Practical guidelines for carbohydrate intake
Once you have found your total calorie intake and protein intake, you should simply balance the fat and carbohydrate intake in relation to your circumstances and needs – primarily metabolic type and exercise / activity amount.
Since there are so many variables that determine how much to eat from each food course you should consider the recommendations more like guidelines. As in the Health & Fitness Concept, we can also use hunger as a regulator, where here it is used to determine how much to eat for every meal, and not how many meals you will eat. Keep in mind other factors, like how much you have trained and activity for the day. Still, you will soon see that hunger is a surprisingly accurate indicator.
In relation to carbohydrate refeeds, especially on a diet, there are two approaches:
You can have one day a week where you consume large amounts of carbohydrates (and minimal fat).
Or you can have a “mini-refeed” by taking a large amount of carbohydrates in the first few meals after each workout, done on 2-4 days a week. You will then adjust down on the calories on the other days so that you end in a net loss in total on the week. How much carbs to take during a refeed and how much to decrease calories on rest days is going to be a matter of experimentation. For some details and anecdotes, check out the EOD-refeed thread on Lyle McDonald’s forums.
One important thing to note is how you feel after your post-workout meal (the biggest meal). If after only a couple hours you start to feel hungry, it could be an indicator that you should eat more during the post-workout meal. Physiologically speaking, this happens because the carbohydrates are absorbed and stored as glycogen, thus falling blood sugar and trigger hunger.
If however, if you get really lethargic after your meal, consider eating less carbohydrates and more protein, or to distribute the carbohydrates over several meals.
Do note and if you have a higher body fat level, you will need less calories to meet energy needs. In practice, this means eating less on rest days and in the periods before exercise, instead eat a filling meal after training so that incoming calories are preferentially used for muscle building and recovery.
On the other hand, as body fat percentage decreases, insulin sensitivity increases, fat mobilisation will be lower and you will likely require a higher carbohydrate intake.
I would recommend focusing carbohydrates in the first 1-3 meals after exercise, either evenly or with a higher intake in the first meal and then gradually less in the last meal. Reductions in calories should therefore first occur in the last meal of the day – except when you exercise late and have only eaten one meal before bedtime.
On rest days with lower calorie intake, you can do this by reducing carbohydrate intake. You could also take more carbs in the first meal of the day and at less during the last meal. Parasympathetic dominance or lower insulin sensitivity means that you often get tired when you eat lots of carbs in the first meal, so there are benefits to more even carbohydrate distribution.
The ingestion of carbohydrates prior to intense exercise has been shown to reduce cortisol secretion, and it does not require large doses. 10-20g would be sufficient for normal workouts, but if you train long and hard – for example 1-2 hours kickboxing or soccer – it may be wise to take 30-50g before and during exercise. Nitro Fuel is formulated precisely for this purpose.
Let us assume 3000kcal for a man of 90kg
You are parasympathetic dominant (P) and have set protein to 300g (1200kcal) and fat to 100g (900kcal). You now have 900kcal left for carbs, giving you 225g. So 300P/100F/225C
On carbohydrate distribution, you could take 25 g before exercise and then 60-70g at each meal for three meals after exercise. Or you could take 150g in the first meal post-exercise and 50g in the next meal. If you work late, you can have 50g carbs over meals during the day, 25g before training, and finally 150g in the meal after exercise, which also is the last meal.
All the above are acceptable ways of getting the required 225g carbohydrate in a training optimised manner.
On rest days you reduce calories for carbohydrates, dropping them to 120g which can be split by having 60g during the first meal of the day and 30g in the next two meals.
Selection of carbohydrate sources:
As in the Health & Fitness Concept I first and foremost recommend fruits and berries, but you can and should use higher energy density like rice / rice cakes, potatoes and oats to get enough carbohydrates.
Wheat Products should be limited or avoided entirely, but I allow some types of bread made from fermented or sprouted grains – a process that breaks down and makes the protein structures more easily digestible. Ezekielbrød is baked in such a method and can be purchased at Helios and Life Healthcare, or can be ordered from http://www.dengodebaker.no/ This bread is very popular with the fitness community in the United States.
You can use this process with oatmeal. Simply to soak the raw oatmeal in lukewarm water with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice overnight, and cook for 5-10 minutes before you eat them. I like to make an oatmeal porridge and stir in some MyoProtein or M-factor protein powder, egg, peanut butter or Cocoa. Season with cinnamon, perhaps “gingerbread spices (cardamom, ginger, cloves), vanilla, etc, and you’ve got heaven in a bowl.
Buckwheat – which despite its name does not have anything to do with wheat – can be used for baking (pizza, rolls, pancakes / waffles).
What does this mean in practice
Let us consider the example for protein from before, now considering carbs and fat as well. You will of course adjust the amounts depending on whether you want a caloric surplus or deficit, also taking into account the composition of carbohydrates and fats that suits you.
Do not consider this as a static plan, it is ONLY an example to illustrate how to structure your nutrition on training and rest days.
Example 4-5 meals – training day (200g protein)
Breakfast / meal 1: 0-30g carbs, 25g protein, 20g fat
Lunch: 0-10g carbs, 25g protein, 20g fat
1h before training: 20-30g carbs, 30g protein, 10g fat — or just before exercise: 10-20g carbs and 10g BCAA
After training: 30-50g carbs (fruit) and 30g protein shake with MyoProtein, then 70-100g carbs and 40g protein, 10-20g fat meal within 1-2h after exercise – or 100-130g carbs 70g protein, 10-20g fat if you eat a large meal immediately after exercise.
Before bedtime: 20-40g carbs, 50g protein, 30g fat
If you exercise before breakfast, then eat carbs during breakfast, and less correspondingly less in your last meal of the day. If you react negatively to a lot of carbs in a single meal, then spread your carb intake more evenly over the meals after a workout and possibly keep fat intake along the higher end of your recommended spectrum. On the other hand, sympathetic dominant people (S) will prefer more carbs and less fat at every meal, especially breakfast.
Rest day (180g protein):
Breakfast / meal 1: 20-40g carbs, 50g protein, 20g fat
Lunch: 20-40g carbs, 30g protein, 10g fat
Meal 3: 20-40g carbs, 30g protein, 10g fat
Meal 4: 10-20g carbs, 30g protein, 20g fat
Before bedtime: 10-20g carbs, 40g, 10-30g fat
Example with 3 meals – training day (200g protein)
1-2h before exercise: 30g carbs, 30g protein, 10g fat — or just before exercise: 10-20g carbs and 10g BCAAs
After training: 30-50g carbs (fruit), shake with 30g MyoProtein, then 70-100g carbs, 50g protein and 10-20g fat meal within 1-2h after exercise – or 100-130g carbs, 80g protein, 10-20g fat in a meal
Meal 2: 40-70g carbs, 40g protein, 20g fat
Before bedtime: 10-30g carbs, 50g protein, 30g fat
If you exercise later in the day, simply have Meal 2 before training, but with less carbs. You would then increase carbs in the meal after exercise by an equivalent amount.
Rest day (180g protein):
Meal 1: 30-60g carbs, 80g protein, 20g fat
Meal 2: 20-50g carbs, 40g protein, 20g fat
Meal 3: 30g carbs, 60g protein, 30g fat
Are You Still Hanging in There?
Read through the article again and look at the examples. Don’t get hung too much on the details, and instead look at this from the overall perspective (especially those who are sympathetic dominant (S)). Experiment with options, and read about and participate on forums with like-minded people likely to have shared your experiences.
This article was both long and dense, and I recommend that you read through the article a THIRD time before you ask anything – chances are high that you’ll find the answer in the article.
It is difficult to give more specific figures on the exact number of grams or food choices since there will be large variations from person to person. The most important thing is to start with a layout, and then adjust in relation to progress.
I will remind you again that you should not measure and weigh yourself every day and panic because you gained 300 grams (equivalent to a large glass of water), and then cut your calories in half while taking an hour-long jog to compensate for all the fat you think you have put on you. Have patience and making small changes.