The Carb Cycling Diet Plan

When I first heard about the carb cycling diet plan I thought it was something that might have something to do with bicycling. Bicyclers need a lot of carbohydrates right?  My next best guess was that it might be cycling the different types of carbohydrates you take into your body when you’re on a good weight loss plan. But it turns out that carb cycling is alternating the days of higher carbohydrate meals. Simply put, some days you eat more carbohydrates than others. In my experience, I’ve only seen people worried about carb cycling when they are trying to build muscle or when they are trying to lose weight.  There’s evidence that it can be effective for both.

Different Forms of the Carb Cycling Diet Plan

There are different forms of carb cycling. There’s the traditional carb cycling where you will go lower carbs for 2 or 3 days. There is also easy carb cycling where you will go low carb 1 day and then the next you will bump your carbohydrates back up to normal. And then there’s the extreme carb cycling which you can go 2, 3, 4 or maybe even longer on a low carb diet before you get back to a day where you eat higher carbohydrates.  At the bottom of the article we talk about some sample menus and what may work for you.

Carbohydrates Aren’t Necessarily the Enemy.

It’s important to the remember carbs aren’t necessarily the enemy. Carbohydrates have been getting a lot of bad press recently.  Many will tell you that they are the chief cause of fat gain in one’s body. We need to remember that you can gain weight on just about anything as long as you eat enough of it. Conversely, you can lose weight on just about any diet as long as you are expending more calories than you’re eating.

And not all carbohydrates are created equal.  Vegetables are healthier than Doritos but for the most part they are lumped into this group called “carbs”. There’s evidence that sugar can be pretty bad for you.  But that doesn’t mean you should avoid all sugars (natural and otherwise) for the rest of your life. And the extreme body builders will tell you that even some vegetables are bad for you.  Yes, corn and peas have some natural sugars in them.  They’re still better for a dieter than a cheeseburger though!

Don’t Go Crazy on The Carb Cycling Diet Plan

Yes carb cycling is awesome and super beneficial especially when you’re working out but that doesn’t let you get away with never ending pasta bowl on your higher carbohydrate days. When you’re trying to lose body fat you should still try and keep your total calorie count under your total daily calorie expenditure.

And if going 2 days on low carbs is too strenuous then try and go one day on low carbs.  If you have an active lifestyle it is hard to get used to lower carbs.  I know that when I started my failed low carb diets I got super grouchy.

News Flash – We’re All Different!

Have you ever noticed how many different types of diets are out there? A good majority of them might actually work too.  But still others might be easier or more effective depending on your body type and lifestyle. Carb cycling will work for some, and maybe not others. The fact is that we all have different body types that respond differently to exercise, carbohydrates, sugar, etc.

Yes, there are a lot of success stories with those trying to build muscle with carb cycling. Yes, there are those that have had a lot of success carb cycling to burn fat. If you go on a carb cycling diet and it doesn’t work out for you, try something else. I know a few people personally that have done the low carb, Palio, Atkins, diets and have had great success. I’ve tried them. As far as I can tell all that it did was make me grumpy! Carb cycling is something that I’ve had decent success with but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be successful for you.

Keep that Protein High Even when the Carbs Are High

Carbohydrate are the preferred fuel for organs and muscles in the body. That normally means that when the body doesn’t have ready access to carbohydrates that it will burn off fat. That isn’t always the case but that seems to be the prevailing wisdom. What you shouldn’t do when carb cycling is cut down on your protein. You should eat lots of protein especially if you’re trying to build muscle. If you are an exercise program you probably should still take in about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day.

Why Should You Follow the Carb Cycling Diet Plan?

One of the bigger reasons that you might have success in the carb cycling diet plan is that it keeps your energy high. If you go a few days with lower carbohydrates (that doesn’t mean no carbohydrates) most tend to have a feeling of low energy. Carb cycling will put you on a day or two of lower carbohydrates. Then you get back to a higher carbohydrate day to get your energy back up for the next cycle.

The carb cycling meal plan is also a great way to not feel deprived. You can eat some of your favorite foods even while on a diet plan. We’re big believes of the real phenomenon of dieter’s fatigue. If you feel like losing weight is a drag, and you are constantly thinking about food, the chances of your diet failing are high.  Willpower can only take you so far. There’s also good reason to doubt the science of low-carb-forever-diets.

I Found the Carb Cycling Diet Plan On Accident

I actually had followed a carb cycling diet plan similar to this before I even realized that it was called the carb cycle plan. I was trying to eat mainly protein and healthy fats Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I simply couldn’t go on a low carb diet for too long.  I didn’t care what people told me about ketosis.

Then on Thursday I could take a break and get back to them some of my favorite foods. Saturday and Sunday we’re back to lower carbohydrate days. Then I would have a cheat meal normally on Sunday night. This was a way that I was losing a lot of weight and was one of the first ways that I got into shape when I started getting serious about my weight. I classify this as a carb cycling even though I wasn’t too serious about the days.  I was just doing what I could to lose a few pounds. But whatever you call, it can work!

Be prepared for Crazy Weight Fluctuations

It isn’t uncommon for someone that has been on a lower carb diet for a few months to gain a lot of water weight after their high carb day. Don’t let that impede your progress. This is because the body holds more water the more carb you eat. For every 1 gram of carbs you eat your body will normally hold onto 4 grams of water.


Sample Low Carb Cycling Day


Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
kcal g g g mg g
Omlette – Cheese Omlette–2 Eggs, 2 Portion 640 5 44 40 820 0
chipolte salad – Salad, 2 cup 700 64 17 84 2,490 14
Stouffers – Grilled Chicken and Vegetables, 708 grams 740 92 18 50 1,480 12
Totals 2,080 161 79 174 4,790 26

Sample Higher Carb Cycling Day

<strong>Breakfastg> <strong>Calories g> <strong>Carbs g> <strong>Fat g> <strong>Protein g> <strong>Sodium g> <strong>Sugar g>
<strong>kcalg> <strong>gg> <strong>gg> <strong>gg> <strong>mgg> <strong>gg>
Omlette – Cheese Omlette–2 Eggs, 2 Portion 640 5 44 40 820 0
Safeway – Bran Muffin From Bakery, 1 muffin 200 30 7 3 460 15
Banana – Banana – Large, 1 Large Banana 121 31 0 1 1 17
Barros Pizza – Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza, 2 slice 680 38 30 30 170 0
Homemade – Peach Cobler, 1 cup 419 80 11 5 328 50
Homemade (25) – Garden Salad (Lettuce,Cukes,Peppers,Tomato), 4 cups 50 0 0 0 0 0
Boston Market – Sweet Potato Casserole, 215 grams 480 87 14 3 250 60

You can steal eat your favorite foods on the carb cycling diet plan.  On the above high carb day you are consuming 271 carbs. But more importantly, your calories are still at 2,590.  For many of us (males) that is still below maintenance. Head over to <strong>myfitnesspal g>and see what fun you can come up with on your high carb days.


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