1. Your Body Composition
Your body is specific to you. It’s important to understand that everything in fitness must be customized according to your own body, lifestyle and goals. There is no point following pre-set cookie-cutter programs that are not designed specifically for you. What works for someone else might not work for you. The Skyfyl calculator takes into account your unique body composition to calculate the necessary amount of macronutrients to consume everyday to reach your goals.
- Use the Skyfyl diet calculator to calculate the amount of calories required to lose fat based on your body composition.
- Select the low carb nutrient ratio, the moderate carb nutrient ratio and the high carb nutrient ratio and save each of these numbers in a place that’s easily accessible, we’ll come back to those numbers later.
- The most important rule of all is to make sure you are eating the exact number of protein, carbs and fat given to you by the calculator. All of these numbers are tailored to your body and the goal you have selected.
Confused about nutrition? Read Nutrition 101
2. Carb Cycling
The name says it all – we essentially move from a lower carbohydrate intake to a higher carbohydrate intake and then repeat the cycle. This allows the body to replenish glycogen stores to prevent fatigue, fuel your workouts and still burn fat. Eating lower carbs prevents constant insulin spikes which allows the body to utilize stored fat as energy instead to using the carbs you consume. So why not stay in low carb mode if we burn the most fat when there aren’t constant insulin spikes? Prolonged periods of low carb’ing could result in hard earned muscle tissue being used as as an energy source. In addition to losing hard earned muscle, there is a high chance that your fat loss will slow down because of hormonal regulation (low leptin levels). This is why alternating between low carbs, medium carbs and high carbs prevents muscle loss and allows you to continue to burn fat.
Carb Cycling Schedule:
The first two weeks will be the toughest because we are acclimatizing our bodies to low carb eating. You will notice a significant amount of weight loss during the first two weeks but please be aware that not all of it is fat. Since carbs actually make us hold water, majority of that weight loss will be a result of water retention leaving the body.
|Day||Amount of Carbs|
Things get better week 2 onwards because we include a high carb day. Having a high carb day is crucial for maintaining leptin levels which is a key hormone in the process of burning fat and regulating hunger. Read more about why having a high carb day is important here
|Day||Amount of Carbs|
Now that your body is getting used to the alternating cycle of carbs and you are (hopefully) leaner, we can include more moderate carb days. This will make sure your metabolism, hormone levels and glycogen levels are maintained so that you are continually burning fat and building lean muscle.
|Day||Amount of Carbs|
3. Weights and Cardio
Now that we have understood the nutritional aspect of the program let’s look at training. Lifting weights builds muscle tissue and the tissue itself consumes a high amount of calories. The more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolic rate will be and the more fat you will burn.
When it comes to cardio, you can opt to do LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). LISS This is the type of cardio that you can do for long durations of time – usually 45 minutes or more. I’m talking about a fast incline walk on the treadmill, a slow jog or using the elliptical at a low to moderate difficulty. It’s aerobic exercise that you perform at 60% to 70% of your maximal capacity.
Whereas HIIT is short and intense. The goal of HIIT workouts is to perform at a very high intensity for a short burst of time and alternate with low-moderate intensity intervals. A typical HIIT workout will look like 2-3 minutes low intensity jog followed by 1 minute jog, 30 second sprint which is repeated for 15-20 minutes. HIIT has been proven to burn more calories throughout the day (after the workout has been completed) by raising one’s metabolic rate.
It really is up to you when it comes to deciding what type of cardio to do. HIIT seems like the ideal type of cardio because of its short duration and the fact that it keeps you burning more fat long after you’ve completed your session. However, HIIT is very taxing on the central nervous system and can effect your recovery especially if you’re lifting in addition to your cardio. I suggest doing HIIT once or twice a week and doing LISS once or twice per week. You really have to pay careful attention to your body and understand that you may feel weaker on some days and stronger on others (depending on a number of factors such as rest, nutrition, genetics, experience etc.)
I always suggest doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It’s a great way to start the day with a fully oxygenated brain, a ton of fresh energy and the benefit of knowing that you’re incinerating fat before you’ve even started the day.
A lot of people are not aware of the importance of rest and the crucial role it plays in the development of a great physique.
Annals of Internal Medicine published a study where people who were dieting were put on varying sleep cycles. Subjects that had a full night of sleep lost 55% more fat compared to subjects who were put on a sleep deprived cycle even though their diet remained the same. In addition, they felt a lot more hungry, were less satisfied after meals and also lacked energy to exercise. The reduction in weight loss is partly attributed to the fact that your body’s ability to use insulin properly becomes decreases by 30% after just four days of sleep deprivation according to a study by the University of Chicago.
Being sleep deprived naturally impacts your ability to muster up the energy required for a grueling workout. Scientists from Brazil state that a lack of sleep decreases protein synthesis (the body’s ability to create and retain muscle) which effects muscle recovery and essentially growth. They also cited a higher number of injuries when one lacks sleep which is enough to make sure I get my 6-7 hour minimum.
Check out the full article on why rest is important here
4. Your Lifestyle
I’ve designed this guide with the hope that you will adjust my recommendations according to your lifestyle. Priorities are important and you need to prioritize the fitness lifestyle alongside your other endeavors. What I mean is that you don’t need to dedicate your entire life to fitness and feel as though you are completely restricted. It’s important go after your fitness goals while still enjoying life.
Here’s an example; I might wake up tomorrow and I feel extremely exhausted, sore and unusually tired but my schedule says that tomorrow is a low carb day. I can make the decision to have a moderate or high carb day instead and not have a high carb day on the weekend. Or I will muster up the mental energy and go through with the workout depending on what else I have to do during the day. What wins is a long term approach that advocates sustainability over short term results. We need to be happy and truly enjoy this lifestyle if we are going to commit to it with consistency and dedication.