Nutrition

How To Carb Cycle For Fat Loss – The Basics

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Carb cycling may be one of the best methods to use when trying to lose fat and it can help you reach your fitness goals faster especially if your currently on a weight loss plateau (when your weight doesn’t go down and stays the same), but if you’re not already following/applying the basic diet and training principles correctly then starting with those fundamentals first may mean you won’t even need to carb cycle.

carb cycling

While carb cycling sounds very fancy it is nothing more than eating a higher amount of carbohydrates on some days and a lower amount of carbohydrates the other days to prevent your metabolism from decreasing as you lose more and more weight. The reason why a normal fat loss diet works, but then stops working is because as you lower your calorie intake your metabolism will also become slower making it much harder for you to continue losing fat, so as you carb cycle the higher carb/refeed days will give your metabolism a boost back up allowing you to continuously burn fat at an efficient rate. Which means you get to eat more food and still burn fat with the higher carbs days.

High Carb Days

If your wondering how many carbs to have on your high carb days then generally you should consume 2 – 2.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Although this is a good place to start you really need to track your macros for a while and play around with your carbs to be 100% sure because everyone’s genetics and metabolism is different.

There are a few things you should know for your high carb days, the first is that when designing your diet program you should be putting your highest carb days for your heavy/hardest training sessions. For example, putting your highest carb days on back/leg day as those workouts tend to use and burn the most calories. Furthermore, your body will need those carbs the most on these days because if you don’t have enough energy then you won’t be able to perform optimally in the gym and lift more weight meaning you will burn less calories. Being able to have more carbs after these intense workouts also help saturate the muscles with glycogen decreasing the chance of it turning into body fat.

heavy deadlift

Secondly, you will gain some water weight the day after your high carb day since carbs (glycogen) store water. For every gram of glycogen stored, you gain approximately 2.7 grams of water. The leaner you are the more this will effect you so don’t be alarmed as it’s normal to experience this and it’s not fat gain.

Lastly, remember to decrease your fat intake on the higher carb days to allow more calories to come from carbs and to prevent your caloric surplus being way too high.

Low Carb Days

For your low carb days you should generally consume around 0.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Once again like your high carb days you need to track your macros and play around with your carbs to be 100% sure. If you find it too hard to workout how many carbs you need for the high/low days then the next best thing you can do is to get online coaching.

low carbs

 

Training on low carb can be very challenging so if you need a boost of energy taking a pre-workout can help you maintain your strength, speed and the power needed to push yourself through the toughest of workouts: Click Here For One Of The Most Effective Pre-Workouts Out Now

When choosing what kind of carbohydrates to consume you need to be very careful especially on your low carb days. The main reason for this is depending on how many carbs you’re allowed on your low carb day you might not be able to eat carbs such as white rice and sweet potatoes so instead choose to eat vegetables. Another important factor when choosing carbs is to make sure all your carbs are glucose sources/complex carbs that break down into glucose as other type of carbs may convert to body fat. If you need good examples of glucose sources/complex carbs: Read This Article Here

If you have anymore questions on carb cycling leave a comment below, as this topic can be quite confusing.

8 thoughts on “How To Carb Cycle For Fat Loss – The Basics

  1. I’ve always found that cutting down on carbs or cutting out carbs completely is really difficult. My energy levels drop way too low, I feel dizzy and irritable.

    I like the suggestions here to alternate between heavy carb days and light carb days. I will give it a go starting from next Monday since it is pasta night today and I aint missing that 🙂

  2. Very informative read. I actually do go to the gym so it is good to update my knowledge with this concept of carb cycling, even though it doesn’t affect me particularly.

    I like how you have highlighted the reasons for the need of high carb and low carb days, it is very well explained.

    Keep up the hard work,

    Ali.

    1. Thanks Ali, you may need to use carb cycling if you ever decide to do a competition prep without a online coach or if your dirty bulking haha.

  3. Interesting article. I didn’t know you can actually get stuck on a weight even if you’re working out and cutting on a fat loss diet. The concept of carb cycling appeals to me, but how long does it take to see the weight moving down again? Or to know if we are doing something wrong?

    1. If you do carb cycling correctly you will see weight moving down straight away and you will know something is wrong if your gaining a lot of weight or losing weight too fast.

  4. This is a really good idea and I can see why it works. I have done diets before where they give you one day a week to “binge eat” which must be similar? I can understand the metabolism slowing down because of the lower carb intake. I will have to give this a try, I pretty much stick to a strict diet and everything generally slows way down. I have always opted to not do the over indulging days since it makes me feel guilty LOL.

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