When you hear of carb cycling, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Cycling while eating carbs? Cause same. However, that's obviously not true as much as we wish it was. It's not that easy.
First and foremost, I want to say that carb cycling is only easy because you have a lot of leeway with what you eat. Not because the lifestyle or "diet" (I don't like to call it a diet) is easy. Realistically, no diet or lifestyle is easy at the beginning and it takes a lot of work. However, you see results fast and you don't have to restrict your diet. Well, not all the days of the week.
Carb cycling is a way of eating that helps maximize fat loss, and for those struggling with it, it can also balance your hormones. I will try to breakdown carb cycling in the easiest way possible. Carb cycling is a mix of days in the week between: high carb, low fat, moderate protein/low carb, high fat, moderate protein/moderate carb, moderate fat, and moderate protein. Now, on your high carb days, you can't just go out and eat fast food because fast food has a lot of fat in it. You'd have to opt for things like sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice, etc. On high fat days, a sweet potato would take up all your carbs for the day. So you'd have to use veggies instead and a ton of avocado, coconut oil, things like that to help fill you up. On your moderate carb/fat days, you'd be able to have a cheat meal considering you wouldn't worry about going over either.
The benefits of carb cycling are crazy. There is a huge misconception that carbs make you fat, and an even bigger misconception that fat makes you fat. Both of those are wrong. Bad carbs and bad fats make you gain weight, because your body stores them as sugar. Carb cycling allows you to eat good carbs while burning fat, because once you have a high carb day you'll most likely have a high fat day the next day, and your body won't be able to look for carbs for energy so they'll take the fat off of your body.
Of course, to better suit your body, everyone should tailor their carbs and fat accordingly. However, a good guideline is 200g of carbs on your high carb days, and 50g of carbs on your low carb days. Your carb cycling schedule could look like this:
- Monday: High carb
- Tuesday: Moderate carb
- Wednesday: Low carb
- Thursday: High carb
- Friday: Moderate carb
- Saturday: Low carb
- Sunday: Low carb
Of course, you can tailor this schedule to your needs considering I don't think it would be beneficial (or sane) to have a low carb day on the weekend. A lot of people start of with the ketogenic diet, and realize it's a little too hard to keep up with and then switch to carb cycling. Carb cycling is a way to still eat the foods you love, while your body basically does the work for you. And with anything, it's most beneficial paired with a workout schedule.
The way you're eating carbs and fat manipulates your body, but in a good way. You don't have to restrict yourself from eating certain foods, it's just when you can eat them. The only negative to carb cycling is there is a lot of prep work (meal prep) and organizing that you have to do. You have to plan out each day, and you can't really just go and eat something and not care about it. The macros in the food are very important, and this is how a lot of people get absolutely shredded. Commitment is the main priority when it comes to carb cycling, since doing this for a week won't make you see results. But over time, your body will be a fat burning machine and your energy levels will be amazing.
For a more in depth description, here is a great video explaining the benefits of carb cycling and how to properly do it for your body type:
If you loved this article, you'll love this one as well: How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Burn Fat Fast