Shelby Starnes on Carb Cycling

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

Today I have a quick interview I did with Shelby Starnes (pictured to the left) on the topic of carb cycling.

JF: Shelby, most people would agree that carb consumption is necessary for muscle growth and optimal performance. So some people think, “Well, if that’s the case, why not just go high carbs all the time?” Can you briefly explain the benefits of high carbs and then why you can’t go high carb all the time?

SS: A high carb intake will secrete a lot of insulin, which is a hormone that can pack a lot of fat on most people; keeping carbs high all the time will turn most people into a jelly donut FAST. It’s better to have periods of low carbs too, to keep insulin sensitivity high. Most people are fat because they eat too many carbs, at the wrong times, and don’t exercise enough.

JF: Very true, but on the flip side of the coin, most people would tend to agree that low carbs are necessary for losing bodyfat. Can you briefly explain the negatives of going low carb too often or for too long?

SS: Going too low carb for too long can be catabolic (muscle-wasting) and also slow the metabolism, both of which will ruin a physique and diet fast. It can also lower training intensity. It’s best to have periodic high carb phases to stave off catabolism, replenish glycogen stores to support heavy training, and also keep metabolism high.

JF: So the best of both worlds seems to come then from your approach to carb cycling. Can you briefly explain how you set this up and what you base the numbers/ratios/macros on?

SS: My carb cycling approach usually consists of 3 different types of days – a high carb day, a medium carb day, and a low carb day. I usually put the high and medium days on training days, and low days on off days. The exact setup will depend on a number of individual variables like body fat and metabolism. Each week can change as well, depending on the clients response. This is all detailed in the book.

JF: Why is this approach so much better than the old school bulking and cutting model?

SS: It takes advantages of our body’s natural hormones to maximize muscle gain and retention, while also maximizing fat loss. I still typically utilize periods of “fat loss” and periods of “lean gain”, but I use carb cycling for both – and set it up based on the current goals.

JF: Tell us a little bit about your new Carb Cycling Guide and who could benefit from it?

SS: The new guide goes in depth on setting up a carb cycling plan for an individual (client) in terms of macronutrient amount and meal timing, and also covers cardiovascular activity and making changes to the diet (as well as what to expect in terms of progress). I also include macronutrient tables to help with measuring foods – many people don’t know how to measure 40 grams of protein, for example… well in the book, I include tables that do all that for you (40 grams of protein from chicken is not the same as weighing out 40 grams, by the way).

The book is basically a comprehensive but SIMPLE guide to setting up up carb cycling diets for your clients, and knowing how to manipulate them to keep your clients progressing (which increases increase client retention and helps your word of mouth advertising).

Carb cycling is a diet style that can be used by anyone, regardless of age, sex, activity level, or sport. It can be modified to achieve any type of result, and because it excludes no food groups, is safe and healthy to utilize long term.

To check out Shelby’s new Carby Cycling Guide Click HERE.