Cycling of Carbohydrates for the Purpose of Losing Body Fat

Cycling of carbohydrates (so-called Carb cycling) is a tried (and effective) tactic in the diet, with the goal of losing body fat. Unfortunately, such a regime is not for everyone. People with a very high amount of fat tissue should begin their transformation with the gradual acceleration of metabolism and ultimately a restriction diet (e.g. ketogenic diet).

On the other hand, a bodybuilder who is in the stage of gaining muscle mass will do much more to achieve his goal than eating “clean”. But also by bringing in continuously higher amounts of carbohydrates (among other things). For whom then is such a diet? In general, most people who are already in the “half” form will benefit most. There are, however, exceptions. John was experimenting and from a relatively bad form, through 10-12 weeks of carb cycling, he reached a single-digit percentage of fat in the body.

Carb Cycling Concept

Carb cycling concept is fairly banal and simple. A different amount of carbs is introduced each day and with this a different amount of calories.

Cycling of carbs refers to starchy complex carbohydrates (without junk food!). Their most common sources are rice, potatoes, oat flakes and the like. Vegetables (green, leafy, broccoli) that we enter, although technically speaking, contain carbs, do not enter in the sum and we can eat it as much as we want.

We said, therefore, that days with the higher amount of carbs alternately change with days with a lower amount of carbs. In order to determine how many carbohydrates we should enter, we will first determine the amount for the day in which we get the most carbs.

The maximum intake should be between 2.2 and 3.3 g Carbs/kg, depending on daily activity, the intensity of training, age, sex … It is better to start with a larger initial entry. Then we watch how the body behaves. So we have room for “cutting” the carbs if the effect is not satisfactory. If we start too low, we may miss the opportunity to grab a little more anabolic effect (= gain in muscle mass) without getting fat before we start with an even-smaller intake of carbs.

How Carb Cycling Works?

It is practical to take, for one cycle, 5 days.

An example of such a carb cycling would look like this:

  • 150 g – Day 1
  • 100 g – Day 2
  • 50 g – Day 3
  • 125 g – Day 4
  • 200 g – Day 5

Thus, in this example of the cycling, we have 3 days with relatively low carb intake and 2 days with higher carb intake. What do we achieve? We allow the body enough energy from carbohydrates to maintain the existing muscle mass. At the same time we “tell” the body to mobilize and consume body fat for energy purposes.

In days with higher intake of carbs, glycogen (energy) reserves in the muscles and liver are filled, thus achieving an anabolic (or at least anti-catabolic) environment. Anabolic means to be in a muscle building state, catabolic is to be in a muscle wasting state.  When we take in a low amount of carbs, the level of insulin is low and we create conditions for the consumption of fatty tissue. In the case of low carb input, it is desirable to increase the intake of fats. It will help the production of anabolic hormones. At the same time will increase insulin sensitivity in days with higher carb intake.

We repeat the important thing, that is, in the days when carbs should be high, it does not mean to be overwhelmed with a varied junk food. The key is in the selection of basic, unrefined sources of complex carbohydrates (from the above sources). But also in self-preparation of the meal, because only that way we can be sure of what we eat.

Example of John’s Carb Cycling

John has tried carb cycling and its effectiveness. In his concrete example, one cycle lasted for 7 days. He started with 200 g of carbs and he was reducing it by the end of the week to be zero on Saturday and Sunday. During the cycle, he trained from Monday to Friday, and on the weekend he had a break. He repeated that same cycle for 2 weeks because he noticed that with the same regime, the body could be “cheated” for about that amount of time.

After that, it was necessary to lower the initial carb intake again. He reduced from 200 g to 160 g, and again that worked for 2 weeks. What proved useful is the combination of carb cycling and carb back-loading. So, in translation, his daily intake of carbs would start after the training was completed (no matter which amount of carbs that day he entered) and this gave him a precious bonus effect!

In any case, as in many things that concern the functioning of the body, there are no exact numbers for carb cycling. It is necessary to take a picture of the initial state of the body. Then start with the above theoretical values of carb intake and after about 2 weeks take a picture again.

Compare the photos and objectively conclude (or give someone to judge) whether there is some success. If success has occurred, continue to repeat the whole process. If there are no results – that means that amount of crabs is still too large or training is too low intensity. Also, it is possible that the problem is in both components. Then make corrections and continue to correct until you see positive results.

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