Image Credit: Christos Giakkas / Pixabay
Ice cream, cookies and candy — these are the carbs you think of when dieting but there’s actually a good time and a good type of carbs that are beneficial to fat loss.
Carb cycling is all about efficiently using good carbs on specific high activity days, to power your workouts and help you burn through fat more effectively.
Why Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling was born from failure. High intensity workouts on a zero carb diet are comically difficult. You run out of energy and have to quit early, or you complete the workout but you couldn’t push yourself enough to make solid gains.
Enter carb cycling.
The concept of carb cycling is to consume high quality carbs on the days you’re most active. If you’re planning a five mile run this morning, you need energy to complete that task.
Carb cycling isn’t new to the fitness community, and it’s been around for decades. But you don’t have to be a fitness model spending 4-6 hours in a gym everyday to reap the benefits.
In fact, it’s regular working grinders that can benefit the most from carb cycling because of their schedule. Most people are only going to exercise 2-3 days per week, and remain relatively inactive the rest of the week.
To start carb cycling you would consume more carbs on those 2-3 workout days compared to the other 4-5 non-workout days.
How To Carb Cycle
Timing your carb intake with exercise schedule is critical to a successful carb cycle. Consuming high amounts of carbohydrates while you lounge around, watching TV isn’t going to help and will likely increase body fat.
At the beginning of each week, identify the two to three days you’ll be exercising and designate those as high carb days.
Willpower and discipline aren’t the primary reasons for failing with carb cycling it’s actually a lacking of planning that wrecks the diet.
– Make sure you have easy access to good carbs
– Plan and pre-cook low carb meals for the other days
– If you skip a workout, adjust your carb intake as well
How Many Carbs?
A common mistake with carb cycling is to use your high carb day to gorge on bread and pasta, all day long. I wish it worked like that, but it doesn’t. Your goal is still to stay lean, and in most cases lose body fat. To do this you must stay below the recommended carb threshold.
Typically, you’d want to consume 1-1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d eat 150-225 grams of carbs for the day.
You should adjust the amount you eat according to your activity level. If you’re into super high intensity exercise you’d probably need to stay near the upper end of the recommended range.
Good Carb Cycling Habits:
– Never eat carbs late at night.
– High sugar carbs are never recommended
– Taper your carb intake. More in the morning, less in the evening
Related: How to lose 50 pounds or more
Good And Bad Carbs
In moderation most carbs aren’t going to cause excessive weight gain. It’s when you eat too much of one food, too often that it becomes a problem.
So, if you NEED that chocolate sundae once a month it’s not the end of the world. If you start making it a weekly habit, it increases the likelihood of further poor eating choices.
Good Carbs To Cycle
– Brown rice
– Sweet Potatoes
– Whole fruit
Bad Carbs To Cycle
– Ice cream
– Fruit Juice
– Sugar in general