Most of us love carbs as much as we may say we don’t. Let’s be truthful here. Pretty much everything that is delicious comes from a carb but when it comes to burning fat, carbs are the first thing to go!
Why? Although we do need carbs, consume too much of them and they end up getting stored as fat instead of being burned off. Why else? When we lower carbs, and increase protein we not only switch the body to start burning off more fat, but we also stimulate a positive change in body composition – which means more lean muscle. Changing body composition is key. When we increase lean muscle we increase our metabolism.
So, although cutting carbs is necessary for weight loss, following an ultra low carb diet is not! There is a better way. When it comes to getting lean and trim , a carb cycling diet is the bomb and for good reason too. Not only is it easy to use, it’s also flexible by allowing you to still eat carbs without feeling guilty. It also comes with a whole lot of benefits when it comes to burning fat and building muscle.
What is Carb Cycling Exactly?
Carb cycling uses intermittent fluctuations of high and low carbs. This switching helps keep your metabolism fired up, so you can avoid weight loss plateaus that happen with many other diets.
While low phases allow you to burn through carbs that you have stored in muscle glycogen and allow you to access fat for burning during workouts; high days up-regulate important hormones involved in your metabolism, your muscle building and your mood. So not only do you avoid plateaus in your fat burning but you will feel better too. The end result – a leaner, more muscular and happier you!
High Carb Days:
- Stimulates insulin – an anabolic hormone that shuttles nutrients to the muscles, allowing them to get what they need to grow, recover and re-build
- Re-fills lost muscle glycogen – your muscles main source of energy
- Re-energizes your body and your mood, by increasing release of feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin
Low Carb Days:
- Burn through stored muscle glycogen, switching the body to use fat as its primary energy source instead of carbs
- Reduces blood glucose levels and insulin response, allowing you to be more receptive to insulin response on high days
What to Eat on a Carb Cycle?
You may think carb cycling gives you an all out license to eat whatever the hell you like on your high carb days, but it doesn’t! No matter what method of diet you choose you must eat clean – all the time. By clean, this means eating whole, natural, fresh foods as closest to their natural source.
When it comes to carbs, that means you can’t reach for a doughnut or a big slice of white bread, these foods are full of simple carbs, and contain processed ingredients. Not only will they stimulate huge blood glucose spikes, but those spikes lead to energy and fatigue crashes that will have you craving more sweet goodness, and more likely for you to reach for another serving!
Instead, on high carb days reach for carbs that are high in fiber like vegetables and whole grains. High fiber foods provide a sustained release of energy that won’t cause huge spikes or crashes!
Keep it Real Eat These Foods:
- Brown Rice
- Green Vegetables
- Sweet Potato
- Whey Protein Powder
- Greek Yogurt
- Nut Butters
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
Sample Diet Days:
High Carb Eats
1 cup Egg Whites, 1 cup of Oatmeal
1 scoop of Whey Protein, 1 Apple
3 oz of Grilled Chicken Breast, 1/3 cup Brown Rice, Broccoli
¾ cup Plain Greek Yogurt, ½ cup berries
3 oz of Sirloin Beef, ½ Sweet Potato, Asparagus
Low Carb Eats
2 Whole Eggs, ¼ Avocado, Sliced Tomatoes
1 scoop Whey Protein, 1 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
4 oz Grilled Chicken Breast, Mixed Greens Salad, 1 tbsp Olive Oil and Lemon Juice
1 Small Can of Tuna, ¼ Avocado, 1 tbsp Salsa
4 oz Salmon, Asparagus, Cauliflower Mash
How Often Should You Cycle Your Carbs?
Your frequency will be determined by the following factors – how active you are and how much extra fat you’re carrying! Change your frequency every 4-weeks, after you have lost weight, and when your metabolism begins to increase. Use the following guidelines:
Weeks 1 to 4: Have one high carb day every 4 to 7 days
Weeks 5 to 8: Have one high carb day every 3 to 5 days
Weeks 9 to 12: Have one high carb day every 2 to 4 days
Bottom line, when it comes to carb cycling – it works!
It helps burn off more fat, put on lean muscle and gets your metabolism fired up. If you want to avoid weight loss plateaus, and have flexibility in your diet then carb cycling is the way to go!
Until Next Time…
Be Fierce & Rule the World,