C Y C L I N G   C A R B S  P L A N

[ ** BACK TO LOSE FAT, MAINTAIN MUSCLE ** ]

It took me a bit to write this because I didn't want it to seem like you could eat only a very limited number of foods or that you have to be a 'hard-core' bodybuilder. But I did want to incorporate enough of the bodybuilding principles that definitely carry over to overall fitness. I also wanted to give you a couple of options for each meal to have foods to choose from. Some people, like myself, like to have a sample meal plan and just follow it with little changes. Others like to have a little more variety, keeping the same protein-carb-fat ratio but using different foods. You should like what you eat! I'm sure there are other equivalent substitutions, so when in doubt, just ask or go to the nutrition reference on my site, or other similar reference. I have used all of the sample plans, whether I'm competing or not. Stay consistent and you will see results.

What's the Point of Cycling Carbs (and Calories) ?
5-6 portion-controlled, frequent meals containing a balance of protein and carbs is a healthy nutritional plan. You will certainly feel good and attain that fit, energetic you. Having a free meal once per week on this type of plan could be considered a very simple way of 'zig-zagging'. Your body adjusts to what you eat just like it does training, so it's actually a good thing to plan a free meal not just for sanity reasons but to put a little spark in your body's metabolism. The Moderate Protein, Carbs, Fat with one Free Meal plan below represents this option.

When you are looking to shed some excess fat though, changing most of your carbs to fibrous types (vs. complex/starchy) while eating sufficient protein to preserve muscle, and then cycling in a high-carb day periodically, can stoke that fat-burning fire. It's something I like to do for an 8-12 week period, but then I'll go back to the 1st plan for a while (length depends on where I'm at). I may do the 'Moderate Protein, Carbs, Fat plan' for a few weeks and then do another 'cycle'. There are a couple ways to approach this Low Carb, High Protein Zig-Zag Cycle, and it's up to you: 2 times per week, either have high-carb meal at the end of the day or add additional complex carbs throughout the day. I'd like to stress that you shouldn't feel miserable or energy-free with this. But if it's a considerable change from your current habits, allow some time for your body to adjust. Keep in the healthy fats as listed--flaxseed, olive, or safflower oil --to provide some of the energy to compensate for the reduction in carbs. These types of Omega 3 or mono-unsaturated fats can actually help burn fat.

Oh yeah, stay active and keep exercising! Make sure to eat breakfast within an hour after you awake, and to get in a meal within an hour of working out. Try to plan your meal schedule with those two factors in mind and add your other meals around them. A general guideline to shoot for is spacing your meals 3 hours apart. I work out in the morning, so my post-workout meal is my breakfast. And that's just fine too. I still stick with mainly lower glycemic carbs after I workout.

OK, on to the sample meal plans! These are meant to give you ideas of types of foods and combinations to eat to get fit. These are portion sizes for a 5'5" female weighing approximately 130 lbs. Adjust your portion sizes appropriately based on height, weight, bodyfat%. For example, a 6' male weighing 200 lbs should be increasing the portion sizes at each meal to support more muscle and greater energy needs.


Moderate Protein, Carbs, Fat with one Free Meal Approach - 130 lb Female
Meal Protein Carbs Fibrous Veggies Fat
Breakfast 2 egg whites &
1 whole egg &
6 oz. skim milk
1/2 cup oatmeal (before cooking)
or
1 medium sized banana
or
2 slices whole grain toast
Omelet-type veggies (green peppers, onions, etc) - optional (fat contained within yolk and oatmeal)
Mid-Morning 1/2 Cup low-fat yogurt,
or
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese,
or
2 scoops low-carb protein powder
4-5 strawberries
or
4-5 peach slices

(can be frozen variety)
  1 tsp all-natural peanut butter
Lunch 4 oz chicken breast or turkey breast,
or
5 oz fish or tuna

(Grilled or Baked. Mrs. Dash is my friend!)
6 oz sweet potato or red potato,
or
1/2 cup brown rice (before cooking)
or
or 1/2 cup kidney beans
1 cup green vegetables - broccoli, spinach, green beans, or asparagus 1-2 tsp flax seed oil (plus fat contained in meat.)
Mid-Afternoon 3.5 oz can of Tuna or Chicken,
or
low-carb protein shake or bar
1 slice whole grain bread
or
1 small apple
Carrot or celery sticks 1-2 tsp flax seed oil (can skip if having bar)
Supper 4 oz chicken breast or turkey breast or fish or lean steak   2 cups Spinach leaves with salad-type veggies (broccoli, radishes, cucumbers, green onions, etc.) 1 TBS olive (or safflower) oil and vinegar dressing
(plus fat contained in meat).
(I like Paul Newman's dressing.)
Free Meal Once Per Week!
Follow the meal plan above daily. Replace one of your meals per week with a 'free' meal!   Satisfy a particular craving, in moderation. Eat a couple slices of pizza or eat a dessert. (NOTE: Stay in control. Some foods trigger me to eat WAY too much, so I try to avoid those most of the time.)




Low Carb, High Protein Zig-Zag Approach - 130 lb Female
Meal Protein Carbs Fibrous Veggies Fat
Breakfast 2 egg whites &
1 whole egg &
3 oz. ground turkey breast or lean beef or chopped ham -
make as omelet
1/2 grapefruit
or
1/3 cup oatmeal (before cooking)
omelet-type veggies (green peppers, onion, etc.) (Fat contained within yolk and meat)
Mid-Morning 2 scoops of low-carb protein powder (as a shake or pudding)     2 tsps all-natural peanut butter
Lunch 5 oz chicken breast or turkey breast,
or
6 oz fish or tuna (Grilled or Baked. Mrs. Dash is my friend!)
  1 cup green vegetables - broccoli, spinach, green beans, or asparagus 1-2 tsp flax seed oil (plus fat contained in meat)
Mid-Afternoon 6 oz can of Tuna or Chicken,
or
2 scoops low-carb protein powder (as a shake or pudding),
or
low-carb protein bar
  Celery or carrots 1-2 tsp flax seed oil (can skip this if eating a bar).
Supper 5 oz chicken breast or turkey breast or fish or lean steak   2 cups Spinach leaves with salad-type veggies (broccoli, radishes, cucumbers, green onions, etc.) 1 TBS olive oil and vinegar dressing
(plus fat contained in meat).
(I like Paul Newman's dressing.)

Option 1 - High Carb Meal at End of Day

Follow the low-carb plan above daily. On Wednesday and Saturday (or similarly spaced days), replace your last meal of the day with one of the following high-carb options:

Meal Protein Carbs Fibrous Veggies Fat
Suggested High-Carb Meal 1   5 oz sweet potato & 1/3 cup oatmeal (before cooking) &
1 small banana
1 cup fibrous veggies (broccoli, spinach, green beans, asparagus) 1 tsp butter or flaxseed oil
Suggested High-Carb Meal 2   1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta
or
1/2 cup brown rice (before cooking) with 2 TBS marinara sauce, &
4 strawberries
1 cup fibrous veggies (broccoli, spinach, green beans, asparagus) 1 tsp butter or flaxseed oil
Suggested High-Carb Meal 3   Low-fat chili with beans (with or without meat)    

Option 2 - Additional Complex Carbs Throughout the Day

Follow the same low-carb plan above daily. On Wednesday and Saturday (or similarly spaced days), change your daily meals to include more complex carbs throughout the day, like below:

Breakfast 2 egg whites &
1 whole egg &
6 oz skim milk
1/3 cup oatmeal (before cooking)   (Fat contained with yolk and oatmeal)
Mid-Morning 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
or
8 oz Skim Milk.
Add 1 scoop protein powder to either.
(lactose in yogurt or milk count as carbs)   1 tsp all-natural peanut butter
Lunch 3-4 oz chicken breast or turkey breast,
or
4-5 oz fish
4 oz sweet potato 1 cup green vegetables - broccoli, spinach, green beans, or asparagus 1 tsp flax seed oil (plus fat contained in meat.)
Mid-Afternoon 3-4 oz can of Tuna or Chicken 1 slice whole grain bread
or
1/2 cup pinto beans
or
1 medium apple
  1 tsp flax seed oil
Supper 4 oz of chicken breast or turkey breast or fish or lean steak 4 oz sweet potato
or
1/2 cup brown rice (before cooking)
1 cup green vegetables - broccoli, spinach, green beans, or asparagus (fat contained in meat)


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