You’ve no doubt heard the buzz around carb cycling. Rather than cutting calories, carb cycling is as easy as changing the kinds of foods you eat on different days.
This method is not only supposed to supercharge fat loss, but allows you to utilise carbs for energy during your workouts. Get shredded and smash out personal records in the gym? Sign us up!
What you might not know is there’s more than one way to carb cycle. In fact, it can be done on almost any diet. You can even customise your own carb cycling plan to suit your personal workout regimen, exercise intensity and nutritional requirements.
Just check out these three different ways to carb cycle:
Method #1: match your carb intake to your workout
Best suited for: People with a varied workout schedule across the week.
Crossfit on Mondays, boxing on Tuesdays, rest on Wednesdays, heavy weights on Thursdays. Any of this sounding familiar? If you like variety in your workouts, you want to make sure you’re fuelling your body appropriately.
You might choose to consume more carbs on your workout days and then pull back for rest days. Or you could go high carb for strength training (such as lifting) and lower the carbs on cardio days, possibly even working out in a fasted state.
This is more of a traditional carb cycling method and is a great starting point for anyone new to customising their macros.
Method #2: carb cycling without going low carb
Best suited for: People who don’t want to eat low carb, or anyone lifting 5+ days a week.
If you’re an absolute carb fiend then you might recoil at the idea of sacrificing your precious carbs for half the week. Good news: you don’t have to break up with carbs to reap the benefits.
Ramp up the carbs on workout days as much as you like. Then, on rest days, lower your carbs to a moderate intake— around 100-150 grams. Who says you have to give up bread to reach your fitness goals?
Method #3: carb cycling with whole foods only
Best suited for: Anyone with a gluten intolerance, avoiding processed foods, or on a paleo diet.
Whether you choose to eat like a caveman or can’t even look at bread without feeling sick, carb cycling can still work for you. Yes, even without rice!
Instead, choose starchy vegetables for your daily carbs. Think sweet potato, pumpkin and, if you’re not paleo, black beans and lentils. These whole foods will provide you with all the energy you need to smash through those lifts.
On rest days, stick to non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms and pretty much any green vegetable.
The benefit to carb cycling with whole foods is it’s easier to experiment with different macro levels without the headache of weighing food and tracking. Lifting weights? Add a sweet potato to your dinner. Yoga? Go for a side of green beans instead.
The best part of carb cycling? You can indulge in whatever food you like, so long as it fits your carb requirements. Indulge in bacon on your low-carb days, and go all out with oats on workout days.
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