What Is Carb Cycling And How It Aids Your Fitness Regimen
Carb cycling is a popular phrase being thrown around in gyms and fitness studios. Many diets say that carbs are bad and should be avoided. To an extent that can be true if you aren’t eating the right carbs at the right time. Certainly eating simple carbs in the form of floury or sugary foods all day is never a good idea.
White bread and white rice and pasta are also culprits in weight gain and hold little nutritional value as compared to their whole grain counterparts that contain high amounts of fiber that helps to keep blood sugars stable and prevent spikes that can lead to weight gain.
Carbs, or carbohydrates, are used by the body as fuel or energy. If you eat more than your body needs, it can be turned into fat and stored in the body. We don’t want stored fat unless we are planning to survive a three-week blizzard. The trick is to train your body to using carbs the right way for fat loss. That’s where carb cycling comes in.
If you have heard about carb cycling but are still unsure what it is, or why it’s beneficial, this article will help you understand the process and how it can be of benefit to you.
Which Carbohydrates Are Good Carbohydrates?
The only carbs used during carb cycling should be clean complex carbs. This means no white bread, white rice, pasta, or processed carbs of any kind.
Good options include: whole grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes or yams, and oatmeal. Don’t forget about considering calorie content in these carbs. Your goal is to lose fat and keeping track of calorie intake is a crucial part of that process.
Carb cycling involves a cycle of the amount of carbs you eat on certain days. Typically, you start out high, take an incremental dip of a few days of restricted carb intake, and then return to a higher dose of carbs the next couple of days.
You can continue this cycle as many times as necessary to achieve your fitness goals. Depending on your desired effect, you can even cut the carb intake down more with each cycle, very slowly. Cut down too much and your metabolism can be harmed.
How do you know how much carbs to start out with and how much to cut? Well, it depends on your activity level, age, weight, and sex. There is a general formula to figure out roughly how many grams of carbs are needed to start out. First, you determine how many calories you eat a day and take 55% of that. This is the amount of calories that should come from your carbs. Divide that number by 4 and you’ve got your goal in grams. A healthy calorie intake of 1500 calories a day would need about 200 grams of carbohydrates per day. Here is how it was determined:
Calorie intake*55% divided by 4= grams of carbs per day
Pretty simple right?
Start with out with 200 grams and cut it down gradually for the first three days.
The amount to cut down greatly depends on the amount of fat you have to lose and your activity level.
You will need to consume less carbs to burn more fat as fuel but you will need more carbs if you plan on high intensity workouts.
Play around with the numbers and see how it works for you! There is no wrong way to carb cycle, just be aware that too many carbs won’t deliver results as fast as more restrictive carb cycling but it will help no matter what.