You must have heard and read that carbohydrates are bad if you want to lose fat. Well, that’s completely false. Carbs are, in-fact, good for you. They are not essential for the body, but they surely provide ample fuel to the body and make dieting more pleasurable. If consumed at wrong time, this micronutrient can be stored as fat in the body, but, there’s a way in which you can use it lose those extra pounds from your body too – carb cycling.
How To Lose Fat By Carb Cycling?
What is carb cycling?
Carb cycling is a kind of diet in which you manipulate the amount of carbohydrates that you consume everyday. So, on some days, preferably on heavy workout days, you consume high amount of carbs, and on other days, preferably on light workout/cardio days, you consume low amount of carbs. Simple? No? Let me explain it further.
How To Cycle Carbs to lose fat?
As I have explained above, cycling carbs is easy –
Less carbs on low activity days & More Carbs on high activity days.
While the low carb days will help you burn more fat, the high carb days will replenish your glycogen levels and aid recovery. One thing to note here is that you ONLY have to count the starchy complex carbs as micronutrients and not the fibrous veggies. For example, if you’re eating a bowl of oats or brown rice along with some grilled vegetables, you just have to count the amount of carbs in the oats or brown rice and not in those vegetables. This is because vegetables are a good source of fiber and have very less carbs and calories.
Many of you would have doubts about how to start cycling carbs? How to lose fat by carb cycling in real? So, to find out how many carbs you really need on your high and low carbs days, let’s set a fixed number, say 200 grams. You can also go for usual 1.5 gram carbs per pound of lean body mass, but, as some of us are more sensitive to carbs and factors like activity level, sex, age, training, etc. also influence the carb requirement of the body, I’d suggest 200 grams is also a good place to start if you don’t want too much hassle.
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So, in simple words, 200 grams is the upper limit and you can go as down as 50 gram carbs. Now, to really let the body react to the cycle, the carb flux should be big. You can’t cycle carbs like 200g – 190g – 185g – 195g and so on, and expect see results. There should be at least 50-75 grams of fluctuation in the carb amount. Basically, your plan would look something like this –
Day1 – 200 grams
Day2 – 125 grams
Day3 – 175 grams
Day4 – 100 grams
Day5 – 150 grams
Day6 – 50 grams
Day7 – 100 grams
There is no set pattern as to how you should divide the carb intake. Just make sure you keep a nutritional journal to record and track your progress. This will help you understand how your body respond to carbs on certain days, and you can make changes accordingly.
Carb Cycling Burns Fat
Yes, this is absolutely true. On low carb days, your body will burn fat for fuel, and on high carb days, your body will prepare itself to keep burning fat. Eating less carbs also increases insulin sensitivity in the body, which helps in keeping body fat very low. Similarly, eating more carbs increase leptin in the body, which keeps you form feeling hungry. Along with this, body also burn more calories on high carb days. These two benefits of high carb days help in keeping body metabolism high so that you keep burning fat.
What Kind Of Carbs To Eat?
While carb cycling, always consume clean carbs. Clean carbs mean complex, slow-digesting carbs. As much as possible, avoid dirty, junk, simple carbs like sugars, junk food, etc. You should make sure that you consume most of your carbs within 6-7 hours after your workout, or as early as possible in the day. As the day goes by, keep reducing the carbs and completely avoid carbs after at least 3-4 hours until bed time. Now, coming to clean carb sources, here are some foods that you can include in your general carb cycling diet: Oatmeal, rice, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, apples, bananas, berries, beans, grits, squash.
How To Lose Fat By Carb Cycling? – Bottom Line
If you’re too strict with your diet, chances are that you’re going to feel miserable and won’t stick to your diet. So take it easy. Obviously, you’d have to make some sacrifices and give up all the unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits, but in return, you will achieve your goal and gain your dream body. Set small goals and reward yourself when you have achieved them. This way you’ll stay motivated and focused towards your goal.
Along with carb cycling diet, you can also include HIIT cardio in your workout routine and keep high-protein diet to maintain the muscle mass that you gain by your training.
So, get ready, set a fat loss goal, and go achieve it. This is how to lose fat by carb cycling.