Carb cycling isn’t complicated at all once you get the hang of it.
It’s also a fairly flexible and varied eating plan. It’s this very flexibility that can cause you to be somewhat negligent in certain areas of the diet.
Here are the most common dos and don’ts that will help you avoid these pitfalls.
Match high carb intake with high energy days.
This is especially true if you’re an athlete or into vigorous exercise, or have regular workout days.
Matching your high activity days with high carb days will ensure that you have higher energy levels when you need them most.
Eat carbs that are digested slowly
Slow-digesting carbs are your best choice because they supply your body with a steady flow of energy.
These are typically starchy carbs such as potatoes, oatmeal, yams, brown rice and quinoa.
Fast-digesting carbs are more likely to cause energy spikes and drops. Most fruits are higher in natural sugar and therefore, are digested faster.
This does not mean that you should avoid fast-digesting carbs altogether as fresh fruits and vegetables are essential for any healthy diet.
Just remember to eat more of the slower digesting carbs, especially on low carb days so that you have more energy.
Maintain your calorie deficit.
Carb cycling essentially works by marinating a carb deficit which promotes fat-burning.
This means monitoring your calorie intake to make sure that you stay within the specified limit.
You don’t have to sleep over a few extra calories here and there but do loosely calculate your weekly calories to avoid weight gain.
You don’t need to track calories on a daily basis bit weekly will be enough to help keep you on track.
Overload on sugary foods on cheat day.
Yes, cheat day is for special treats but if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll have to be careful.
Over-indulging in sugary foods will totally defeat the purpose. If your goal is to lose weight, indulge in a small treat but don’t go overboard.
Some sugary foods you really need to avoid while carb cycling are sodas, candy, sugary fruit drinks and rich pies, if your craving gets the better of you, have very moderate amounts.
Up your carb intake on low carb days.
A sudden change in schedule may cause you to miss your workout or sports schedule – and it’s been rescheduled on a low carb day. What do you do?
You have two options:
Do your best to reschedule again on a high carb day. Or just go ahead with your high-energy routine on the low carb day.
It’s highly likely that your high carb intake from the day before will be stored in your body and will supply you with energy. You may just feel a little more tired than usual.
What you must never do is to up your carb intake on low carb days as this will wreak havoc on the whole cycling process.
Neglect to monitor your carbs.
Everybody loves carbs and carb cycling encourages you to eat a lot of them. This is why some people tend to overindulge o high carb days, thinking that it’s okay.
The best way to avoid this is to plan meals and snacks ahead of time including the recommended carb portions.
Take your prepared lunch and snack with you to work so that you are not tempted to run for a doughnut or some other processed snack.
Carb cycling doesn’t feel like a diet but ultimately, it is. It’s flexible but there are still some restrictions.
With carb cycling, the keyword is really balance and moderation.
Keep these two words in mind, take note of the dos and don’ts discussed here and you can’t go wrong. Happy carb cycling!