This week has been my first experience with carb cycling. In an effort to drop a little body fat, I’m alternating my carbohydrate intake daily, between high, medium and low days.
The idea is, by “loading” up on carbs on high days, you can maximize your fat burn on lower days without having to decrease the intensity of your workouts. Some people also use it to lean out without losing (or while still gaining) muscle mass.
Because I’m new to this, and low-carb diets can be
hell difficult at first, I’m starting with a split of high, medium and low days rather than just high/low. I first want to see how I feel and how my body reacts.
My macros look something like this (please keep in mind I am not a registered dietitian and this is just what works for me. Everyone’s body is different and this should not be taken as a recommended meal plan.)
High Carb Day:
Calories= approx. 1600
Moderate Carb Day:
Calories= approx. 1400
Low Carb Day:
Calories= approx. 1300
This is an example of my macros on a low carb day. (The daily goals are not properly adjusted so ignore that. I just took into account the line that says “totals.”) You can see I actually struggled to hit 1300 calories. I was able to stay at 65 grams for carbs, and fat and protein were pretty much on target.
Surprisingly, the first thing I’ve noticed so far is even though it feels like I am eating a TON of food, I actually felt hungrier between meals on the high carb days. That may be because my protein portions on the lower days are so high.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my workout didn’t suffer on the low day either. My lift was pretty intense and I had enough energy to power through teaching a 45 minute HIIT class without feeling ravenous.
Of course carb-cycling is intended to be designed to correlate with your workout plan. Here’s how mine breaks out:
Monday: Heavy Leg Lift + 30 minute incline treadmill walk (High Carb)
Tuesday: Lift back/chest + 45 minute Spin class (Moderate Carb)
Wednesday: Lift biceps/triceps + teach 45 minute HIIT class (Low Carb)
Thursday: Plyometric Leg Circuit + 30 minutes of :30 sprint/:30 walk (High Carb)
Friday: Lift Shoulders + teach 30 minute HIIT class (Moderate Carb)
Saturday: Ab workout + teach 60 minute Turbo Kick (Low Carb)
Sunday: Rest (Low Carb)
Next week I will probably switch Wednesday to a moderate carb day. Friday really should be low carb, but because I normally stay up nearly 24 hours straight on Fridays, it is impossible for me to feed my metabolism with so few calories over that length of time.
This is the plan I am sticking to for the next 30 days. Carb cycling isn’t something you want to do for an extended period of time; it can be a real challenge and is meant as a tool to bring you closer to a goal more quickly.
I am eating healthy fats, clean and complex carbs and lean proteins too- no heavy saturated fats or refined carbs. I’ll share more of my exact eating plan with you soon.
Have you ever tried carb cycling or a low carb diet? What did you think?