Carb-Cycling – In the context of a Body Re-Composition
In my previous post, I explained why trying to do a recomposition is an inefficient process for the vast majority.
Some may argue that carb-cycling is the key to a successful body recomposition. Carb-cycling may help, but in the grand scheme of things, everything that I said in the original post still holds true.
Firstly, we need to get carb-cycling into perspective. Carb-cycling is essentially a method of meal timing.
To illustrate my point, as you may already know if you read this, 80% of our body composition is due to our diet. Within our diet, 80% of that is total calories. The other 20% is macronutrient ratios, micronutrients, meal timing and supplements.
Bear in mind that I’m talking specifically about body composition here, not overall health.
To visualise this, physique = 80% diet:
Supplements – 2%
Meal Timing/Frequency – 3%
Micronutrients – 5%
Macronutrients – 10%
Total Calorie Balance – 80%
If you are consuming 50% over maintenance calories, it doesn’t matter what your macro ratios, micros, meal timing/carb-cycling strategies are. You will get fat.
If you are consuming 50% below maintenance calories, no amount of protein or supplements will prevent you from losing muscle. Unless you’re injecting a hefty amount of sauce.
So, now we have carb-cycling in perspective, is it really going to magically allow us to gain muscle and fat at the same time for any longer than a month, as I previously stated? Of course it isn’t.
Lets calculate carb-cycling as a % of your overall body composition. According to the above pyramid, it is 3% (as it is part of meal timing). This is only 3% of diet. In terms of overall, it is 3%*0.8=2.4% of your overall body composition.
If you’re a natural who has been lifting for longer than a year, you will either start losing strength and a bit of muscle after a month, or start gaining some fat. This of course depends on your overall calorie intake in comparison to your maintenance requirements.
If body re-compositions were sustainable, we would all be huge and shredded year round.
Carb-cycling can give you a 2.4% edge when either:
- Trying to minimise fat gain during a bulk
- Trying to minimise muscle loss during a cut
However, it is useless, unless you have the previous elements nailed down. These being total calorie intake, macro ratios and micronutrients.
So the main points of this article are to draw attention to these facts, and to never forget them:
- 80% of your body composition is down to your diet.
- 80% of your diet success is down to total calorie balance (80%*80%=64% overall).
- Only worry about other elements of your diet, such as optimal protein intake (which is lower than you think), meal timing, and supplements, once you are consistently nailing the first two points. In terms of diet (80% of total success), we are comparing 64% (calories) to 16% (other factors) of total success.
So even if you do have the calorie balance consistently nailed down, macro & micro ratios perfected, carb-cycling will allow you to continue to make gains in both directions for an extra 2.4% in terms of time.
This means 1 month (absolute maximum) multiplied by 2.4% = 30 days * 2.4% = 0.75 days extra. Fuck all.