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3 WAYS TO USE CARBS By: Corey Reich
Carbohydrates, one of the most misunderstood and misused used variables in the health and fitness industry. Carbs get a bad rep of being bad or being avoided all together in order to lose weight and achieve a more aesthetic physical appearance. The truth of the matter is that carbohydrates are not bad for you and definitely should not be avoided all together. Your body needs carbs in order to function properly as it is the body’s main source of energy. The brain, kidneys, muscles, and central nervous system do not function properly without carbohydrates. I agree, yes, carbs can also be abused and cause people to gain an excess amount of weight. I am going to give you three different ways to use carbs in order to make them work for you and not against you. Doing either of these methods can lead to fat loss and maintaining that muscular look as no one really wants to be just skinny. I myself have and still do use all of these methods in my diet just depending on what goals I have at the time.
The first method of using carbs can be used by anyone just looking to make a healthier lifestyle change and hopefully trim up and lose some body fat. This method is going to be described as front loading carbs in the day. This means you are going to eat the majority of your carbs in the beginning part of the day when your body needs the energy the most. Being able to focus at work and having good energy is important in everyone’s lives. An example of what I am talking about is to eat your biggest carb meal at breakfast and then reduce the amount carbs you have at each meal. Example diet would be to eat 50g carbs at breakfast then have a mid morning snack of 40g carbs. At lunch time you can have around 30g carbs and then in your mid afternoon snack have 20g of carbs. This will mean that your dinner is very low in carbs, maybe around 1015g, because your day is winding down and you do not need as many carbs for energy to go to bed. In doing this you will ensure that you will have optimal energy at work and then be able to let your body burn fat in the evening and at night while you sleep.
The second method of using carbs are for those people looking to have optimal performance in their workouts. This method will allow you to burn body fat as well but it will make sure that you can still push yourself in the gym or in an event. The way you go about using this method is to have three meals that contain most of your daily carbohydrate intake. I recommend that breakfast be one of the meals you have a good amount of carbs. The reason behind that is because you have essentially fasted for 8 or more hours while you slept. Your body needs those carbs first thing in the morning to get the body and the brain going to attack the day. The next two meals you have your carbs at will be your pre workout and your post workout meals (before and after you workout). This will ensure that you have optimal energy to have an effective workout and will allow you to refuel your body with the glycogen it just burnt off during exercise. Proper recovery from the workout is just as important as the workout itself. An example day of eating would be to have 40g carbs at breakfast and then have around 1020g at midmorning snack. At lunch you will also need another 1020g of carbs. Now your mid afternoon snack will become your pre workout meal and you will have 50g at that time. Your dinner is your post workout meal and you will consume another 50g carbs. So as you can see both of these methods still require eating roughly the same amount of carbs in a day. The difference is when you eat them and will be based off of what your goal may be at the time. Both will allow you to become a leaner and healthier you.
Now on to the third and final method that is more aggressive and may not be suitable for every person. This is the method I use on myself as well as clients of mine that are looking to get extremely lean and possibly compete in a bodybuilding competition. This method is known as “carb cycling”. What this essentially means is that you will only consume higher amounts of carbs on certain days. There are many different ways I split this up for myself as well as my clients. A very basic and easy way to carb cycle is by having two to three lower carb days in a week. So an example would be that on your higher carb days you consume around 200g of carbs, and then on your low carb days maybe you would only consume around 50100g. Ex: Monday high, Tuesday low, Wednesday high, Thursday low, Friday and Saturday high, and then Sunday low. What this method does is allow your body to use fat more as an energy source on those lower carb days instead of burning up the carbs for energy. The reason that you still have higher carb days is because you do not want your body’s metabolism to slow down making it harder to burn body fat. Your body would slow down its metabolism and it would eventually adjust to the lower caloric intake on those low carb days. If this happens it then becomes a struggle to burn body fat and you run into a whole other set of issues. So cycling carbs allows your metabolism to still stay as high as possible while you take strategic advantage of low carb days for burning fat.
I hope this helped you learn that carbs are not bad and can be used to your advantage when done the correct way. Be on the lookout for more helpful content and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you need extra help.