Carb Cycling, What it is and how does it work?

Today I wanted to cover the subject of carb cycling and try to make it easy for you to understand there’s so much information out there that it can be confusing when in reality carb cycling is pretty easy.

We are going to cover the subjects of what is carb cycling, what it can do for you,  how to carb cycle and offer some advice on what to eat and also what not to eat.

Carb cycling questions answered.

What is carb cycling?.

Carb cycling is a method of dieting that involves planned increases and decreases in carbohydrate intake throughout the week.

Carb cycling can help you lose fat and build muscle.

For carb cycling to work, you also need to set and track your calories and Macros correctly. You can do this by using the app myfitnesspal.

Your calories are broken up into macros

there are proteins, carbs, and fats. 

Proteins help build and repair muscle

Carbs are your primary fuel source.

FATs are the secondary fuel source that also helps you manage your hormones

In addition, carb cycling improves post-workout muscle recovery and provides you with more energy for better performance. By alternating your low and high carb intake daily, you’ll shed body fat while building muscle, thus helping manage your weight for the long haul.

Most other diets limit calories or carbs. thus setting you up for eventual failure. 

How to carb cycle.

To determine just how many carbs you should eat on your highest day on the plan, start with 1-1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. Begin using 1.5 grams and adjust according to your results.

bread-3498184_1280High-carb days

High-carb days typically call for 2 to 2.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight or 50+% of calories from carbs. They’re usually your highest calorie days.

asparagus-2169313_1280Low-carb day

Low-carb days typically call for about 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight or 20+% of calories from carbs. They’re usually your second-highest calorie days.

No-carb days

No-carb days typically call for less than 50 grams of carbohydrate or less than 10% of calories from carbs. They’re usually your lowest calorie days.

There are many different carb cycling protocols, but most have you alternate between at least two of three types of days:

High carb day, low carb day and No carb day

Sample of your week.

gv_mar-2016_carb-cycling-2

Do I count calories and carbs?

Yes, You need to keep in mind how many calories you need to take in Daily, for instance, my average is 1332 calories per day on higher-calorie carb days my calories will be 1599. I weigh 133 lbs.

Some tweaking will probably be necessary, as some of us are a bit more “carb sensitive” than others. Activity level, training intensity, age, and even sex, will determine how many carbs you need, but as a general rule, I rely on this calculator to help me. 

Is carb cycling good for fat loss?

Carb cycling can work great for weight loss. On your low carb days, you’ll lose fat. Lowering your carbohydrate intake also increases insulin sensitivity, which is associated with better body composition (i.e. lower body fat).

High carb days cause your body to burn more calories. They also increase leptin, the hormone that keeps you from feeling hungry. These two effects prevent the low-carb days from stalling your metabolism and leading to a binge, so you can keep losing weight.

If all that sounds complicated to you, that’s because, as far as dietary strategies go, it is. You need to be meticulous in your meal planning and steadfast in your compliance.

Many people find it physically and mentally taxing as well.

 

Foods to Eat On high carbohydrate days, focus on getting starchy carbs from sweet potatoes, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, fruit, or quinoa. 

For instance, you could have oatmeal, eggs, and avocado for breakfast

Ezekiel bread turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch

Grilled chicken. sweet potato and a spinach salad for dinner

A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta, and bread. Focus on Full-fat yogurt. One or two hard-boiled eggs.Leftovers from the previous night. A handful of nuts. Some cheese and meat. 

A sample breakfast would be eggs and bacon with a1/2 avocado

a healthy lunch would be the leftovers from dinner the night before providing that was a healthy low-carb dinner.

for dinner would be blackened fish broccoli with garlic butter sauce

for snacks, you could drink protein powder and water  boiled eggs tuna Chicken Salad

These are the best sources of clean carbs to include in your meal plan when dieting in general, and when you carb cycle:

  • Baked potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Grits
  • Squash
  • Apples
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Bananas
  • Rice cakes
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Berries
  • Don’t count fibrous vegetables like greens veggies into your total carb count for the day. They are low in calories and carbs, are a good source of fiber, and won’t affect your carb cycling. Only count starchy complex carbs (like sweet potatoes).

 

Is keto better than carb cycling?

Carb cycling vs. keto cycling. … Carb cycling is a more general term used when a person cuts back on carbs for a few days (followed by a high- or moderate-carb day), but does not restrict so much that the body has to switch to burning fat for fuel. “The ratios are slightly different,” says Axe.

Exercise and carb cycling

When to Go High-Carb

For carb cycling pros, a high-carb day is for building muscle, says Powell. Why? Carbohydrates help open up your cells and allow the protein to funnel in (and that protein is what beefs up muscle growth).on these days, you’ll lift heavy (enough weight that you can only do 10 to 12 reps before fatiguing muscles).

 

When to Go Low-Carb

Low-carb days are for burning fat“Your body uses carbs for fuel first, but if we kick out those carbs, it will attack fat,  It’s on those days she recommends slotting in cardio, HIIT, or workouts that target smaller muscle groups.

4 carb cycling mistakes. and how to avoid them.

 

You forget about fat and protein

It can be easy to get into the mindset that carbs are the only thing that matters when carb cycling, and so you neglect your other macros. Make sure you’re considering your diet as a whole and how many calories you are getting on your low and high carb days.

You’re overeating on High carb days

Keep track of not only your calorie intake but also how you feel when training.

You want to have energy but not feel so full and bloated you can’t move

 

YOU’RE EATING TOO LITTLE ON YOUR LOW-CARB DAYS

Just as eating too much is counterproductive, eating too little on your low-carb days is also going to make achieving your goals more challenging.

Not giving your body what it needs, even on rest days, can seriously hamper your weight loss – not to mention have a negative impact on your health.

Ideally, you want to be in a calorie deficit of around 500 calories at the most to ensure that your weight loss remains healthy and sustainable.

 

YOU’RE EATING THE WRONG TYPE OF CARBS

While food is not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, on your high carb days certain foods should make up the majority of your carbohydrate intake due to their nutritional factors.

You want to focus your intake around unrefined foods such as potatoes, rice, and legumes.

It might be tempting to grab a doughnut or sweets to help you on your way to hitting your carb goals, but this is not going to help you in the long run.

You may also be interested in my article Simple VS Complex carbs.

 

 

 

 

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