What Is a Carb-Cycling Diet and What Are the Benefits?

The following article was written by ‘xray’ of Bio Hazard

RO-CHO

What is RO-CHO? It’s basically me being lazy and not bothering to write ‘Rotational Carbohydrates’. The model of Rotational carbohydrates is another term for the more commonly known dietary approach called carb cycling or carbohydrate (CHO) cycling to be precise. I just love shortening names and writing in acronyms.

RO-CHO was born off the back of researching cyclical diets and implementing them in a practical manner both in terms of carbohydrates and calories. The protocol outlined below is not revolutionary per se, its simply jigged in relation to specific training and foods found in the UK rather than telling you to have 2 ounces of grits for freshman and 3 Oreos for jocks . I think you know where I’m going don’t you? Most carb cycling information is based on foods typically consumed in the US. Here is the Brit version and a clean one at that even if I the author is a little foul mouthed from time to time.

So before I get a bashing off our friends over the pond I will hop back onto the straight and narrow and throw some science your way (punctuated by Layman’s terms of course).

What is Carb Cycling and Why Do We Use It?

Carb cycling is basic enough to explain. The daily intake of CHO is varied from day to day in a cyclical manner to give high, low and no CHO days instead of having a static daily intake over the week.

If you were to say “I eat 300g of CHO every day” that would be a static intake. With RO-CHO you may well eat 300g one day, in fact two days, 150g for 3 days and near no carbs on the remaining 2 days of the calendar week. This gives us the structure of high, low and no CHO days. Cycling carbs is beneficial for those dieting down offering both anabolic and catabolic environments. This is not a license to cut and bulk in one, it simply means the body is more efficient at burning fat for periods whilst other periods its more efficient aiding repair, recovery and dare I say it growth which leads to strength and hypertrophy (depending on training goals), whilst maintaining a negative energy balance.

So, periods on anabolism and catabolism within the same week = better body composition.

CHO cycling, in this context, is the same as any other hypocaloric diet. You cannot cheat the laws of thermodynamics, you have to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. Put out more than you put in. This of course doesn’t allow for optimum muscle building and any ‘gains’ are to be seen as a bonus during the dieting down phase. Gains are more likely though than when on a chronically low intake of CHO as of course carbs are essential for building as much mass as possible. They are known as protein sparing nutrients; they aid protein synthesis and provide adequate energy for anaerobic weight training. Carbohydrates elicit and insulin response. By nature insulin is anabolic and the synergistic effect of CHO and protein will result in better synthesis rates. Insulin is of course an anabolic hormone whilst glucagon is a catabolic hormone. This will become clearer in the ‘micro cycles’ created on RO-CHO. Days of higher insulin levels accompanied by days when glucagons is the protagonist.

The Science

The body is a very clever machine and will try and second guess its owner in an effort to maintain homeostasis in relation to its environment. RO-CHO will out fox the body by pulling it away from a ‘low calorie and carbohydrate environment’ and will avoid resetting it’s point of homeostasis to a lower metabolic output by having a rotational calorie and carbohydrate intake over the week. It’s important to ensure the body knows it’s going to be fed, not exposing it to starvation and in response the body will allow for fatty acid metabolism as it doesn’t see hard times ahead. simple survival mechanism are still in play even in the 21st century. you body hangs onto fat if it doesn’t think its going to be fed.

This is where the high CHO days kick in. Again, this differs from the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) as the calorie intake is substantially increased by implementing a high fat intake on the low carb days. This is not the scenario with RO-CHO. Fats are included but they are not significantly increased to avoid metabolic slowdown. The cyclical nature of the higher calorie and CHO days will eliminate the issue of metabolic slowdown and ensure the body starvation is not on the horizon.

If CHO are eliminated from the diet and low calories are maintained on a flat weekly rate, Leptin levels will stay low.

Leptin is a regulatory hormone and when levels are low will drag your metabolic rate down, increase catabolic activity and slow thyroid output. This is basically your body saying “I am going in to hibernation” in response to a hypocaloric diet where is sees famine ahead.

This is a readjustment period and as a result weight loss (muscle), performance, energy, libido and many other key players take a nose dive. See Leptin as a balancing hormone and a ‘friend to take you away from starvation.

Carbs are key to muscle building and are responsible for increased protein synthesis over protein only meals as numerous studies have shown as previously stated. Take CHO out of the diet and anabolism is significantly hindered as a result. Rarely is significant lean tissue built in an environment devoid of insulin. The issues stated previously are common with the habitual dieter using diets low on CHO and calories and in the main those who do not alter their calorie and carbohydrate intake for the week. Carbs are the new fat. Dietary fat was public enemy number one in the 80’s and carbs have taken over the baton for the 21st century.

SKD (Standard Ketogenic Diets) therefore are not suitable for the active trainer looking to hold onto LBM (lean body mass) whilst stripping fat. This diet is devoid of CHO on muscle glycogen levels are permanently low, insulin levels are low and as a result anabolism is minimal in anyone but the de-conditioned trainer.

High Carb Days and Low Carb Days

The high carb days on RO-CHO will kick Leptin levels back up and stop the body ‘hibernating’ before again forcing the body to ‘endure’ days of low to no CHO which are of course noted for increased fat oxidation due to decreased insulin levels and increased catecholamines. So some days are similar to SKD but altered to suit training requirements on other days and will rarely induce as state of ketosis. The periods of anabolism and catabolism again are in action (catabolism referring to the break down of fatty acids over muscle) giving us micro cycles where in effect the body is cutting and bulking at different times of the week.

RO – CHO leaves our inactive days low on carbs (mainly from fibrous veg if they do occur) and our training days medium to higher to enable efficient work outs (as we know resistance training in the main prefers CHO over fat) and glycogen levels will be loaded ready to train as a result of the high carb days yet your overall weekly intake is hypocaloric thus meaning we are in a deficit and losing body fat.

Before I babble some more, it’s important to note this is not by nature a Ketogenic diet, I can’t stress this enough. It differs significantly from a CKD (Cyclic Ketogenic Diet) . Whilst periods of the week will be spent with low muscle and liver glycogen, depletion will rarely occur and the body will not be forced into Ketosis. This is why we don’t have two ‘no carb’ days back to back. Sub 30g of CHO for 2 days may take some people into Ketosis after glycogen depleting training on previous days. This is not the aim of RO-CHO and whilst mild Ketosis may occur at points on the diet, it’s certainly not something to aspire to.

Protein and Fat Intake

Protein and fat intake stay generally constant through the week and the dieter is urged to work out their intake from a very basic method. It’s against my nature to suggest the use of the Harris Benedict method of calorie intake based on weight, height and even lean body mass, but for simplicity I am going to outline a rough protocol for your intake of fat and protein. The intake for protein will be a baseline of 1.5g per lb of bodyweight. This may go up to 1.75g for many people in the framework of this diet alone and does somewhat exclude the chronically obese. Then again anyone with a massively high body fat does nee to get technical beyond a calorie deficit when trying to shed weight. RO-CHO is for the more seasoned trainer and dieter who is looking to pull the stubborn body fat off and get into single digits, often in an attempt to achieve competition shape. As a ‘one size fits’ all ratio take 1.5g to be your static daily protein intake regardless of CHO or fat consumption. This happens day in day out. Do not lose sight of this.

So, there we have it protein intake for a 200lbs guy would be baseline 300 grams (on the 1.5 gram per lb method) every day regardless of CHO intake. That isn’t rocket science is it?

One point I cannot stress enough is that although bodyweight gives a rough idea of requirements you must ensure WEE (Weekly Energy Expenditure) is higher than calorie intake for the week. This again goes back to the laws of thermodynamics. Do not solely base you grams on the figures above if you know it goes beyond your maintenance calories. If you are putting in more than your putting out you will not cut. Your body composition may get better but you will not strip existing body fat in an efficient manner.

For ease of use I am going to suggest most people consume around 40-50 grams of fat ED (every day) this level can alter slightly for the heavier trainer as not to create such a big deficit on low CHO days but in the main fat is kept low and generally of a high quality. Dietary fats from animal and dairy products are fine but in the main essential and healthy fats from the poly and monounsaturated families will make up the bulk of your intake. Fats are not created equally; they are productive for health and will offer many benefits such as hormonal function and increased insulin sensitivity. Simply chugging down lard and saturated fat all day can stay with Dr Atkins. More and more research on omega fats show their role not only for optimum health but for bodybuilders and weight trainers too.

Fish oil, flax oil, mixed seeds and nuts, olive oil and avocados are prime examples of the foods you should be consuming on RO-CHO to get your fat intake around that 40-50g ED mark. This intake should be spread across the 6 proposed meals and generally be of an equal serving. A small amount of saturated fat is though good for testosterone production so don’t go throwing the cow out just yet.

Carb Sources

The main carb rich foods to be employed are oats, wholegrain and wholemeal breads, pasta and rice. Sweet potatoes, yams and all the usual quality starchy carbs. The intake of nutrient rich fibrous vegetables is a given regardless of the day. Low CHO days rely on the intake for satiety and functioning. Spices and dressing can be used on all days.

At this point the reader will be quickly scanning through the ‘science’ to find out just how much of his stodgy CHO infested food they can eat in the high days and how many high days there are in a week. Fair point as I have not allowed the ice cream and cookies.

How Are the Days Split?

Here are the rules for all the carb monsters. High days equal 2 a week, so two treat days which is better than one and they are accompanied by 3 low days and 2 no CHO days. Before you sink back in your chair at the thought of 2 no CHO days I shall point out that the two high days allow for around 1.5 grams to 1.75 grams per lb of bodyweight for carbs in that specific day. These high days will be your big body part training days and the protocol for intake, training and supplementation will be outlined below. When starting the diet start on the lower end of the CHO intake and monitor results recording changes in energy levels and performance.

The low CHO days will be given a carb limit of around 0.75-1 grams per lb of bodyweight whilst the no CHO days are simply that. Make no effort to consume carbs rich food and simply source any carbs from fibrous veg and the very small amounts that occur in products such as whey protein.

These figures are to be monitored and adjusted in relation to body fat reduction, weight loss, changes in stats and energy levels.

Summary

HIGH CHO DAYS:

  • Protein = 1.5g per lb of bodyweight every day regardless of CHO intake
  • Fat = 40-50g rough intake as a static daily figure, day in day out
  • Carbs = 1.5-1.75g per lb

So for our 200lbs man, what does this look like?

  • Protein = 300g and 1200 calories (4 calories per gram)
  • Carbs = 300g and 1200 calories (4 calories per gram)
  • Fat = 50g and 450 calories (9 calories per gram)
  • Total intake = 2850

LOW CHO DAYS:

  • Protein = 1.5g per lb of bodyweight every day regardless of CHO intake
  • Fat = 40-50g rough intake as a static daily figure, day in day out
  • Carbs = 0.75-1g per lb

So for our 200lbs man, what does this look like?

  • Protein = 300g and 1200 calories
  • Carbs = 150g and 600 calories
  • Fat = 50g and 450 calories
  • Total intake = 2250

NO CHO DAYS:

  • Protein = 1.5g per lb of bodyweight every day regardless of CHO intake
  • Fat = 40-50g rough intake as a static daily figure, day in day out
  • Carbs = N/A

So for our 200lbs man, what does this look like?

  • Protein = 300g and 1200 calories
  • Carbs = N/A
  • Fat = 50g and 450 calories
  • Total intake = 1650 (a little more for additional CHO from fibrous veg, whey etc)

These numbers, and we know how much bodybuilders and dieter love numbers, are then put into the following days. 2 high, 3 low and 2 no CHO days in the week, structured in a cyclical manner and not blocked together.

As a TWI (total weekly intake) that equates to 15,750 calories which in turn breaks down to an average of 2,250 calories ED (every day).

Assuming the 200lbs gent has a maintenance of 3000 calories ED this then put us in a negative figure of 750 calories for the day, 5250 calories for a week and in terms of weight loss 1.5lbs.

So average Joe at 200lbs has an intake of around 11 x his body weight. Cutting figures are generally based around 10-12 whilst maintenance comes at around 14-15. For ease of use, these fit in nicely with the suggestions made. As much as I hate ratios based on bodyweight alone, why the heck not add one to make things that little bit simpler for you.

Fantastic!

Yes, in theory it is, but this is the part where science takes a backseat and logic prevails. Do not simply take these figures as gospel as the 200lbs builder who works 10 hours a day does not have the same requirements and output as the sedentary office worker. Use your brain, bend the rules where needs be. I know I get the piss taken out of me for saying it but:

“Eat, monitor and adjust accordingly.”

The notion of RO-CHO almost rewards the binge/abstinence model of going a few days of being good and then having a splurge on you favorite stodgy carb meals. Strange but very effective (so effective maybe its better keeping it away from the mainstream Jaffa cake eating, Cadbury’s roses munching masses) it would be the Atkins all over again but this time with all out binges to suit. As stated before the law of thermodynamics cannot be cheated. You simply have to be in a negative energy balance to succeed try and bend the rules and you generally fail.

Anyway, moving on from my amateur government health warning. In short RO-CHO could enable those with weaker will powers to diet down a little easier than a fixed or low calorie diet.

Ok, you are now asking how to put these days together and where training falls I feel. In short I have about 10 different protocols I could put in place in terms of splits, full bodies, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and SS (steady state) cardio.

Weekly Plan Example:

  • Monday –High carbs
  • Tuesday – Low carbs
  • Wednesday – No carbs
  • Thursday – High carbs
  • Friday – Low carbs
  • Saturday – No carbs
  • Sunday – Low carbs

The plan above of course can be changed to allow for weekend high CHO days. I’m not a complete bastard in that sense and you can play with the scheme for hours. What I have documented above is simply one protocol, one school of thought. Just remember what I said before! No double no CHO days back to back. On a side note. If you are going to play around with the plan, don’t create a shoddy mutation of the original model.

Training Example:

  • Monday – High carbs – Chest and Shoulders
  • Tuesday – Low carbs – Back and Traps
  • Wednesday – No carbs
  • Thursday – High carbs – Legs
  • Friday – Low carbs – Arms
  • Saturday – No carbs
  • Sunday – Low carbs

There we have it, a 4 day split which again can be altered to suit and corresponds to the high low and no CHO days.

Training With Cardio Example:

  • Monday – High carbs – Chest and Shoulders
  • Tuesday – Low carbs – Back and Traps
  • Wednesday – No carbs – Cardio (steady state)
  • Thursday – High carbs – Legs
  • Friday – Low carbs – Arms
  • Saturday – No carbs – Cardio
  • Sunday – Low carbs – Cardio

3 cardio sessions a week baseline, on empty before breakfast, for 45 minutes at a very steady pace. This will then be followed by a protein rich meal. Additional SS cardio can be tagged onto the end of weight training sessions (ideally on the low days) and also in the morning before weight training (high days preferential here). Implement this to suit energy levels and fluctuations in weight and body fat levels. So cardio vascular work is not restricted although appreciate your work load in relation to calorie consumption and general output.

Okay, let’s go back to the weight training. I know what you are thinking! Why low carbs on back day when potentially I have to do dead lifts, chins and heavy rowing?

Simple enough, there are only a certain amount of high CHO days we can have to keep in a negative energy balance and the previous days feed along with targeting the CHO on the low days allows for adequate training intensity and recovery. Some people actually train better the day after a high CHO day due to glycogen levels being higher and not depleted even after the strenuous training day previously. Does this mean you can play about with the arms and legs protocol on the diet above?

I think the point I am making throughout this article is that there are so many ways to play with the whole CHO cycling that as long as you stay within the rules you can have a bit of fun and tinker to suit.

Basic Rules:

  • Has to be hypocaloric
  • Has to have at least 1 high CHO day
  • No double ‘No CHO days’ back to back
  • Same with ‘high CHO days’
  • Fibrous veg is used period
  • Not all calories are created equally, fat is not fat and protein is not ‘just’ protein

Remember, this is a cutting phase so the scenario of ‘keep muscle’ over a ‘build silly amounts of new lean tissue’ phase. Bulking is down the line. Still train like you want to gain muscle but appreciate the issues associated with being in a negative energy balance. Pre and PWO CHO should suffice in terms of energy and protein synthesis/recovery on these low days.

How Do I Structure my Carbs on the Days?

Again, there are many ways to skin a cat but I will start with the no CHO days as they are a piece of piss.

Simple, no carbs.

Low CHO days whilst training. My suggestion would be on an intake of 150g would be 3 of your 6 meals containing 50g of CHO. These are breakfast pre and PWO. Some may even them out to ‘keep blood sugar’ stable but to be honest I would use them for breakfast after cardio, pre and PWO and leave it at that.

6 meals make for the whole diet, no more, no less and this will include PWO too if the day happens to be one of the weight training days listed above. The CHO intake on the high days will be generally limited to 4 meals in the main although some may opt to spread them out over the six. The fundamental aspects are adequate pre and PWO nutrition, quality food sources and the correct amount of grams to support anabolism.

Whilst cutting is not a time to focus on hypertrophy, hyperplasia or excessive strength games the trainer must appreciate the intensity of their training cannot significantly suffer as a result of being hypocaloric.

Sample Low CHO Day

This part is very specific to the person but below I have detailed a sample plan for the no carb day. As I always state in my writing, this is merely a sample, it is not a one size fits all approach and is not the definitive weapon of choice. Do not rush out and buy all the ingredients and use this as a cookie cutter diet. I can’t be ****d with the emails off the back off such ventures. This whole piece is simply a sample plan for you to deem the basics from. It’s not tailored to you my friend.

  • 06:00 – 40 minutes of steady state cardio at ‘level 1’
  • 07:00 – Whole eggs, egg whites and whey protein
  • 10:00 – Tuna salad accompanied by fish oil caps
  • 13:00 – Chicken salad meal
  • 16:00 – Whey protein shake with flax oil
  • 19:00 – Lean red meat, fibrous veg serving and olives
  • 22:00 – Small serving of oily fish and low fat cottage cheese

“Bland!” you shout

Ok, a little but as I say, taste is subjective. Consumption of these foods for me is the norm and the psychology behind RO-CHO (almost a binge/abstinence nature of the diet) usually sees people through these days as they know the high CHO days are on the horizon. Suffer and reward, pain and pleasure, rough with the smooth. Use any cliché you wish, just ease yourself through these day by employing all the little tricks to increase satiety and decrease hunger and cravings. Remember too the nature of this day will be sedentary in terms of the weight training so the requirement for carbs is lessened slightly.

Please note that I haven’t included portion size, macro splits or anything other such info on the sample plan above. I have though armed you with those tools previously and you will therefore be able to work that out off your own back given a calculator and one of the following links:

I shall state it again, this is not a Ketogenic diet and the meals stated above do have fat in them but their contribution has to fit in with the guidelines stated above. If you do wish to alter your choice of fat intake, you can, but remember the advantages of n3, n6 and quality monounsaturated fats over saturated and damaged fats to overall health, performance and recovery.

Is this diet suitable for a builder, butcher, baker or a candle stick maker? (If they still exist any more and are not all redundant as a result of cheap labour in the 3rd world).

Well, those who are physically active have a strong shout for it being sub-optimal in terms of their lifestyle, performance and muscle retention. I tend to agree in the main and a mixed macro diet may suit these guys a little better with higher, stable daily CHO level, higher intake and allowing them to create an energy flux (high calorie intake to support high calorie output). In short, eat lots, put out lots of calories. You can still cycle carbs but maybe in a different framework or with different ratios.

I believe though this argument is beyond the scope of the article here and the debates as to which is ‘the’ number one diet for stripping fat, holding LBM will rage on.

I am simply putting forward a school of thought on body fat reduction deemed from numerous sources, studies and personal experience. I will advocate all manner of diets ranging from CKD to mixed macros often even VLCD depending on the person, their current state and their goals. So, in short this protocol is by no means definitive, simply one other approach.

The key aspect of losing body fat is to be hypocaloric whether it be by cycling, targeting or simply lower portions size, the key is playing by the laws of thermodynamics. Keep this thought in mind. If you don’t have to get technical, don’t. If you are on a building site all day eat to suit and rely on your activity as your calorie deficit.

Sample High CHO Day

Sure you do but to be blunt and to the point it is similar to that of the no CHO day but with carbs in. No silly OTT servings of double chocolate this or sticky toffee that. As stated before, there are many ways to allot the carb grams across the day but this maybe a good shot for you, just remember, keep it fluent, keep it relatively clean.

  • 07:00 – Large bowl or oats or muesli and fried egg whites
  • 10:00 – Protein shake with flax and small serving of palitanose or weetabix
  • 13:00 – Tuna salad accompanied by fish oil caps and small amount of fruit
  • 16:00 – Chicken salad meal to include large pasta or rice serving
  • 17:00 – Training with water throughout
  • 18:00 – PWO shake to include high carbs and protein
  • 19:00 – Lean red meat, sweet potatoes and fibrous veg selection
  • 22:00 – Small serving of oily fish and low fat cottage cheese

This again is a sample plan and may disappoint those looking forward to their cheap crappy sugary calories or those seeking exact calorie intakes. Whilst there is some room in the plan this is not binge re feeding, it’s simply a higher CHO day and the quality of all three macronutrient groups remains high for a reason. Variety though is essential and meal rotation is encouraged through the week to aid both nutrient spectrum and sustainability whilst dieting down.

There are, like the no CHO day, no numbers and figures on the plan above. That is for you to work out from the ratios given above but ensure you are ion a negative energy balance. It maybe worth monitoring calorie intake daily for a couple of weeks before RO-CHO to check your maintenance intake and ensure you are under this through the diet (obviously factoring in to some extent the number of low intensity cardio sessions).

Do You Have Carbs PWO on the Low Carb Day?

In the framework of the plan here, yes. Our 200lb man will be aiming to consume up to 200g of CHO in the day and this will fall in the breakfast meal, pre and then PWO. All other meals will be high protein, low fat and either have fibrous veg of salad to accompany them.

Below is a sample of low CHO days. This doesn’t differ significantly to the high CHO days but obvious calories and macronutrient ratios switch to suit the nature of the day:

  • 06:00 – Optional low level steady state cardio
  • 07:00 – Large bowl or oats or muesli
  • Fried egg whites
  • 10:00 – Protein shake with flax
  • 13:00 – Tuna salad accompanied by fish oil caps and small amount of fruit
  • 16:00 – Chicken salad meal to include large pasta or rice serving
  • 17:00 – Training with water throughout
  • 18:00 – PWO shake to include high carbs and protein
  • 19:00 – Lean red meat, fibrous veg selection and olives
  • 22:00 – Small serving of oily fish and low fat cottage cheese

As a rough guide if one were targeting carbs in this fashion, 50g for breakfast, 50g pre and 50g PWO would be a suitable split to accompany protein in each meal. Fat will be spread across the day evenly with the exception of PWO where fat is excluded.

By now we are starting to build up a sample weekly plan for the RO-CHO diet and its training plan to suit. Please don’t be tempted to pick this up and decide it’s a cookie cutter type of plan and follow it as printed above. The whole point of specific dietary protocols is the effectiveness of macronutrient intake and timing. Many people have the ability to ask some very basic questions 8 weeks into a Ketogenic diet like “When can I eat pizza?” or “Am I in Ketosis?”

Well strike me down, but how on earth did you plan to structure a ketogenic diet when you haven’t even worked out the fucking basics?

Get these things right and they are ace, try and re invent the wheel with a square or simply not doing your homework equals a diet often hypercaloric, catabolic and simply ineffective for body recomposition.

Moral of the story? If you don’t know, don’t muddle in the dark, either educate yourself or stick to the main road. There are plenty of diets easy to follow and equally good for stripping fat. Many have enjoyed success on V2 cutting which takes a more static intake and places CHO around periods of activity.

Acceptable Foods on the RO-CHO Diet

Carbohydrates:

PWO only:

  • WMS
  • Dextrose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Palitanose

Staple:

  • Oats
  • Muesli
  • Basmati Wholegrain Rice
  • Whole meal Pasta
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Wholegrain breads
  • New boiled potatoes
  • (All fibrous veg, as used daily regardless of high, low or no CHO structure)

Proteins:

  • Lean red cuts of meat
  • Chicken breast, skinless and boneless (n o jokes about low carb diets and boneless please)
  • Tuna (drained from brine or olive oil)
  • Eggs, whole and whites
  • Protein powders (whey, blends, egg white)
  • Lean pork
  • Bacon back
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Quark
  • Fish (also covered in fats)
  • Turkey

Fats:

  • Fish oils
  • Oily Fish
  • Flaxseeds (ground/milled)
  • Flax oil
  • 3/6/9 oil
  • Mixed nuts (ideally lower sodium nuts)
  • Mixed seeds
  • Olives
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocados
  • Nut oils
  • Seed oils
  • (Naturally occurring animal and dairy fats in small quantities)

Fibrous Veg to Accompany Meals:

  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Cabbage
  • Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber

Should I Split Carbs and Fat in My Meals?

I could sit here and argue both methods, you make your own mind up. I honestly think 8g of fat in all meals is fine regardless of CHO intake as the quality of both is high. On an in take of 40-50g of quality fat a day I would suggest simply spreading it out. This rule does not apply to PWO where the shake should be devoid of fat, exogenous fibre and fructose.

Appetite on Low CHO Days

In numerous articles and online posts I have written, I bang on about the difference between physiological and psychological hunger. There are ways to obviate both and the inclusion of fibrous veg will ensure a higher level of satiety along with an increase in water intake and adequate dietary fat. The benefits of protein include its ability to satiate the dieter so low calorie days are not quite as hard as you may feel. Many get through the ‘harder days’ by looking forward to the high CHO days. These measure will aid the physiological hunger whilst calorie sp**** ‘treats’ allow for physiological hunger to be satisfied. Sugar free jelly and diet soda drinks are prime examples, but to be honest if you have the inability to go a day without carbs, maybe this diet is not for you. There are plenty of hypocaloric diets to suit.

Beverages

On low CHO days calorie rich drinks are not allowed. This means coke, juices, milk, milky/sugary coffee and similar are not advocates. Diet soda, water and green tea are preferred. Black coffee is suitable too.

On the higher CHO days factor in any additional calories from beverages in you budget as laid out above but do not blow your CHO quota on drinking Coke or Fanta all day (no Mountain Dew suggested either).

Alcohol

In short, no. that’s my take, this is my diet but this is your shout. I personally believe in a calorie deficit all your calories should have worth. I am yet to see where alcohol would fit into this school of thought.

Excessive consumption beyond the odd measure or pint can result in lowered test levels, lowered protein synthesis, increased estrogen, and dehydration, metabolic slow down catabolism and blocking nutrient absorption.

What happens if I am not losing weight?

First protocol is to increase the cardio sessions from 3 upwards. Cardio sessions in the fasted state are all 45 minutes on empty at between 55-65% of MHR (max heart rate) for those solely looking to cut fat, maintain lean tissue.

Still not losing?

Re count calories and ensure you are on the low end of the CHO intake for the high and low days and that you are excluding CHO on the no CHO days.

Count all beverages and tot up total calorie intake and refer back to the guidelines.

Losing too much weight too quickly?

After a stabilisation period in the first 2 weeks your weight should be reducing at a fairly even pace. If this decrease is too much and you feel you are dropping LBM up the CHO figures to the higher end of the suggested ratios for each day. Look to push CHO out to 2g per lb on high days and 1g on low days. The next step is to check your cardio protocol is suitable. But for most 1.5lb a week is a good weight to lose without major catabolism (within the framework of the RO-CHO diet).

These instances are rare and easy to obviate in the main. Use you head, not just a calculator.

Supplements you must use on RO-CHO?

None.

Supplements I Suggest You Research and Decide if They Are Right to Add to RO-CHO?

Ok, now the wording of the question is different I am happy to throw me 2p in on the subject.

Before we proceed I would like to point out that I do not classify oils, PWO sugars and protein powders as supplements per se. these items are staple food choices in my book:

  • Green tea
  • Creatine
  • ECA
  • Caffeine

There we go. A massive list of 4 supplements. How should you use them? That’s for you to tell me after the reading you do and when you have completed a little research. No supplements are required on RO-CHO and those listed above are not suitable for everybody. The use of a multivitamin can be employed but the diet is micronutrient dense as it is.

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