Carb cycling: Is it right for you?

There is a lot of talk around carb cycling.  It seems like everyone who is trying to lose body fat is using this method and swears by it's effectiveness.  There are a number of different ways that people cycle their carbs and there is certainly everything on the spectrum from very conservative to very bizarre.  Here are a couple tips I would offer to anyone who is considering carb cycling.

1) This method should really only be used by those who are competing or looking to get as lean as a competitor should be.  Truth is, carb cycling takes a lot of planning and work with food prep.  Understand this, carb cycling needs to be planned out in advance and doesn't just mean that you get to eat more food on 1,2 or 3 days per week when you have your "high carb" day.  I reserve this method for the extreme fitness enthusiast because there really isn't any sound scientific evidence that it even works so why would your average fat loss individual go through all the stress of sticking to a carb cycle when it may not even help them.  There is no doubt that a competitor's body needs a different stimulus to lose the last bit of fat and so that is why I would recommend this for a competitor that NEEDS it.  I emphasize need because there really should be a need to do it.  It's simple, if you can lose fat without carb cycling, don't carb cycle.  If you are at a plateau, try it!

2) You still need to keep your calories balanced.  You can just add in a whole bunch of extra carbs and continue to eat your massive amounts of protein and moderate amounts of fat.  This will throw your energy balance off and you will be at risk of actually putting on fat.  When you do a high carb day, your protein and fat should come down slightly to help balance out overall calories and keep them within a range that still allows you to lose fat.

3) Time your high carb days properly.  Don't just randomly throw in high carb days.  I would recommend doing these days as a "re-feed" on heavier/compound days such as legs, back and HIIT.  This will help to push the glycogen into the muscles and put those carbs to good use.  Having a high carb day on a rest day just really doesn't make a lot of sense.  Place your carbs on harder workout days and you will get more out of those workouts which will result in more calories burned and more fat lost.


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