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When you bring your body fat down near 10%, you'll need to use some metabolic trickery in order to keep the process of fat loss going in the right direction. Often, while at this point, the instinct of many bodybuilders is to eliminate carbs from their bodybuilding diet and go on a ketogenic diet, this is not the best strategy in my opinion.
Carb Control While eliminating carbs from your diet initially brings about some results in the way of less water retention and a sudden drop in weight, the body immediately puts itself into an emergency state and thus, orders a lowering of your metabolic rate. It will do this through a reduction of thyroid hormone production (which is the hormone responsible for keeping the metabolism high) and the only way to bring this production back up (and thus, boost the metabolic rate) is through an increase in carbohydrate intake. So instead of eliminating carbs from the diet (as most novices do), a better way to accomplish fat loss when already at 10% body fat is through the use of an advanced technique called Carbohydrate Cycling.
Carbohydrate Cycling Basics Since you are already at 10% body fat, it will take some metabolic trickery in order to coax your body to go down to 6%. Here is where carbohydrate cycling really pays off. When using carbohydrate cycling, carbohydrate intake is lowered significantly (but not eliminated) for a few days in order to put the body in a fat burning state. Then, for one day, carbohydrates are increased again to normal levels in order to prevent the metabolic slowdown that I described above. In addition, by temporarily increasing your carbs, you also get to have better energy levels throughout the fat loss process as well as preserve (and even gain) muscle tissue.
How to Implement Carbohydrate Cycling There are many ways to implement carbohydrate cycling. However, a simple way is to do three days of lowered carbohydrates, followed by one day of increased intake. As far as how many carbs, proteins and fats to consume, I personally use the following formulas:
Carbs (low days) = Lean Body Mass (Fat Free Weight) x .85
Carbs (high days) = 2 x Carbs (low days)
Proteins (same for high and low carbohydrate days)= Lean Body Mass x 1.25 (you can go as high as times 1.5 if you are training twice a day)
Fats (same for high and low carbohydrate days)= Lean Body Mass x 0.34
EXAMPLE: Say your Lean Body Mass is 175-lbs Therefore:
Carbs (low days) = 175 x .85 = 148.75 (rounded off to 150 grams of carbs)
Carbs (high days) = 2 x 150 = 300 grams of carbs.
Proteins (same for high and low carbohydrate days)= 175 x 1.5 (given that this subject trains twice a day) = 262.5 which I will just round to 260 grams
Fats (same for high and low carbohydrate days)= 175 x 0.34 = 59.5 which I will round to 60 grams.
How Much To Consume? So now we have the (subject's) daily values, we need to figure out what I to consume in each meal. Eating 6 meals a day is ideal. (5 meals a day is very common). First lets calculate proteins and fats simply by taking the total amount that you would need to consume per day and dividing by 6:
Protein intake per meal = 260/6 = 43 grams (so I will round it to 40 grams per meal)
Fats intake per meal = 60/6 = 10 grams of fats per meal.
In order to organize a low day carbohydrate intake, I recommend to have carbs only at the 3 key times, your breakfast, your pre-workout meal and your post workout meal. By choosing to have carbs at these times, the carbs consumed will be fully utilized by the body for fuel.
Low Carb Day: In order to calculate carbs for a low day, simply take the total amount of carbs and divide by 3. Low Carb Day Carbohydrate Intake Per Meal = 150/3 = 50 grams on 3 meals (breakfast, pre-workout and post workout meals or breakfast, lunch and dinner if it is a day off from weights).
High Carb Day: To calculate carbohydrate intake for a high day, simply divide the total carbohydrate intake by 6. So in this case, that comes out to:
High Carb Day Carbohydrate Intake Per Meal = 300/6 = 50 grams per meal.
Protein: As far as food choices, for proteins, use lean proteins such as chicken and egg whites, include proteins rich in essential fats such as wild atlantic salmon.
Fats: For fats, on meals where you are including proteins that contain essential fats, you don’t need to add any. On meals with lean proteins like chicken, egg whites, or protein powder then you need to add fats in the form of
Carbohydrates: Finally, for carbohydrates, since our main goal is fat loss, only include low glycemic index carbs such as oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes and, of course, green vegetables like broccoli and green beans.