Carb Cycling Diet – Sample Day of my Pre-Contest Diet

So, this is a question I get asked on pretty much a daily basis. “What was your diet when you were getting ripped? Can you give us a sample?”

Well, here it is – A sample day from the carb cycling diet I used to get myself into contest shape in April 2012.

To be honest, I’d rather people bugged me about this than some of the other questions I get (nobody truly bugs me, really – I do like answering questions ;). The importance some newbies place on supplements and some of the questions I get in relation to them sometimes make me wanna bang my head against a wall! So, being asked about my nutrition is refreshing considering how important this aspect always is.

I’ve also filmed a video about the diet if you prefer to watch video, where I also explain how I was logging my diet and macronutrients. Check it out below and underneath that, you’ll find the sample day of my carb cycling diet!

 

[box]Carb Cycling Diet

2249 Calories
307 grams Protein
62 grams Carbs (not including green veg)
97 grams Fats.

Meal 1 – 2 x Bacon Rashers (fat cut off), 4 egg white + 1 whole egg scrambled, cooked in a dash of Olive oil.

Meal 2 – 400gram Fillet Steak, 20 grams Almonds, Vegetables/Greens

Meal 3 – Chicken Breast 170 grams, Brown Basmati Rice 100 grams, 100 grams Brocolli

Meal 4 – Post Workout – Whey/Casein Protein mix 55 grams, Maltodextrin 20 grams

Meal 5 – 4 Egg Whites Scrambled, Half an avocado

Meal 6 – 4 Liquid Egg Whites, Mixed with Casein Protein 53 grams (2 scoops)[/box]

 

This diet breaks down to approximately 60/10/30 ratio of protein/carbs/fats

The idea of carb cycling is to go a certain number of days with low carbohydrates to encourage lypolysis (the breakdown of fat) followed by a refeed day of moderate to high carbs to enhance the fat burning signalling hormone, Leptin, which is suppressed by a consistently low carbohydrate diet.

You can use a ratio as low as 2:1 (2 days low carbohydrate followed by 1 day of higher carbohydrates – Rinse and repeat). All the way up to a 5:1 ratio where you utilise a low carb diet on 5 days followed by a 1 day refeed. The maximum I went was a 4:1 ratio and continued to burn fat whilst keeping my muscle and strength in the gym. I found the carb cycling diet to be fantastic for keeping muscle mass and strength in the gym all the way to contest day.

The trick to the carb cycling method is to keep your protein nice and high. (At LEAST 1.5 grams per lb of your bodyweight to maintain muscle) You are also increasing your good fats slightly from fish oils, nuts, avocado and seeds. A lot of your energy for the day will be from these sources.

If this carb cycling diet was helpful to you, feel free to use the toolbar to like, share and tweet this to your friends! Also, don’t forget to leave me your comments below and let’s get some chat going!

Let me know how much ass you kick with this diet and, oh yeah..how much fat you burn too.

Altug

Homemade Weight Gainer – 4 Issues About Conventional Weight Gainers and How to Make Your Own

The inspiration for my post today about how to make a homemade weight gainer is the fact that over the past few years of being in the fitness industry, I’ve had clients and trainee’s comment to me on multiple occasions “I’m thinking of taking Weight Gainer X, Y or Z because my friend took it 3 times a day and he BLEW UP!”.

I just had somebody tell me this again a couple of weeks ago which reminded me again of some issues I have with a statement like that!

Issue Number 1 – “He Blew Up!”

Sure, I bet your friend blew up after taking a big brand-name weight gainer 3 times a day! Have you seen the amount of calories in those things??

Most weight gainers commonly contain 500 – 1500 poor quality calories per serving…now multiply that amount by 3 and you have anywhere from 1500 – 4500 extra calories a day! Not including your food.

I don’t care who you are, having that many extra calories per day you’ll certainly blow up – but if you think it’s all going to be quality weight you’re gonna be disappointed! You’re almost sure to put on a lot of unnecessary fat mass along with your muscle gains which you’ll have to spend extra time cutting off of your physique at a later date! Not fun.

 

Issue Number 2 – There is no such Weight Gainer that is Suitable For Different Times of the Day.

Another reason you’ll probably gain a lot of unnecessary fat from the weight gainers at the supplement store is that there is no such weight gainer out that is suitable for your nutritional requirements at different times of the day. So taking them 3 times a day is a terrible idea!

You’ll probably know that for breakfast it’s good practice to get a shake that contains whey protein and slow-release carbs (such as porridge oats) to start your day off with some steady energy.

After a workout, you’ll need a shake with fast-release carbs and fast acting whey protein to spike your insulin levels to quickly shuttle those nutrients to your damaged muscles and have them recovering pronto!

Just before hitting the sack, you’ll want a nice slow-releasing protein such as Casein to nourish your muscles with protein as you sleep for 7-8 hours (hopefully!) – To delay the protein further I even add a few essential fatty acids such as omega seeds (hemp, linseeds, pumpkin seeds etc) or even olive oil. (Yeah, I’m hardcore like that!)

As you can see, the ingredients needed for your shakes at different times of the day are TOTALLY different. It’s not a simple case of “taking a weight gainer 3 times a day”

Most weight gainers are only suitable for 1 time of the day – it’s impossible for them to be suitable for all times of the day.

Issue Number 3 – Quality of Ingredients in Weight Gainers

Most weight gainers are full to the brim with cheap sugars which aren’t necessarily a bad thing to consume post-workout, but taking these sugars in at different times of the day is asking for trouble if you want to stay fairly lean. Don’t be fooled by any weird trademarked names in the ingredients either like “Super Multivariable Nutriplexocollosus complex” which are sometimes used to mask a group of crappy ingredients..or make a bunch of standard ingredients seem better than they are.

Issue Number 4 – Cost of Weight Gainers

Weight Gainers are probably the lowest value for money supplements you can get and this ties in directly to what we mentioned above – The cheap ingredients. Not to mention, can you imagine how many tubs you would go through if you used the “3 times a day” protocol?? Those tubs commonly have a miniscule 10 servings or so because of the amount of calories per serving! That’ll get expensive reaaal fast..

If you bought these ingredients on their own the benefits would be two-fold – Firstly, you get to use the optimal ingredients for the time of day. Secondly, you get to save a ton of your hard-earned money! Building muscle is a pretty expensive game in the first place..don’t make it more so by wasting money on useless supplements!

The Solution – Homemade Weight Gainer

Obviously, your boy Altug is here with the hook-up to make sure you get the right ingredients down you at the right time…and save you some serious dough!

The ingredients you need to buy are :-

 

  • A sack or tub of Maltodextrin or Dextrose (fast-release carbs)
  • A sack of Instant Porridge Oats (Oats ground down to a fine powder – Perfect for shakes!)
  • A sack of Whey Protein (isolate or concentrate is fine)
  • A tub or sack of Casein
  • A few packets of Omega Seeds or oils (Mix of Linseeds, Hemp seeds, Pumpkin etc)

If you buy these ingredients in bulk, they’re extremely cheap! Especially if you stay away from the big brands who have a big marketing budget to sucker you in..without necessarily having better ingredients! I personally buy my stuff from MyProtein.co.uk but I’m from the U.K so for my U.S. readers I’d recommend checking out Bodybuilding.com or N101.com for this stuff – These ingredients will last you for a very long time!

Different Homemade Weight Gainer for Different Times of the Day

You can play with some of the measurements of the ingredients depending on your lean weight :

Homemade Weight Gainer for Breakfast

  • 60 grams of Instant Porridge Oats
  • 35 grams of Whey Protein
  • Water
  • (optional) Semi-Skimmed/Skimmed Milk
  • (optional) Omega Seeds crushed or sprinkled in
  • (optional) Tablespoon of All-Natural Peanut Butter
  • (optional) Banana/other fruits

Notes : The goal here is to get a quality blend of protein and carbs first thing in the morning to get your energy levels up (but keep them steady) and some protein to your muscles after you’ve been fasting for 7-8 hours. Some quality fats can be added too if you need the extra calories.

 

Homemade Weight Gainer for Post-Workout

  • 40 Grams of Whey Protein
  • 50-70 Grams of Dextrose/Maltodextrin
  • (optional) 10 grams of BCAA’s
  • (optional) 5-10 grams of Creatine

Notes : The simple goal here = Recovery! Your body is in a musle breakdown state and you want to switch it into a muscle building state asap! You do this by getting in some fast-acting sugars and protein – That’ll flip the muscle building switch in no time.

 

Before-Bed HomeMade Weight Gainer

  • 30 Grams of Casein Protein
  • (optional) Teaspoon of Olive oil/Omega Seeds

 

Notes : You want a slow-release protein like Casein here as you wind down and get ready for bed. Your muscles will not be fed for at least 7-8 hours so it’s about doing the best you can while you’re asleep. The optional fat slows absorption even further.

So there you have it. Stop wasting your money on poor quality branded weight gainers and make them yourself at home. Your wallet and your physique will benefit for it!

Leave your comments below – What are your favourite ingredients to stick in a shake?

Altug

 

Post Workout Nutrition – 2 Crucial Things You Need Down Your Neck After a Workout!

One of my favourite scenes in a movie is in “End of Days”, when Arnold Schwarzenegger wakes up, sticks a pizza and whatever leftovers he can find around his kitchen into a blender whilst proclaiming “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” – Then of course, he necks the contents of the blender! Pure Genius..

But the great “Ahnullld” MIGHT have been wrong with that statement (blasphemy I know!) – Because he clearly overlooked post workout nutrition!

Don’t get me wrong breakfast is an extremely important meal to get your metabolism kickstarted for the day and switch yourself from a catabolic (muscle breakdown) state into an anabolic state. You should never skimp on breakfast (a common mistake) but for any kind of athlete, fitness enthusiast, muscle builder or even the casual gym user, post workout nutrition IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY! (You can tell Arnold I said that too!).

Then why do so many people still neglect this most important meal?

Why is Post Workout Nutrition the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Picture this – You’ve just hit the gym pretty hard and had a tough session. You’re exhausted! What have you done? Well without getting to scientific, you’ve just depleted all of your glycogen (energy) stores. Now at this point your body is literally screaming at you for nutrition so that it can refuel your muscles with energy and start the recovery process.

If you’re using weights in your workouts, and everybody should be, you’ve also caused micro-tears and damage to your muscles. They will be begging you for a hit of fast protein to save them from utilizing their own protein stores (Your muscles feasting on themselves? Not a cool scenario if you’re hoping to build muscle)

What do most people do? Go and get changed, have a shower, chat to the cute chick on reception or the personal trainer for half hour, wait until they get home..put their feet up a bit..you get the picture. By the time they’ve eaten and refueled it’s too late. They’ve lost that important window of oppurtunity!

What SHOULD Everyone do for Post Workout Nutrition?

For post workout nutrition everybody should come prepared and carry a shaker bottle around with 25-30 grams of whey protein and around 50-75 grams of fast release, high GI carbs (these doses are approximate and should be dependant on lean weight)  Ready to drink the INSTANT you finish your workout. <– IMPORTANT!

Some trainee’s will even also sip a protein/carb shake during their workout to ensure their glycogen and protein stores are always topped up – I personally also do this but reduce the protein and carbs for this shake.

Make sure you do not include any fats in your shake at this time. Fat will reduce the effectiveness of the shake by reducing the speed at which the protein and carbs are absorbed – Something that is counter-productive to what we want at this time!

When you get home you must then also eat a balanced meal as normal (All 3 macronutrients can now feature in this meal – Protein, carbs and fats)

Yes, these rules apply to you whether you’re a male or female, young or old, muscle building or burning fat (post workout carbs can and probably should be lowered for most people if this is your goal, especially in the last few weeks – experiment to see how you get on). The doses may also change depending on your weight and your body type but you can find out what works for you and make adjustments.

Important Note : I’ve heard so much nonsense recently from gym members and friends about “Oh I want to stay natural, these powders are cheating” – Really?? Do you drink milk? Whoops, looks like you’re a cheater then because milk contains whey..Do you eat packaged foods on the odd occasion? Eat cereals? There you go cheating again because you’ll find maltodextrin, dextrose and other forms of high GI carbs and sugars in those foods.

Get that “all powders are unnatural and bad” way of thinking out of your head because it’s an ignorant way of thinking – Most supplements suck, yes..but the ones you need for post workout nutrition are ESSENTIAL for your progress. Forego them at your own peril. I will however, look to find a vegan alternative to your protein shake if that is your preference – Watch this space..

Why Whey Protein?

Whey protein is one of the most bioavailable proteins out there which means that your body can use it’s broad spectrum of amino acids for muscle repair..and quickly! Remember, you don’t want to waste time eating solid food, waiting for it to digest before supplying the muscles and most of us don’t have that appetite immediately after a workout.

Whey protein is the smart choice for your post workout protein because it’s the fastest acting. Pick yourself up a decent whey protein supplement without breaking the bank on expensive brands who make fancy claims about how much better their protein is. Whey is whey for the most part. My recommendation is below. You can’t go wrong with Optimum Nutrition. Click on a product for different flavours and sizes if you want something different from what’s below.

Mix your whey protein and your fast acting carbs with water and simply neck the mixture! Done! (There is a school of thought that taking the carbs and protein seperately is better. If you subscribe to that then you’ll have to bring 2 shaker bottles – I personally am not convinced of the negligible difference seperating them would make post-workout.)

Why Fast Acting Carbs and Which One is the Best?

Carbs are an important and often overlooked aspect of post workout nutrition. If people do use post workout nutrition then it’s usually just a protein shake. This is also a big mistake because you’re not replenishing your muscles energy stores and this will impede your recovery and progression in future workouts! “Won’t fast acting carbs make me fat in those amounts?” Maybe during the day when you’re inactive, yes – But not after a workout when your insulin will shuttle them straight into the place that your body needs them the most – Your glycogen stores. You can play with the dose of your carbs but the ratio will usually be around 1:2 with protein to carbs. See how your body responds..if you start getting overspill due to the high dosage and you gain body fat, try reducing the dose of your post workout carbs. Although I took my post workout carbs even when I was cutting down and still got pretty ripped. It’s hard to store fat immediately after an intense training session.

So Which Carbs?

I will dedicate an entire post to this debate but, again it’s a minor detail in my opinion. Just get one of these 4 forms of carbohydrates down your neck and you will be fine.

  • Dextrose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Waxy Maize Starch
  • Vitargo (barley)

The further down the list you go, the more expensive and apprently more effective the carbs are for post workout. The latest two releases are waxy maize and Vitargo (which is patented by one company making the price extortionate for a carb). These are based on having a molecular weight that allows them to pass through the stomach easier and apparently into the muscles much faster than ever before. Real world results? I haven’t seen any studies but I’m certain they are negligible when comparing the four. They all get the job done so just pick the cheapest or most available one – I never recommend wasting too much time or money on supplements. Your efforts are better utilised elsewhere!

So there it is – The simplest of meals but one that is ironically your most important of the day. Don’t forget to eat a solid, balanced meal within 1-2 hours after finishing your workout as well to make further use of this window of oppurtunity.

A recap on your post workout nutrition –

Shaker Bottle with/

  • 25-40 grams of Whey protein
  • 50-75 grams of fast acting carbs
  • Mix w/ Water

Done! Enjoy and please leave your comments or questions below. Let’s get talkin!

Altug

Top 10 Healthy Snacks For Weight Loss That Taste GREAT!

When we think of healthy snacks for weight loss, it doesn’t exactly get our taste-buds tickling with excitement does it? Ahh but it should! Just because we are being healthy doesn’t mean we have to give up foods that we would normally associate with being unhealthy…I think you’re about to be surprised.

But first here are some notes to make these healthy snacks work for you!

  • Portion Sizes – Keep them sensible..even the healthiest snacks are made unhealthy if you gorge on them!
  • Organization and planning – Plan your meals in advance. Don’t be caught out being hungry in an inconvenient place. Remember convenience foods usually mean junk foods.
  • Home-Cooking – Also part of planning. Make your food yourself and take it with you! This way YOU control what goes in! You don’t get the extra heart disease causing, cancer inducing chemicals that come with packaged foods!

So without further a do..

My Top 10 Healthy Snacks For Weight Loss

1) Tuna Sweetcorn Mix

A popular snack that is always MISTAKENLY considered a healthy option. Ever looked inside most Tuna sweetcorn mixes in cafe’s or sandwhich bars? When have you ever seen Tuna and sweetcorn that is so sticky and thickly bound together? Well the magic ingredient at work here is Mayonaise!

Now mayonaise isn’t the devil if consumed once in a while (Mayo rarely contains heart-disease causing hydrogenated fats) but there is a better, low calorie option to use in a tuna mix if you want a healthy snack for weight loss.

This ingredient is LOW FAT YOGHURT – Now before you screw your face up at the thought of it, have you ever tried it? It’s very difficult to taste the difference once it’s in a mixture! A personal favourite recipe of mine is :

  • A Can of Tuna
  • Half a can of sweetcorn
  • A heaped tablespoon of low fat yoghurt
  • Chopped Onions, Lettuce and cucumber (or whatever vegetables you like! Carrots, tomatoes etc!)

This recipe gives you more protein than the mayonaise option and contains way less calories too due to the massive amount of fat you’ve just cut from the recipe – This will keep you on track to burn fat and lose weight!

2) Lean Beef Burger

“What?? Surely you can’t include a burger in a top 10 healthiest snacks list?” – Well I can and just did 😉 Here’s why..

If you can get a hold of lean meat and make your own burgers at home (or even out of a packet as long as they’re not frozen in a box), you’re looking at a great tasting meal which can support weight loss! Lean meat typically contains about 8-12% fat and tastes great because it is still tender. You can even go for extra lean meat if available but this becomes more chewy and less tender. Still a great tasting meal though!

So how is this healthy? Well we’ve been taught that fat is evil right? Especially saturated fat. Well depending on the source, saturated fat can actually be healthy in small quantities and depending on the quality of the meat. That’s why I would recommend picking up organic, grass fed meat where possible to get the healthiest type of saturated fat.

Use the burger as a bed for your salad. Add lettuce, tomatoes, gherkin etc and you’re good to go!

Eat with a small portion of brown rice or a single slice of Rye bread if you need some healthy carbs. or if you want to keep it low-carb, add more salad to fill the gap in your stomach.

NOTE : Don’t throw loads of ketchup or mayo on this meal! You’ll just negate the healthyness of the meal. Make your own relish at home from a can of chopped tomatoes! Tastes better too!  Also remember to keep your portion sizes sensible. Fat isn’t evil but remember it is high in calories. A BIG burger will contain a lot of fat even if it is lean meat.

3) Fruity Frozen Yoghurt

“STOP! Put the spoon down..Slowly step away from the Ben and Jerries…” – Ok let’s be honest, we all love a Ben and Jerries with a movie (I’m more of a Haagen Daaz man myself!) but I think we also know that these rich ice creams aren’t going help to reduce our waist line and lose fat.

A healthier AND great tasting alternative is to make yourself an ice cream substitute! Here are the steps :

Grab yourself a pot of PLAIN low fat yoghurt.

When you get home chuck your favourite fruits in there! Chopped strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, bananas…whatever you fancy.

Mix it up, shut the lid – Pop it in the freezer. Enjoy a great tasting ice-cream substitute a few hours later!

Want to go one step further? Pour the yoghurt into a blender – Chuck the chopped fruits in and blend. Now put it in the freezer and you have yourself a completely flavoured, healthy, awesome tasting frozen yoghurt snack! It’s just like ice-cream but makes you feel less sick afterwards!

NOTE : Again, although this is a healthy snack, your portion size will also depend on whether it becomes healthy or not.  Be sensible.

4) Full English Breakfast!

“NO WAY!” – Yes way! I’m just full of surprises today..

Check it out..

  • Poached/boiled/scrambled Eggs
  • Baked Beans
  • Slice of Wholemeal/Rye Bread
  • 2 slices of grilled bacon with fat cut off

How much fat would you say is in that whole meal?

Go to a cafe and you’re looking at around 30-40 grams of the worst fats money can buy.

My version of the full english? 8 grams of fat maybe? 10 grams maximum if you spread a little butter on your bread (NEVER margarine – Most contain heart disease and cancer causing trans fats!).

The food is all healthy. Lean bacon is a great source of protein with practically zero fat. Poached eggs are another great source of protein and they’re not fried in fat! Beans contain protein and carbs with most brands being low in sugar. Rye bread is a slow energy releasing starchy carbohydrate! Also you’re eating this meal first thing in the morning when your metabolism is sky high and will remain that way after consuming this healthy meal!

Again portion size is what is important here – don’t go crazy or the meal then becomes unhealthy. A cup of tea or a small glass of fresh orange juice can also be added to this meal without any ill effect (Cut your sugar down..no more than half a teaspoon in your tea!)

5) Wholewheat Chicken/Beef Tortilla’s

Another great tasting meal that is quick and easy to make! Chop your chicken, chop your peppers, onions, garlic etc and get to work! Use 1 calorie spray to oil the pan and you’re good to go! Make sure you buy wholewheat tortilla.

If you’re trying to cut out the carbs (and bread is usually a good one to let go) then replace the tortilla with a mixed bean salad! Add the chicken and you have one of the best tasting healthy snacks for weight loss!

Add a little bit of guacamole, low fat yoghurt (Yup our good friend yoghurt is back) and/or some salsa! Go get your sombrero and enjoy! (Ok the sombrero isn’t a strict requirement 🙂 )

NOTE : Please don’t buy pre mixed tortilla seasoning. Most of it is laden with sugar and salt. Usually amongst the top 2-3 ingredients. Try making your own mix. Get creative or find a mix that doesn’t contain much sugar (This will be difficult) and REMEMBER – Portion sizes 😉

5 more healthy snacks for weight loss in less detail

6) Raw Almonds / Raw Mixed Nuts – A handful of raw almonds = good source of protein and fats. (Make sure they’re raw!)

7) PopCorn – Must be air-popped yourself. No Butterkist or any of that stuff..Unless you enjoy blocking your arteries as a hobby..

8) Fruit Salad / Bean Salad / “Salad” Salad / Chicken Salad / Tuna Salad – You can make a salad out of most stuff and turn it into a well balanced, great tasting, nutritious meal. Add eggs, small boiled potatoes or any other healthy food in amongst your salad. Be careful with salad dressing! Most contain tons of sugar and fat. Squeeze a lemon over the salad or try different types of vinegar. They go down a treat!

9) Little Snacks for your Lunch Box –

  • RyeGrain Crisp Bread with Cottage Cheese
  • Celery Sticks/Carrots with humous dip
  • Dried Fruit and Nuts (Be careful not to eat too much of either of these. A handful should suffice)
  • Fruit Salad
  • Homemade fruit yoghurt
  • I’m sure you can think of an endless list (but the point is they are LITTLE snacks)

10) Homemade Milkshake!

Ingredients for a health shake to help with fat loss

  • Scoop of Whey protein concentrate/Casein protein
  • Skimmed milk
  • Water
  • Yoghurt
  • Fruit
  • Small teaspoon of natural peanut butter
  • Finely ground porridge oats

NOTE : These ingredients are interchangeable for your situation. For example if the whey protein you are using is chocolate flavoured, you won’t be adding fruit to it! Porridge oats are great for a breakfast shake or in the afternoon to keep you feeling full and delivers sustained energy.

Women, yes I’m reccomending you go pick up a tub of whey protein concentrate or casein protein too. You won’t turn into arnold. If that were the case you would have got big drinking milk and eating chicken. Protein is a great way to keep your lean muscle tissue which provide you with your curves while burning more fat calories from your body. In my experience whey protein is better tasting than casein.

So there you have it! My top 10 list of healthy snacks for weight loss! As ever once I start writing, I can’t stop..you’ve got way more than 10 idea’s here so go put them to use!

Thanks for reading and remember sharing is caring – If youfeel that this page will help your friends or family, either like the page on FB or Tweet this post for other peoples benefit. Let’s help each other lead a healthier life!

Until next time guys and girls.

Altug