Carb cycling is a style of eating I have been experimenting with on and off for over two years. It allows you to over indulge on carbs on certain days without a negative impact on body fat. Usually on days you workout you eat high carbohydrate meals and on non training days you eat a low carb diet.
Keeping to a low carbohydrate diet is a great way to lower bodyfat. Although if you are weight training it can have some negative effects on energy levels and libido if you are eating chronically low carb. Having a high carb day on workout days refuels glycogen levels and provides the body with the needed carb stores to sustain the activity.
Another reason carb cycling is awesome as it gives you more freedom for life to get in the way. If you are going to have a dinner out and you don’t have lot of control over what you can order just make that day a high carb day, do a workout and enjoy your meal guilt free.
Win win right?
What is carb cycling?
Carb cycling’s main goal is to stimulate fat loss and muscle building hormones through the cycling of high and low carbohydrate days. It also offsets the negative psychological effects of low carb diets.
Eating a high carb diet helps refill depleted glycogen stores and stimulate muscle growth. It also helps top up energy levels after your low carb days.
Low carb days promote fat loss as it causes your body to switch from burning carbohydrates to fats as a fuel source. It does this by burning the leftover glycogen from your high carb day and then using the stored fat sources for energy.
Sample Weekly Training and Diet Template
Monday – Heavy lower body – High carb
Tuesday – Rest – Low carb
Wednesday – Heavy upper body – High carb
Thursday – Rest – Low carb
Friday – Moderate full body workout – High carb
Saturday – Recovery – yoga stretching – Low carb
Sunday – Rest – Low carb
This a basic template used as an example. If you find that on Saturday or Sunday or both days you seem to always eat the wrong foods, put a workout on one of them days instead.
This will allow you to get away with eating the foods that you shouldn’t be eating. Once you revert back to your low carb day the following day you may find that you are losing fat while still enjoying pasta and pizza.
Good carb sources
- Sweet potato
- Whole wheat pasta
Bad carb sources
- Cake, donuts, pastries, croissants
- Sugary breads
An easy way to apply this plan
- On training days you eat a protein source, a fat source and a carb source.
- On non-training days you eat a protein source and a fat source (no carb source).
Sample high carb day – 75 kg Male
- 2-4 whole eggs (boiled, scrambled)
- Cup of porridge
- Handful of berries and nuts
- Mixed meat and salad sandwich/wrap
- Beef/Chicken/ Pork with mixed vegetable and mashed/roast potatoes
Sample Low carb day
- 2-4 whole egg omelet with cup of mixed vegetables.
- Handful of nuts
- Handful of nuts
- Coffee/ tea
- Mixed vegetable salad with meat and olive oil.
- Chicken/ pork/ Beef/ seafood with mixed vegetables (eat as much as you want)
On days you train eat carbs. The better quality these carb sources the more fat you will lose.
On rest days follow a low carb diet. Eliminate your carb sources and fruit. Only eat protein and fat with each meal.
If you want to still enjoy your carbs you can. Just make sure to eat them on training days.