Carb Cycling?? What is that you ask? Carb cycling is something I have been practicing for a while. It’s almost like you are playing a trick on your body! This is something that bodybuilders use to drop weight (get leaner) quicker. Between the numbers of low-carbohydrate diets and studies linking the consumption of processed carbs to obesity and chronic diseases, carbs have become the black sheep of the nutrition world. But let’s get one thing straight: Heavy consumption of PROCESSED carbs affects the body’s hormonal machinery, leading to inflammation and excess fat storage. However, all carbohydrates are not bad for you.
For muscle growth and overall performance, HEALTHY carbohydrates are a necessity. The challenge is to take in just the right amount of carbs — at just the right times. It turns out that what carbs you eat — and especially, when you eat them — can drastically affect your body’s response to them. Through a process called carb cycling, you can manipulate carb consumption to maximize muscle growth while you minimize negative effects.
If you ask any doctor, He/She would tell you to go on a low carbohydrate – high protein diet! (which worked to jumpstart my weight loss) but for the rest of my life? That will not be easy so that’s when I began researching carb cycling.
Carb Cycling for Fat Loss is very meticulous and must followed closely to achieve success. In carb cycling, your week is divided up into 3 days: No Carb Days, Low Carb Day, High Carb Days.
NO CARB DAYS: On these, you eat high-fiber vegetables such as leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, onions, peppers and mushrooms freely, along with lean protein and a serving or two of good fats. Refrain from starchy carbs such as potatoes, rice, cereals and oats. These include starchier veggies such as beans, zucchini, squash, and pumpkin. Total carb intake should be less than 25 grams per day – all from fibrous veggies.
LOW CARB DAYS: Here, the goal is to stay below 75 grams of carbs. Once again, fibrous veggies can be eaten freely, but add in two to three servings of starch from clean sources such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, starchy veggies and fruit. “Clean” carbs are hypoallergenic ones — free of gluten, soy and dairy. For best results, having starchy carbs post-workout on these days is recommended.
HIGH CARB DAYS: The total amount of carbs will vary based on your size and activity level. Women will consume between 150 and 200 grams while men can get away with up to 300 grams. Most of these should come from clean sources. But if you are going to enjoy a cheat meal, it is advantageous to have it on a high-carb day.
Don’t forget to continue to eat plenty of lean protein and a serving or two of healthy fats. A high-carb day is not an excuse to binge eat; it’s a systematic way to reset muscle-building and fat-burning hormones.
In order to keep track of what you intake be sure to use a tool like myfitnesspal (followme @chehaughton). I’ve used this tool for 5 years! It tracks everything! Takes the guesswork out of it for you. Absolutely love it. What do you use??
And now you know about carb cycling! Give it a try! Hope this helps someone.