Two Simple Rules
Don’t be afraid of fats, but use them wisely. Eating food with higher fat content on your non-training days is ideal. Follow these two simple rules and you’ll see the benefit of carb cycling in no time.
1. Calories are King.
I don’t care how many crunches or power walks you do, if you’re not in a caloric deficit, you’re not going to lose weight. And at the same time, if you’re trying to gain muscle, regardless of the amount of bicep curl drop sets you do, you’ll have to be in a caloric surplus.
The formula we use is a simple 3 step process:
Conversions: Weight in kg = weight in lbs / 2.2, Height in cm = Height in inches / 2.54
Calculate your BMR
(The amount of calories required to sustain your current weight while in a sedentary state)
Men: BMR = 66 + (13.75 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.75 x age in years)
Women: BMR = 665 + (9.5 x weight in kg) + (1.84 x height in cm) – (4.67 x age in years)
Calculate your TDEE
(Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure – the amount of calories to sustain your current weight based on your current activity level.)
For this calculation, and based on real life experience of working one-on-one with hundreds of clients, I have a different “activity multiplier” than the typical online calculators.
TDEE: Multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity multiplier:
BMR x 1.1 (very sedentary lifestyle)
BMR x 1.2 (Leisurely walking for 30+ minutes 3-4 days per week, golfing, house chores)
BMR x 1.35 (Active– Strength training 3 days per week or circuit training 4 days per week for 30-45 min)
BMR x 1.5 (Very Active- individuals strength training 4-5 days per week and/or cardio for 45-60 minutes per session)
BMR x 1.7 (Extremely active, Super high metabolism- endurance training, heavy intense strength training 6-7 days per week)
My example: I am a 6’2”, 208 lb, 38 year old male who is very active. My BMR is 2042 and I would multiply it by 1.5 = 3063 for my TDEE.
Next, you choose your goal. Am I aiming for fat loss? Am I trying to build muscle? These will offer two different paths. Remember the golden rule- the quickest way to look like you put on 10 pounds of muscle is to lose 10 pounds of fat.
Fat Loss = I will subtract 25% from my TDEE. My TDEE 3063 x .25 = 765.
3063-765 = 2298 for my daily caloric intake.
Muscle Gain = I would add 20% to my TDEE. 3063 + 612 = 3675
Now that we know our calories, its on to our macro requirements, which brings me to nutritional importance rule #2.
2. Macronutrients are different for different people.
Before we move forward, let’s establish the different macros and their value:
- Carbohydrates- 4 calories per gram
- Fats- 9 calories per gram
- Proteins- 4 calories per gram
Macronutrients refer to the recommended carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for each individual.
Different people have different macro requirements, but everyone can work from a fixed protein dose of 1.5-2.5g per kg of bodyweight, whether you’re looking to add muscle or drop body fat.
Food isn’t simple though, as most foods contain fats, carbs, and protein to varying degrees. So if you add something that is primarily carb-based like oats, there will also be protein and fats included. All of these totals must be included to determine the macros you are hitting.
If muscle building is the goal, then aim to top off your calories with carbs and fats in the following ratios:
On weight training days use 70% carbs and 30% fats with your remaining calories after calculating protein intake.
If your daily caloric needs for building muscle are 3,000 and you are 80 kg, then remove the 2g per kg from protein = 160g protein total x 4 (4 calories per gram of protein) = 720 calories from protein. 3000-720 = 2280
Add a 70% carb and 30% fat split on the remaining 2280 calories:
70% = 1596 cals from carbs / 4 calories per gram of carb = 399g of training day carbs
30% = 684 cals from fats / 9 calories per gram of fat = 76g of training day fats
On non-weight training days go for 50% carbs and 50% fats.
Using the same 3000 calories for building muscle and the same 720 calories for protein (80kg individual x 2 = 160g of protein)
You will evenly split 2280 calories 50/50 towards your carbs and fats.
50% carbs = 1140 cals from carbs / 4 cals per gram of carb = 285g
50% fats = 1140 cals from fats / 9 cals per gram of fat = 126g
Try out this protocol: 3 days low-carb, 1 day high-carb and repeat format.
70% carbs 30% fats
If your daily needs for building muscle are 3000 and you are 80kg, then remove the 2g per kg from protein = 160g total x 4 (4 calories per gram of protein). 3000-720 = 2280
This leaves 1596 cals from carbs = 399g carbs (4 cal per gram of carb) and 684 cals from fats = 76g carbs (9 cal per gram of carb)
Have these numbers left you lost?
The hardest part of any training schedule is following a food plan accurately. I always suggest having a custom food plan designed to ensure you are eating for your goals and not against them.
If you want a fully customized plan from me, which I will create based on your individual physiology, then you can get one here. I’d love to have you on board.
David Kingsbury is the Hollywood PT flown in to build the biggest bodies in cinema. From turning Hugh Jackman into the hulking Wolverine to ripping Michael Fassbender into six-pack shape, his is the most sought after body-transformation blueprint in the world of A-list fitness.