Dr Mike T. Nelson’s Carbohydrate Cycling & Exercise Plan for Health, Fitness & Wellbeing

Alrighty, welcome back to the What Supp Blog. As standard, prepare yourself for some information gold nuggets to help supercharge your overall performance.

Today’s post is bought via the wisdom of Dr Mike T Nelson. Dr Mike has a PhD in Exercise Physiology, a BA in Natural Science, and an MS in Biomechanics. He’s an adjunct professor and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Dr Mike presented a pretty good looking program on a recent podcast. This program is a basic template to look at how you can amp up your fitness, body composition and general health goals. He discussed how results can be achieved by having an exercise routine that cycles carbohydrates in and out the diet alongside fasting.

The nutrition component, where we’ll discuss carb cycling, is in order to promote the much heralded ‘metabolic flexibility’. This essentially means promoting your body’s ability to access both fat and glucose for fuel. Carb restriction can also promote ketone production, both an energy source and serious neuro protector. Lastly we have the fasting element, great for everything from weight loss to gut health, to cellular functioning.

So, the programme. For three days a week, let’s purpose Monday/Wednesday/Friday, you will lift heavy weights, (check part 3 of my strength post for some unique body weight exercises and the MSP heavyweight protocol: https://whatsuppblogblog.com/2017/12/27/strength-training-why-what-and-what-next-to-achieve-your-goals-part-3/ )

On these 3 days you ensure you eat up to 200 grams of carbohydrates. Although Mike wasn’t specific on timing to best ingest your carbs, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest these are predominantly back loaded post exercise with a small amount included in your first meal of the day. If you miss a workout though or aren’t working at intensity, drop the number of carbs accordingly.

200g is the amount of carbohydrates Mike calculates is needed for an average athletic build male with some muscle, although maybe less are required, especially for women. This can be better calculated by the individual, starting at 200g and playing up or down depending on individual size and your body composition goals, (ie go down for greater weight loss/up for maintaining a higher muscle mass).

Next we have a little look at those in-between days Tuesday and Thursday. On these two days look to complete low intensity cardio. This should ideally be done in a fasted state first thing in the morning for the absolute best results. Again, going out on a limb. I’d suggest nose breathing jogging, cycling, swimming or other low impact exercise.

The carb total on these days should be 100 to 120 grams on each day. This is below metabolic no mans land, which is not enough to fuel you with glucose but too much for any ketone production. Once fat adapted, this should be enough to support the production of ketones in fitter individuals.

Protein consumption should be around 0.7 g per pound of body weight on any day, (excess protein does not equate to excess muscle building).

Fat consumption should be at 50/70g per day although Nelson notes the athlete should start at the lower end (around 50g) and add to it. I’d suggest the best indicators would be if body composition or being satiated and energy levels on lower carb days, are effected negatively.

If considering upping the fat quantity in the plan, ask what food would be added if you could add anything, is it fat or carb based? Now adjust the ratios accordingly. This can result in better compliance.

On the days where you are not training hard, fasting should be implemented. 12 – 14 hour overnight fasts should be undertaken depending on when they got done training or ate your last meal. Again, adjust accordingly to fit your lifestyle. Once you are comfortable with the fasting protocol, start to lengthen out the fasts. Mike highlights you could even work up to the Tuesday/ Thursday being fully fasted days or up to 19 to 24 hours.

I hope this has given you some idea how to implement an exercise programme which includes a weight management system, metabolic flexibility and the much heralded benefits of fasting. Should you have any questions, please drop me a comment! Till next time.

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