Different Protocols For Carb Cycling And Best Carbs To Use When Cycling
Cycling carbs does not mean eating any kind of carbs you want. The quality of the carbs still matters, and we highly recommend focusing on less processed, more complex carbs.
Examples include vegetables , nuts and seeds, lower glycemic fruit, beans, lentils and other legumes. If you want to add grains, we recommend whole grains and so-called ancient grains, such as millet, amaranth, or barley, as these are less likely to be highly processed and refined.
There is no best protocol for cycling carbs, as the schedule depends on your goals.
Seasonal cycling is likely the most straightforward protocol to understand. It can be as simple as this:26
|20 grams of carbs per day|
|100 grams of carbs per day|
This pattern may more closely match the seasonal availability of game, berries, and vegetation that our ancestors may have encountered.
Another popular protocol is adjusting carb intake according to your athletic or training schedule. An example could be something like the following:
Feel free to explore our more than 1,000 recipes to mix and match and find the meals that work for you!
Just remember, if you have consistently followed a ketogenic diet and you plan to test your ability to carb cycle, your results may change over time as you eat more carbs. In other words, your blood sugar response may be higher the first day you add in carbs and may improve over three or more days as your body adapts to responding to the carbs.
Rationale : To Tailor The Carbohydrate Intake To The Need/use Of Carbohydrate By The Body
This is probably the most established way of carb cycling and is very much aligned to the evidence around performance nutrition. During exercise the predominant fuel used is carbohydrate, and that prolonged or high intensity exercise is synonymous with you depleting your muscle and liver glycogen stores of carbohydrate.
Hence conventional performance nutrition is very much focussed on strategies around fuelling up with carbohydrate before, during and, or after exercise. In its crudest sense, this type of carb cycling advocates that on a day when you exercise your carbohydrate should be higher, and on a rest day it should be lower. So, you can eat carbs when you need to burn carbs.
This type of carb cycling can be refined further by the specific timing of carbohydrate around exercise. For example, incorporating carb loading prior to a competition, may involve several meals, or even days, of higher carb intake. Similarly, feeding higher carbs in the recovery period may also be advantageous to restore muscle glycogen before the next session/event. But we can be even more precise than this.
Carb Cycling And Weight Loss
The #1 mistake I see people making with carb cycling and weight loss is inattention to the specific needs of the female body.
Because it comes from a world of men, it doesnt pay a whole lot of good attention to women. But there are two important considerations to bear in mind:
A) Thyroid status must be protected.
Thyroid hormone is essential for fat loss. Unfortunately on a low carbohydrate diet thyroid hormone production can slow down. This is crucial to bear in mind for women especially because womens metabolism and thyroid activity are much more sensitive than mens. It is important in the low carb times of the cycle to still not be very low carb. Stay above 50 grams of carbohydrate a day, at very minimum .
B) Female hormones impact insulin sensitivity
Estrogen and progesterone have significant impacts on carbohydrate metabolism.
At different parts in the menstrual cycle, carbohydrates are processed either much more efficiently or with much more fat storage.
This is the secret to female carbohydrate cycling. I
nstead of sticking to a simple regimen provided by a personal trainer or some internet forum, the best thing you can do to maximize the effectiveness of your carb cycling is sync it up with your menstrual cycle.
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Intermittent Fasting Alone Can Get You The Results You Want
And in a much more sustainable and simpler way.
There is not much by way of tracking and measuring out foods as compared to carb cycling.
It is much more flexible and less restrictive also.
So in terms of intermittent fasting combined with carb cycling yes this can be extremely effective but is probably more suited to peak performance athletes and those who want to maintain incredibly low levels of body fat all year round.
But for someone who just wants to get in great shape with a simple method and without the need for daily tracking of macros intermittent fasting alone can be the solution you are looking for!
Carb Cycling Strategies To Tailor To Your Needs
Given the different rationale outlined, carb cycling could be applied in different ways, as such, the exact carb cycling strategy will depend on what you are trying to do. For ease of interpretation, you can categorise these strategies into macro cycles and micro cycles, both of which could actually be employed in combination.
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Should You Cycle On And Off Intermittent Fasting
For best results, cycle what you eat. This means I have a calorie surplus on the days I train and a calorie deficit on the days that I rest. The idea behind this is that you can build muscle on the days you train and burn fat on the days you rest. And by the end of the week, you should have done both.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is not a type of diet, but an eating schedule. Your body is always in one of two states: fed or fasted. In the fed state , your bodys insulin levels make burning fat a challenge. However, in the fasted state , your insulin levels are lower and better able to reach into your fat stores. People rarely go into a fasted state throughout the day. In fact, the traditional theory of several small meals per day keeps us from ever reaching the fasted state. In addition, that type of eating schedule regularly spikes our insulin levels which also hinders fat loss. So, while eating several small meals per day can lead to weight loss , you will likely be losing both muscle and fat. When you lose calorie-burning muscle, you lower your metabolic rate and make it harder for your body to burn fat. You also might become frustrated because you never feel toned and fit, even though you are working out and eating clean.
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Carb Cycling & Intermittent Fasting
Even though this topic is not necessary per say, it should still be covered. You will be better off committing to your diet plan that you put together in the previous article, however, the strategies discussed here could come in handy.
Its also crucial to learn new things, which will in turn give you more power and options throughout your journey.
So, what do I mean by dietary strategies?
Dietary strategies refer to a multitude of different ways that can help you organize your diet better. Those strategies can also help those with out-of-norm lifestyles make stellar gains, improve their health, build muscle, lose fat and stay consistent with their dietary guidelines.
For most people, utilization of these strategies is not necessary, but curiosity killed the cat! Lets discuss carb cycling, calorie cycling and intermittent fasting and how they can help you stay consistent with your new lifestyle while eating out and enjoying life.
Lets start with a common one that you may have heard of: carb cycling.
Should You Try Carb Cycling
Lets find out.
Use this handy quiz to determine if carb cycling makes sense for you.
1. Do you know what you hope to get out of carb cycling?Consider: Do you want to lose fat? Gain muscle? Better regulate stress or your hormones?
2. Are you looking for a major body transformation or smaller incremental gains?Consider: Is this the first step of your nutrition journey, or one of the last?
3. Have you already tried less advanced strategies to accomplish your goal?Consider: Is there anything less complex you could try first?
4. Are you already consistent and confident with your big rock habits?Consider: Will you be able to keep up with your fundamental nutrition practices while you carb cycle?
5. How comfortable are you with rigid eating rules?Consider: How do you feel about needing to eat exactly 5 meals or exactly 6 portions of lean protein each day, for example?
6. Do you feel comfortable treating carb cycling as an experiment?Consider: Are you okay trying carb cycling even if, ultimately, your experiment determines that this style of eating isnt for you?
7. Are you okay with making tradeoffs to follow a specific eating style?Consider: How would carb cycling impact the way you eat at social gatherings or family meals? Are there foods you might have to skip out on that you normally enjoy?
32-40: Its a go!
24-31: Proceed with caution.
Basically, that means checking in with yourself and being honest about how its going for you.
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Example Carb Cycling Menu
Here are three sample meal plans for low-, moderate- and high-carb days.
- Breakfast: 3 boiled eggs, 3 slices Ezekiel bread, tomatoes, mushrooms and a side bowl of mixed fruit .
- Lunch: 6 oz sweet potato, 6 oz lean meat or fish, mixed vegetables .
- Pre-Workout: 1 serving oatmeal, almond milk, 1 cup berries, 1 scoop whey protein .
- Dinner: 1 serving wholemeal rice, 6 oz lean chicken, homemade tomato sauce, 1 serving kidney beans, mixed vegetables .
- Breakfast: Grass-fed high-protein yogurt, 1 cup mixed berries, stevia, 1 spoon seed mix .
- Lunch: 6 oz chicken salad with 4 oz diced potatoes .
- Pre-Workout: 1 banana with whey protein shake .
- Dinner: 1 serving sweet potato fries, 6 oz lean beef, homemade tomato sauce, 1 serving kidney beans, mixed vegetables .
- Breakfast: 3 eggs with 3 slices bacon and mixed vegetables .
- Lunch: 6 oz salmon salad with 1 spoon olive oil .
- Snack: 1 oz mixed nuts with 1 serving turkey slices .
- Dinner: 6 oz steak, half avocado, mixed vegetables .
Okay So What Is Carb Cycling
Carb cycling is when you fluctuate between eating low-carb foods and high-carb foods.
The most common carb cycling approach is to eat fewer carbohydrates on some days and more carbohydrates on other days.
People who carb cycle usually end up calorie cycling, too. This means they eat fewer calories on their low-carb days and more calories on their high-carb days.
For example, a typical carb cycling schedule might look like this:
- Non-workout days: low carb, low calorie
- Workout days: high carb, high calorie
But thats not the only way to cycle your carbs. Some folks carb cycle within a single day.
So theyll eat high-carb foods around their workout, but have low-carb foods the rest of the day.
Because a typical carb cycling schedule requires counting macros or hand portionsand a good amount of nutrition planningwe consider it an intermediate to advanced nutrition strategy. Read: Its kind of a pain to do and can pretty challenging for most people to do well.
As a result, it tends to work best for those who are highly-motivated: amateur and elite athletes, bodybuilders, and people who are paid based on how they look and perform.
You might be wondering
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Carb Cycling May Help Keep Your Metabolism Humming During Fat Loss
When you eat lesssay, to lose fatyour body responds in a variety of ways. For example:
- Your basal metabolic rate drops
- You expend less energy when you exercise
- Your daily activity outside of workouts tends to decrease naturally .
So as you lose weight, you have to continue reducing how much you eat in order to keep seeing results.
Example: Lets say you start a 2,000 calorie a day diet and lose weight steadily for a while. Over time, you might find that stops working. So you might have to cut back to 1,800 calories to kickstart weight loss again.
This is called metabolic adaptation, and you can no doubt see why its a problem.
The more your metabolism adapts, the more you have to restrict your food intake.
As a result, the harder its going to be to achieve your goaland maintain your weight loss down the road.
But carb cycling proponents say the approach can prevent metabolic adaptation.
The rationale: Regularly mixing in high-carb, high-calorie days jumpstarts your metabolism and keeps it from adapting.
Again, theres no strong evidence to support this claim, but it also hasnt been refuted.
What Does Carb Cycling Do Exactly
In theory, it can do quite a few things. So well give you a rundown of the top five potential benefits of carb cycling.
But before we do, its important to know: Theres hardly any human research on carb cycling.
Mostly, we have anecdotal reports about how carb cycling works, along with a few hypotheses based on biochemistry.
Those are valuable, but on a 1 to 10 scale of scientific confidence, carb cycling ranks closer to a 1 than a 10.
So keep that in mind when you hear or read claims about carb cycling.
Okay, enough with the disclaimers. Heres what carb cycling might do.
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How It Works: Carb Cycling By The Numbers
When you follow carb cycling, your carbohydrate intake will vary between a high-carb day, where 45 to 50 percent of your daily intake will be carbs, followed by moderate-carb days, where 30 to 35 percent of your daily intake is made up of carbs, and very low-carb days, where 20 to 25 percent of your daily intake is made up of carbs. These ratios will help your body burn fat for energy on the very low and moderate days. Think of the high carb days as maintenance, since the extra calories will help your body recover from tough workouts and the carbs will be used to rebuild muscles that get worn down by all that exertion in the gym.
When you start to do it, carb cycling is easier than you think it will be, and because you get to eat carbs fully two days a week, many people who follow this weight loss strategy think that it makes it easier to stay on track, feel energized, and lose weight fast, in less than a month.
The Former Wwe Superstar Is Sporting A Chiseled Physique With Visible Abs
On June 2, 2021, former strongman and World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar Adam Scherr, who wrestled under the ring name Braun Strowman, was released from WWE. His release came unexpectedly to the WWE Universe the moniker given for the companys fans at large following his six-year tenure with the company that peaked with a Universal Championship title run following his victory over wrestling legend Goldberg at WrestleMania 36 in March 2020.
Since leaving the squared circle of scripted promos, bodyslams, and backstage scenes that involved flipping ambulances, Scherr embarked on a journey to overhaul his physique. The former 400-plus-pound Monster Among Men is down a sufficient amount of weight and sporting a physique highlighted by a thick upper chest, boulder shoulders, and well-defined abs. On Nov. 1, 2021, Scherr took to his Instagram page to hit a most-muscular pose and tout his current fasted 351-pound frame and tease going on a cut. Check it out below:
According to captions on a few of Scherrs Instagram posts, hes been hovering around the mid-300-pounds for bodyweight. His recent post teasing a cut shows he weighs 351 pounds and is noticeably leaner than his WWE days. That picture was taken after an 18-hour fast Scherr did to reset metabolism after a presumably heavy cheat meal day.
Benefits Of Combining Intermittent Fasting And Carb Cycling
1. Increased Energy
Countless clients have reported an incredible increase in energy after just a couple of weeks living the FASTer Way. This is by far the most consistent side effect reported, and the one that we get the most excited about. The truth is, the world around you deserves your best self, and energy is definitely a requirement for being the best version of you!
2. Better Sleep
Perhaps one of the reasons our clients are seeing such an increase in energy is because they are sleeping better. This lifestyle positively affects hormone levelsso you sleep like a baby!
3. A Happy Gut
Good-bye bloating and discomfort, hello happy gut! FASTer Way clients tell us that after just a few days in the program they are feeling less bloating and discomfort almost across the board. Who doesnt love a happy gut?!
4. More Time
Having all of that time in the morning, without having to worry about what to eat OR clean up means you can be more productive each day. This is a side effect that we love because as busy people, we all know the value of a few extra minutes!
5. A Better Mood
Stephanie, FASTer Way Community Member*
*Results may vary from person to person.
When it comes to winning the weight loss battle and improving body composition, Intermittent Fasting and carb cycling are the way to go! Reward yourself with that treat after your effective workout and you are living your best life. Are you ready?
Combining Intermittent Fasting And Carb Cycling Conclusion
Combining carb cycling with intermittent fasting is a great way to change up your fat burning routine and boost energy levels. Just remember not to jump into either routine too quickly, and to check with your doctor first if you have any underlying health conditions.
While both carb cycling and intermittent fasting have been great additions to my routine, check out our free masterclass if you want to learn the 3 biggest mistakes I made over 20 years of yo-yo diets.
Once I quit making these 3 common mistakes, I lost 100 pounds and reached my goal weight for the first time ever. Hundreds of other women finally reached their goals after following our Ready, Set, Keto method.
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