Sunday, September 23, 2012

What is carb cycling?

So, you've heard everyone talk about it. You've been wondering what the hell it is or what it means. What is it? Carb cycling is basically the process of simultaneously building muscle while keeping fat levels low by cycling carbohydrate intake from low days moderate days to high days. Carbohydrates are used as energy by our bodies. They fuel our workouts, replenish our glucose and glycogen levels after our workouts, and of course give us energy to get us through the day. So how does cycling the carbs help achieve fat loss? Cycling helps use fat for burning as fuel in our bodies, instead of burning muscle tissue and carbs for fuel! So, back to the three phases. Essentially, you cycle between 3 different carb phases. Low carb, moderate carb, and high carb. How do you choose what kind of rotation cycle is best for you? It all depends on how your training routine is. Normally, one would have there high carb days when bigger muscle groups are trained, such as back and legs. Moderate days would be more like biceps and shoulders. Low carb days are normally cardio only days or rest days. High carb days would mean calories are higher obviously, where as your low carb days will contain much fewer calories. In order to compensate for the low carb intake on low days, fats are normally upped in order to sustain energy levels and help keep your body satisfied. Healthy fats, of course. I too am still learning a lot about this subject but have decided to give it a try. I went a few months with sticking to a calorie surplus and keeping my carbs high. My macro breakdown that I aimed for daily was 50c/30p/20f. This allowed me to gain muscle, and the weight and size that I was looking to gain. Now remember, everyone's bodies react differently so what I do personally may not work for you. I do not share my calorie intake with you all simply because what my body requires is most likely not exactly what yours does. I know many people don't understand that concept and would still do exactly what I do in hopes of achieving a similar physique. I will however, share how my macro breakdown will look like on each day and how my cycle will look like. I'm hoping to see some progress through this and I'm excited to experiment with my body since I've always wondered about this. What I am looking to achieve by doing this is more muscle gains/maintaining what I have now, shredding some of this extra fat that came along with the calorie surplus, and maintaining and gaining more strength of course! I don't mind staying somewhat soft since its easier to maintain. I will of course have updates on progress and my thoughts on this program. I also will be adding one cardio day back into my routine withinin the next few weeks, but nothing longer than 30 minutes. This is what my cycle will look like:

Tuesday- high

Low days: 50p/30f/20c
Moderate 40p/25f/35c

Remember what I do may not work for you. Please figure out what works for YOU and YOUR body and dont dwell so much on what me or others do. WAY too many people ask about my diet and how calories and carbs and proteins etc look like and IT DOESNT MATTER! It's all about trial and error. This is a trial for me since I've never done this, so I may have to tweak some things depending on how my body reacts.

Again, I will stress that you need to educate yourselves about fitness. There are so many great websites out there that can help expand your knowledge in certain areas. I promise no one was born with a brain full of facts about how to be fit and what our bodies need. I will post some websites that all of you should become familiar with. Google is such a great way to answer questions you may have. Knowledge is power, teach yourselves!

These sites have more articles about carb cycling if you want to go more in depth on the subject.


  1. thanks for all the info and always being so patient. You inspire me. keep doing what you do =)

  2. Just came to your blog from your IG, and I'm addicted! Fitness and healthy eating had always intrigued me, but overwhelmed me at the same time! I had a baby in June, and I don't have any "baby weight" to lose (I give breastfeeding all the credit! It burns up to 500 calories a day!) I have a lot of toning and building to get where I want to be... Your blog has been awesome and answered so many questions already, can't wait to dig into the archives tomorrow, just wanted to say thanks for the motivation! :)

  3. love your blog! glad you posted on carb cycling as i have noticed that seems to be one of the most frequent questions lately-- its very helpful

  4. maybe it would be better if i talked to you online, have you ever looked into Visalus?

  5. Hey...I LOVE your blog (which I found via Instagram). I'm a triathlete - and although I'm quite competitive - I've yet to achieve the body I want. It's work for so many hours but not see the cuts I want. Sure, balance is important and I dont want to sacrifice everything for a 6-pack...but your blog really motivated me to take my nutrition and lifting more seriously. I have a simiilar background to you - reading articles and gaining knowledge bit by bit. It really is a process. We have to seek this info out ourselves - no one is born knowing it all. I'm looking forward to really commiting to this lifestyle over the fall and winter (my off season) and spending time re shaping my body.

    What was the biggest challenge for you when you began?
    How long would you say it took you to see results?
    What are 3 tips you could provide when your mind "forgets" your goals and makes motivation a bit harder.

    You rock!!

  6. Hello! I follow you more on instagram than on your blog and I'm not even a "fitness person." I like that you are just a regular girl that has made the effort to learn how to be your best! I was hoping for some advise. I'm a crazy busy college student in my senior year. I would like to be in better shape and I'd REALLY like to eat better. I've always been very thin (5'7" and ~108lbs) but I get that "skinny fat" in my tummy every now and then and I know eating better would help alot. Can you share your favorite "on the go" recipes? I never have time to cook, so some ideas for meals I could make on the weekend and pack for the week would be so helpful! It sounds like you've got this clean eating thing down and I'd love to hear what you have to say! Thanks for all your advise and motivation!

  7. Do you think you could post your diet when your carb cycling?