What is Carb Cycling and Why is it Effective?

What is Carb Cycling and Why is it Effective?

Carbs have gained a lot of negative attention lately with good reason. Carbs are your bodys first stop for energy which means that, in excess, carbs get stored as fat more easily than the other macros

However, this doesn't mean you need to cut out carbs completely and it is not recommended that you do. Carb cycling is a good way to burn fat while still keeping your favorite foods in the mix.

What Exactly Is Carb Cycling

In essence, carb cycling is staggering the amount of carbs you eat on a day to day basis. So one day you intentionally add more carbs to your diet and over the next day or two days you lessen the amount of carbs.

Why Does Carb Cycling Work For Losing Weight?

Carb cycling is more of an advanced technique so it is better to do once you hit a plateau. A plateau is when your body basically hits a certain point where it suddenly becomes very difficult to lose any more weight. 

By cycling carbs you not only shock your system but it mixes up a monotonous diet in hopes to break your plateau. Low carb days will cause your body to burn fat faster since it doesn't have any readily available energy sources to burn. 

During the high carb days your body, in theory, will gain a boost in metabolism which will also help the process of losing weight.

Again, this is all "in theory" however, I personally have seen a lot of success with it.

How To Start Carb Cycling

Carb cycling can be anything from a cheat meal to a concentrated effort to monitor exactly how many carbs you're eating one any given day. It is recommended that you gradually ease yourself into it since a sudden drop in carbs can be such a severe shock to the system that you may start to feel physical symptoms. 

Physical symptoms tend to only include irritability since your body no longer has the same amount of excess energy it once had.

Here are a couple examples of carb cycling:

Gradual Carb Cycling

Monday - 150 Grams
Tuesday - 100 Grams
Wednesday - 50 Grams
Thursday - 75 Grams
Friday - 100 Grams
Saturday - 125 Grams
Sunday - 150 Grams

Dramatic Carb Cycling

Monday - 150 Grams
Tuesday - 50 Grams
Wednesday - 50 Grams
Thursday - 150 Grams
Friday - 50 Grams
Saturday - 50 Grams
Sunday - 150 Grams

Severe Carb Cycling

Monday - 50 Grams
Tuesday - 50 Grams
Wednesday - 50 Grams
Thursday - 50 Grams
Friday - 50 Grams
Saturday - 50 Grams
Sunday - 450 Grams

Food Sources For Carb Cycling

Generally your source for carbs should not be junk food but what is called "complex carbs". These types of carbs are found in whole grain, unprocessed food and are slower to digest, keeping you full longer. Simple carbs are what are found in junk food and are good for a quick energ boost, but you will find yourself crashing and becoming tired faster. Some good examples of good carbs are below:

Brown Rice
Rice Cakes
Sweet Potatoes

There you have it, a full tutorial on what carb cycling is, how it works, and what foods you should be eating when you do it. I would suggest, taking one day a week to add a cheat meal. This cheat meal is an influx of carbs and it can be anything you want to eat.

Even if you are not focusing on carb cycling this cheat meal will give you a chance to reset mentally. Dieting every day can drain your motivation, a cheat meal will help you keep on track for longer.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below!

The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect the views of Bodybuilding Nation.
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