3 Massive Metabolism Myths Stopping Your Fat Loss!

You’ve been lied to for years about your metabolism, and have mislead to believe you’re not in control of your fat loss when you really are.

“I have such a hard time losing weight I’ve always had a slow metabolism

“I gain weight back after I lose it so quick, I know have a really slow metabolism”

Do either of those sentences sound familiar ?

If the answer yes no worries there are tons of people like you in the same boat but after today we’re going to ditch those false beliefs.

In the place of those metabolism myths you’re going to have some factual information that will help you lose more fat without being as restrictive.

Myth #1: The Slow Metabolism

The chances are very good you don’t have a slow metabolism, even as you get older your metabolism doesn’t slow you just tend to move less and burn fewer calories on daily and weekly basis.

What’s far more likely than you having a slow metabolism is underestimating portions and calories.

This is far more common than you would think!

In most studies they show that people just like you trying to be s accurate as possible unintentionally underreport their calories by an average of 40%...

That’s an insane amount of calories to be missing on a daily basis and could easily account for your lack of fat loss.

You might not burn nearly as many calories as you think in a day likely because your lifestyle of job is pretty sedentary as it is for most people.

Getting something like a step tracker can be really helpful to see how many steps you’re taking per day, but ignore the amount of calories it says you’re burning.

Metabolism Myth # 2: Smaller More Frequent Meals Boosts Your Metabolism

Your body has to burn a certain amount of calories to breakdown and digest food when you eat, and this is known as the thermic effect of food.

Yes you burn calories when you eat food, but not enough to make a difference in your fat loss.

There is an old metabolism myth that if you ate smaller more frequent meals it would cause you to burn more calories based on the idea you burn calories when you eat.

However what matters most when it comes to the amount of calories you burn from eating is the total amount of calories and macronutrient breakdown of food.

If you eat 2,000 calories at the end of a 24 hour period the body still has to breakdown and digest 2,000 calories so it doesn’t matter whether those calories are eaten in two meal or six at the end of the day.

Metabolism Myth #3: Your workout Burns A Ton Of Calories

Now there are definitely some kinds of exercise that are going to burn more calories but at the end of the day the amount of calories most of you burn  at the gym are depressingly low.

Now this is not to discount how hard you work at the gym which I’m sure you do but even so the amount of calories we usually burn from exercise far less than even our non exercise activity by a long shot.

Let’s assume you go to the gym and for 90 minutes a few times per week. You likely spend 10 minutes  warming up before getting into lifting.

Also think about the fact that you burn more calories when you’re physically lifting weights at the gym and out of the total 90 minutes at the gym how many of those minutes are you actually lifting ?

If  you’re lucky 20 minutes is the time under weights you’d spend in a gym session…

So to assume that you burn an insane amount of calories in that short amount of time seems unreasonable but I think a lot of people assume they burn far more calories at the gym then they do.

At the end of the day one of the best things you can do is understand that you need to be in a calorie deficit for fat loss to happen.

If you’re not losing fat look at your daily calorie intake as the first culprit as most people underestimate their calories.

Next up don’t worry about how many meals per day you eat for fat loss focus on your calorie intake.

Lastly because you don’t burn very many calories through exercise make sure that on top of your normal gym routine you’re getting around 8-10,000 steps because that will give you a nice little extra calorie burn in a less stressful way than traditional cardio.

If you’re tired of spinning your wheels and not seeing any progress

You’ve lost and regained the same 15-20 pounds for years now and instead of just yo yo dieting it’s not impacting your life...

You’re always hiding in pictures with loved ones and friends...  

You’re embarrassed and skip social events so no one sees you out...

You’re tired of waking up every morning  and feeling disappointed when you look in the mirror...

You’re constantly disappointed when the clothes you want to wear can’t be found in your size…

How would you like to…

Feel more confident everyday when you wake up and finally fit into those favorite pair of jeans

Feel like being in the front of pictures and smiling, not missing out on fun social events

Feeling sex again after years of covering up and hiding your body as much as possible

Click HERE to apply for coaching and lets get you in those jeans, smiling and feeling sexy again!

Is Fat Loss Wrecking Your Metabolism ? (Part 1)

What Is Your Metabolism ?

Your metabolism is a compilation of chemical reactions that take place inside our cells that either build up or break down molecules inside the body.

When molecules are broken down they give off energy, while when a molecule is built up it makes energy. The breaking down process is known as catabolism, while the building up is anabolism. 

These catabolic and anabolic reactions of the metabolism keep us alive also give us the energy to breathe, keep our bodies warm, move, grow and repair and think!

To make sure that our cells stay healthy and work properly thousands of different metabolic reactions take place each moment that  are regulated by the body.

The three components that make up your metabolism and control your energy requirements are: Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA) which comprises a few different forms of movement  and Thermic Effect Of Food (TEF). Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

The amount of calories (energy) your body requires to keep you alive is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This accounts for upwards of 60% of your total caloric needs in a day.

Whether you did a triathlon or sat on the couch the entire day this calorie requirement stays the same, however you can change your BMR. 

The amount of muscle mass that you have is directly correlated with your BMR. More muscle mass means that your BMR will be elevated to a greater calorie requirement.

Anything that decreases muscle mass such as dieting will also decrease BMR. This  means it is very important to preserve muscle mass when losing fat so we can keep BMR as high as possible and burn more calories… just sitting there on the couch!

Thermic Effect Of Activity (TEA)

Because you are doing more than just laying in bed all day long you are going to require more calories than just your BMR  to provide energy for daily activities.

The thermic effect of activity is all the calories expended on a daily basis through formalized exercise combined with you non exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). 

NEAT accounts for the calories we require for activities that are not sleeping, eating or exercising.

These kind of tasks would include: walking to work, yard work, typing or using a standing desk at work. Something as simple as fidgeting or adjusting your position all fall underneath the NEAT umbrella.

Very interestingly NEAT expenditure is regulated by changes in energy balance (calories coming in) and will decrease when dieting, but be boosted by short periods of overfeeding.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

This is the amount of calories you require to digest, break down and absorb all the food you eat. Eating does temporarily raise your metabolism because the body is working to turn your food into energy for your cells.

This short lived boost in metabolic function takes place once you are eating and peaks roughly three hours after the meal is finished. All the different macronutrients actually require a different amount of calories to be digested.

We Now Know Better

The Thermic effect of food was the basis for the theory that smaller more frequent meals lead to greater fat loss.  

The theory was the more often you ate the more TEF would be elevated and more  calories would be burned as a result.

However we have discovered that it doesn’t matter how frequently you eat meals, but the overall caloric content and macronutrient breakdown that contributes to TEF.

Each macronutrient actually boosts the metabolism by a different amount: Fats 3-4%, Carbs 6-8% and Protein 25-30%. Spicy foods also have an impact on the TEF as well.

The Thrifty Metabolism

When most people lose fat  their body weight  goes down, as will the number of calories they burn at rest (BMR) and during their daily activities (NEAT).

The reason BMR  will slow down with weight loss is because there’s less body weight to support, which means even at rest the body doesn’t have to burn as many calories

The reason NEAT slows down is because your body requires less energy to support your daily movement now that you are smaller.

NEAT will also decrease because as the metabolism gets thrifty it realizes that it can’t afford to burn the extra calories on movement. Even if you move the same amount it will burn fewer calories.

The body is highly adaptable and knows if less is coming in, we need to make sure less is going out. We have a specific gland  that helps to control our metabolic rate named the thyroid.

Thyroid and Leptin

The thyroid is a very complicated, and important gland in the body that controls our metabolic rate.

Leptin is a hormone secreted from our fat cells, the more fat you have the more leptin you have circulating letting the brain know we have enough stored energy. Ithelps to increase or decrease our metabolic rate by delivering a report on how much energy we have available to the brain.

That energy report is sent to the thyroid to make any necessary adjustments based on available energy. The thyroid will increase or decrease the metabolism based on the amount of leptin.

When someone is in a caloric deficit, and has lost a significant amount of fat there is far less leptin.

Too little leptin signals to the body that there is far less energy available and the metabolic rate needs to be slowed down to stay in balance. On the other side the body will increase appetite to get more energy into the body. 

As a result the metabolism being slowed down you will burn far fewer calories at rest, and  when exercising or doing non exercise activity. When the metabolism stays in this condition for long enough it starts to slow other areas of the body down as well.  

Common symptoms of someone who has dieted for too long include fatigue, fat loss plateaus, decreased libido, worse body composition and getting cold easily, constipation. Many of these can be tied directly back to the thyroid.

Now that you have a far better understanding of what your metabolism is and how losing fat can actually slow it down we will be cover tactics in the second part of this blog series on how to lose fat without slowing down your metabolism. Stay Tuned!

Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.


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3 Reasons To Break Up With The Scale

I have an admission to make to you all, I do not like scales when it comes to tracking fat  loss.

Most people get up in the morning and weight themselves first thing. The rest of the day it is on their minds and they are already judging themselves before the first cup of coffee. 

They let the number on the scale dictate how they feel about themselves starting at the very beginning of the day. 

If the number was higher than expected they person feels depressed, if it was lower than expected they feel excited. We have all been there!

When someone sets out to meet a goal “ I want to lose 25 pounds” it can be a good  starting point for motivation. Scales don’t tell the whole fat loss story, and can have powerful impacts on a person’s emotions and self esteem.

I’m here to say that I think you and the scale should take some time apart. Don’t worry there are plenty of other metrics we can use to track fat loss. I’m not saying to never step on a scale, but I’m going to share why you should do it far less often than you currently are. 

1. Weight Fluctuates Dramatically

The human body is truly amazing, and very responsive to the signals we send it. We are constantly eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, sweating - hopefully you’re not going to the bathroom and sweating together though!

The point is your weight will change based on what you ate, how much water you drank, if you worked out, how much salt you had in your food, bathroom frequency and  what time of day you weighed yourself. Quite a few factors to keep track of eh ?

Morning and night time weights will also fluctuate because you have been eating and drinking liquids all day. I regularly fluctuate between 3-6 pounds in a day based on how I ate, water consumption, trips to the bathroom and workouts!

2. Weight Doesn’t Reveal The Whole Story!

There are plenty of fat loss pictures out there where someone weighs roughly the same if not more, but with a dramatically improved body composition. Same weight on the scale, but different muscle and fat mass.

We all know that muscle is denser than fat and takes up more volume, but in the process of losing “weight” you never want to sacrifice hard earned muscle!

Ignore the losing “weight” talk we are interested in losing body fat. Even scales that give a body fat percentage are very inaccurate.

The goal is to reduce body fat while preserving and even building muscle mass. Weight loss doesn’t tell us if we are losing fat, or burning up muscle.

3. You Are Not A Scale Number!

Having a goal and wanting to make changes is an amazing part of life, but DO NOT let a number on a scale control how you feel about yourself!

Maybe you set out to lose 50 pounds, and  lost 40 pounds instead, while you didn’t hit your exact goal I’m betting you had to buy all new clothes, inspired those around you, are healthier and feel better about yourself. Those all sound like a net positive to me. 

Don’t fall victim to playing the up and down emotions game associated with scale addiction. More important do not let the number on the scale dictate how much you eat that day, that is how eating disorders are created and perpetuated. 

 Look how far you have come, and realize you have EARNED every step along the way, strive to make daily progress towards your goals, but appreciate the changes you have made. 

Everybody is a work in progress and has their own journey in this life. Focus on your journey, and  the distance you have traveled since first starting on this path!

How To Track Your Progress

When you strength train, eat properly, sleep and adopt healthier habits the body will shed fat. We have addressed a lot of these on the Eat To Evolve blog.

Losing fat is simple, however you should not mistake simple for easy. Because something is simple doesn't mean it will be easy. 

By tracking progress you will be able to make adjustments when necessary and see what is and isn’t working for you. You will have a gauge for measuring your fat loss.  

Before we cover how to track progress let me say this: DON’T TRACK EVERYTHING DAILY! Any form of daily tracking can become an addiction, and fosters an unhealthy relationship with your body and food. Once more  DON’T TRACK EVERYTHING DAILY!

I recommend tracking your progress every 2 weeks. Take pictures and measurements  at the same time, on the same day of the week. A Monday of Friday morning before you eat breakfast are best.

Methods For Tracking Fat Loss:

Take a picture:

Get into a bathing suit or your underwear, and use your cell phone to take a picture. If you have someone who can help you take pictures even better, if not the mirror picture will work.

Take a picture facing forwards towards the mirror, then turn sideways and take another side profile picture. If you have someone who can help take a picture of your back profile as well.

You may not like what you see, and you may not want to see that picture again,that’s  fine. Put those pictures in a special folder on your computer and add to the folder every two weeks.

We have a hard time noticing any changes on a day to day basis, but if you have a few months worth of pictures to look at you can see your body composition changing and make any necessary changes.

Measurements:

Go to a store and look in their craft section for a soft measuring tape. Make sure to measure yourself in the morning before any food or liquids and don’t do it right after a workout either. 

Measure the exact same point every two weeks for accuracy. Pick a  landmark on your body like  a scar or a freckle to make sure you are at the same spot as the previous measurement.

Take circumference measurement at each these points every two week and write the numbers down. You may need some help with a few of these, others can be done on your own.

  1. Shoulders: Put both your arms down at your side. Measure at the widest point from shoulder to shoulder.
     

  2. Chest: Put both your arms up in the air and wrap the tape measure around the chest. Just a little bit above the nipple, then put your arms down and take the measurement.
     

  3. Waist: Right at the belly button, wrapping the tape measure around until it gets back to the belly button.
     

  4. Hips: Measure the widest part of your hips, going all the way around.
     

  5. Thighs: Measure around the widest part of both your left and right thighs, but use the same body landmark to keep measurements accurate each week.
     

  6. A Measurable Workout: You will do this workout before entering into the fat loss challenge and record your score or time. You will do the same workout at the end of the challenge as well so you can bask in your hard work and improvement. While this is not necessary for those who have taken pictures and done measurements, this is an option for the more performance driven individual.

These are just a few of the many ways to measure fat loss without hopping on a scale multiple times every day and getting obsessed over the number. We all want to see immediate results, but you did not gain fat overnight so do not expect to lose it overnight either. 

Keep the non scale victories in mind like: better energy, improved mental clarity, clothes fitting better, your joints feel better, rings are looser, people asked if you have lost weight, inches lost and you FEEL HEALTHIER! these are way more valuable. 

Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.


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5 Ways Fasting Speeds Up Fat Loss

Intermittent fasting is simply engaging in periods of time when no calories are consumed, and then eating in a condensed time frame.

It can be especially helpful for those who are stuck in a fat loss plateau to kick start fat burning.

There are a number of methods to choose from, but all of them include not eating for a period of 16-24 hours, and then consuming all of your calories within a certain time frame usually 6-8 hours.

When people are fasting, it includes the time when they are  asleep, luckily!

In a typical 16 hour fast you would stop eating after dinner around 8pm. When you wake up in the following morning instead of eating breakfast, you would  have coffee, tea or water and wait until lunch time at 12-1pm to have your first meal. You would eat from 12-1pm until 8pm.

This would be an example of a 16-18 hour fast. To help with the hunger some people will add coconut oil or heavy whipping cream to their coffee or tea  to keep them satiated until they eat at lunch time. This kind of fasting can be done daily.

Another popular form of fasting is to go a full 24 hours without eating, this could be from 2pm Tuesday to 2pm Wednesday with just water and coffee consumed.

This approach allows you to fast for a full 24 hours, but still eat every day. If someone engages in a full 24 hour fast these are typically done 1-2 times per week.

There are great benefits from fasting down to a cellular level, but today our focus is on how fasting can help with fat loss.

When fasting is applied correctly it can be an extremely powerful tool to help with fat loss. Below we will cover some of the ways fasting works its magic in the fat loss war.

1.) More Calories Burned

As you all know it is not just about calories in and calories out, but when trying to achieve fat loss calories do matter.

The closer you get to your ideal body composition the more specific your approach will need to be.If fat loss has stalled calories should be looked at to assess if they are too high or too low, for too long.

Contrary to popular belief sometimes calories need to be increased for a short period to boost the metabolism, and continue with fat loss.

During periods of fasting the metabolism is boosted and adrenaline is increased which allows you to more efficiently tap into fat stores on he body. 

An added benefit of fasting is that you will have more energy than you would think and the mental clarity can be great for those looking to be productive.

As I write this newsletter I am currently fasting, and am about 14 hours into a 16 hour fast!  

2.) Become A Fat Burner, Not A Sugar Burner

When you are fasting the metabolism will switch from relying on blood sugar to burning predominantly stored body fat .

When eating the body chooses to utilize carbohydrates for fuel first, and then shifts to burning fat.

Because people consume so many processed carbs, sugars and excess calories on a daily basis the body rarely have the opportunity to burn fat.

As a result any extra calories that aren’t needed will be converted and stored as body fat.

When you are fasting the body has no other option but to burn up stored body fat. When you are completing a fasting period the body will be burning far more fat than it would during a normal day of eating.

3.) Fasting Increases Fat Burning Hormones

Hormones are at the base of all metabolic functions in the body, and losing body fat is no different. Growth hormone is one of the most important hormones that contributes directly to body fat reduction.

During periods of fasting growth hormone becomes elevated in both frequency and intensity. Because of the abundance of growth hormone during fasting we get put into a fat burning overdrive!

4.) Increase Fat Burning Enzymes

While hormones definitely reign supreme in the fat burning world, enzymes play a role in supporting the functions of hormones.

Hormone sensitive lipase is the enzyme that helps fat cells release fat to be used by the muscle, and lipoprotein lipase is the enzyme that allows your muscles to burn fat as fuel.

By fasting you up regulate both of these enzymes causing more fat to be released by fat cells, and allowing more fat to be used as fuel in the muscles.

This is a marriage made in heaven for anyone who is looking to burn extra body fat!

5.) Decreased Fasting Insulin Levels

With insulin present the process of lipolysis which is the release of stored body fat for fuel can not take place. Without lipolysis the releasing of stored body fat to be used for fuel is very difficult.

Fasting keeps insulin levels low, while lipolysis is increased. This insulin blunting effect of fasting means that during a time where we are taking in zero calories we need to be able to access stored body fat to have energy to fuel our machine.

Luckily fasting allows us to access far more body fat that we would otherwise have access to.

Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.


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Your Cyclical Fat Loss Plan: Carbs, Calories and Fats!

Crawl Before You Walk

Before we get into calorie cycling I wanted to address some initial fat loss tips if you are getting started. Your initial fat loss plan should be simple.

Just because something is simple doesn't mean it is going to be easy though. Stay on course and be consistent with your fat loss efforts. The imperfect nutrition plan you follow is better than the perfect one you don't follow. Keep that in mind! 

Focus on high quality whole foods that come from nature and avoid man made processed foods. Make sure you are eating enough protein  (0.8-1g/lb) and train hard in the gym.

Also make sure you are getting at least 8-9 hours of solid sleep per night. Create a nutrition, gym and lifestyle game plan you can realistically stick to and use until it no longer works.

Squeeze every last ounce of fat loss you can out of this simple approach before you consider moving on to something new.

If you are above 20% body fat, stop reading this blog post and start doing the above steps. Don’t over complicate things and get paralyzed by trying to overhaul everything at once. Make a plan, be consistent and start seeing progress.

Nature Is smarter than us

When it comes to cycling whether it be nutrients or calories, we have instinctively done this since the beginning of time.

Calorie and nutrient cycling are not a new method, and has been done by our ancestors for many years without thinking about or giving it a name. Cyclical eating is what it is called these days.

From an evolutionary perspective when we ate before grocery stores, we had to eat what was provided by nature.

When eating with the seasons we would have times of greater caloric intake, and times where we would consume less calories because food was scarce.

When eating cyclically different foods and nutrients would be available, or not available depending on the time of year.

This dictated how we ate back then, and it just so happens nature is pretty good at giving us what we need.  

With grocery stores on every corner and imported foods stocked on the shelves we have moved away from local and seasonal eating. We are now able to eat our favorite foods year round, regardless of the season.

Calorie Cycling Vs.  Linear Dieting

For those who are are looking to achieve fat loss you can achieve it multiple different ways that all work. A common method used  to achieve fat loss is a daily calorie deficit.

A person will find how many calories they need to maintain their weight and then eat below that every day.

If someone needs 1800 calories to maintain body weight, but eats 1500 calories seven days a week this is a 300 calorie daily deficit.

Another method is to have more calories or carbs on days when you're more active and work out, and less on days where you are not training or working out. This second method is calorie/ carb  cycling.

Calorie and carb  cycling are methods of raising and lowering calories and carbs on certain days to make sure you keep losing fat, but don’t let the metabolism slow from under eating for too long.

Problems With Linear Dieting

The closer someone gets to their ideal body composition the more detailed their plan will need to be to hit those specific goals.

With less body fat  you have less room to make mistakes, and can compromise the lean muscle you have worked hard for while slowing down your metabolism.

Simply cutting calories until you reach your goal works for a short period of time, but can make you pretty miserable along the way.

Assuming you were able to starve yourself into an ideal body composition it rarely works long term, and generally causes extreme weight rebounds.

Our bodies are efficient machines, and very adaptable. When the body adapts to a calorie deficit it intelligently respond by burning fewer calories.

Because fewer calories are being consumed, the body slows the metabolic rate down to ensure fewer calories are burned. This keep you at an even energy balance and ensures that fat loss doesn't happen for a number of reasons. 

During long periods of caloric restriction a master hormone named leptin is reduced. The reduction in leptin causes a slowed metabolic rate, increased hunger and reduced energy expenditure, a recipe for fat loss disaster and frustration.

Because leptin is such a big player in the hormonal game the reduction causes a lot of downstream impacts with other related hormones.

Leptin affects testosterone, thyroid and growth hormone which all regulate fat loss, muscle growth and many other mental and physical functions.

Advantages of Calorie Cycling

Calorie cycling promotes metabolic flexibility by causing the body to adapt a different amount of calories and carbs.

It keeps the body guessing when there is a caloric deficit one day, and then a caloric surplus the next. The different days of different calorie intake provides a different stimulus for the body to adapt to.

With days that differ in caloric intake it allows people to break the routine of dieting and avoid eating the exact same foods day in and day out.

You are able to switch up food choices and keep variety in the diet instead of eating the same foods daily it also allows a mental break from the grind of linear dieting. 

As mentioned above both calorie and nutrient cycling are a natural way of eating for us as humans. Before grocery stores we naturally cycled both calories and nutrients depending on the season and what foods were available.

From a social standpoint calorie cycling allows more flexibility. You are able to go out and enjoy food and great company while not stressing about caloric intake or eating too many carbs.

Getting lean isn’t worth it if you can’t enjoy time with loved ones, and kick your heels up from time to time.

Hormonal  and Metabolic Health

Maybe the largest benefit people get from calorie cycling is the positive impact it has on hormones. Specifically the hormones leptin, thyroid hormones , Growth hormone and testosterone.

By spiking calories on higher days you up regulate these hormones making sure to avoid the hormonal pitfalls that many people experience when they put themselves into a large calorie deficit for too long.

You also keep your metabolism from slowing down dramatically, which allows you to make greater long term fat loss happen and greater overall hormonal and social health. 

 Manipulating The Macros

On higher calorie days the extra calories should be coming predominantly form carbohydrates as they have the greatest effect on thyroid, leptin and metabolic function. 

Protein and fats can be kept constant to make life easier, and if there is a small rise in fast it is not a huge cause for concern but carbohydrates need to take priority for this to be effective. 

Keeping  protein at a constant level is very useful for protecting lean muscle mass and  remaining satiated on lower calorie days.

Protein is a very high satiety food that leaves us feeling fuller for longer. It also breaks down into  the amino acids that make our neurotransmitters responsible for our moods and ability to focus.

The two macronutrients that will be manipulated on high and low calorie days are carbohydrates and fats.

On higher days when you are more active the majority of the extra calories should come from carbohydrates to build muscle,promote recovery and keep hormones healthy.

On less active days fats will be the main energy nutrient allowing you to keep insulin low and tap into dietary and  body fat as fuel, while staying in a caloric deficit.

The constant protein and high fat intake on these days will keep people fuller for a longer period of time allowing for lower calories.

During lower days it is better to avoid the starchy carbohydrates, and go higher on fats and non starchy veggies while keeping protein constant. 

How Many High and Low Days ?

The specifics of how many high and low days you have per week will come down to a few different factors. One of the biggest ones will be how much body fat you realistically have to lose.

For someone who is obese they should have more lower calorie days, as their body will be able to hand that deficit with slowing down the metabolic rate. 

However someone who is already lean will likely need more high days to prevent metabolic slowdown as they have less fat to lose, and can likely handle carbohydrates very well. 

Another consideration is your training style and how many days per week you train. Ideally your higher calorie and carbohydrate days would be on the same day that you hit the gym, and lower calorie days would be on rest or less active days. 

There are definitely outlined strategies that work for people, but don’t forget the most important principle of nutrition is to experiment and see what works best for you.

If you are not losing any fat after three to four weeks, it could be that you need to exchange a high carb day for a lower carb day until fat loss resumes.

If your training is going poorly and you are having a hard  time recovering you might require another higher carb or medium carb day. You’ll have to tinker a little to see what  fits you best.

5 low days - 2 high days

If you have a lot of weight to lose and could be considered obese or very overweight, this is going to be the method for quicker fat loss.

By spending most of the week in a lower carb and calorie state it will allow for rapid fat loss, but the higher days will keep leptin high and your metabolism humming. 

Because carbohydrates have a greater impact on leptin,  the majority of your extra calories on the high days should come from carbs.

3 low days - 1 high day

This a very typical way to cycle for fat loss. You will do three days of low carb and then have a one day spike in calories coming mostly from carbohydrates to help with recovery and hormonal function.

This is a good  strategy for someone who is in the 15-20% body fat range. For those who train really hard and do a decent amount of metabolic conditioning this may be difficult on lower carbs and the option below would be better to use.

1 low day - 2 high days

This is a good option for those who are below 15% body fat and are looking to preserve or build lean muscle as their priority, while dropping some fat is secondary.

Because there are more  high calorie and high carb days compared to low days, fat loss may be slower. However as someone gets closer to their ideal level leanness it will be a slower process.  

Because this person has less  body fat they will be more insulin sensitive and able to handle more carbs without  gaining much fat.

If you are performance driven and mainly concerned with gaining muscle, and willing to lose fat at a slower rate this is a good option.

If you are training four days a week  lifting heavy combined with some metabolic conditioning or sprints this will be your ticket.

You will get in enough carbs and calories to promote muscle growth and recovery on training days, and be in a deficit on recovery days.

  • Use the basics first, and ride that train until it breaks down and stops working.  Use carb/calorie cycling as a strategy once basic stops getting results. 
     

  • Cycling calories and nutrients is an age old practice that our ancestors did by eating with the seasons.
     

  • Cyclical eating is  an effective strategy for helping people to lose body fat, and achiever more specific body composition goals. 
     

  • Pick a calorie/carb cycling strategy based on how you react to lower carbs, muscle mass, workout volume and intensity and the amount of  body fat you have to lose. 
     

  • Set your calories and macronutrient goals for the high and low days. There are carb cycling calculators online you can use. 
     

  • Keep protein constant each day at .8-1g/lb of body weight
     

  • Keep fats lower on higher carb days
     

  • Keep carbs lower on low calorie days, increase fats a little for energy. 
     

  • Ultimately you will need to do some self experimentation to see what works best for you personally based on your own needs. Be your own guru and go with what works best  for you!

Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.


Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


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