What is Carb cycling and how to do it?

carb cycle -

What is Carb cycling and how to do it?


Are Carbs bad for you?

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For anyone trying to lose weight, the word "carbs" is akin 

to blasphemy. Carb is the age-old enemy. Carbs are the 

evil nemesis of Weight Watchers everywhere. Carbs mean 

calories and weight loss requires cutting calories.

It has been the traditional belief that foods packed with 

carbs will cause you to pack on the pounds. Even healthy 

carbs like starchy vegetables and whole grains are high in 

carbs, so many classic diets restrict them as well. The 

result is that we have become to believe that carbs are bad 

for us. Not only do they hinder weight loss, but they are 

downright unhealthy.

Well, science has recently turned that belief upside down 

by telling us that carbs may be your best ally in the battle 

to lose weight. Leveraging carbs to help us lose weight is 

called carb cycling. it is a method whereby eating carbs can 

lead to weight loss rather than weight gain!

Carb cycling is done through a weekly eating plan with a few 

basic rules to stick to. Other than that, you have a full run.


Carbs are the main food group that "fuels" our metabolism 

so that it burns calories and gives us energy. Carbs are also 

very filling. Therefore, diets that cut out or strictly limit 

carb intake make us feel tired and sluggish. They also 

make us irritable, hungry and more likely to binge.

With the 7-day carb cycling plan, a person consumes carbs to boost metabolism. The plan causes the body to use carb rich foods to function at the optimal peak, burning fat and 

building muscle. The result is weight loss with less flab. It's that simple! This is what makes carb cycling unique and 


But there's a catch. This doesn't mean going overboard 

with the carbs and eat tons of them day in, day out. The 

catch is that you follow a 7-day plan where you eat more 

carbs on certain days and less or no carbs on other days. 

This allows your body to optimally "cycle" your carb intake 

so that you lose weight and build muscle mass.


A typical 7-day plan looks like this:

Monday: High carb intake

Tuesday: Low carb intake

Wednesday: High carb intake.

Thursday: Low carb intake.

Friday: High carb intake.

Saturday: High carb day – or the option of rewarding 

yourself. You can indulge (moderately) in your favorite 

foods. This is also called "cheat day". Sunday: Low carb 



Versions of the 7-day plan

There are several versions of the plan where two or more 

high carb days will be followed by low carb days or some 

variation of this. Some examples are:

Alternative plan 1:

Day 1: High carbs

Day 2: Low carbs

Day 3: Zero carbs

Day 4: Low carbs

Day 5: High carbs

Day 6: Low carbs

Day 7: Zero carbs

Alternative plan 2:

Day 1: High carbs

Day 2: Low carbs

Day 3: Zero carbs

Day 4: Low carbs

Day 5: High carbs

Day 6: Low carbs

Day 7: Zero carbs


There are a variety of other versions as well, such as 4 high 

carb days followed by three low carb days. However, as a 

beginner, you will want to start with the simple alternate 

day plan.

You can switch to a different cycle when you get the hang 

of it and feel you are ready. Or, you can stick to the basic 

plan throughout your journey until you have achieved your 

weight loss goal.

If you find that carb cycling works for you, you may want to 

dive deeper into these other plans. In this case, you will 

want to consult an expert. They will help you customize a 

plan that suits your weight goals, gender, and lifestyle.

The alternate-day plan we will use here is just the simplest 

for a beginner and will work for anyone.


What You Eat

Carbs: They are the main source of fuel for the body and

essential for boosting metabolism. They are also essential 

for potting the fat-burning cycle into action.

Protein: This is the foundation of your carb cycling plan.

You must eat between 1/5th to 1/7th of the minimum 

required daily intake with each meal.

Fats: Fat intake will remain consistent throughout the 

plan. You may raise your fat intake a little bit on low carb 

days for more energy.


Calculating your daily intake:

For the best results, you need to calculate your daily intake 

of carbs, proteins, and fats. This a very easy process of 



Low carb days

Carbs: Women simply must multiply their body weight by

0.6. Men should multiply bodyweight by 0.9. The resulting 

number will represent the carbohydrate intake in grams 

per day.

Proteins: Women can calculate their daily intake by

multiplying their body weight by 1.2. Men can calculate 

their daily intake by multiplying their body weight by 1.5. 

The resulting number will be the required daily intake of 

protein per day.

Fats: To calculate daily fat intake, women should multiply

their body weight by 0.5, while men should multiply by 0.8. 

The resulting number is your daily intake of fats in grams.

To calculate the total number of calories, add the totals 

from the three food groups.


High carb days:

The same calculation is used, except that in this case, your 

intake of carbs and proteins will be higher. Your intake of 

fats will decrease.

Carbs: Women should multiply their body weight by 1.4

while men will multiply by 1.7.

Proteins: Women multiply their body weight by 1.4 and

men by 1.7 (yes, it's the same ratio as for carbs)

Fats: Women should multiple bodyweight by o.3 whereas

men should multiply by o.6.

The total of the three numbers will give you the total 

number of calories you can consume for High carb days.

It is up to you how you divide your daily intake throughout 

meals, whether you are having three meals or six meals per 




As for daily calorie consumption, the recommended range 

is 1500 – 2300 for women and 1500 – 3000 for men. This 

is the general recommended range that you should stay 

within. However, don’t beat yourself up if you exceed it a 

little on some days. I highly recommend that you invest in 

a calorie counting app. As for how many calories are 

contained in the foods you consume, you can easily look 

this up online and prepare a reference list to store on your 




Carb portions range from 200 grams to 300 grams on high 

carb days and 50 grams to 150 grams on lower carb days. 

We will discuss portions and food types in a later chapter.

This was a very simple explanation of how the carb cycling 

plan works. Next, let’s find out why it works and how it 

can benefit you.


How CARB CYCLE works?

The carb cycling diet has become mainstream recently. 

Research is still ongoing with regards to the additional 

benefits. However, many people have reported great 

success with the 7-day plan for several reasons. Here are 

some of the arguments for why it works:

 Flexibility: It really doesn’t 

feel like a diet because there is a wide variety of foods to 

choose from. You can eat your favorite foods on certain 

days. People who follow the plan report not feeling 

deprived. And, the cheat day really helps as well!

 It is a simple protocol. Any layman who wants to lose 

weight will have no trouble following the easy guidelines.

• Perhaps the strongest point is that it is proven 

simultaneously build muscle while burning fat. This is a 

dream come true for anyone who wants to shed 

stubborn pounds.

 A high carb diet has been shown to increase insulin 

production in the pancreas. This important hormone 

helps boost metabolism and energy levels. Insulin also 

helps maintain better body composition.

 The high carb intake increases the production of leptin

a hormone that decreases hunger.

 The high carb days will replenish and fuel glycogen, 

compound that builds muscle

• You do not need to use elaborate measurements or track 

macronutrients. You will be able to see results by just 

monitoring daily calorie intake sticking to the basic 


Traditionally, it was believed that you could not build muscle 

and lose fat at the same time. This is because losing fat 

requires less calorie intake while building muscles requires 

more. Amazingly, carb cycling is the magic formula that 

helps the body do both. This is the real game-changer.

Carb cycling works because it's a healthy way to lose 

weight and get into better shape.


What to Eat and What to Avoid in Carb Cycle:

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Carbs

First and foremost, you need to eat healthy carbs and 

avoid unhealthy carbs. Healthy carbs are 

known as complex or unprocessed carbs. Processed carbs 

are those that are loaded with useless calories and really 

have zero nutritional value.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fats And Proteins

Vegetables, proteins, and fats are the basis of your low 

carb days. But if you're eating unhealthy fats and proteins 

on low carb days, that just defeats the purpose. Healthy 

fats and proteins not only boost the process of carb cycling 

but also give you more energy. Make sure you include a 

good variety of these in your plan.


Normal Side Effects to Expect

Don’t worry. The side effects are nothing remotely 

dangerous. Consider them as minor symptoms that may 

cause some discomfort.

Any disruptive changes in diet or exercise routines may 

have some temporary side effects. It's like when you work 

out after a period of inactivity. Your muscles will ache for a 

couple of days afterward. But you know it's a result of your 


Some people starting the carb cycling plan have reported experiencing some side effects. These should pass or decrease significantly within a week or so.

1. Water weight gain. Expect to see some water weight 

gain especially on high carb days. This is because your 

body stores four times more water for every gram of 

carbs you consume. This should normalize over time.

You will notice less water weight gain on low carb days. 

So, rest assured that you are not gaining real weight.

Exercising on high carb days may also help with this 


Note: Despite this water weight gain, you still 

need to drink lots of water throughout the day.

2. You may feel more tired and lethargic than usual during 

the first week or so. This is normal. You will regain your 

usual energy – in fact, you will notice increased energy -

once the carb cycling kicks in.

3. You may experience constipation or bloating. This is 

due to your high carb intake, especially more starchy 

foods like potatoes and rice. Herbal teas, especially chamomile, is a wonderful cure 

for this. You can also replace your fruit intake with 

stewed fruit until your digestion improves.

4. You may feel irritable and experience mood swings. This 

is a normal complaint. It could be that for you, the carb 

cycling plan is restrictive What does that mean? If you 

are used to eating more carbs than the quantities 

prescribed in this plan, then you are restricting yourself. 

This deprivation may cause some irritability and 

moodiness for the first few days.

5. You may experience cravings due to the switch from 

unhealthy carbs and fats to healthy ones. Willpower and 

the cheat day will help you overcome this.

6. Your body may crave more carbs on low carb days.


Other than the above, the harmless side effects, there is no 

real danger in following a carb cycling diet. However, 

always listen to what your body tells you. If these side 

effects last for more than two weeks, then the carb diet 

may just not for you.

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