Do you need to shake up your food regime to accelerate your fat loss? I've found cycling of carbs and fat a very effective eating plan to help enhance fat loss. This 'chaos' of feeding your body different amount of calories and proportion of carbs and protein help keep your body's metabolism burning and keep it from plateauing, even close to contest time. 

Everybody is different and each person will have their own 'set point' of carbs and fat where they can function on. From this set point you simply experiment with how much extra of these nutirents you can take - and also how little of these you can do without. Here's some handy hints if you want to give carb cycling a try, or alternatively you an just get me to work it out for you!
1. Increase Daily Protein Intake. If you are dieting hard on low calories/carbohydrates, your protein intake must be increased to maintain your muscle mass, and to avoid going into a catabolic state. I suggest a protein intake of 2-2.5g of protein per kg of body weight for the bodybuilder who is dieting to reduce body fat. The protein sources consumed must be very clean sources such as egg whites, chicken breast, tuna, white fish, red meat, and low carbohydrate protein shakes.

2. Lower Overall Carbohydrate Intake.
In order to lose body fat your carbohydrates must be reduced from your normaloff-season intake to enable your body to start burning body fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Don't dramatically reduce your carbohydrates from 250g a day all the way down to 50g within a few days. This would cause your body to go into a very catabolic state, your workouts would be terrible, and you would be extremely lethargic throughout the day.

When dieting down, plan your diet in stages. If you weigh say 65kg in the off-season and your carbohydrates were at 2g per kg of bodyweight, try bringing them down to 1g - 1.5g per kg of bodyweight for 3-4 weeks before making an adjustment. By doing this, your body would still have energy for your workouts, and you would still reduce body fat due to the calorie deficit that the reduction in carbohydrates is causing. Good sources of carbohydrates would include: brown/basmati rice, sweet potato, pumpkin and oats. Bread and pasta is not an option!

3. Lower Your Overall Fat Intake.
When comparing macronutrient calories, out of the three (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), fats has the most energy (calories) per gram, which is more than double than either protein or carbohydrates. We do need fats in our diet but preferably in the form of Salmon, Flax Oil, Fish Oil and almonds.


4. Carb cycling when when Fat Loss Slows Down.
After you have implemented the above for 4-6 weeks your body fat should begin to plateau. When this happens a typical bodybuilder will either reduce their carbohydrates even more for another 4-6 weeks or add more cardiovascular training, which could lead to a loss in muscle mass after a few weeks of doing this. Now there is a better way to continue to drop body fat without putting your body in a catabolic state, by carb cycling your diet.
Carb cycling your diet is basically the same thing as cycling your carbohydrates and total calories.
So if you were currently consuming 150g of carbohydrates per day for the last 4-6 weeks what you would do is make that 150g intake your moderate carbohydrate day.
The next step is planning a low day, where you would consume 100g of carbohydrates. With this program you would also schedule a high carbohydrate/high fat day where you would consume the same amounts of carbs as your moderate day but also increase your fat intake to gain extra energy.

As far as scheduling your diet to match your training split what you would do is use your moderate carbohydrate day on a training day, schedule your low carbohydrate day on your off training days, and schedule your high carbohydrate day every 5-7 days to put your body back into an anabolic state. If you don't feel you need the high carbohydrate day at that moment you can always schedule it at a later date, just don't completely exclude the high carbohydrate day all together or you will risk losing muscle tissue.

5. Increase Your Overall Meal Frequency.
By increasing your overall meal frequency and making your portions smaller you can reduce the time in between your meals and enable your self to eat more meals through out the day without changing your total calories. So if your normal diet consisted of the typical 3-4 meals per day you could increase that to 5-6 meals per day and trick your body into thinking your giving it more food.


6. Cut Out Carbohydrates Later On In The Day.
It goes without saying that the last complex carbs of the day should be taken no later than 3pm - unless you train in the evening. AS the day goes on, your metabolism begins to slow down and
your body will not be able to use the in coming carbohydrates as a fuel source, so instead your body has no other option but to store them as body fat. So as a rule at the start of your diet, keep your last two meals of the day protein and vegetables.
7. Increase Your Consumption Of Water.
Water is the one of the most important nutrients for a hard training bodybuilder. The human body is made up of roughly 70% water, which means that you must consume a large amount of water on a daily basis to keep your body adequately hydrated.
A few more important benefits of consuming large amounts of water on a daily basis are that water keeps your stomach full longer in between meals, especially if you are consuming over 4 litres each day.
By using the above guidelines you can design a very effective fat burning diet that will enable you to achieve your goals of getting into contest shape. Through trial and error, you'll be able to find your carbohydrate set point and from there you can figure out your high and low cal days. Once you've formulated your regime, your fat will be melting off your body!

Lisa, Go Figure
September 2012

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