Originally posted January 29, 2015
Carb cycling is an eating plan with alternating high-carb and low-carb days. You can even choose to add in a reward day! How awesome is that?
High carbohydrate days promotes muscle growth by stimulating an insulin response, which sends nutrients to your muscle cells. High carb days also replenishes your glycogen stores (fuel for muscles) and makes you feel energized.
Low carb days promote fat loss. You may notice feeling a little tired on your low carb days. The body is tricked into burning fat for fuel instead of the sugar the body would typically get from carbohydrates. It’s just that simple.
There are multiple ways that you can choose to do a carb cycle. You can choose to alternate your high and low carbs daily, once every two days, even three days depending on the results you are trying to achieve. Alternately, depending on your training habits and goals, you may decide to have two high carb days to one low carb day. You may also decide to manipulate your carbs by only consuming them in the morning. You may have to play around with different carb cycling patterns to see which one works best for your body and your lifestyle.
Below is the easy carb cycling meal plan I followed along with the experiences I had.
This morning 1/12/15, I began my carb cycling. I have chosen to alternate my high and low carb days daily with a possible cheat day on Saturday or Sunday. This morning I weighed in at 136.5. I planned out my carbohydrates for the day. My goal is to stay below 70g. I normally take in approximately 250g. Here is what I planned for my low carb day:
Planters honey roasted peanuts-7g
Total 68g carbs
My first low carb day went well! I took in more carbs than planned but stayed below 100g. I took in an additional 10g of carbs. The extra carbs came from miscellaneous foods such as lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sausage. I use the myfitnesspal application to keep track of my foods. I didn’t eat my 1/2 grapefruit. I instead had 1% milk with my protein shake. I have recently realized that I do not enjoy my protein mixed with water only. It may be time to search for a new protein. My energy level was great throughout the day. I had a short, but effective workout today. I trained legs. My workout last 39:01 and I burned 772 calories. I drank just under a gallon of water throughout the day. My total calorie count for the day was 1564.
Day 2 (1/13/15)
I weighed in this morning at 133 lbs. I didn’t plan my carbs for the day. In general, I tend to stick to eating healthy carbs and don’t typically go over my goal intake. My total carb count for the day was 154g. My total calories were 1786. The carbs that I took in included oatmeal, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, mozzarella cheese, walnuts, pineapples, 2 slices whole wheat bread, banana, peanut butter, and a protein bar. I was able to get in a nice long workout today. I worked out for about 1 1/2 hours and burned 1848 calories. I trained back and shoulders. I also did cardio and abs.
Day 3 (1/13/15)
As you can see, I’m looking a little “fluffier” this morning around my midsection due to the increased carb intake yesterday. My weight remained consistent at 133 lbs. I have an unexpected day off from work due to the weather. Hopefully, I can still stick to the plan. My plan is pretty much the same as it was Monday, my last low carb day. Today, I did very well sticking to the eating plan. I took in 72g of carbs. However, I couldn’t push myself to get in a workout. It was a lazy day of eating and sleeping.
Today, I did very well sticking to the eating plan. I took in 72g of carbs. However, I couldn’t push myself to get in a workout. It was a lazy day of eating and sleeping.
Day 4 (1/14/15)
Looking fairly good after my low carb day. My weight remains the same. Today I took in 197g of carbs, all healthy carbs except one. I decided to have a small bag of Cheetos. Hey, what can I say? It fit my macros, but that’s a topic of discussion for another day. I did a callisthenic home workout along with some free weight sets for my arms. I burned just over 1000 calories.
Carb cycling is a great way to lose weight. It helps you get rid of excess water weight as well as burn off more calories.
Looking at pictures, it seems as though my body peaked and looked its best at day 4.
If you are looking to make subtle changes over time, then the every other day cycle would be the route to take.
If you are looking for more drastic changes, then I would recommend 2-3 low carb days followed by 1 high carb day.
Bottom line, if you are looking to lose weight, carb cycling may be an option for you.
If my plan seems to loose or if you are looking for a more specific weight loss meal plan, you may want to check out this carb cycling book that includes recipe ideas.
If you happen to give it a try, let me know what you think.