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Can Someone Explain Carb Cycling?

Hi guys,

Can someone explain carb cycling to me? I see a lot of big influencers say this is the best way to get absolutely shredded. I’m currently around 10% bf, 5’9 and 85kg, But I’ve always been confused about carb cycling…Currently I’m doing like

200g protein
150-200g carbs
50-80g fat
2300-2500 cals

But I want to try carb cycling, Does this mean like…no carbs 1 day, mid carbs 2nd day and high carbs 3rd day and then repeat?

Does that mean on day 1 your calories are only like 1200 as most calories come from carbs?

Thanks guys

The only way to lose weight (absent surgery) is to create a caloric deficit, and many people find carb cycling a relatively painless (emphasis on relatively) way to do so. Further, there is an at least theoretical metabolic benefit gained by coupling carb intake and weightlifting. All that said, there’s nothing magical about it–if you continue to take in as many or more calories as you burn, no weight loss will occur regardless of the scheduling of your carb intake.

IMO, it is. (Absent drug use of course.) That said, it’s impossible to get “absolutely shredded” without being absolutely miserable–ie, the depth and extent of the caloric deficit needed to reach that state is extreme, and carries a significant psychological cost. At best, carb cycling may reduce your misery index score from 10/10 to 9/10.

Are you sure? I ask because 5’9" and almost 190# at 10% is a really big and really muscular guy. Is that you, or are you perhaps underestimating your BF%?

With regards to the particulars of a carb-cycling schedule: There is no One Best Way, but I’d be happy to share my thoughts in this regard if you’re interested.

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Hey thank you for your response. So does that mean on the low csrb days you barely have any calories? And high carb days you go over?

So for example day 1 you have 1200 calories and other day you have 2700? Is that detrimental to gains?

There are no hard-and-fast rules. This might be helpful: Think in terms of calories per week, not day. Say you want to lose 1 lb/week. To do this you’ll need a total deficit of 3500 cals for the week. This could be achieved by alternating between days where you run a 1000 cal deficit and days where you eat at maintenance. Cutting all intentional carbs on low-cal days might get you to the 1000 cals you have to shave, but if it doesn’t, some decrease in fat intake will be necessary as well.

Additionally, I would structure my training so that I lifted on High-cal/carb days and did low-stress cardio on Low days. (I’m not a fan of exercising intensely in a carb-depleted state–may spike cortisol.) Further, I would ‘break my carb fast’ with a pre-workout hit of simple carbs shortly before lifting on the High days, and backload the rest of my carb allotment into the post-workout period.

You can go over on some High days if you want, but it means you have to cut more on the Low days. One way or the other, the math has to work out–the piper must be paid.

Getting “absolutely shredded” is detrimental to gains. Absent heavy drug use, you will make no gains while restricting calories enough to get really lean–and may even lose a little muscle. Just the way it goes.

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Best facebook exchange ever:
man 1:
I once lost 45lb in 3h
man 2:
Thats impossible - gives detailed explanation
man 1:
I was in multi car pile up. I had a limb removed.

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Great guidelines/plan here…

Yes, it’s a nonsense - designed by folks who want to sound technical when the net difference it will make to your energy levels and muscle growth is minimal. And the impact on fat loss? Virtually nil.

If you want to get shredded, don’t eat carbs at all (or cycle them down to zero, if you want).