How To Make Your Bedroom More Zen

Let’s be honest, your bedroom is where you spend most of your time. Although you probably spend much more of your (awake) time in the kitchen and living room, the average person sleeps for around 25 years of their lives. That’s a lot of time to be in your bedroom, and in bed, you know? Because of this, there is nothing more important than making your room that little bit more zen, so that you can feel as relaxed as possible here. And who doesn’t want that? Here’s how you can do it.

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Using lighting techniques

One of the best ways to make your bedroom a little bit more comfortable is by using some great lighting, so that you feel more relaxed when the day comes to a close. Perhaps you want to invest in some fairy lights, or some lamps that really create a sense of ambiance in your space? Or maybe you want to change your actual lighting? If you decide to do this, then leave the bulkhead power connector problems to the professionals, and get somebody in to do the job for you. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, then getting some cheap fairy lights could make a lot of difference to your bedroom.

Purchase throws and pillows

Let’s be honest here. If you cover your bed with throws and pillows, you know that you’re going to be coming home to a comfortable haven, and that you’re just going to want to throw yourself onto your bed as soon as it starts to get dark outside. And only having a duvet is like, so last year, anyway. If you want to be sure that you’ve got the most zen space imaginable, then keep comfort in mind. Fluffy throws are always a good idea, and you can put them away in favor of lighter bedding when the summer comes around. You can get these things from most stores or markets, and also from online sites, too.

Keep it clean

OK, so this seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but many of us are still letting our bedrooms get pretty messy, and climbing over all of the junk every day to get into bed. And if we want to find anything, then that’s a whole ‘nother issue. One of the most important things, however, is to make sure that you don’t let your bedroom get filled up with too much junk. Sell old stuff on eBay, and don’t be afraid to get rid of things that are no longer serving a purpose for you. As they say, a cluttered room is a cluttered mind, and you won’t be able to relax if you haven’t created a space that fulfils this purpose. Goodbye, clutter!

So, if you want to make your bedroom more zen, then make sure that you consider these simple things. From lighting techniques and keeping the place clean, to purchasing some pillows and throws, there are plenty of ways to make your bedroom the relaxing haven that it should be!

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Here’s What To Think About When Choosing A Family Home

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When you’ve flown the nest, and you’re away from the clutches of your mother and father, you’re ready to head out into the world and experience what it’s all about – you have the freedom to do as you please. When it comes to finding a place to stay, you’ll choose just about anywhere (as long as it’s not disgusting). The little details don’t really matter as long as they’re convenient for you. The same kinda applies for when you’ve found someone you love, and you’re ready to share a home with them – you’d like the perfect place, but a comfy little one will do at that stage.

But now you’re a small family – or an expecting family, and you have to find a place to suit this situation. It’s probably all new to you, and you’ve zero ideas about what to think about. Well, if that is the case, then let’s have a little think about some important aspects of choosing a home for a young family.  

How Are You Going To Find It?

There are a few ways that you can look for homes. The internet provides tonnes of websites that you can navigate through to find something you might like the look of. You can also speak to an estate agent in their place of work to discuss details. Local newspapers also advertise homes that are for sale.

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Can You Get To Work?

It is important to know if a potential new home allows you to get to work conveniently or whether it impedes your commute. Earning money to pay for everything is obviously essential, and you’ll be relied upon to provide for the family. It’s a good idea to look at the distance the potential place is relative to your workplace, and if it’s a bit too far, then you might have to rule it out. If you’re able to find a place with a doable commute, then it would be wise to learn the directions of the routes.   

What About Schooling?

Much like your daily job, any kids you have or kids that are on the way will need to get to school. Their education is important so you’ll want to make sure a good one is nearby.

Is There Enough Space?

When looking for the right place, you’ll obviously want there to be enough room for everything you have with you. If you find a home that suits you all down to the ground but feel it still needs some work, you can get professionals like Mark Saunders Builder to build extensions or conversions which would make things more convenient. These changes or additions could add more value and increase the home’s curb appeal, also.

Is It Friendly?

The last thing you’d want is to move into a new house and immediately regret your decision. Another external factor that should enter your mind is how safe or friendly this new area is. You’ll want there to be a lovely community of people, so it would be wise to do a little reconnaissance beforehand. You can check the area online for any problems or you can go and visit, and ask residents about the neighborhood.   

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Personalizing Your Car

If you have a branded vehicle then why not take the style and practicality of it to the next level with proper branded gear? A lot of people take great pride in their car, and why would you? After all, it is likely that you drive to and from work in your vehicle every single day. And then there are the times you pop to the supermarket, drive to your friend’s house, and so on and so forth. Therefore, when spending so much time in your car you want to make sure that it looks fantastic and feels great to be in too. By buying branded accessories and other products, you can create the ultimate customised vehicle.

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In fact, not only can you customize your car but you can customize yourself too with the array of clothing and fashionable branded accessories available. One of the most popular buys seems to the branded cufflinks. These are extremely sleek, stylish and sophisticated. In addition to this, there are more casual and relaxed products in the form of hooded jumpers and t-shirts. How cool would it look if you were to match your vehicle?

But back to your vehicle, one of the best ways to customize your branded car is through the purchase of new seat covers, like Grok Auto seat covers. Because your seats make up the majority of the interior of your car they have a dominating impact. They can dictate the entire style, vibe, and feel of your vehicle. Not only this, but if you choose wisely then they can make your branded car a lot more comfortable too. If you want to go for a luxurious and lavish edge then almond seat covers look beautiful. Alternatively, you can also go for a contemporary and classy edge with black covers. And don’t forget; not only do the covers look fantastic and feel comfortable, but they protect your actual seats as well.

You don’t have to go for something as elaborate as seat covers, something as small as a branded pen is a fantastic way of customizing your vehicle and it won’t cost much at all. After all, a pen is something you are likely to use on a frequent basis, and so it is always a good idea to have one handy in your glove box. A sophisticated black and silver branded pen is going to look a lot more impressive and classy than having a plain boring ballpoint pen, isn’t it?

All you need to do is take a look online and you will see that the possibilities are vast depending on the brand of your car. Aside from the options already mentioned other branded gear includes; bears and toys, luggage, camping gear, tires, phones, hats, mugs, flasks, and much more. You name it; there is a branded accessory for it!

Take your car to the next level and customize it to suit your personality by buying several branded accessories and products. The array of products available is astounding and there is no better way to make your vehicle look and feel fantastic!

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7 Key Steps To Making A Career Change

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When it comes to your career, you may not find yourself on the right track to begin with. And that’s natural. Because when you leave school, you may feel as if you’re on the right track. You may think you know what you want. But, it’s not always easy for you to think about what kind of work or job or career will suit you for the rest of your life. But then as you get older and you start to find yourself unfulfilled with work. And we all spend a lot of time working, so it’s important for you to make sure that you find a job that’s fulfilling and that you love. Yet when you’ve started out on a certain path, you may feel as if you cannot make a change. But you can.

However, when it comes to making that change, you need to think about what you want to do and how you’re going to make the leap. Anything is possible, but it does take a lot of work. But if you know that you really want to make a better career for yourself or do something that you love, then you will want to commit to this. And the good thing is, it can be easy when you get started and enjoyable! This is how you’re going to do it.

  1. Decide What You Don’t Like

To start with, something that you may feel helps you here, is to decide what is making you unhappy or what you do not like about in your current career. Sometimes, it’s easier to start out by pinpointing what you don’t like and why you’re not happy, so that you can then start to work out what you do.

  1. Understand What You Do

And then, when you’ve worked out what you don’t like, it’s so important for you to then pinpoint what you like and what you want to do career wise. First of all, you’ll want to think about whether or not you have any passions to pursue. Sometimes it’s easier for people to know  what they are passionate about, but if you don’t it’s time to start digging out to work out what you love and what you might like to do.

  1. Do Your Research

Then, you need to start to do your research. Get online and take a look at some of the career options that are available to you. Think about what kind of roles there are and what you might like to do. Also have a look at what skills and experience you may need to move into that particular career, because that’s what you need to work on next.

  1. Top Up What You Know

But then also, at this stage you may realize that you need really look to top up your knowledge, skills, or qualifications. Maybe you need to look at doing some studies in the evening to do this? And if so, you might want to look out for well known brand schools or educational establishments to study with? It’s important for you to learn what you need to and get the right qualifications, so make sure that this is a priority.

  1. Get Some Experience

And then, you may need to get some more experience under your belt. Do you need to get an internship or do some work for free? Think about how you can start to make waves in the industry and build up your CV so that you’re ready to make a move.

  1. Network

You may then find that the next thing you need to do here, is to start networking. Because when you’re moving into a new industry, it’s so important for you to think about meeting people and looking for new opportunities. And it might be something that you’re weary of or worried about, but when you start networking, you’ll soon find your feet and get comfortable. And this could be the step that gets you going places.

  1. Make The First Step

And then, you’re going to want to think about making the very first step towards your new career. This can look different to different people. But essentially, you want to make sure that you are getting the ball rolling. For some, that may be sending out applications and going to interviews. Or it may be to build a portfolio and start building up a bit of business for yourself. But you have to get started and make it your dream career a reality.

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What Are The Benefits of a Home Based Career?

Working from home, it’s the dream for many. You get to stay in your cosy surroundings with your pet, constant access to the kettle and don’t need to deal with annoying colleagues or a boss breathing down your neck – bliss. But there are many more reasons to consider working from home than just these, here are a few to think about if you’re debating a home based job.

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Saves you time

Working eight hours a day is pretty standard, and if someone asks us how many hours a week we work, most of us would answer ‘forty’ without a second thought. However, along with those forty hours a week, think of the amount of time you spend commuting, and getting ready for your job? How much time do you spend sorting out your work bag, ironing your uniform and packing your lunch? It’s time that really adds up and if you sit and tot it up, you might be surprised that you give far more to work than what you realise. Working from home saves you time in a big way. There are no special clothes you need to wear and you don’t have to present yourself in a certain way. For men, this might mean saving time shaving every morning, or for women, applying makeup. There’s no need to pack up a lunch ahead of time, you can simply grab something quick and easy from your kitchen with no fuss. Importantly, there’s no commute. You don’t have to spend time physically getting to and from work which means you have more time in your day to get other things done. When you work from home, unlike getting paid an hourly wage you’ll usually be paid instead for the work that you do. This means that if you focus and get everything done you can have it done in a shorter time and frees up the rest of your day for other things. In most standard employee environments, you might find yourself clock watching where you’ve finished your tasks for the day but can’t get up and leave until the time ticks past 5pm.

Saves you money

Just cutting out a commute can save you money, if you’re driving to work each day, getting the bus or hopping on the train, this can really add up. You can save money on lunches, coffee and all of the other things that add up when you’re out of the house for the day. None of us want to spend money just to go to work and earn money, but unfortunately it can be the case. There are some costs you’ll need to consider, for example in most cases you’ll need to buy a computer and whatever software or equipment you need to earn your money. But this is yours to keep then.

Gives you flexibility

One of the best things about working from home is the flexibility it can bring. Whether you’re contracted to a company, working as a freelancer or running your own business, you’re generally in charge of how your day looks – providing the work gets done. If you run your own business, you can even get yourself into a position where it runs without you but still turns a profit, you can do this by outsourcing the various elements to third-party companies. There are risks to avoid in doing this, but it’s generally a great way to run a business without the expense or effort of setting everything up yourself. Flexibility it good as it enables you to work your job around your life, rather than the other way around. It means you can earn money around other commitments (such as parenting) and enables you to work to your own ‘spikes’ of motivation/ creativity. If you naturally work better in the evening for example, then a standard 9-5 job isn’t going to allow you to make the most of that.

Makes you happier

For all of the above reasons, working from home will make you happier – research proves it. If it’s something you’re able to do, and are fed up of your set working hours at the office then speak to your employer – many are now getting onboard with the benefits. Otherwise, consider setting up your own business, going freelance or finding a company that employs remote workers.

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What’s Stopping Robots From Taking Over The World? (Hint: Not Much)

It’s been a dream of humanity to develop a legion of mechanical slaves to do their bidding for generations. And to a large extent, that’s what we’ve done. The reason only about 2 percent of people work on farms is that machines do the work of the other 98 percent, burning vast amounts of energy in the process.

But when we talk about robots, we have something different in mind to combine harvesters. We’re talking about things that look and move like use: general purpose devices that will do our bidding, whatever that happens to be. A combine harvester might be great at scooping up corn, but it’s probably not all that great at making you a salad.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the things that are stopping robots from being our personal assistants and when we can expect technological breakthroughs to make it possible.

Servos

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You can think of servos as the equivalent of robot muscles. They’re little motors in robot joints that translate rotational energy into linear movement. The problem is that, compared to biology, they’re poor. Although they have a lot of strength, they use a lot of energy and don’t have the finesse or ability to spin up and down quickly enough to provide robots with real-world balance.

Improvements in software and panel design, however, is changing the status quo. Servos will likely never be as good as muscle tissue, but as companies like Boston Dynamics are making increasingly clear, they are improving. Servos have now advanced to the point where they can provide stabilization for bi-pedal robots, something that looked hopeless just a few years ago.

Brains

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Google has a room at an undisclosed facility where it is testing robot arms. All of the arms are lined up in a row, attempting to grab objects in boxes in front of them in slightly different ways. Most of the time they fail, but when they succeed, they update smart software which integrates how the arm did it into its software so that it knows what to do next time.

There are, naturally, a lot of failed attempts. But every so often, one of the arms succeeds in picking up one of the irregularly shaped objects and depositing it into a nearby container. When this happens, the instructions that led to that success are shared with all of the other robots, improving their picking ability.

Google will be the first to admit that the technology has a long way to go. But in under a decade, we’re like to see robots like this on production lines and in fulfillment centers picking things up and depositing them elsewhere, so human workers don’t have to.

Pliable Materials

The trick to life-like robots is to create artificial muscles that behave like their natural counterparts. Researchers have already built synthetic muscle in the lab which contracts when an electrical current is passed through it. Once this technology matures, it will help some robots more naturally mimic the movements of people – movements that we’ve evolved to inhabit planet Earth.

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The Essential Guide To Becoming An Ebay Entrepreneur

If you are struggling to work out where your strengths lie in terms of going it alone and launching your own startup, why not consider the lucrative world of eBay entrepreneurship? The synonymous online auction site has been around since 1995 and was one of the very first real successes of the Silicon Valley dot-com bubble of ideas. Fast forward over two decades and eBay is the number one platform for all sorts of goods and products ranging from the second-hand to the brand new. While it was once seen as a nifty way of getting rid of your unwanted bits of junk, eBay is now viewed as the ultimate online platform to launch your very own retail empire. So, how can you make a success of your new foray into online shopping? Read on to find out.

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Descriptions And Photos

The most important aspect of your eBay business are the product descriptions you utilise. It doesn’t matter whether you are importing the latest piece of flexible tubing for gas engineers or whether you sell custom-made tee shirts, you need to make all of your descriptions uniform and consistent. Use subheadings and bullet points to make them easy to read. Point out any flaws and be honest about your product. A vintage item isn’t going to be a hundred percent perfect but it will be authentic so sell this aspect of it.

Another key aspect of your sales pages will be the items themselves. Take photographs from all angles and point out the flaws (if there are any). Make sure that you utilise your photograph allowance. If you are allowed twelve, don’t just put up three. Make sure they are in focus, the background is plain and you have a range of close up shots to show detail and wider angle compositions.

Customer Service

It’s important that you present a professional outfit if you are planning to make your eBay empire your full time profession. Consider using some packaging design software to brand the boxes you place your items in before they are shipped. This creates a more formal and professional image and your logo can be consistently applied across all merchandise and online platforms.

Implement a strategy of under promising and over delivering. If you know that you can deliver an item in two days, state on your delivery policy that you will get it there in three. Then, when a product arrives a day early, your customer will be pleasantly surprised and will be more inclined to leave positive feedback for your startup. On eBay, your reputation is vital, so make sure you limit any possibility of negative reviews.

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Link To Social Media

By utilising the power of social media, you can direct people to the relevant product pages of your eBay listings. Giving your eBay site greater visibility online helps you to maintain a strong online presence for your brand. By linking directly from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you are easily broadening your potential customer base.

Ebay is a fantastic platform from which to launch a retail business. Follow this guide, and begin your e-commerce empire in the most successful way.

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How Does Google Know Where You Are?

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Over the last couple of years, the services which companies like Google offer for free have started to outpace their premium alternatives. With these businesses relying on advertising revenue, rather than sales, they have the scope to make far more money than traditional methods would allow, and this gives them the chance to improve their services. As a big part of this, Google has spent a long time developing systems which can tell you when roads, stores, and other areas are busy, all using real-time user data. How exactly does Google know where people are, though?

This all starts with the smartphone you carry around with you each day. Most people are aware that Google owns Android, and this means that all of the basic services which come with this operating system are provided by Google. With your phone on all the time, they have access a lot of information about your daily life, and they can use this to warn other users when there are too many people in one place. Of course, Google is also responsible for creating maps services for iOS devices. While the apps aren’t quite the same, they give Google access to similar data, and this gives them even more power.

It’s fair to assume that having GPS turned off on your phone would stop you from broadcasting your location to Google. In reality, though, the GPS antenna isn’t the only part of your phone which can figure out where it is. Along with this, using a range of cell signals from different towers, businesses are able to get a rough approximation of your location without it ever being broadcast. This sort of technology is great for loads of different situations, ranging from making your device use less battery to being able to find people who are lost but don’t have GPS turned on. Of course, though, this doesn’t stop people from finding it creepy.

There are very strict rules around the world which prevent businesses from collecting and sharing data which you consider to be private or secret. Of course, though, there are easy ways to get around this, with taking advantage of in-built privacy options being the most common approach which companies will take. In most countries, tech companies don’t have to explicitly ask for this sort of data, instead being allowed to give you the option not to send it to them. This makes it nice and easy to turn off your location sharing if you don’t like having it on, but leaves millions of people unaware that they are giving this information away.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling more confident about the uncanny ability companies like Google have to know where you are. Thankfully, this information will never cross a human’s eyes, and this means that people aren’t going to be able to find you without your permission. Of course, though, it’s still worth doing your own research and keeping an eye on this area, as a lot of businesses change their tactics all the time.

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Carb Cycling Guide for Athletes

Authored by Nate Martins •
January 9, 2019

10,080–that’s how many minutes are in a week. Maintaining a diet through all those minutes, for weeks or months, requires supreme, almost unwavering willpower.

Even The Rock doesn’t do it; his Sunday night cheat meals are stuff of legend, consisting of thousands of calories of his favorite food.

The social side of dieting is tough. It takes dedication to remain unmoved on a diet; happy hour invites, dinners out, work-sponsored lunches–saying “no” to all these are small wins on the battlefield of dieting. For a diet like the ketogenic diet, avoiding carbohydrates can feel like tip-toeing through a minefield of Western, carb-centric eating.

For athletes, it can be difficult because we rely so heavily on carbohydrates for fuel. Of course, there’s growing research about how to use bodily fat as a fuel source,1 but carbohydrates have been the gold standard exercise nutrition for years.

Carb cycling is planned consumption of different amounts of carbohydrates, usually throughout the week. Everyone can develop their own carb cycle based on need; for example, keto athletes might work in carb days during especially hard training blocks.

While carb cycling isn’t for everyone, it can be a great way to optimize a diet based on your personal needs.

What’s a Carb, Anyway?

There are three different types of macronutrient fuel sources in our food: fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

An image of an egg, granola, chicken and exogenous ketones to show the different ways the body uses fuel

The main function of dietary carbs is to be a source of energy. Some even argue they aren’t essential, and can be made from dietary protein and fat.2 This process is called gluconeogenesis, a metabolic pathway generating glucose from non-carbohydrate substrates.

Carbs (especially refined carbs) raise blood sugar, resulting in the body producing extra insulin to bring that blood sugar down. Insulin is a hormone that triggers fat storage–so more carbs means more insulin which means more conversion of carbs to fat stores.

As a fuel source, carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores in the muscle and liver. They also maintain blood glucose concentrations as fuel for the body, but also for the brain. That’s the spike in energy you experience after an afternoon stack, as blood glucose fluctuates throughout the day when we consume carbs.

Simply put, carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available fuel. But when we don’t use that fuel, carbohydrate manifest as fat.

When following a keto diet, lower carb intake is necessary (like 25g of carbs per day–the amount in a single banana). This encourages the body to burn fat and also to convert fat to ketones. Consuming carbohydrates causes insulin release, which inhibits ketone production in the liver.

Science Behind Carb Cycling

What is carb cycling, and why is it beneficial? Looking at the science can provide some clarity. Maybe a more accurate definition of carb cycling is carb manipulation.

The goal is to match the body’s need for glucose depending on activity or activity level overall.

High-Carb Days

High-carb days are usually matched with workouts when you might need more glucose–like high-intensity interval sessions or a long day in the weight room.

An image of a man at the gym showing how high-carb days can help performance

When you exercise at a high intensity, the body makes most of its energy from carbohydrates, either breaking it down aerobically (with oxygen), or anaerobically (without oxygen), forming lactic acid. This would be the optimal time to introduce a higher amount of carbohydrates into the diet because the body uses more carbohydrate during the workout itself, and then after the workout to make glycogen to refuel and decrease muscle breakdown.3

When looking for your highest possible power or speed output, carbs are often necessary for the body to produce its best results during intense training sessions.

Low-Carb Days

In traditional carb-cycling, low-carb days are meant for days on which you do not train–the idea is the body doesn’t need carbs because its demand for fuel is far less than on workout days.

A man stretching backwards doing yoga on a pillow

But further investigation by scientists have shown some of the advantages of training on these low carb days, which has two main benefits: it helps to speed up general adaptations to aerobic training, and it increases fat burning and thus improves endurance.

One of the key, groundbreaking experiments in this field was conducted using single-legged cycling exercise. Athletes had to cycle using just one leg at a time; the left leg cycled one hour straight, and the right leg did two half hours with a few hours in between where no recovery fuel was given. This means that the right leg was training in a carb depleted state during the second session. Muscle biopsy samples revealed that the twice-trained leg saw bigger gains in the enzymes that are key for aerobic respiration. This led to the conclusion that low-carb training could accelerate aerobic gains.4

Strategic low-carb days focus on switching the body back to using fat as energy and increase aerobic capacity. Research is continuing on this topic, but athletes are looking to boost the ability of the body to tap into fat as a fuel source, since we store more fat than carbohydrates.

Training in a low-carb state has been shown to increase the ability of the body to burn fat over the long haul, improving metabolic flexibility.5 There have even been studies noting keto-adapted athletes can use fat in preference to carbohydrates for moderate intensity endurance exercises, in which carbohydrates would usually be used as fuel.6

But it takes time. Robert Sikes is a professional bodybuilder and founder/owner of Keto Savage. He’s a bodybuilder on the keto diet; backstage at events, he receives inquisitive looks from competitors when they find out he’s keto. But the results speak for themselves and after events, he’ll even get asked about he’s able to train with such little carb intake. He says it can take years to full fat-adapt, and that it’s something that doesn’t happen in the short term.

“You need to allow yourself to be completely adapted to life without carbs. Play the long game. Be diligent with hitting macros and eating wholesome foods.”Robert Sikes

By controlling carbs, and the types of carbs consumed, there also may be a benefit in manipulating insulin and insulin responses.7,8 This would likely help with improving metabolic health.

It is becoming widely accepted that athletes should adopt carb cycling or periodization of carbs based on training needs. This ensures fuel for the work required (so training intensity isn’t compromised), while also empowering the body to metabolically trapeze between carbohydrates and fats as fuel sources as available.9

Is your training yielding minimal results?

Diet and training regimen should go hand-in-hand. We’re analyzing research to help athletes optimize training for their goals.

Benefits of Carb Cycling

The benefits are carb cycling are measured against personal goals. Do you want to improve body composition? How about improve training or recovery?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve with carb cycling to best understand its benefits.

An image of a male soccer player kicking the ball on the field

Body Composition

As with most diets, a major goal is usually weight loss. Because we consume such a high amount of calories as carbohydrates in Western diets, limiting those calories and carbs will ultimately lead to fat loss. The process aligns with most other diets: consume fewer calories than the body burns, enter a calorie deficit and promote weight loss.10

Though specific research on carb cycling is limited, generally studies show that limiting carb intake works well for weight loss. One study analyzed overweight women who had a family history of breast cancer. Three groups were randomly assigned different diets: calorie-restricted and low-carb diet, low-carb but unlimited protein and healthy fat, and a standard, calorie-restricted diet. Women in both low-carbohydrate groups showed better results for weight loss.11

Performance and Recovery

Training in a low-carb state can help with weight loss, boost fat burning capacity, and can speed up aerobic adaptation to training. However, athletes face a compromise when employing low-carb diets; they need the carbohydrates to perform at the highest intensity (especially in a race), and want to keep that energy system working well, but still want the benefits of carb restriction.

Making sure the body has carbs for tough training can help performance. The body needs fuel for the most difficult exercise days. Since carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available fuel source, consuming carbs before a workout enables the body to train harder for high-intensity, short-duration exercise.12 Interestingly, even the presence of carbohydrates in the mouth (meaning, not actually ingested) can lead to increased performance, because they activated brain regions believed to be involved in reward and motor control.13

Carbs can also help accelerate recovery. After exercise, consuming carbohydrates can lead to glycogen resynthesis and protein synthesis (after resistance training).14,3 So, it’s easier to perform and recover if you have enough carbohydrate in your diet. Carb cycling means those big training days can be high quality.

Other Benefits

By cycling carbohydrate consumption, you may be afforded some of the benefits of both higher-carb and lower-carb diets–and avoid some of the common negative side-effects.

Metabolic Health: The combination of two types of diets may help you become metabolically flexible.5

The days with low-carbs may have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity; this study showed the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet on glucose metabolism, lowering fasting glucose and insulin values.8 And when compared to a low-fat diet, a low-carb diet led to greater weight loss, which in turn led to a decrease in triglyceride levels15–high levels of triglycerides have been associated with cardiovascular disease.16

Hormone Health: There are some concerns that hormones might be negatively affected by a badly put together low-carb diet, but this could be mitigated by strategic carb feeding.

High-carb feeding periods can potentially boost the levels of some vital hormones, like cortisol. There are some concerns that cortisol can decline when following a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet (although not much research supports this fear). To combat this possibility, either make sure your keto diet is well-formulated with enough calories and nutrients,17 or cycle periods of carbohydrate feeding to give your body a break.

In men, testosterone concentrations were higher after a ten-day high-carbohydrate diet, while cortisol concentrations were consistently lowered on the same diet, suggesting the power of diet (specifically the ratio of carbohydrate to protein) as a factor in hormone regulation.16

Thyroid hormones are essential to regulating metabolism,18 being crucial determinants of resting metabolic rate. But they themselves are in turn regulated by diet and metabolism because glucose fuels the production of those thyroid hormones. The thyroid produces a large amount of T4 hormones, which are then converted into T3 hormones (T3 is the active thyroid hormone influencing many body processes). When carb intake is reduced, conversion of T4 to T3 reduces.19 People worry that this might lead to a lower metabolic rate and thus slow down weight loss with a low-carb diet

Longevity: The ketogenic diet may help to increase lifespan and health.

This might be increased further by taking a cyclical approach to the diet: alternating high-carb and low-carb weeks. One study fed a ketogenic diet to mice every other week. Results showed avoidance of obesity, reducing midlife mortality, and prevented memory decline.20

How to Carb Cycle

Anyone from the amateur dieter to the serious athlete can carb cycle. There are different options for how carefully you implement carb cycling, depending on training and recovery needs as well as your overall goals.

Creating a schedule, tracking your progress and targeting carbohydrate intake can help develop a well-formulated plan to succeed cycling carbs.

Create a Schedule

Before a single carb touches your lips, think about your goals. These will formulate your carb cycling plan.

A guide to scheduling carb cycles, with a woman studying, a woman lifting weights, an avocado and a fitness watch

Do you want to lose weight, or maintain weight? Do you want to boost aerobic fat burning capacity or target a lean body composition?

Then consider your typical training week. Which days are your most intense workouts? Which days can you recover, even without carbs? Do you meal prep to make sure you get enough quality, low-carb foods?

Serious athletes might want to take it one step further and consider carb cycling over a longer period, to keep up with training or competition cycle. Instead of breaking up a single week into high-carb and low-carb days, each week would have a different carbohydrate goal. Weeks with a heavy training load would be carb-heavy, while weeks with a lower training load or coming into a weigh-in could be more low/moderate-carb.

Your answers to these questions will determine how you go about cycling carbs. Don’t be afraid to change the schedule and be a bit flexible once you get started.

Log calories and macros

Establishing a calorie goal could prove helpful (especially if you’re trying to lose weight). Multiply your bodyweight by ten, and that’s the amount of calories to work toward if you want to lose weight. To gain weight, you can multiply your bodyweight by 15 to garner a ballpark daily calorie target.

Tracking your macros in a food journal or an app will help keep you accountable. Taking note of everything you eat will let you make sure you get enough calories from the right type of macronutrients while giving you a better understanding of how diet impacts your training output.

Target for a High-Carb Day

High-carb days should accompany your toughest training sessions of the week, such as intense intervals or prolonged weight training. These days call for about 2g of carbs per pound of bodyweight, and they’ll be your highest calories days. If you’re working out four times a week, and weight training once or twice a week, then you should have about one or two high-carb days each week.

Note that you might want to eat high-carb the night before a heavy morning workout to make sure that you are fueled up and ready to go, even if the training on that day was not that intense.

Target for a Medium or Low-Carb Day

Low-carb or medium-carb days can be used to fuel less-intense workouts or recovery days. Depending on training volume, low/medium carb days can be anywhere from 50g – 150g of carbs.

Training low doesn’t mean training on zero carbohydrates. On low-carb days, be sure to prioritize other macronutrients such as good quality protein and fat. High protein intake is important for post-workout recovery and the development of muscle mass. When cutting back on carbs, make sure you get enough calories, and the bulk of these should come from fat.

There are a few strategies that you can use to control your carb intake around your training sessions.

Training low: start your training having limited your carb intake beforehand. Implementing this strategy is simple. You may wake up and workout in the morning without eating before. You may even increase the effect by limiting carb intake the night before. If you workout during the evening, you may limit carbs from morning until that evening training session.

Sleeping low: don’t refuel using carbs after a workout, and stretch out the period before you refuel by sleeping overnight before refuelling with carbs at breakfast. This has shown promise, with a recent review in elite cyclists describing how the “sleep low, train low” method (where morning exercise commences with less than 200 mM of glycogen), improved results for cycling efficiency.20

On low-carb days, be clever to ensure quality training and recovery. Performing on a low-carb day can be difficult, so consider taking a low-carb or keto energy source, such as HVMN Ketone. Elite athletes have used HVMN Ketone to give them BHB as a fuel during high intensity time trials, showing that if you really want to avoid carbs, swapping in ketones can be a great energy alternative.

Another way to get a boost is to mouth rinse with carbs; this can improve performance without needing to actually eat carbs. You can also use caffeine before your workout, which is another reliable, carb-free way to get your body ready to perform.

What about recovery? BHB from HVMN Ketone is a carb-free alternative for recovery on low-carb days. Studies have shown that not only is less glycogen broken down in training with HVMN Ketone,21 but glycogen22 and protein resynthesis23 are also increased by 60% and 2x respectively. BHB could be a great way to help protect your recovery but also keep carb intake low.

Foods to Remember

An image of oats, broccoli and blueberries showing helpful carbs, food low in carbs and foods with fiber

With all this talk of carbs, you need to know where to find them so you can either stock up or steer clear.

A carb cycling diet requires high quality, healthy carbs and whole foods. Every once in a while it’s fine to treat yourself in epic, The Rock-like proportions, but from day-to-day, it’s all about maintaining balance. Good carbs include whole grains (like brown rice and oats), legumes (like beans, a good slow-digesting carb) and tubers (sweet potatoes).

Foods low in carbs include meat (beef, chicken, fish), eggs, vegetables (like bell peppers, broccoli and mushrooms), nuts (almonds, walnuts) and dairy (cheese, yogurt). Building a meal plan to incorporate all these types of food should help with each phase of the carb cycling. Even better? Meal prepping, so the stress of cooking depending on the day goes out the window.

But don’t forget about fiber; it plays an important role in weight loss, energy maintenance, regulating blood sugar and controlling hunger. Though fiber is a carb, it doesn’t raise blood sugar like other carbs and plays an important metabolic role because it doesn’t convert to glucose.

Is Carb Cycling Right For You?

It depends on your goals. It also requires some experimentation–based on your lifestyle and fitness routine, finding the right balance of high-carb and low-carb days can take some time and will probably change over the long-term.

What’s nice about carb cycling is the flexibility. It empowers a dieter some choice, while also providing the ability to fuel on days where it’s required, like ahead of intense training sessions. Benefiting from each could help an athlete reach goals for exercise, as well as goals for body composition. But remember to check with your doctor before implementing such wholesale changes to the way you eat.

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Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet!

We’re a few month into 2019 already, but there’s still plenty of time left to switch things up, have some fun, and become the best version of yourself. You don’t have to make a ton of resolutions in January to have a good year. In fact, doing this can be demotivating. We’re all still full from the festivities in January, of course we’re not going to want to head to the gym and turn our lives around just yet!

Whatever point in the year it is for you, you can make a change if you want to. Here, we’re going to talk about things you can do to make this year your best yet – even if you’re reading this from the future!

  1. Do Something About That Thing You Keep Thinking About

Most people have a little tingle in the back of their heads telling them they should do something. We often ignore it, because we tend to wonder what the point is. What’s the point of doing something for the enjoyment of it, when nothing will probably come from it? Plus, you probably have more important things to do, right?

This attitude is not going to get you the life you want. Having fun for fun’s sake is a totally valid and important way to spend your time. You’ll learn new things, have fun, lower your stress levels, and you never know who you might meet. Plus, you never know where it might take you eventually. This might become a long-held hobby of yours that helps you to relax after a long day. You might even decide to create a side business out of it. You just don’t know unless you try.

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  1. Set Some Goals and Be Specific

When it comes to setting goals, you should be specific. Rather than thinking to yourself, ‘I want to buy a nice car’, be specific. Say you want to buy a New Audi A5 Sportback. The more specific you are, the more you can picture these things in your brain. Once you can picture them, you’re more likely to work towards them – even subconsciously!

  1. Create a Vision Board

A vision board can help you to keep your goals in the forefront of your mind. Seeing them everyday should get you excited, and thinking about where you’re going to be. Many people credit their vision boards with feeling motivated and exciting for what’s to come. Make one now and put it somewhere you see it all the time!

  1. Vow To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Nobody ever, ever, ever, did anything good inside of their comfort zone. It’s comfortable, sure, but you need to get out of it from time to time. Once you do, you’ll see just what you’re capable of. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

  1. Keep A Journal

A journal can help you to figure out patterns in your behaviour and emotions, which can help you to move forward if you’re feeling stuck. Not only that, they can be so fun to read back on!

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And thanks for reading!  🙂