Carb cycling has become main stream. I am sure you’ve heard of it by now, but do you know exactly what it is, what it does and how/when to use it?
Carb cycling is where you spend 1-3 days low carb (under 100 grams) followed by a day of high carb (between 150-200).
Your high carb days are planned for when you’re doing your most intense work outs (usually a lower body strength training routine) and your low carb days are for lighter activity days.
The idea is, eating healthy carbs on certain days keeps your metabolism revved up, and sticking to mostly protein and vegetables on other days in between keeps insulin low enough that you can burn fat without losing muscle.
Here are 5 fast facts you should know before you try this technique:
1. High Carb Day is Not Cheat Day
Just because you are allowed all these delicious carbs, doesn’t mean they should come from junk. Fill your day with healthy, complex carbs like whole grains, nuts, fruit, sweet potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal. This will keep your energy level high and promote weight loss.
2. High Carb Days should be on Heavy Training Days
When you’re planning your routine, always keep your high carb days on days you are training with heavy weights, doing a lower body routine or simply being extremely, vigorously active.
The reason for this is that your body needs those carbs the most on these days. They will help fuel you in the gym so you can work harder and lift more weight, and help aid in muscle recovery after your workout.
Carb cycling is all about being strategic and manipulating the way your body works. Timing your carb intake correctly will make all the difference in weather your body uses carbs for fuel or stores them as fat.
3. Eat more Protein on Low Carb Day
Fill up on fish, chicken, turkey, lean meat/steaks or tofu on low carb days. This will help you stay full and keep your body from burning any muscle for fuel. On low carb days, you can eat as many veggies as you want, so fill up on those too.
4. When your Carbs are Higher, Lower your Fats
On higher carb days, you will be eating more calories. The carbs will be used for energy, and any fats you consume will be stored as fat. So you want to make sure you’re eating very few fats on high carb days.
On low carb day, you should be in a caloric deficit and eating less carbs to maximize fat burn and HIGHER fat to provide a feeling of satiety.
High carb = low fat. Low carb = high fat.
5. You may Gain some Water Weight
For every gram of carbohydrate you take into the body, you’ll store four grams of water with this. If your high carbs days are around 200 grams, that adds up fast! Do not freak out.. it is a normal process, and it is not the same as gaining fat.
When low carb day comes back around, this effect should dissipate. Do not let it mess with your head!
Carb cycling is a really great way to bust through a plateau and shred fat quickly while maintaining muscle. But you should at least have healthy eating down first, before you start trying this strategic way of eating.
Always reach out if you have any questions! I am here to serve :)