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Cardio and Carb Cycling For Accelerated Fat Loss

Cardio and Carb Cycling For Accelerated Fat Loss

Cardio and Carb Cycling For Accelerated Fat Loss

Cardio and Carb Cycling For Accelerated Fat Loss

Cardio and Carb Cycling For Accelerated Fat Loss will give you more knowledge on carbs, muscles, working out and the benefits and what to avoid.

How To Burn Fat While Preserving Muscle Mass

We all want to make changes to our bodies, and the single biggest change that most people say they want to make is to drop body fat. I’ve always told my clients … ‘You can’t force fat, only coax it.’ The simple truth is that when the body faces drastic changes in the form of either dieting or training, it enters a state of alert. This is when the body locks down its fat stores, which can be thought of as the body’s survival energy tanks.

If you do manage to lose ten pounds in ten days, most of it will be water, some will be muscle, and a very small amount may actually be fat. Then, in all likelihood, you will put those pounds back on within a few weeks due to water retention, and a slower metabolism.

So what’s the answer? Well, there’s the combination of cardio and dieting that will allow you to lose and keep the fat off, while holding on to all of your hard-earned muscle. A realistic timescale, depending on how much body fat you want to lose, is anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks. This may seem like a lifetime, but just think of how long it took to build up your new muscle, and to put on all of that fat. My clients who experienced the greatest fat loss were the ones who changed one variable at a time and with that in mind, I have a couple of steps for you to follow.


The first step is to cut your calories from carbohydrates by no more than 25%. Dropping your carbs from foods such as oats, yams, pasta and potatoes too much will leave you feeling weak and unable to train with the intensity that the body needs to hold onto muscle tissue. A drop in total calories greater than 15% also lowers testosterone levels in men, which leads to muscle loss. It’s also important to note that the reduction in calories should only come from calories found in carbs; not protein or fats. As a rule of thumb, you should still be eating from one to 1.5 grams of complete protein (from meats, eggs or whey) per pound of lean body mass every day. The easiest way to do this is to cut one quarter of your carbs from each meal. Expect to lose between one to 1.5 pounds of fat per week.


The next step is to add cardio work, but only when you see each week’s fat loss start to slow. Start with 30 minute sessions at 75–80% of your maximum heart rate. While a lower intensity working at 55–60% of your training heart rate zone would use a greater percentage of fat for fuel, working at a higher intensity can nearly double the total calories burned in the same period; meaning more fat is burned.

Gradually build your cardio up to no more than 45 minutes per session, at the same heart rate. You should be doing cardio five or six times per week; ideally, early in the morning on an empty stomach. As you will have not eaten anything during the night, you will have reduced levels of sugar available in the bloodstream; therefore, your body will immediately tap into fat stores for fuel.

Remember to cap your cardio at 45 minutes, as any more time will affect your ability to recover from your weight workouts, decrease testosterone levels and leave your muscles looking flat.

The best way to maintain this high level of intensity and burn more calories is to use intervals that require you to work as hard as you can for three minutes, followed by two minutes of recovery at a low intensity.

The chart below indicates the interval levels for a 45 minute interval-based fat loss training session, completed most easily on a stationary bike.


Plan A

Once you’ve built up to five or six cardio sessions a week, you can begin rotating your carb intake; where your calories are low for three days and higher on the fourth day. Depending on the amount of body fat you want to lose, you can reduce your daily intake of calories from carbs by a further 25% before starting the rotational cycle. But remember that too few carbs will leave you feeling weak and unable to recover from your weight training workouts.

The advantage of rotational dieting is that you are able to burn more fat and hold onto more muscle than if you were to just stay on a low calorie diet indefinitely. This is due to the muscle energy (glycogen) decreasing over the three day lower carb period, which acts to shift your body’s metabolism to using more fatty acids for fuel. However, much more than three days results in glycogen stores becoming too depleted; muscle, in addition to fat, will be burned as fuel.

You can prevent this by incorporating a higher carbohydrate day every fourth day (which refuels glycogen stored in muscle cells) and by adding 40 to 60 grams of extra protein on the three low-carb days. Combining this with intense workouts, interval training aerobic work, and a reduced caloric intake provides the body with the ideal stimulus for fat loss.

Plan B

If you hit a plateau or fail to see any noticeable decreases in body fat while following the rotational diet and cardio interval approach, or if you seem to be getting smaller in size, then you should try ‘zig-zagging’ your carb intake. This means increasing the amount of carbs you eat for an extra day to where as many as half your total calories come from carbs.

The next day, you should consume only half as much as you did during the original three days of lower carb intake, then return back to the original three low, one high rotational diet. The exaggerated carb increase over two days, followed by a much lower amount the following day is nearly always effective for overcoming plateaus by preventing the metabolism from slowing down.

For the best results, I recommend following the rotational diet for four consecutive cycles (about two weeks), followed by the modified zig-zag approach as outlined above. This should further increase fat burning and ensure you keep hold of lean muscle mass.

Plan C

If after trying the above two strategies you still struggle to shed the fat, then you could try cutting out your fat intake on the lower carb days. This means you consume exclusively fat-free protein sources to eliminate any extra calories that may be preventing you from getting leaner. Fat-free protein sources include protein powders, fish, egg whites, and turkey breasts. On the lower carb days, you can also include some vegetables with your meals, although only the fibrous kind such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumbers, onions and peppers. And on the high-carb days, you should stay away from these vegetables (and all greens), and have complex carbs like rice, pasta, yams, oats, and potatoes, as these will help refill the muscle cells with glycogen and speed up the metabolism, halting any muscle loss that results from eating fewer carbs during the previous three days.


Interval Time Heart Rate Zone Average Heart Rate (25–35 year old)
1 two minutes 55% 105 bpm
three minutes 80% 156 bpm
2 two minutes ‘Recovery’ Let HR fall to 55%
three minutes 80% 156 bpm – start to work harder
3 two minutes ‘Recovery’ Attempt to bring HR down to 55%
three minutes 80% 156 bpm – All-out effort
4 two minutes ‘Recovery’ Slow things down to 55-60%
three minutes 80% 156 bpm should be easier to maintain
5 two minutes ‘Recovery’ HR likely to stay elevated during recovery
three minutes 80% 156 bpm
6 two minutes ‘Recovery’ Begin to slow things down
three minutes 80% 156 bpm – maintain constant rate
7 two minutes ‘Recovery’ Recover with low rpm
three minutes 80% 156 bpm – maintain constant rate
8 two minutes ‘Recovery’ one more interval to go
three minutes 80% 156 bpm
9 two minutes ‘Recovery’ Low rpm still results in high HR
three minutes 80% 156 bpm – final all-out effort

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