This way of eating does not involve consumption of any PROCESSED carbohydrate such as biscuits, cakes, cereals pies etc. as these lead to both inflammation and excess fat storage. To support muscle growth and overall performance, however, HEALTHY carbohydrates such as wholegrains, fruits and vegetables are a necessity to obtain a varied supply of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Without carbohydrates you are at risk of deficiencies which can lead to illness. The plan is to take in just the right amount of carbohydrate of the right type at the right times so you do not need to count calories but you do need to count how many grams of carbohydrates you eat.
This plan is ideal for: those who have a stone or less of body fat to lose and for those who can stick to carbohydrate counting.
This plan is not for: pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with a medical condition (consult a doctor first). If you have a thyroid condition you should not eat too much cruciferous vegetables. If you crave carbohydrates then this is not for you; first you will need to stabilise your blood sugar levels by gradually cutting cakes, pastries, white bread, white flour, white rice, jam etc. out of your diet.
How Carbohydrate Cycling Works
In carbohydrate cycling, your week is split into 3 different types of days: 25g no carbohydrate days, 75g low carbohydrate days and for women 150 -200g and men 300g high carbohydrate days.
NO CARBOHYDRATE DAYS: On these, eat 25 g of high fibre vegetables such as leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, onions, peppers and mushrooms, alongside protein and good fats.
LOW CARBOHYDRATE DAYS: eat 75 grams of carbohydrate. Once again, fibrous vegetables can be eaten freely, but add in two to three servings of carbohydrate sources such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, starchy vegetables and fruit. For best results, having starchy carbohydrate post-workout on these days is best.
HIGH CARBOHYDRATE DAYS: The total amount of carbohydrate will vary based on your size and activity level. Women can consume between 150 and 200 grams while men up to 300 grams. It is best if most of these should come from non-starchy sources but if you are going to go off plan it is best to do it on a high-carbohydrate day. then the next day go back to youroriginal plan. Don’t forget to continue to eat plenty of lean protein and a serving or two of healthy fats. A high-carbohydrate day is not an excuse to binge eat; it’s part of a systematic way to reset muscle-building and fat-burning hormones.
Using these three daily eating protocols, it is possible to alter the body’s hormonal environment to maximise fat loss and muscle gain throughout the week.
A sample week of carbohydrate cycling looks like this:
Day 1: No carbohydrate Day 2: Low carbohydrate Day 3: High carbohydrate Day 4: No carbohydrate Day 5: No carbohydrate Day 6: Low carbohydrate Day 7: High carbohydrate
Since carbohydrate cycling employs high carbohydrate days, it’s psychologically satisfying, curbing cravings and making it easier to adhere to the programme. But when we do two or higher carbohydrate days in a row, fat storage momentum can build. That’s why no-carbohydrate days follow high-carbohydrate days -- it minimizes the potential for fat storage and keeps your body insulin-sensitive.
Carb cycling hack – for those that find it difficult to manage – this is a slower approach that would need to be sustained for at least 3 months or more. Have 3 low carbohydrate days followed by a high carbohydrate day and continue to repeat, 3 low days followed by a high carbohydrate day. Try not to have 2 high carbohydrate days together as fat stores will build due to the higher quantity of carbohydrate eaten.