Carb Cycling

All the information in this post is from bodybuilding.com and cutandjacked.com

Carb Cycling is a low/no-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption; essentially you are cycling your carbs to achieve a desired result. Most people have the misconception that consuming low carbs on a day to day basis for long periods of time is good for them. The main problem with low-carb diets is that they are meant as temporary diets; they deplete your energy and strength and are not the best method when attempting to lose body fat and retain muscle. You cannot eat that way forever. Your body needs carbs for daily functions. There are also those individuals who preach high carb diets. While high carb diets help to speed your metabolism, they are not ideal for weight-loss or reduction of body fat as there is not a sufficient deficit to help you shed the pounds.
This is where carb-cycling comes in. Carb cycling is an in between Zig Zag type method that will give you the benefits of both a low and high carb diet which allows you to hold on to the muscle you already have and shed body fat. This type of diet will also help you maintain your sanity, strength, and endurance through the entirety of your program.

Carb cycling works by giving your body the fuel it needs to increase your metabolism and create a calorie deficit to increase fat loss. My days will be rotated between

  • High Carb
  • Moderate Carb
  • No/low Carb Days

Generally the most common carb cycling approach used is where you will place higher carbohydrate days on your heaviest training days and then lower carb days on off/low-intensity training days. This plan is usually based on eating six times per day. Acceptable alternatives would be five or seven meals a day.

Low Carb: To achieve maximum results, you must calculate the ratio of carbs to fat and proteins. Your protein intake is higher during the low-carb phase. A woman will multiply her current body by 1.2; men will multiple his weight by 1.5. This number reflects the grams of protein required per day; multiple this total by 4 for your number of calories consumed by protein sources. To calculate your grams of fat, a woman will multiple her weight by 0.5 and a male by 0.8. This total number times 9 will reflect your calorie consumption. Find carbohydrates by multiplying a woman’s weight by 0.6 and a man’s by 0.9. This total multiplied by 4 will reflect total calories consumed through carbohydrates. Add the three totals to determine your daily caloric intake during this cycle.

High Carb: The high carb day is established using the same method, only this time, increasing your protein and carbohydrate intake while decreasing your fats. To determine the grams of protein and carbohydrates, a woman will multiply her weight by 1.4 and a man by 1.7. Fat grams are found by multiplying 0.3 by a woman’s weight and 0.6 by a man’s weight. These totals will reflect the number of nutrient dense calories you can consume on this day. You’ll want to focus the majority of these calories right around the training period since this is when your body needs them the most. Plus by doing so, you’ll find that the rest of the day stays quite similar in terms of meal planning to your low carbohydrate days.

Carbohydrate Cycling Program Macronutrient Recommendations

Men:

Day Protein Carbohydrates Fat
High Carb 1.7g 1.7g 0.6g
Low Carb 1.5g 0.9g 0.8g
No Carb 0

** All recommendations shown in grams per pound of bodyweight

Women:

Day Protein Carbohydrates Fat
High Carb 1.4g 1.4g 0.3g
Low Carb 1.2g 0.6g 0.5g
No Carb 0

** All recommendations shown in grams per pound of bodyweight

 

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