Carb Cycling or the Moderation Approach
Diets programs are a dime a dozen, there’s no doubt everyone has tried at least two or three. Weight Watchers offers meeting, comradery and fully integrated phone apps. The Keto diet is trendy and fun to talk about, even though no one really even knows the rules for it. The one thing people preach about most in order to lose weight is being in a caloric deficient, which is agonizing and will likely turn you into a hangry beast. That is why for the past few years, carb cycling has become popular amongst gym goers and fitness enthusiast. Let’s go over what exactly carb cycling is, how it affects one’s body, and how to properly implement it.
What is Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is an effective way of monitoring and controlling the number of carbohydrates a person consumes on a daily basis. By doing this, a person can keep his or her metabolism working overtime. Thus, their body will consistently be in an anabolic state. Which is what burns fat and allows muscles to gradually grow. This diet requires daily fats and protein intake to stay consistent in order to be effective. Carb Cycling is great for people looking to achieve a cut physic, needing help committing to one diet, or to even get off a plateau in their weight loss journey.
A lot of people think that if they work out and stay in a caloric deficit (starve themselves) that they will lose weight. That’s not entirely true. In the short term, fat loss will happen but muscle growth will cease. What happens when you starve your body for a period of time, is that your body reacts to that lack of nutrients by reducing your metabolic functions. Therefore, you will not perform your best in the gym, at work or anywhere else for that matter. You put whatever muscle you have at risk of being completely lost, without even losing the weight you intended on losing.
The Benefits of Carb Cycling
As previously stated carb cycling is for those of us who already spend time in the gym, because your training days will be your high carb days. The high carb intake and balanced nutrition while working out, will increase protein synthesis, which aids in muscle growth.
All training days cannot be high carb days, or else you would not be “cycling”. So if you work out back to back days that first day would be a high carb day while the second one would be a moderate carb day. You don’t go crazy with the carbs but you don’t cut them out entirely. You will find that you have plenty of energy on these moderate days, thanks metabolic spike from the high carb day prior. Time spent in the gym on these moderate days will be time well spent. This is all about maintaining a high metabolism for an extended period of time, which leads me to my next point: rest days.
Rest days are low carb days. This means only veggies, healthy fats, and protein. So enjoy some rest and let your body utilize the protein you’ve given it. This should be 1 gram of protein for every pound you currently weigh, every day. These low carb days your metabolism will not bottom out and you will not feel worn out. Because you spiked your metabolic rate on the high carb day, on these low days, you are really metabolizing fat at an elevated rate.
This cycling diet will boost metabolic function, enhance the bodies thermogenic response, increase insulin, glucose levels, and periodical spike leptin levels, all while not breaking down muscle. Your body’s natural thermogenic response to eating a lot of carbs and training will speed up fat loss. The increase in insulin will produce amino acids which are necessary for muscle growth; the glucose will provide the much needed energy for workouts and the rest of the day. The spikes of leptin are a great added bonus to carb cycling because leptin is the “fat burning” hormone.
In order for carb cycling to work, one must be diligent and meticulous. Meals must be planned and there cannot be any deviation from the plan, or else you risk throwing your metabolism out of the symmetry that carb cycling creates.
In short if you are anything like Oprah and have to have your bread, be smart about it. Work out hard and try cycling your carbs. Because carbohydrates are not your enemy, they love you, just as much as you love them. 🍕😍