Your body needs carbohydrates to survive; they are the body’s energy source. Eating the right carbs (aka complex carbs) are very important to a healthy lifestyle.
Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains (don’t confuse whole “wheat” with whole “grains”), legumes, and starchy vegetables contain sugar but in complex form, which takes the body more time to break down and use, therefore providing your body with more consistent energy. Complex carbs also include more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Simple carbohydrates are the easy-to-digest, basic sugars. Some of these sugars are naturally occurring, such as those in fruits and milk, while refined or processed sugars are often added to candies, baked goods, and soda (fructose, glucose, syrup, etc). The processed sugars give you a boost of energy and then have your body feeling sluggish shortly after (aka the crash).
Be sensible with the simple and complex carbs you choose to eat as part of your balanced diet. Which leads to our next discussion; carb cycling.
My body type is an endomorph. I carry my weight (read “fat”) in my lower abdomen in the form of subcutaneous (the easier to lose fat that lies just under the skin) and visceral fat (the really difficult to lose and dangerous fat that wraps around the internal organs and can cause serious health issues) as well as in my hips, butt, and upper thighs. I am very much pear shaped (small on top, small waist, but bigger hips/butt/thighs).
Endomorphs tend to be more sensitive to carbohydrates (cravings, process sugar rapidly, and the body turns carbs to fat quickly). Also, the endomorph body automatically conserves any extra calories as fat much quicker and for longer than other body types.
An endomorph would benefit greatly from carb cycling. Carb cycling is alternating the amount of carbohydrates on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Carb cycling is beneficial for people who are training for marathons or muscle building as well.
Monitoring the macros is vital to a successful carb cycle plan. A typical weekly carb cycle plan may include two high-carb days, two moderate-carb days, and three low-carb days. Protein intake remains consistent, but the fat intake will change based on the carb intake (i.e. a high-carb day normally means a low-fat day and a low-carb day equals a high-fat day; all fats should be healthy fats).
Carb cycling requires a little more strategy, planning, and monitoring than a typical nutrition plan. Endomorphs can track their macros and use proper weekly meal planning to ensure their carbohydrate intake is different each day and keeps their body guessing to limit the body from holding onto the carbs and storing as fat.
A great place for endomorphs to start are macro rates of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fats; working towards 30% carbs, 35% protein, and 35% fats. Also, all carb-dense meals should be consumed immediately before or after exercise.
A healthy carb cycling plan:
- Low carb days: 50 – 80 carbs total
- Mod carb days: 90 – 110 carbs total
- High carb days: 150 – 160 carbs total
- Be sure to eat more complex carbs than simple carbs, even on mod and high carb days.
- Carb cycling is helpful for all body types and all levels of fitness/health. Be sure to research your body type and/or fitness goals for more help for your specific needs.
- Endomorphs need to exercise in moderation when the goal is to lose weight. Don’t overdo it (it won’t help, in fact, extreme exercise plans will stall your body and put your body into starvation mode) but also don’t just sit; always be moving. Walking for 30 minutes every day is extremely beneficial for weight loss and alternating 2-3 HIIT sessions will jump start your body to burn fat.
- Monitor your macros and plan your meals for great success.