Carb Cycling For Fatloss

Low carb diets have reigned the world of dieting for many years. You can’t go too wrong with meat and fat as the main source of your diet. Not many people say no to bacon 🙂 But, there’s a new trend sprouting in the health and fitness industry that offers a more balanced approach with the same fat loss potential as the standard low carb diet. Carb cycling is a popular method in the body building world to shred fat. Let’s take a closer look at this new trend for a summer fat loss option!

What is Carb Cycling?

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Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

Carb cycling is the process of balancing low carb days and high carb days. There is still a calorie guideline for this process, which some people may like less or more than the standard low carb diet. In general, the low carb diets don’t focus on total calories, but rather total carbs, with the idea that you can only eat so much meat, cheese, eggs and bacon each day. Carb cycling requires some concept of total calories.

Carb cycling starts with higher carbs and higher calories on a few days. Say you want to have 3 high carb days a week. If you average about 1200 calories a day, for 7 days a week, that’s 8400 calories for the week. Then, we can bump you up to 1800 calories on those three days, leaving you with 3000 calories to split between 4 days. That may seem low on those days, but with the higher amount on the others, the idea is that you don’t notice you’re eating smaller amounts on your low carb days. So, what happens to your body when you do this?

When you deprive your body of carbs, you are telling your body to pull energy from fat and water, rather the sugar in the carbs. Your body resorts to stored fat and water, which for fat loss, is perfect! You start efficiently burning stored reserves and leaning out. But, for an extended period of time, your metabolism will slow down because your body thinks that there is a lack of food or gluclose available, and it doesn’t want to burn reserves, it wants to use sugar! Being the amazing and smart system that it is, it slows down to keep as much fat stored as possible, realizing that if this rate keeps going, there will be no carbs and no fat left to burn and survive! But, by introducing carbs back in after only a 24-hour period, the body doesn’t have time to react this way, while still burning the fat on the low carb days. Thus, your metabolism doesn’t slow down, yet you still benefit from losing the fat. “Eating healthy carbs on certain days keeps your metabolism revved up, and sticking to mostly protein and vegetables on days in between keeps insulin low enough that you can burn fat without losing muscle,” explains Shelby Starnes, a competitive bodybuilder and carb cycling expert. “It’s a routine that anyone can modify for their individual goals.”

“When you deprive your body of carbs, you are telling your body to pull energy from fat and water, rather the sugar in the carbs. Your body resorts to stored fat and water, which for fat loss, is perfect! ”

So, what does a typical Carb Cycling diet look like?

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Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

On the low carb days, you want to stick to meat, poultry, fish, tofu and non-starchy vegetables. The classic lean and green motto works perfectly here. Your calories are a bit lower, so you may feel a bit sluggish, but the goal with the high carb days is that you don’t even notice your body is burning fat so much on these days, and you also don’t experience the muscle fatigue you would normally from a reduced calorie diet for days on end.

I found some GREAT images from Dailyburn that illustrate a low carb day and a high carb day, to really help you visualize and plan.

If you are interested in a low-carb diet for the long term, we have a great article, Low Carb Diets and Heart Health that discusses the low carb diet in general and the benefits it has on your heart!

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