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In Part 1 of: Body Re-comping Secrets You Need To Know (August week 1 blog here) we discussed the importance of glycogen in muscle physiology, maintenance of function as well as increasing muscle density and volume. We also talked about the role of scientific based nutrition and supplementation for an effective Re-comp protocol that will guarantee you significant fat loss and muscle gains simultaneously.

One of the main challenges of Body Recomposition, as previously mentioned is being on a calorie-deficit diet to ensure fat loss while sustaining muscle growth. In this article, we will dive deeper into the discussion, assist you in staying consistent with intelligent training protocols, and give you tips on staying motivated throughout your Recomp journey. After all, once you have been given the scientific information, the hardest part is physically applying that information and staying on track with consistency. With that in mind - lets get it in part 2 of Body Recomping Secrets you need to know…


Carb Cycling

Carb cycling is a dietary strategy with alternating high carb and low carb days. It has built-in reward days when you can still eat your favorite foods on intervals. And you can use your cheat meals to burn fat and build muscle! Sounds absolutely perfect, right? You can eat healthy foods, enjoy foods you love, and still get in line with your fitness goals!


The Benefits of Carb Cycling

So why choose Carb Cycling? Here are the perks:

  • It is flexible and can fit any lifestyle.
  • You’ll effectively lose weight and body fat by learning how to make smart lifestyle choices through your Recomp Program. THIS PUTS YOU IN- CHARGE.
  • You will build lean, strong muscles.
  • You get to eat the foods you love.
  • You’ll feel empowered because you don’t have to constantly deprive yourself to achieve your goals.
  • It gives you more energy.
  • You’ll feel motivated because you see the results in just a few weeks


How to Work It

Remember that when you reduce your daily calorie intake below maintenance levels when high intensity training is ongoing, your glycogen stores become depleted. To prevent fatigue and muscle loss, you correctly time a cheat meal to reward yourself (hello dopamine!) and some well-deserved rest.

It is very important that your cheat meals are:
1. High in calories
2. High in simple and complex sugars

That’s easy enough! But let me explain why, in a glycogen depleted state, your muscles are so hungry that this allows them to take in the maximum amount of nutrients they can get to replenish stores. In addition, this increases insulin sensitivity therefore creating an anabolic (muscle building) environment. It doesn’t matter what level of training experience you have. Follow this equation:

↑↑ Intensity of the training = ↑↑ Carb depletion = ↑↑ Nutrients being reloaded into the muscles


Like any skill, it gets better with practice and every time you conduct a carb cycle, it conditions your body to be more efficient leading to better results each time you do one.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14594866/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/389023/


The Nitty-Gritty


1. If you look up Carb Cycling, you’ll discover there are various types. For the purpose of this article, let’s do the Low Carb day for a 3-day period. Adopt the 2-type carbohydrate protocol: 80% vegetables + 20% starchy carbs. With this Carb intake, it will ensure that you’ll have enough fuel  to carry out full-body  exercise sessions at a high intensity.


Here are some examples of vegetables and starchy carbs you can incorporate in your meals:

Veggies- broccoli, asparagus, green beans, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower

Starchy Carbs- sweet potato, parsnips, yam, taro root, basmati rice, pot barley, oats, buckwheat

By focusing on eating complex, nutritious carbs, this will help sustain your energy, maintain endurance during training, and stabilize your blood sugar levels. And when I say good, complex carbohydrates, they should contain 3 components:

  • High in fiber content
  • Allows slow digestion
  • Unprocessed (meaning natural ingredients are not removed)

2. Over the next 3 days, train every muscle group in your entire body in each training session. The intensity and volume of your exercise should accomplish 2 things:

1. Keep the blood circulating throughout the whole body during the course of the workout.

2. Raise the levels of blood lactate to accelerate fat loss.  More lactate corresponds to a greater release of growth hormone, which tells your body to build muscle and burn body fat- the very essence of body recomposition!

The Magic number: 8-12 Reps per set, 3 sets per exercise

Sample Exercises:

Back Squats
Front Squats
Box Jumps
Deadlifts
Pullups
Chinups
Bench Press
Barbell Shoulder Press
Dumbbell Biceps Curls
Triceps Pulldowns
Dips

3. On the evening of the 3rd day, reward yourself with…TADA! A cheat meal. This is your reward for working so hard, this a time to satisfy your appetite- but you don’t have to lose your head!

The cheat meal has a goal here – to replenish your glycogen stores and create favourable conditions for your muscles to grow. So, it has to be a high-calorie meal that contains some protein, fats and mostly carbohydrates. It can be a Quarter pound Burger, a cheesy Italian pasta, a deep-dish Pizza perhaps or Beef and rice Stir-fry. This is a gift to yourself to keep you motivated and a prize to look forward to every 3rd day of your Carb cycle.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12797841/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9694422/

Additional Key Points

  • Focus mostly on eliminating added sugar and other refined carbs, like muffins and pastries during your low-carb phase. Load up on fiber and nutrient-rich vegetables for satiety and maintenance of important vitamins and minerals.
  • For rapid recovery from prolonged exercise, it is important to replenish muscle glycogen stores and induce muscle tissue repair and adaptation.
  • Efficiency of muscle glycogen storage can be increased significantly with the addition of protein to your post-exercise meal.
Incorporating protein supplements to your Carb cycling protocol also has the added advantage of limiting post exercise muscle damage and promoting muscle protein accretion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905295/#sec1-2title