When you think of a diet, words like “calories,” “carbs,” “protein” and so on get mentioned often and have a proven effect on your fitness program. Different programs have different goals- some are for bodybuilding, some for toning mass and others for weight loss. Weight loss is actually one of the more common goals for any fitness program because one first needs to lose all that excess flab before deciding to tone it or build on lean muscle.
Which brings us to the question: is there a dieting technique that can help with the goal of losing weight?
The answer is yes; there are many such dieting plans that can help with weight loss. And one such program is called “Carb Cycling.”
What is Carb Cycling?
It is an ingenious diet plan that plays with your calorie intake and, most importantly, works on how much carbs you consume, when you consume it and how you can create a pattern that will help you lose your flab. You basically set a certain carb intake amount on specific days and follow this as a regulated cycle.
How does this cycle work?
Here’s a fact about carbs: they create a more anabolic environment and promote better muscle growth.
Here’s another fact about carbs: they naturally spike insulin levels, feeding more glucose to the body and allowing it to store more fat for energy.
So, the fact that carbs can be both good and bad for a fitness program is what makes including them into a regular diet a risk.
And this is why a regulated cycle is a much better option.
How can this be done?
Divide your carb intake into 3 different days:
These are the days when, as the name suggests, you include a lesser amount of carbs in your diet. This would roughly be 0.5 grams of carbs in proportion to each pound of body weight. The carb intake is minimal but not completely excluded.
On these days, you’re making carbs a very integral part of your diet. This would mean consuming 2.5 grams of carbs in proportion to each pound of body weight. On these days your calorie intake is the highest.
Finally, round-off the cycle, you have days when you completely omit carbs from your diet and focus more on proteins and other important supplements. Or, if you don’t want to take this measure, you have to make sure that you don’t consume more than 30 grams of carbs in total on these days.
Why does this cycle work?
- The high-calorie carb days are useful for helping the body build as much muscle as it can and condition the muscles to store more fat for energy burning purposes and also to let it absorb other nutrients better.
- Protein intake and the metabolism of muscle proteins is visibly enhanced on these days
- You can train harder and faster because your glycogen stores in the body are at full capacity.
- Due to more insulin, you manage to have a bigger storage for fat as well.
- And this high-calorie effect is counterbalanced by the low-carb and no-carb days.
- On these days the glycogen levels do not increase, so the existing fat stores are burned for energy.
- Additionally, the other minerals being consumed are doing their job, making sure that all that previously stored fat is being put to good use.
How do proteins assist with this?
- Including a good amount of protein into your diet will not only speed up the process of making you lose weight and burn fat but will also make your training program more effective.
- Skipping on proteins in a problem because your fats aren’t getting burned and you also end up losing on healthy muscles in your body.
- Let’s talk about TEF or Thermic Effect of Food. This is nothing but the amount of energy any particular macro or micronutrient requires or burns when it is consumed along with a workout.
- For proteins, the TEF level accounts for 30%-35% of the energy consumed, and this is much higher than carbs, which is only 5%-10%
- So, when you consume proteins along with your carb cycle diet, you’re ensuring that more energy is being burned and more fat is being used up, hence allowing you to lose weight.
- If you want to top up on your protein requirement, you can consider protein bars which are a convenient method and it helps with losing weight. You can find the 10 Best Meal Replacement Protein Bars For Better Weight Management.
So, the next time you want to take up a diet which will effectively help you lose weight, keep a close eye on your carb intake and device a cycle with the help of a professional. The right amount of carbs might just give you that body you’ve always wanted!