From Keto to Carb Cycling —Why I Now Love Both
The world of diets can be overwhelming and confusing, with a variety of approaches promising weight loss, improved health, and increased energy. Two popular approaches that have gained traction in recent years are the ketogenic diet and carb cycling. While both involve manipulating macronutrient intake, they have distinct differences in terms of goals, strategies, and potential benefits and drawbacks.
Throughout my twenty-year career in the health and fitness industry, I've made a conscious effort to invest in continual education through seminars, certifications and trainings. I enjoy staying on top of current research and discovering new strategies to better serve my clients and make living a healthy lifestyle less confusing. The most recent certifications I have obtained in the last three years are NESTA Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Complete Keto Certified Coach, and FASTer Way to Fat Loss Certified Coach.
Each of these certifications have taught me a lot and opened the door of opportunity for me to continue doing what I love - helping people live healthier. Those of you that follow me on Instagram know I was chosen to be the one and only hire to work along side Celebrity Fitness Trainer, Drew Manning. For six months, we onboarded exclusive groups of online clients to take through Drew's Complete Keto program. It was an amazing experience for me and the best part was educating people on the proper way to follow keto.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet, commonly referred to as "keto," is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet designed to induce a state of ketosis, in which the body burns fat for fuel instead of glucose. The typical macronutrient breakdown of a ketogenic diet is 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. The goal of keto is to keep carbohydrate intake low enough to trigger ketosis, which can lead to rapid fat loss, improved blood sugar control, and reduced inflammation.
I first started experimenting with the ketogenic diet after having our youngest nearly seven years ago. A family member of mine lost 100lbs in one year on this lifestyle which made me eager to learn more. Did you know that the mediterranean diet and keto are one in the same? Sadly there has been a lot of people following keto macros, but eating high-inflammatory foods with very little nutritional value. Contrary to what you may have heard or seen on TikTok, keto is composed of salmon, lots of wild caught fish, lean poultry, high-quality lean meats, lots and lots of greens, berries, high-quality olive oil, nuts like Peli nuts and seaweed snacks. Not low quality dairy and heavily marbled/low quality beef and pounds of butter as some suggest that the keto diet is compromised of.
What I love about Keto...
Carbohydrate restriction combined with an increase in protein leads to prolonged satiety and sustainable fat loss.
Keto may be beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance, diabetes, or epilepsy, as it can improve blood sugar control and reduce seizures.
It may also lead to rapid weight loss, as the body burns fat for fuel and reduces overall calorie intake.
It's the best option (in my opinion) for anyone dealing with a major food and/or sugar addiction!
Keto helped me drop the baby weight after pregnancy number three (see pics below)
Low gym performance
Harder to gain muscle
You may start to miss some carbohydrate foods
What is Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling involves alternating between periods of high-carbohydrate intake and low-carbohydrate intake. This approach aims to optimize performance and body composition by strategically timing carbohydrate intake in order to development metabolic flexibility. Metabolic flexibility refers to the body’s capacity to match fuel oxidation to fuel availability, or switch between utilizing stored carbohydrates and fat for energy. I used a carb cycling approach to get super lean for all of my fitness competitions in the past and I still use it today to fuel my active lifestyle in my 40's. The goal of carb cycling is to provide enough carbohydrates to fuel intense workouts and promote recovery while also maintaining a low-carbohydrate intake to encourage fat burning. But you don't have to be a fitness competitor or athlete to reap the amazing benefits of carb-cycling.
*In my 20's (NPC Texas Shredder 2011)
*Now at 40 years old
In general, someone who wants to follow a carb cycling diet should:
Determine their calorie needs: To determine their calorie needs, they can use an online calculator or consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian. This will help them determine how many calories they need to consume each day to achieve their goals.
Set their macronutrient ratios: Depending on their goals, they will need to determine the appropriate ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to consume each day.
Plan their high and low carbohydrate days: They can plan their high and low carbohydrate days based on their activity level. On days when they are more active or engaged in high-intensity exercise, they can consume more carbohydrates. On days when they are less active, they can consume fewer carbohydrates.
Choose healthy carbohydrate sources: When consuming carbohydrates, they should choose healthy sources such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They should avoid processed and refined carbohydrates.
Monitor progress: It's essential to monitor progress and adjust the diet as needed to achieve the desired results. This may involve tracking weight, body composition, and energy levels.
As your FASTer Way Coach this is exactly what I design with you. My clients have been getting phenomenal results with little effort alongside with FASTer Way to Fat Loss. We take all the guess work out for you and provide you with a delicious meal plan that's strategically designed to work simultaneously with our provided workouts. We eat low carb on HIIT training days and nutritious carbs on our weight training days. Workouts, grocery lists, meal plan, recipes, it's all there for you. All you have to do it start taking action.
What I love about carb cycling...
The ability to eat any foods that you love
You get the amazing benefits of low carb fat burning and the energy from moderate carb days. The best of both worlds!
The boost in athletic performance
Increased workout recovery (less soreness)
Carb Cycling drawbacks...
Learning how to track your macronutrients takes time and can be frustrating at first, but once you get it down you'll have a superior tool in your tool belt.
Takes preparation. You can't just wake up and say to yourself, "I'm going to go low (or high) carb today". You need to have a plan.
Depending on your personal goal and where you are in life will determine which dietary lifestyle might work best for you. If you're currently battling some major food/sugar addictions, I would suggest you spend 60-90 days on a strict Ketogenic diet. Once you've done that and got your insulin and hormones balanced then I would suggest slowly merging into carb-cycling with me in the FASTer Way. With many programs and plans online today, it can be really confusing on where to start and what to do next.
If this is something you'd be interested in learning more about I'll be on-boarding new clients on my next round which launches March 13! Registration just opened. I can't wait to transform your body in our 6-week course. There are sign up details at the bottom of this post.
Prep Week kicks off MARCH 13 ! Sign up now by clicking HERE.
Disclaimer: It's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting any new diet or nutrition plan to ensure it is safe and effective for your unique needs.