Bikini Competition Diet Macros: How we determine low carb vs. high carb for our clients

This is going to be a short one and not as technical as some of my other articles. I basically just want to briefly touch on how we go about determining our clients’ bikini competition diet macros, specifically whether to go low carb/high fat, high carb/low fat, or moderate carb/fat once we’ve determined caloric and protein intake.

You may have noticed that people tend to talk about this subject as if one is across the board superior to the other, e.g., “ketogenic dieting is superior to moderate or high carb”, or the opposite. The reality though is that some people will handle lower carb very well and not do well with higher carb, and some will be the opposite, and some will do well with a good in-between.

We use a common sense approach to this, and simply have our new clients go 7 days on lower carb/higher fat, followed by 7 days on higher carb/lower fat. Calories and protein are kept the same for both weeks. At the end of the two weeks, we have them report on which they overall felt and performed better on. If there was a clear ‘winner’ then we set their macro targets accordingly. If not, then we will tend to go with moderate carb/fat…maybe leaning a little towards higher carb since higher carb dieting leads to higher thyroid output. If the client is not handling things well at all during the 7 days on each intake, we will often adjust right away…someone with poor insulin sensitivity will usually know right away that higher carb isn’t gonna work. So we don’t keep them there for the full 7 days if they’re miserable.

This is not a PERFECT system…for one thing, it can take more than 7 days to adjust to any significant change in diet. But this is for my clients…not people buying a diet book who I’ll never interact with. We will be working closely enough for a long enough period of time that we will be able to dial things in as we go. So this is just to give us a good starting point…not the be-all-end-all. And well…as you can see from our client testimonials page, it works.

Low carb doesn’t mean CRAZY low carb!

I should also clarify that when I say low carb or high carb, I mean in terms of % of calories.  I don’t mean 60g of carbs for low carb, or 300g for high carb!  A 1700 calorie diet would typically look like this for a client who weighs around 140lbs and needs to lose weight:

Low Carb/High Fat Week: 1700 cals, 130g protein, 135g carbs, 76g fat, 25g fiber (and we also give sodium/potassium target ranges).

High Carb/Low Fat Week: 1700 cals, 130g protein, 200g carbs, 47g fat, 25g fiber (same sodium/potassium ranges as low carb week).

So nothing extreme at all…we don’t starve our clients, so even low carb will still be a decent amount of carbs, and low fat will still be a decent fat intake.

In case you’re wondering what we’ve found, here is a few years worth of data from new clients after having gone the 7 days on each intake.  High carb and low carb are dead even…who woulda thought! 🙂

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