Carb cycling is a low/no-carb diet with sporadic periods of moderate or high carbohydrate consumption. Basically, what you are doing is that you are cycling the amount of carbohydrates you take in order to achieve a desired results. Most people have the distorted view that consuming low/no carbs for an extended period of time is the answer to their weight loss goals. Such low carb diets are only effective in achieving very short-term weight loss goals and they are not effective for those who want to lose weight and build muscles at the same time. In other words, it is almost impossible to maintain such types of diet for extended periods of time. Your body actually needs carbohydrates for the day to day functions of the body. Otherwise, you will become very weak.
Carb cycling has been found to work better because it gives your body the energy it needs, increases metabolism and creates calorie deficit to propel your body to lose fat. This diet works by rotating between low/no-carb diets to moderate to high-carb diets.
A carb diet is divided into three main types of days:
- High Carb
- Low/moderate Carb
- No/low Carb Days
Here is how to carb cycle:
Although there is no specific structure on how to design your curb days, you can rotate your days in groups of days with one (eg moderate-carb) group going for four days.
For instance, you can can have 4 low/no-carb days followed by 2 high-carb and then 1 moderate. It is worth mentioning that these days are best tweaked according to individuals’ requirements.
In most cases, carb cycling approach is used where you will have your high carb days when you are involved in heavy training and low/no carb days are done when you have low-intensity training days. The carb cycling system is based on the case where one eats about six times a day. You can also eat 5 or 7 times a day. As already mentioned, it is important to adjust your eating according to your goals and training schedule. But you must be sure to keep you daily ratios consistent, irrespective of the meal plans you adopt.
At the center of carb cycling diet is protein intake. It is important to note that you will eat about 1/5-1/7 of protein of your total daily minimum requirements in each meal.
Example: for a 200 pound man who is tale 1 gram of protein per pound, he requires about 33 grams of protein at each and every meal if he is on a 6 meal a day plan. If the person is on a 5 meal a day diet plan, he requires about 40 grams and 28 grams if the person is on 7 meals a day plan. However, this is not so fixed because you may adjust the amount of protein you take depending on what your bodybuilding and weight loss goals are. Again, it is worth emphasizing that the key to the success of this diet is consistency.
During the low-carb days, you are supposed to raise your fat intake and reduce them during the high-carb days. In other words, this diet focus on daily manipulation of the amount of carbs you consume each day.