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Carb Cycling For A Lean Physique

Carb cycling is a method used by a large number of bodybuilders and fitness athletes to prepare for contests and shows. Some athletes even use it as a maintenance diet or even a body re-composition diet. So what exactly is carb cycling ? In simple words it’s nothing more than varying your day-to-day carbohydrate intake.

Why should we cycle carbs and not just keep a low carb diet, you may ask. The key to successful fat burning is to keep your metabolism running. A low(er) carb diet may be a good solution for someone that has too much excess body fat and is initially starting to lose fat. But in time, a low carb diet will do just the opposite – it will slow down your metabolism.

Leptin, a hormone that is responsible for reporting your nutritional status to your brain, can drop up to 50% in just one week of low carb dieting. The drop of leptin slows down the metabolism and creates a hormonal environment responsible for fat gain. Carb cycling is the solution of the problem as it keeps your metabolism from slowing down and makes dieting mentally easier.

How does Carb Cycling work ?

Carbohydrate cycling is the practice of lowering carbohydrates for a period of time, (three days is often used) and then bringing your carbs back up for a day. This is done as opposed to just keeping your carbohydrate ratios the same day in, day out.

For the sake of simplicity we’ll assume that we need 3000 calories a day for maintenance at a weight of 200 lbs. If we want to lose fat, we obviously should create a calorie deficit. A deficit of 500 to 800 calories a day would be a good start.

For maintaining muscle mass it’s recommended to keep our protein intake high or 1.3 to 2 grams of protein per pound. This means that we should consume 260 to 400 grams of protein a day.

We will place our high and moderate  carb days on workout days, “no carb” days on rest and cardio days.

– Using an upper/lower split the carb cyclyng method would look like this:

1.Monday – Upper body (moderate carb day)

2.Tuesday – rest/cardio  (“no carb” day)

3.Wednesday – Lower body (moderate carb day)

4.Thursday – rest/cardio   (“no carb” day)

5.Friday – Upper body (high carb day – refeed)

6.Saturday – rest/cardio  (moderate carb day)

7.Sunday – rest (“no carb” day)
Low carb day:

Protein 270 g  (1080 calories)
Carbs    50 g    (200 calories)
Fat       80 g     (630 calories)
total:               2000 calories

Moderate carb day

Protein 270 g  (1080 calories)
Carbs   200 g   (800 calories)
Fat      70 g     (630 calories)
total:               2510 calories

High carb day – refeed day

Protein 270 g  (1080 calories)
Carbs   450 g  (1800 calories)
Fat      70 g     (630 calories)
total:               3510 calories