Carbs... Boy, they get such a bad rep! It seems to me that almost every fad diet out there loves to give carbs a bad name and completely focus on cutting out the macronutrient altogether-or at least keeping your carb intake as minimal as possible. But, what if I were to tell you that carbs are super helpful in burning fat and spiking your metabolism? If you have heard of the term Carb Cycling before, chances are, it had something to do on the topic of bodybuilding. Carb Cycling is a very popular technique that bodybuilders and fitness competitors use to tweak the body to get leaner and meaner. So, what is carb cycling exactly? It is a style of dieting in which you alternate between low and high carb days. The point certainly is to not cut carbs out completely, but to manipulate them to your beenfit. This never allows the body to be deprived of carbs long enough to slow the metabolism. On the lower carb days, you will burn more fat as your body tries to break itself down while on your higher carb days, you will use that caloric energy to raise your metabolism and build muscle. The “Classic Cycle,” a straightforward plan designed by Chris Powell (and featured in his book Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution) So, why does this work so well? Well, simply put, when you omit carbs from your diet, yes you will lose weight. But after a while, your metabolism goes, "What the hell is happening here?" and before you know it, it goes into survival mode and you stop losing weight. When you start eating carbs again, guess what? Yep-you end up putting that weight back on just as fast as you lost it. Why? Because your body is desperately trying to grab ahold of all the carbs it can to "refeed" itself back into a normal caloric rythym. Tips for Carb Cycling:
- Use this only for a short duration. This is not some long-term style of eating. It has its purpose.
- Typically, you want to make sure that your high carb days are also your heavy training days. You will need that energy during your workout! This would personally be my LEG DAY!
- Don't eat just ANY carb-eat the RIGHT carb. Choose complex carbs-whole wheat, whole grain, unprocessed, etc. Stay away from the sugary evils!
- Watch your fat intake on High Carb days. Fat is good for you, but it is filled with calories. So, while you are already upping your calories from your high carb day, chillax a bit on the fat. Use MyFitnessPal to keep track of your macros so you won't eat too many calories and then gain unwanted weight.
- Make sure you know your caloric goal for losing the unwanted weight.