Summer is sneaking upon you and before you know it, you will be going to the beach with your friends and family, ready to strip off into your board shorts and then you realise! You realise that you haven’t focused on getting lean at all and your now too embarrassed of your waistline and you don’t want to show it to anyone. That sure sounds like the perfect way to ruin your summer. Well this article is going to discuss the benefits of carbohydrate cycling and how it can help you become leaner so your able to feel confident topless in the sunshine. As I write this I am now personally using a form of ‘carbohydrate cycling’ on my diet with great effect!
What is carbohydrate cycling then? Carbohydrate cycling is a method used which means that your carbohydrate intake is always changing. The first huge benefit is that your overall carbohydrate consumption on a weekly basis is lowered therefore, in theory you should be able to drop your body fat quicker!
Another huge advantage of cycling carbohydrates is the impact it can have on your metabolism. Carbohydrates keep your metabolism fired up, so low carb diets are not ideal in my opinion. However, with carbohydrate cycling you are able to maintain the speed of your metabolism as you do have high carb days, yet you can also have the benefits of a low carb diet simultaneously! What this means is that carbohydrate cycling is a great way to drop body fat because your metabolism is always running fast, whilst your carbohydrate intake is moderate.
As a final point, I have found that carbohydrate cycling is a great way to get the best of both worlds. Personally, I do not like low carbohydrate diets because I think they make you catabolic, low on energy and you look very flat! However, by cycling your carbohydrates you can maintain muscle fullness by loading your glycogen levels. In regards to catabolism, your glycogen levels shouldn’t ever become depleted to the point where catabolism kicks in. even on ‘low carb’ days I still take on my CNP Pro-Recover after training. For me the key to preventing catabolism on low carb days is to ensure during your first meal and post-workout meal you take on plenty of carbohydrates, as these are the two times of the day you are most likely to become catabolic!
So how you do you ‘cycle’ carbohydrates successfully? As with most diets in bodybuilding and athletics there are numerous ways to do something. However, for me I simply alternate between high and low carb days. One day I will take on around 250g of carbohydrates and the next I will take in the region of 150g of carbohydrates. On high carb days I will aim to train bigger muscle groups like my back and legs to ensure I burn more calories! I also like to plan my cheat meals to land on a low carb day, so that I don’t take on so many empty calories on that day. From experience, I find by having a cheat meal at the end of a low carb day this really helps shock the body and load my muscles, which I believe to be productive! On my low carb days I have extra EFAs (essential fatty acids) in the form of Udo’s Choice because I do not want to allow my calories to drop too much and become catabolic!
There are some ideas in relation to carbohydrate cycling. Remember, some people will carbohydrate cycle on a 3, 5 or even 7 day plan. This means that their carbohydrate intake will differ most days, as where I simply alternate mine every other day at the moment.