Carb cycling is one of the few fat loss techniques in bodybuilding that has nearly all fitness experts industry-wide commenting on its efficacy. Carb cycling is a healthy method of lowering your body fat.
We’ve put together this short, yet comprehensive, guide to help you discover what carb loading can do for your body, regardless of your personal fitness goals.
Read on to start your education now.
What is Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is a simple concept; eat high carbohydrates on some days to aid muscle growth and provide energy, and eat medium/low carbohydrates on other days to aid fat loss. But I thought carbs are really bad? No, carbs are not bad for you. Carbs provide more than 60% of the energy required by the body.
Let’s give you a quick primer on the two types of carbs: There are two primary types of carbohydrates:
1: Simple carbs
2: Complex carb
Simple carbohydrates are simple sugars with little nutritional value. Simple carbs are digested very quickly by the body, therefore not providing much effective energy. These kinds of carbs have a high Glycemic index, causing rapid increase in blood glucose levels and insulin. This is undesirable, because it will put your body in fat storage mode and can cause unstable energy levels.
Simple carbs are found in foods such as soft drinks, chocolate, candy, jam, biscuits and cakes. Processed junk food is high in refined simple carbs, high in calories but very low in nutritional value. Complex carbs have a low Glycemic index and are digested slowly by the body. This results in more stable blood glucose levels and the body is able to make better use of this energy source, avoiding fat storage.
Complex carbohydrates provide a good source of calories, fiber and are rich in vitamins and minerals. So, no, not all carbs are bad, but it’s beneficial to keep simple carb consumption to a minimum, particularly when on a fat loss diet.
Choose the oats instead of the potato chips to not only stay healthy, but greatly help with lowering your body fat. Bodybuilder Shelby Starnes said this when describing carb cycling:
By fluctuating macronutrients on a daily basis, we can ensure that performance and muscle building can be optimized on the days when it’s most important, while burning fat on the other days.
How Do I Start Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is performed by planning your carbohydrate consumption based on your lifting routine. High carb days are for days in which you’re pushing yourself to the limits in the gym. High carb days are reserved for the most physically demanding day of your week. Low carb days should be your less active or rest days from training to help promote fat loss.
Carb Cycling Estimates
High Carb Days: 2-4 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight
Low Carb Days: 0.5-1 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight
Take a look at your calendar right now and create a plan. On days you’re lifting, focus on eating plenty of complex carbohydrates. On rest days, or cardio days, keep your carbs to a minimum, focusing on protein. This is the way to go if you want to keep things simple.
The rough numbers above are only estimates, to find the perfect ratio for your body try experimenting with your own ratios.
What are the Best Foods for Carb Cycling?
There are 2 general rules to finding the appropriate foods to eat while carb cycling:
1: Eat foods high in healthy fats and proteins on low carb days. i.e. eggs, salad, nuts, olive oil, cottage cheese.
2: Eat foods high in complex carbs and proteins on high carb days. i.e. oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, chicken breast, potatoes, beans.
Start Carb Loading Today
Ready to give carb cycling a try, the right way?
I highly recommend the 4 Cycle Fat Loss Solution – It’s the most effective, detailed and easy to follow carb cycle program available.