Carb Cycle for Diet Success

Carb Cycle for Diet Success

Have you ever started a diet or exercise program and done amazingly well?  You feel good, you look good, and you’re convinced that you’ll never go back to your unhealthy habits.  About a month later, your hit a weight loss plateau.  The next thing you know, you’ve ditched the diet and gained back all of your weight and then some.  Then the negative self-talk begins – berating yourself for not having enough will-power or discipline.  Looking back you wonder where you went wrong.  Why did you plateau?  What could you have done differently to have kept the weight coming off?

...You could have carb cycled!!

Let me introduce you to carb cycling.  This is a technique that fitness and nutrition professionals use as a secret weapon to bust through stubborn weight loss plateaus.  It is a method of alternating high carb days with low carb days to keep your body burning fat efficiently without suffering from fatigue and irritability that can occur from sustained low carb diets.  The only way this diet method can be effective is if you maintain a strict adherence to a rigid nutrition program, tracking the macronutrients you eat on a daily basis – it’s not for the faint of heart! 

Typically, in a carb cycle scenario, an individual will already have been following a strict diet plan for at least a couple of months with various, moderate to high carb intake levels throughout the plan.  When weight loss slows or plateaus, carb cycling can be very effective to push past it, if it’s done correctly.  

How it’s done:

At the first sign of a plateau, a new diet should be created with two different macronutrient profiles.  Both of the plans will have similar fat, and protein intakes, but the carbohydrates and the calories will vary.  So, the high carb days will have higher calories as well.  For example, since there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate, if the high carb day is 100 grams higher than the low carb day, it will also contain 400 more calories.  The actual numbers will be based on the macronutrient intake that’s being used at the time of a plateau.

Once you create the program, you have to decide how you want to cycle the days.  Typically, you’ll stick to the low carbohydrate plan for 3 to 5 days and then have a high carb day.  So, you’d do three days low to one day high.  The actual cycle will depend greatly upon the macronutrient levels being used.  In more extreme carb restricted plans, every fourth day should be a high carb day.  On more moderate plans, every sixth day should be a high carb day.

The Fine Print:

There are a variety of different techniques used to implement carb cycling into your diet.  This is an advance technique and should only be created by someone who have a solid understanding of nutrition as it applies to body composition.  Improper or prolonged use of low carbohydrate plans can damage your metabolism and cause other long-term health issues.  So, always make sure you ask questions and understand the logic behind the numbers on your program.


CATEGORIES: Carbs, Lose Weight , Weight Loss