The Skinny on Carbs
We’ve all been bombarded by info about cutting out or at least down on carbs. But the problem with this advice is that it can leave you feeling tired or just make your meal plan totally un-inspired.
Carb cycling is an interesting and more sustainable approach to reducing your carbohydrate intake. Rather than cutting out carbs altogether or loading up on carbs for energy, carb cycling involves occasional phases of moderate to high carbohydrate consumption within prolonged periods of low intake.
Personally, I really like this approach to low-carb dieting. The truth is, your body does need some carbohydrates, not only for energy but also for the proper digestion of other nutrients, like protein.
One other bonus is that carb cycling allows you to enjoy some of your favorite foods on an occasional basis, and helps avoid the frustration that often results from more restrictive eating habits. Just stick to raw foods like fruits and vegetables, quinoa and whole grains, or yams as much as you can and you’re going to be able to fight that flab like the Greek warriors of the Spartans era.
How Carb Cycling Works
Basically, this diet plan works by alternating between cycles of high carb intake and low to moderate intake. The idea behind the plan is that you can create a calorie deficit on low carb days while boosting your metabolism and your energy on days when you increase your carb intake.
Carb Cycling Approach 1 – The typical approach to carb cycling involves 3 days of very low carbohydrate consumption followed by 3 days of moderate to high carbohydrate consumption. But this is only one approach.
Carb Cycling Approach 2 – Another approach is to cycle through 3 days: 1 day of very low or no carbs, followed by 1 day of low to moderate carbs, and rounding out with a high carb day. This one allows for a lot of variety and makes boredom pretty difficult.
Carb Cycling Approach 3 – If you’re really serious about fat loss, you can do up to 4 to 5 days of very low carbohydrate consumption, followed by 2 days of high intake. This one might work well if you want to give yourself a break on weekends.
Remember, when you do eat carbs, whether it’s a low or high carb day, you want to stick to healthy carbs and only whole grains. Many people like to cut out wheat altogether. For more on this, read this one – Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight.
Timing Your Diet with Your Training
In all cases, the best approach is to do your high carb days on days when your training is the most intense. This will help provide you with maximum energy and fuel during your workouts, while also burning off a lot of those extra calories.
Inevitably, you’re going to end up with training days that fall on low-carb days. If you find your energy lacking, try adding one of my top picks for energy boosters, outlined here – How to Increase Energy.
For more information on low-carb diet plans, read my article, Weight Loss on Low Carb Diet.
Have any questions or feedback about carb cycling? Please leave a comment below…