The most effective way to lose weight is to find a diet plan and workout regime that work together.
A carb cycling diet workout plan may just be your best bet for weight loss. It allows you to have a balance between high carb and low carb days, and cycle between muscle-building exercise and fat loss workouts.
With a carb cycling diet plan, you get the versatility that allows you to grow strong and fit, while also losing fat.
Take a look at this awesome 7-day carb cycling plan for beginners and beyond!
Carb Cycling For Weight Loss
Your metabolism increases or decreases based on your calorie consumption and macronutrient intake. Eating enough carbohydrates at the right time resets metabolism and signals the body to produce enough hormones, such as thyroid and leptin, which help keep you at a healthy weight. Consuming too many carbs, as in a standard American diet, can have the opposite effect and cause weight gain by stimulating insulin to be released too often.
Lower-carbohydrate days, when done in succession for three days, encourages the body to use up its stored carbohydrates (glycogen) and switch over to burning body fat (ketones) for fuel. Burning stored body fat will lead to weight loss (from both body fat and water).
Every carb-cycling plan is different, depending on your goals. A typical plan keeps carbohydrate intake low or very low for two to three days and then increases carbohydrate intake for one day, usually on a day that includes heavy training.
On low-carb days, carbohydrate intake is usually 50-150 grams and comes from non-starchy vegetables and some dairy. Higher-carbohydrate days typically feature 20-400 grams of carbohydrate from starchy carbs, whole grains, fruit and non-starchy vegetables, as well as dairy.
Carb Cycling Benefits
The most immediate benefit of carb cycling is weight loss. We all know that cutting carbs will help you lose weight. Carb cycling adds to this by facilitating greater metabolic flexibility which leads to more effective weight loss from diet and exercise.
Beyond weight loss, the benefits of carb cycling include:
- It helps maintain metabolic rate. This helps your body to continue burning fat and resists that dreaded plateau.
- Increased energy levels. Although you are restricting calories and glycogens, you also regulate insulin with carb cycling. This helps keep up your energy levels.
- Prevents fatigue. Cutting carbs altogether can lead to fatigue during workouts. By allowing yourself the refueling periods you get from carb cycling, you ward off the fatigue that can come from exclusively limiting carbs.
- Easier workout recovery. The added boost you get from the high-carb periods provides increased energy sources for recovery from workouts. A strict low-carb diet can slow recovery. Carb cycling restores the energy needed for faster and easier recovery.
You can have cheat days. On a strict low-carb diet, cheating can blow all of your progress. With carb cycling, your metabolism is adjusted to burning carbs efficiently if you do happen to cheat on a low-carb day, you will not get set back from your goals.
Wrapping things up
For quite some time carbs have been the primary target for weight loss and fitness. We have been taught to limit carbs in order to shed pounds and build muscle mass. This assumption remains largely true, but we have also learned that our bodies need carbs in some measure. Carb cycling is one solution to the problem of limiting carbs while still getting the nutritional benefit of carbs.
Carb cycling can be a useful method for people who want to optimize their diet, physical performance, and health. It is a great way to lose weight since carb cycling not only limits carbs, it helps your metabolism adjust to burning carbs more efficiently
Carb cycling strikes a balance between low carb and high carb diets by providing a planned mechanism to benefit from low carb periods balanced by periods of high carbs for maximum energy. Carb cycling can help you get the best of both diets and help you partially reset your metabolism.
What is more, carb cycling is more effective for weight loss since it helps you push through the weight loss plateau in which you do not seem to be able to lose any more weight. The alternating periods of high and low carbs help your metabolism burn up calories and carbs longer.
To achieve the most benefit from carb cycling, you should begin with a rigorous schedule of high and low carb periods. But you should also remain flexible and listen to your body. Because all our bodies are a little different, most of us will need to make adjustments in a carb cycling diet.
Make sure you make changes in your carb cycling based on results. It is tempting to change things up because you do not like the diet. If you want to get the most of carb cycling, make changes based on how well you are meeting your fitness goals.
In the final analysis, carb cycling can be an ideal compromise between carb diets. You will be able to lose weight and build muscle while still including some carbs in your diet. In fact, you will actually benefit from including carbs in a carb cycling program.
Day 1 (Low-Carb)
Day 2 (Low-Carb)
Day 3 (High-Carb)
Breakfast: 3 Fried Eggs, 1 Slice bacon, and 1 piece of gluten-free toast with butter
Lunch: Avocado Chicken Salad with 2 servings of fruit
Snack: 2 oz. cheddar cheese and 1 cup blueberries
Dinner: Grilled steak with roasted rosemary potatoes
Day 4 (Medium-Carb)
Breakfast: 2 Fried Eggs, 2 slices bacon, and 1 cup blueberries
Lunch: Grilled Chicken, brown rice, and sauteed spinach
Snack: 2 oz. cheddar cheese and 1 apple
Dinner: Sheet Pan Haddock With Roasted Veggies
Day 5 (Low-carb)
Breakfast: Low-Carb No Egg Breakfast Bake With Sausage, Peppers, and Mushrooms
Lunch: Keto Ground Beef Taco Salad
Snack: hard-boiled egg
Dinner: Keto Mini Zucchini Avocado Burgers
Day 6 (High-Carb)
Breakfast: Sausage, egg, and mushroom scramble with 1 piece of gluten-free toast with butter
Lunch: Keto Easy Shrimp and Asparagus Bake
Snack: jerky with 1 serving fruit
Dinner: Buttered Rosemary Chicken Drumsticks and Baked Sweet Potatoes
Day 7 (Medium-Carb)
Why is carb cycling becoming more popular?
Carb cycling is a type of low-carbohydrate diet, such as Atkins and ketogenic diets. These diets promise quick weight loss in the short term, even though the lost weight is primarily coming from water. Once people are able to function on using ketones for fuel instead of glucose, they feel fewer cravings for carbohydrate foods, feel fuller for longer and have more sustained energy levels. Low-carbohydrate intake can help keep blood sugar levels steadier, decrease insulin resistance and reduce blood pressure.
What are some possible dangers or pitfalls with this diet?
Low-carb days, when done for more than two to three days, can lead to fatigue, carb cravings, constipation, bloating, sleep disturbances, moodiness and irritability, as the body is using up available carbs and switching to fat for fuel. This “carb flu” is temporary and can pass by maintaining hydration levels and taking in adequate electrolytes.
Not everyone does well with carb cycling. For certain people, it can actually be counter-productive. People with adrenal fatigue or Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) can experience a decrease in thyroid hormone production and metabolism. Also, people who are pregnant, lactating, underweight, have an eating disorder (current or history of), or have disordered eating habits should not try carb cycling.
The Bottom line
Manipulating macronutrient intake to lower carbohydrates on certain days of the week and to correspond with specific workouts can help people increase muscle mass and shed body fat. Carb cycling is a carefully planned dietary strategy that can be used for a short duration to achieve both body-composition goals and improve health markers, such as blood sugar and blood pressure. It is not good for everybody and be sure to check with your healthcare provider before embarking on any dietary and lifestyle changes.
I’ve put together a detailed 21-day carb cycling that provides you everything you need to achieve your weight loss goals.