Want to know what carb cycling is, how it works, and if it can help you lose weight faster than traditional dieting? Read on and find out
Carb cycling is a method of dieting that involves planned increases and decreases in carbohydrate intake
There are many carb cycling protocols out there, but most suggest alternating between at least two of three types of days:
High-carb days typically call for 2 to 2.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. They are usually your highest calorie days.
Low-carb days typically call for about 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. They are usually your second-highest calorie days.
No-carb days typically call for less than 30 grams of carbohydrate. They are usually your lowest calorie days.
• On one side, they’re conducive to muscle growth by fueling our workouts and creating a more anabolic environment in our bodies.
• On the other side, they’re conducive to fat storage by spiking insulin levels, which “feeds” our body fat with precious glucose for it to store.
The carb cycling can deliver most or all of carbs’ muscle-building benefits with little or none of its fat gain drawbacks.
It accomplishes this rather staggering feat by using higher-calorie high-carb days to do several things:
• Replenish glycogen stores and thus boost training intensity.
• Favourably influence various hormones related to muscle protein metabolism and metabolism.
• Temporarily spike insulin levels to help preserve muscle tissue.
• By using lower-calorie low- and no-carb days to maximize fat burning.
This should allow us to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
Is carb cycling good for weight loss?
Any dietary protocol that has you in a calorie deficit over an extended period of time will result in weight loss, regardless of the foods you eat or how you structure your meals or anything else. It’s not much different with carb cycling except that calorie intake may vary each day which can prevent weight loss plateaus and will help retain muscle mass.
When you diet to lose weight, a portion of the weight lose comes from fat, but a portion also comes from water, glycogen and, in some cases, muscle.
Water and glycogen levels will fluctuate up and down depending on your diet and other factors. The idea is to lose fat and not muscle.
Typical carb cycling diet consists of 4 low carb, 1 no carb and 2 high carb days.
Bodybuilders usually choose to do 2 top priority muscle groups workouts (big muscles like legs) on the days with higher carb intake to prevent muscle loss while utilizing the 4 low carb days for increased fat burn and 1 reward day.
• Monday : Low-carb day
• Tuesday : High-carb day
• Wednesday : Low-carb day
• Thursday : High-carb day
• Friday : Low-carb day
• Saturday : High-carb day
• Sunday : High-carb day
• Monday : High carb day
• Tuesday : Low carb day
• Wednesday : Low carb day
• Thursday : Low carb day
• Friday : High carb day
• Saturday : Low carb day
• Sunday : No or low carb day
With the Beginners Cycle, you won’t lose weight as fast as with the Advanced Cycle, but you will be able to maintain your athletic performance.
• Fat loss
Low-carb intake on training days to promote fat loss and medium-carb days to promote regeneration between sessions.
• Weight maintenance
Low-carb intake on non-training days to avoid fat gain.
• Mass gain
Higher carb intake on large muscle groups training day to promote weight gain. We need carbs if we want to build muscle.
How to calculate and schedule your meals?
A typical low-carb day:
Carbs : 0.5 grams per pound of body weight
Protein : 1.25-1.5 grams per pound of body weight
Fat : 0.15 grams per pound of body weight
7am: 2 scrambled eggs with spinach
10am: protein shake with berries
1pm: grilled chicken salad
4pm: oatmeal with almonds
7pm: steak with steamed broccoli or asparagus
A typical high-carb day:
Carbs : 2-3 grams per pound of body weight
Protein : 1-1.25 grams per pound of body weight
Fat: as little as possible
7am: oatmeal with walnuts and berries and egg white
10am: carrots with hummus
1pm: turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread
4pm: chicken salad with quinoa
7pm: grilled salmon with baked potato
Keep in mind that you can still enjoy your favourite foods, just in moderation. The goal is to slowly change your eating habits to include a variety of healthy foods. That’s the kind of formula you can stick to for continued success.
Let’s get cycling!