Here are the top 5 facts about carb cycling for fat loss.
Carb cycling is a program where you mix higher carbohydrate days with lower carbohydrate days in the effort to lose weight without suffering some of the negative consequences of a pure low carbohydrate diet plan.
1. High Carb Days Should Be Placed On Your Heavy Training Days
You should be putting your highest carbohydrate diets on the days you perform your hardest workout sessions. For most people, this will mean leg day (or if you’re using a full body workout, it may mean going high carb on all three of those days).
2. Expect To Experience Some Water Weight Gain
You will very likely experience some water weight gain when doing the higher carbohydrate day. For every gram of carbohydrate you take into the body, you’ll store four grams of water with this. If you’re eating 200-300 grams of carbohydrates on those high carb days, this adds up very quickly. It’s a normal process and is not fat gain. Within a day back on your regular low-carbohydrate plan you should notice this recede.
3. Choose Carbohydrates Highest In Glucose Or Complex Carbs
Think glucose. Either simple glucose sources or complex carbohydrates that will break down into glucose.
What you want to avoid here is fructose (such as high-fructose corn syrup), as this type of carbohydrate will behave differently in the body and won’t have the same benefits as glucose does.
4. Decrease Fat Intake On High Carbohydrate Days
You should also be decreasing your overall dietary fat intake on days you go high carb. It is normal for most people to increase their overall calories on the high carb day. By lowering the fat intake, you allow more room for those carbohydrates without going really crazy with your calorie level.
5. Maintain Your Target Weekly Calorie Level For Fat Loss
Your total weekly calorie intake must remain at what is necessary for overall fat loss. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say that you currently maintain your body weight at 2200 calories per day or, 15,400 calories per week. This means to lose one pound per week, you must create a calorie deficit (per week) of 3500 calories, or take in just 11,900 calories.
On a standard diet where you maintain the same calorie level on all seven days, this would mean you take in 1700 calories per day (2200-500=1700).