Benefits of Carb-Cycling
If you are into bodybuilding or fitness you surely have heard of these two words before: “carb-cycling”. The problem is, most people have no idea of what that is about, how to do it, and what would that be good for. Some people tend to cut off carbs from their diet completely, which is terrible in my opinion. You create nothing but a carb sensitivity, where you are pretty much teaching your body that carbs are bad. Nutrition is a very wide field and there are many different theories and philosophies, all of which promises awesome results and a great shape. As a matter of fact, there’s no absolute truth until the theory is duly tested and approved by each person individually. That makes nutrition and all other fields from the healthcare industry even more challenging; not everyone is the same and therefore, each one will obtain different results based on different practices. What I am about to describe through this post is something that I have been doing for almost one year and it has absolutely brought me awesome results. That doesn’t mean that it will be as awesome to everyone. I recommend that each of you test the method in order to find out if it’s going to work for you as well. And honestly, you don’t need to cut carbs from your diet if this works. Carbs are important and we need them in order to function properly.
What is carb-cycling?
“A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of diet used by bodybuilders and fitness athletes in general, as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise”.
How does it work?
High carb days, when you eat more carbohydrates, help promote muscle growth and low carb days, when you eat less carbohydrates, help minimize fat gain and even promote fat loss. The focus is carbs rather than protein or fats because their effects seem to have more influence on the composition of our body and on how it looks.
High Carb Days:
- stimulate an insulin response that shuttle nutrients in your muscle cells, causing them to grow
- replenish glycogen stores that fuel your muscles
- make you feel good and energized
Low Carb Days:
- promote fat loss by tricking your body into burning fat for fuel (instead of the sugar from the carbs it would normally get)
- keep your body more receptive to insulin, improving your body’s muscle-building response
NUTRIENT-DENSE CARBS (GOOD CARBS)
- sweet or red potato
- whole wheat pasta or tortillas (check the Glycemic Index and choose the lowest ones)
- fruit (especially berries)
- brown rice
- whole grain bread (I like Ezekiel bread)
-> You may try doing just a low carb day then a high carb day and so on.
-> Whenever you eat less carbs, you may increase the amount of protein and slightly increase fat intake. If your goal is to lose weight, don’t forget to watch your calories, as you don’t want to exceed your recommended daily calories intake.
-> Don’t forget to take your aminos (BCAAs, glutamine, etc), especially on low carb days. Amino acids help preserving muscle mass.
-> Count all carbs, even from yogurt… that means, learn how to read the nutrition facts!!!!
-> My diet is totally focused on GI (glycemic index), so I always choose the lower GIs foods, especially carbs. Check my post about glycemic index for more information.
Finally, I’d like to share what the Calorie Coach has posted about carb-cycling:
- Carb cycling is different because it doesn’t restrict any macronutrient. It can be incorporated into a lifestyle change because the diet has no expiration date.
- You shouldn’t expect to lose more weight by carb cycling. However, carb cycling gives you a greater chance of holding onto your muscle while losing body fat.
- The benefit of carb cycling over other diets is that it has both physiological and psychological benefits. Not only does it keep the fat loss moving, but it satisfies the mind – probably the most important part of any diet
Examples of carb-cycling:
- low, low, medium, low, high – repeat
- low, medium, low, high – repeat
- low, high, low, high, low – repeat
- My carb cycling routine: high, low, high, low, high, medium, low
I hope this post has helped clarifying about carb-cycling!!!!