What Is Carb Cycling And Is It Beneficial?
Carbohydrate cycling or better known as “carb cycling” is a nutrition strategy that helps fitness enthusiasts to lose weight while still being able to eat large portions of carbs in their diet.
How does this strategy work?
It is a very simple concept and easy to follow.
Some days you keep your carb intake low and other days you consume large amounts of carbs. The days that you are resting your carb intake would be low. On the days that you are training your carb intake would be high. Depending on your training whether it is moderate or intense would determine if your carb intake would be high or moderate that day.
Your protein and fat intake stay relatively the same each day throughout this nutrition strategy.
What Is The Benefit Of Using Carb Cycling?
When you compare carb cycling to a weight loss diet you are typically going long months eating at a caloric deficit.
Long caloric deficits can potentially lead you into a decrease of your metabolic function. This can cause you to get to a point where your initial calorie deficit is now your maintenance and your weight loss will come to a halt.
This can also cause your anabolic hormones to drop and your catabolic hormones to rise putting you at a risk for losing muscle mass.
This is where carb cycling comes into the picture. Carb cycling lets you substitute high surplus carb days into your schedule which can stop metabolic slow down which is only cause by a calorie deficit.
By substituting high carb days into your schedule and increase your calories for that day you are resetting the catabolic state that your body slowly falls into when in a calorie deficit.
Extra carbohydrates mean more glucose and insulin in your blood stream which provides more energy for your workouts. The increased insulin will also benefit you in increasing your amino acids in the muscle cells. This helps to prevent muscle break down and increase muscle recovery.
Since there are low carb days in a carb cycling diet, on those days you will prevent your body from storing too much fat because insulin levels will drop reducing glucose levels for the time being until another high carb day.
In essence you are taking advantage of high carb day benefits in increased energy, muscle recovery and preventing catabolism. Than on low carb days you are taking advantage of weight loss and calorie and carbohydrate deficit.
When you think of your body like sponge you can see how carb cycling plays a major role on high and low carb days.
Is There Any Negatives To Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is not flawless. It takes careful planning in order to map out exactly how many carbs you need to have on low, moderate, and high carb days.
Take a look an a sample carb cycling plan below:
The foods that you add to your diet have different portions of carb’s in them. You must determine based on your body and training level what food will give you more carbs throughout the week.
If you are able to calculate exactly how many carbohydrates your body needs in a given day from how much your average calories intake is than you can set up a carb cycling plan for yourself.
Check out “How To Get A Washboard Stomach” to learn more about calorie surplus’s and calories deficits.
Should You Use Carb Cycling?
It really depends on what your goal is. If you are familiar with dieting and know how your body works when you eat carbohydrate than we urge you to give it a try. However if you are new to dieting and training than we would recommend you stick to a healthy calorie maintenance for a couple months because you can achieve great results from that especially if you are new to the weight training and dieting world.
Bodybuilder typically use carb cycling in order to lean out before a show because during this time period they are more prone to muscle breakdown and catabolism. Building more muscle on your physique will increase you maintenance caloric level because your body will require more calories to support the muscle mass.
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