Carb cycling goes against almost every tradition diet and nutrition plan. It is a totally unconventional in its practice, flexibility and food variety. But it is proven to work.
Traditionally, the experts have told us that our bodies can never burn fat and build muscle at the same time.
We must first lose weight, then build muscle. But with carb cycling, our body can do both at the same time!
By alternating between high carb days and low carb days, we enable our body to maintain a calorie deficit to burn fat as well as a calorie surplus to build muscle – simultaneously!
If you are a beginner at carb cycling or simply curious to learn more, this extraordinary eating program revolves around the following five fundamentals:
#1 Cycle carbs based on your body fat levels
- If your body fat level is over 15%, you should initially have one high carb day a week and on the other days, eat tons of proteins and healthy fats.
- As you being to lose weight, you can increase your high carb days to three per week.
#2: Schedule high carb days with workout days. What you may not know is that many resistance athletes have been carb cycling for years. They usually sync their high carb intake with training or competition days. Likewise, you have your high carb intake on days when you are particularly active.
Keep your low carb days for rest days or days when you are less active. This is plain common sense. You need more energy on active days and less when you are not as active.
#3: carb cycling means eating good food: wholesome carbs, good proteins and healthy fats. Just because carb cycling doesn’t feel like a real diet doesn’t mean your carb sources should be doughnuts, pizza and waffles.
The key to successful carb cycling means enjoying whole-grain carbs, natural carbs like potatoes and yams, lean protein and heart-healthy fats.
#4 Eat every 2-3 hours and keep mealtimes consistent. A typical carb cycling day consists of 5 to 6 meals a day with your total intake divided up among them.
The meals ae breakfast, lunch and dinner interspersed with 2 or 3 snacks. Always time your meals properly and stick to a regular schedule to get the most out of your carb cycling.
#5: Experiment until you find what works best.
There are different carb cycling plans but these variations differ only in the details. However, the main focus is alternating high carb days with low carb days so that you look, feel and perform better.
You need to experiment with different plans or tweak your current one (perhaps with a slightly higher or less calorie intake). Remember, the goal is to manipulate your carb intake in order to get the most from carb cycling.
#6 Don’t carb cycle for longer than 2 months at a time
So far, the only concrete information we have about carb cycling comes mainly from reports by people who have tried it.
There is indeed evidence that it works to promote weight loss. In addition, it’s a sensible and healthy way to eat for better overall health.
Research is still ongoing to discover exactly how and why carb cycling works. However, the long-term effects of carb cycling have not yet been determined scientifically.
Therefore, nutrition experts advise that you should not carb cycle for more than 2 months straight.
You should go back to your normal routine then start carb cycling again after about 30 days.
These were the 6 fundamentals of carb cycling. It’s pretty straightforward, flexible and anyone can do it.
It will even help you develop healthier eating habits by knowing what foods to eat more of even when you’re not carb cycling.
Now that you have the basics, if you think carb cycling can work for you, do some research or consult an expert to create your individual eating plan.