I knew from reading all the various articles at bodybuilding dot com that feeding your body a nutritious source of protein and carbohydrates at 6 meals per day would be the ideal scenario. Based on how much fat I wanted to lose, I reduced some carbohydrate intake during various meals throughout the week (even experimented with carb cycling). I learned so much just from DOING rather than just reading and telling myself I would try that method “next week”. I learned how my body responds to various foods. The following is a typical menu for me per day:
Meal 1 – 6 egg whites with diced orange, yellow and red peppers or a homemade sweet potato muffin (24 g protein, 20 g carbs, 2 g fat)
Meal 2 – Protein Shake with half a cup berries (P4P Iso Whey Ice Cream Sandwich is my FAVORITE)
Meal 3 – 6 ounces chicken breast, half a cup cooked sweet potato, broccoli or asparagus
Meal 4 – Protein Shake
Meal 5 – 6 ounces chicken or fish, half a cup cooked sweet potato, broccoli or asparagus
Meal 6 – three quarters cup lowfat cottage cheese
I had greek yogurt and more fruit interspersed in my diet for the first few weeks and gradually tapered that out of my plan to see faster results. I also allowed myself a few treats here and there the first 4 weeks as a way to transition without the feeling of deprivation.
Breaking the Plateau with Carb Cycling:
The big two factors for me in losing bodyfat is 1) More cardio and 2) More strict carb cycling. When I carb cycle strictly, I go down to 30-50 g carbs per day (that includes veggies) for 6 days and carb up 1 day with 260 – 380 g of carbs per day. While I didn’t follow the diet exactly as posted, I like the Ashley Conrad Clutch Cut diet and workout for a quick burst of fat loss. I bought the Cheat Mix which helped me a lot. I LOVE when I can make pancakes or muffins with this and also when I can add it into my shake as shown for meal 2! This was just the change I needed! My average daily macros add up as follows:
(1 g per pound of desired bodyweight)* 160 g of Protein —-> 640 calories per day
(1/2 g per pound of desired bodyweight)80 g of Carbs ——> 320 calories per day
(1/2 g per pound of desired bodyweight)80 g or Fat ——–> 720 calories per day (sometimes I wouldn’t hit this)
How I applied carb cycling to this nutrition plan:
So the average per day 80 g of carbs per day x 7 days per week = 560 g of carbs per week.
If I ate 40 g of carbs per day on my low carb days x 6 = 240 g I would have 320 g of carbs left for my carb load day. If I had 30 g per day my carb load day would be 380 g and 50 g per day would leave me with 260 g for my carb load day. Hopefully you can get the jist of how I divided things up.
The only other modification to the program was the Meal 5 I had a protein shake instead of the apple with peanut butter. I put the peanut butter in the shake. Yum! Like I said sometimes I didn’t get all the fat in my menu plan, but I didn’t worry about that.
I did the Clutch Cut Lift and Cardio plan which includes High Intensity Interval Training for both workouts. There were a few days where I threw in a workout of biceps, calves and steady state stepmill cardio to target those muscle groups and just burn some fat on top of that. But mostly I followed Ashley’s schedule. I would sometimes even add steady state on top of the lift workouts if I had time and energy. You can scroll through my workouts to see what I did.
I don’t recommend this program for an extended period of time as it is exhausting and can play tricks with your mental well being (on the low carb days). It does spur on fat loss as I was very pleased to have dropped over 4% bodyfat in a very short timeframe.
On that note, I want to make sure to share something I have learned through my many failed attempts at losing bodyfat. Listen to your body! If you are really struggling and you have a gut feel that your body needs carbs/ cardio/ bicep workout /more water / more fats, etc… do something HEALTHY and be proud that you made that choice instead of chucking the whole program and bingeing (for example). You don’t have to be perfect. Allow yourself a nibble of something you are really craving and know that you can have more later on down the road. I didn’t allow myself to get too caught up in having the EXACT numbers that were laid out in the plan. I mean I used it as a guide to get me there, but didn’t worry if I was quickly putting a meal together and not getting perfect quantities.
Hopefully this information is helpful. Let me know if you have questions! Remember, anything worth having takes WORK! So make every day, every rep, every drop of sweat, every meal prep count towards your goals as much as possible and be PROUD! We are the elite few who push ourselves and work towards better health and fitness each moment of the day.
* Next time I do this plan, I will experiment and bump up my protein intake to 1.5 g per pound of desired bodyweight and see if that helps me retain more muscle. My measurements showed I dropped a great deal of fat, but also lost a little muscle.
June 12, 2014 at 4:51 am
This was a big help! I realized by reading this I need to add calories with more protein. Keep you posted!
August 23, 2014 at 10:36 am
Yay Karen! Let me know how you do!
September 2, 2014 at 2:51 am
Thanks for the tips Pam. I’ve heard a little bit about carb-cycling, just not enough to understand it. But your explanation here makes more sense, it’s easier to understand the concept.
September 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm
You are welcome Tiffani!