Carb Cycling is a simple strategy that’s quickly gaining popularity in the health and fitness world because it’s simple to do and gives big results withOUT depressing the metabolism or compromising nutrient intake.
In other words, carb cycling is an easy, healthy way to burn fat and lose weight!
When some people hear the term “carb cycling” they picture a box of donuts in spin class, but that’s not exactly right (even if it does sound pretty great!). Carb cycling is actually just a variation in your carb intake throughout the week.
This means you’ll eat your regular amount of carbs on some days, and low carb on other days.
What is carb cycling?
Carb cycling is a powerful way to burn fat by using it for fuel instead of carbs. Here’s how it works: when carbs are present in the body, they turn to sugar. Sugar, or glucose, is used for fuel because it’s quick energy. But when there’s no glucose in the body to use for fuel, it has to use something else, and that something is FAT!
When you eat low carb, you eliminate the constant supply of carbs (the ones you eat) and the body is forced to use its limited carbohydrate stores (called glycogen). Once the glycogen is depleted, it will start using stored fat to fuel your body.
Pretty simple, right?
When you practice carb cycling, you integrate some lower-carb days with regular carb days in order to effectively turn your body into a fat burning machine!
What does “Low Carb” actually mean?
The term “low carb” can vary a lot from strategy to strategy (there are plenty of low-carb diets out there, like keto, Atkins, South Beach, etc.), but in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, we encourage our clients to consume 50–100g of carbs on our low carb days (depending on individual circumstances and gender).
This is a very doable range (in terms of not going crazy trying to figure out what to eat!) and our clients have seen HUGE success with it.
Can I eat any carbs I want?
Carb cycling is most effective when paired with a whole-food diet. If you had visions of chips and donuts and all the bread you could eat, that’s not exactly what we’re going for. There are plenty of healthy whole-food options that will provide you lots of fiber (which is important for digesting carbs), and lots of nutrition (plenty of vitamins and minerals). Healthy options we encourage you to eat are fruits, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, etc.
So why not eat Low Carb all the time?
You might be wondering, If low carb is so great, why not do it all the time? Great question! There are several of reasons we don’t encourage a strict low-carb lifestyle.
- Eliminating a food group eliminates nutrition. Fruits, veggies (like sweet potatoes) and non-glutinous grains are packed with nutrition! If you stop eating them, you also stop getting all those vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
- Your body needs sugar! Sugar is the preferred fuel source for our muscles and organs, and when they’re deprived of it long term, they don’t function optimally. This is especially true for the thyroid, which is critical for hormone production and regulation (and we all know how it is when our hormones are out of whack!).
- Deprivation=frustration. If you love carbs, you’ll hate feeling deprived all the time. It’s frustrating to feel like you’re missing out on life because if you have a piece of cake at your son’s birthday, it will kick you out of ketosis. Many women come to fear or resent carbs because they think low carb is the only way, but all this does is give short-term results and long-term problems.
- Most people hit a plateau. No matter how low carb they eat or how many times they hit the gym each week, most people will hit a plateau in a low carb lifestyle. There’s nothing worse than staying strict with your diet and exercise only to feel like you’re failing.
Carb cycling is a better choice because it harnesses the benefits of a low carb lifestyle withOUT the risk to your hormones, the loss of nutrition, or that feeling of deprivation and missing out on life.
How can I maximize carb cycling? Should I pair carb cycling and HIIT workouts?
Carb cycling is a powerful tool by itself, but when combined with speed-burst exercise like sprints or HIIT (high-intensity interval training), you’ll turn your body into a fat-burning machine! This type of exercise quickly depletes your glycogen stores and leaves the body no choice but to burn fat. The best part? This type of exercise also burns fat for hours after you’re done working out—up to 24 hours!
Take it to another level!
If you’re ready to take your results to a whole new level, then combine carb cycling with Intermittent Fasting, whole foods, and balanced macros, paired with strategic, effective exercise. If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry, we’ve got you! We’ve put it all together in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, an online program.