HOW TO: CARB CYCLE
The information provided is for those who are experienced macronutrient trackers and looking for to get lean for a short period of time for a specific goal. For the majority, carb cycling (and macro-tracking) is irreverent and not a necessary burden!
Carb-cycling can be a useful strategy to implement for a few months at most if you find yourself reaching a plateau on a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate intake for fat loss – Personally I’d focus on habitual change over and above strict nutritional regimes.
Typically, at some point you may reach a plateau on a low-cal and carb diet, as over time this diet can reduce metabolic rate, thyroid output, SNS activity, spontaneous physical activity, testosterone, leptin and other hormone levels.
Your body is too smart to allow you to diet yourself to 'death'! So to keep you alive, it slows down all other processes not required for life. This is where alternating high and low levels of carbohydrate intake can stop your body from finding homeostasis and keep you on track to your goal.
A couple of ways to try this whilst on a low-carb low-cal diet is either:
Infrequent, Big Re-feeds
A single day every one to two weeks of eating significantly more cals from carbs. This is really good it you're disciplined enough to keep your carbs low for a long period. A rule at PN is to restrict calories on these days to about 3-3.5x your low-cal plan.
E.g 1,400kcal plan should not above 4,200-4,900kcal to prevent GI stress - and also to train this day! So extra energy can go to muscle building and recovery. Here you can add a mixture of high and low quality carbs if you like.
Frequent, Moderate Re-feeds
A re-feed every 3-4 days consisting of roughly 1.5x your low-carb low-cal plan. This more beneficial if you're very physically active. On this you should stick to your normal diet but add high-quality carbs to each meal, and also train on this day.
These are two effective variations of carb cycling which work when hitting a plateau. Test them out if you're progress is stalling.
Stay Healthy & Happy!
*** Posted whilst experimenting with Intermittent Fasting & Macronutrient-Counting***