I got asked by so many people how my diet looks like, especially now that I started the preparation.
Well to make it easy, I am carb-cycling. No I am not eating carbs while cycling on a bike hihi. I will tell you why carb cycling is better than a low-carb diet:
If you are on a cutting diet, like me it is very important to have carb-days, also know as re-feed days. While you are cutting, you are constantly in a caloric deficit. Your metabolism will slow down and your leptin hormone levels will drop. This makes it even harder to burn body fat. So no matter your health and fitness aspirations, carb-cycling is actually always a good middle ground. Guess where its roots are... Yep, in the world of bodybuilding. Trainers and coaches are using this strategy to help their clients and athletes to achieve their goals, whether they are trying to slim down or build muscle, or even both at the same time.
Therefor, when you are trying to shred or even build muscle, it is highly recommended to include a re-feed day into your diet plan.
- What is a re-feed day exactly?
Well, on a re-feed day, or carb-day, you simply increase your carb intake by 100% while increasing your calories up to maintenance level or above. This will put you in a caloric surplus for that day, but you still are in a weekly deficit.
Re-feed days are designed to boost your metabolism while increasing your leptin levels so that you can continue to burn fat like a furnace.
The longer your diet, the slower your metabolism will become and the lower your leptin levels will drop, meaning it's a lot harder for you to burn fat.
- And how do I find the right balance between low-carb days and re-feed days?
There are different options of a carb-cycling diet:
1. The classic one, alternating between high- and low-carb days, six time a week, and the last day for reward meals
2. To lose weight, aim for five low-carb days split by two re-feed days.
3. To gain weight and add muscle, include four or even five re-feed days, just make sure that you don't put all your high-carb days back-to-back.
No matter what option you take, make sure to space them evenly throughout the week and be prepared to see progress. Maybe you adjust your schedule to see what brings the best results for you.
- What food can I eat on low-carb or re-feed days?
Its not that when you have a low-carb day that you have to munch on meat all day long, or when you have a re-feed day that you can eat tons of pasta.
On re-feed days, try to get your fuel from complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables and fruits. They will keep you energized throughout the day while still promoting your weight loss.
To have enough power on low-carb days, get your protein from chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs or tofu and complement it with non-starchy veggies, basically everything besides potatoes, corn and peas is fair game.
If you have no idea what 'good' or 'bad' carbs are, you may consider having a look at THIS post.
- But what about snacking?
A lot of trainers say that taking a 'cheat day' and allowing yourself to eat what you like is ok, but make sure this doesn't set you back. If you are on a diet, a weekly reward is actually not the best option, especially when we are talking about a 'cheat DAY'. Why? Well simply because you could end up eating 5.000 calories in only one day when you only need 1.400,which can easily derail any progress you've made so far.
But I don't want to discourage you, there is still a little wiggle room for treats, even in a carb cycling diet. If you occasionally have a bagel or a bow of sugary cereal,this may help you comply with your meal plan and you can take that even as a re-feed day. I always suggest to take a 'cheat MEAL' rather than a 'cheat DAY' because you don't risk to overeat an consume too many calories that day.
- How many calories should I eat on those days?
Normally a woman should take in around 1.200 calories and men 1.500 on low-carb days, and slightly more on a re-feed day.
With these simply formulas you can easily calculate the correct portions of each macronutrient:
0.2-0.5 grams of carbs x your body weight
About 1 gram of protein x your body weight
0.1-0.2 grams of fat x your body weight
About 1 gram of carbs x your body weight
0.75 grams of protein x your body weight
As little fat as possible
0.5-1.5 grams of carbs x your body weight
1.25-1.5 grams of protein x your body weight
0.15-0.35 grams of fat x your body weight
2-3 grams of carbs x your body weight
1-1.25 grams of protein x your body weight
As little fat as possible
For both days, make sure to eat breakfast as soon as possible when you wake up , then consume the rest of your calories across another four to six meals throughout the day.
Keep in mind that you can still enjoy your favorite foods, just in moderation. The goal is to slowly change your eating habits to include a variety of healthy foods. That's the best kind of formula you can stick to for continued success.
I wish you all a great new week and a lot of success. xx
|Re-feed day lunch: Lean beef with quinoa and vegetables|
|Low-carb dinner: Salmon, cod and vegetables|
|Low-carb lunch: Sweet potatoes, turkey and vegetables|