Having a good diet plan is only part of the equation for fat loss and muscle building, I could argue that diet is more important than exercise but to be honest one doesn’t work without the other. Workout is what stimulates muscles into growth and ensures minimal muscle loss during dieting. If you stop with High intensity workouts you risk losing your hard earned lean muscle mass.
If you read part 1 of this article I’ve outlined my entire Carb cycling cutting diet in details and provided you with a calculator filled already with healthy food choices, now it’s time to add a workout routine to this diet.
Best thing about Carb cycling workouts is that when you plan a session is that you can set priority workouts where you’ll eat a decent amount of carbohydrates which will help you maintain amazing performance and even Increase strength even while cutting. Increased energy from carbohydrates gives you the ability to progress while dieting while most low-carb diets have a huge impact on performance and hormones. With carb cycling I feel like I could diet forever, but that comes with the price of complexity.
How does carb cycling make your workouts better?
This diet is a probably one of the hardest advanced fat loss methods to endure but also one of the most effective. Even though it’s considered hardcore I’ve had successful implementations of this diet with clients who weren’t into bodybuilding and fitness. The basic structure of the diet is that you increase or decrease calories from carbohydrate sources every day depending when you want to deliver best performance. This is crucial for Preventing muscle loss, training heavy and intense makes forces your body to keep muscle mass do you can focus on getting rid of fat.
My workout plan looks like this:
- Monday: Back/abs workout – Medium Carb
- Tuesday: Chest workout – High Carb
- Wednesday: Cardio/HIIT workout – Low Carb
- Thursday: Arms/abs workout – Medium Carb
- Friday: Shoulder workout – High Carb
- Saturday: Recover/abs – Low Carb
- Sunday: Cardio/HIIT workout – Low Carb
So the way I came up with this is that my top priority workouts are Chest and Shoulder, these muscle groups are most important to me and I want to be able to keep Maximum workout intensity on these. Switching calorie intake and quantity of food every day requires a lot of coordination and math but I guarantee it pays off in the end. It’s not very uncommon to even gain strength and muscle while cutting on this diet.
My current workout routine while cutting with carb cycling
Exercises are done in pyramid style, so basically I increase weight every set. First set is usually around 10-12 reps while last is around 6. Sometimes instead of increasing the weight on last set I’ll try to do more reps with the same weight. I’m doing this workout plan for 2 weeks now and will probably do another 2 weeks as I feel my body didn’t adopt to it yet. Later on I’ll mix in some new exercises and try to decrease my rest time.
Note about rest periods: I’m not really into fixed rest periods all the time, sometimes if I feel rested after 1 min I’ll do the set even though it should be 1:30min. Generally what I do is rest 1:15min after 1st set then 1:30min after 2nd, 1:45 min 3rd and 2 min after 4th set. I feel like this approach to variable rest between sets has increased my performance and I feel I can hit the weights real hard on that last 6 rep target set.
Monday (Moderate Carb intake) – Back/abs day:
- Weighted wide grip pull-ups: 4 x 6-10 reps
- Heavy cable V-grip rows: 3 x 6-10 reps
- Close V-grip lat pull-down: 3 x 6-10 reps
- One-arm dumbbell rows: 3 x 8-12 reps
- Hanging leg raises: 3 x 15+ reps until failure
- Plank: 3 x 2min
- Side – plank: 3 x 2 min
Tuesday (High Carb intake) – Chest day:
- Incline Barbell Bench press: 4 x 6-10 reps
- Flat Barbell Bench press: 3 x 6-10 reps
- Decline Barbell Bench press: 3 x 6-10 reps
- Weighted Gironda Dips: 3 x 6-10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8-12 reps
- High to Low Cable Cross: 3 x 8-12 reps
Wednesday, Saturday (Low Carb intake) – Cardio/HIIT:
The workout I do on this day requires a individual post and I’ll get into it in part 3 of this article. I’m using a version of stubborn fat protocol from one the leading fat loss experts in the world Lyle Mcdonald. Stay tuned for more info.
Thursday (Moderate Carb intake) – Arms/Abs:
- Heavy barbell curl: 3 x 4-8 reps
- One-arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl: 3 x 4-8 reps
- Hammer curl: : 3 x 6-10 reps
- Weighted triceps dips: 3 x 4-8 reps
- Lying Dumbbell French Press: 3 x 6-10 reps
- Triceps Push down: 3 x 6-10 reps
- Abs circle: Rotating knee raises > weighted cable crunch > bicycle ab exercise (Note: You do the circle without rest between exercises and then take 2 min rest between circles, do 3 of these circles.)
Friday (Moderate To High Carb intake) – Shoulders/Traps:
- Military barbell press: 3 x 6-8 reps (Note: Go as heavy as possible, as long as you keep your traps relaxed it’s good)
- Arnold Dumbell press: 3 x 4-8 reps
- Upright Z barbell row: 3 x 6-10 reps (Note: Hold at the top for a second then when you lower the bar don’t lower it completely)
- Lateral Dumbell raises: : 3 x 8-12 reps
- Face pulls: 3 x 10-15 reps
- Super Heavy Barbell Shrug: 3 x 6-8 reps
Sunday (Low Carb intake) – Recovery:
How much weight should you use and what about exercise form?
Personally I always try to increase the weight load, I believe that working heavy is the only way to progress. This doesn’t mean I’ll sacrifice my execution form completely, the weight increase is for weight you can control effectively. Sometimes I’ll throw in some cheat or forced reps but that’s very rare.
My approach to workout form is that you have to feel the target muscle working, for example if I can feel my biceps working better if I slightly lean forward when doing curls I’ll do it. It doesn’t have to be textbook, one of the major mistakes I see my clients doing is watch YouTube videos of someone like Rob Riches or Gregg Plitt and try to mimic their movement. You must realize that these guys are doing each exercise in a specific manner that hits the target muscle most effectively and the way they do it works for THEM, it takes a bit of experience to know this but it’s the only way.
My advice is next time you exercise try to feel the target muscle group and look for a specific form that offers maximum stimulation. Adapt you form to your goals, sometimes you have to bend the rules a bit to achieve great results.
Note: Always try to use weight that you can control, warm-up before every workout and be careful not to injure yourself. Don’t force the weight too much! See you in part 3 :)
Until next time, stay awesome and good luck with your fitness goals!