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Carb Cycling & Cals for Bulking

Hoping someone can help with a question I can’t find an answer too.

When using carb cycling for bulking, should you have a CALORIE surplus everyday of the week or when you cut carbs… or is it supposed to be slightly below maintence levels…aka… the whole gain lean muscle while not getting any fat? It just seems doing it the latter way would make you gain muscle at a snale’s pace.

For example…you might have 3 high carb days and 4 lower ones. Should those lower ones be low CARB, but yet still above maintenance if your main goal is bulk???

Since carb cycling is mainly for stripping fat, there’s not really that much information on the bulking version. I’ve read the articles about it on here, but yet still wasn’t clear on it.


You cycle your carbs depending on your “needs” for that day. Heavy training = high carbs. Day off = lower carbs. Your lower carb days can be below your calorie needs, right on it or slightly above it. How high you go with carbs and how low you go is optional.

I know it easier to just have a program wrote out already for you, but no one is the same. You’re going to have to take a guess at first. Set up your carbs, proteins and fats. Determine how and when to cycle them. Then wait and track your progress. Trial and error is the best bet here.

PLUS, nothing beats doing these sorts of dietary experiments with yourself because you’ll learn SO much about yourself. What you can tolerate or can’t. How many calories it takes for you to gain ect…

Good luck.

What about the opposite…whilst on cut. Should the high carb load up be above maintnece.

Say you go 3 days low carb…below maintence…and then have a high carb day…should that (usually) be above maintence?

On a cut, the high day is to help the metabolism start burning hotter again. So yes, it can (and most likely should) be above maintence. Don’t be afraid of a high day on a cut, its there for a reason. Look to burn fat on the medium days and especially the low days. The high day is to take a break and reset.

don’t over-think it.

i’ve learned through experimentation that i can gain muscle and not gain % bodyfat by following this formula:

plug in Berardi’s massive eating calculator depending on how many minutes a day you workout.

so when i do arms and shoulder/ab days, i workout less. so i get in about 4500 calories.

when i do legs and chest/back, i go super hard and super long. so i get in about 4800-5000 calories.

when i don’t work out, i obviously require less food, or around 4000 calories.

just plug in how many minutes you worked out that day and you’ll get your numbers…and i just simply choose to stay at 40-30-30 ratio every day, making sure i get at least 1.5 g / lb protein as my one marker.

that’s carb cycling without getting overly complicated.

It’s been said many times before…certain approaches to carb cycling only count food calories from the main source of the calories (ie. only count macros/cals for fruits, grains, legumes, veggies from CHO…meat, whey, certain dairy from PRO…oils, nuts, other dairy from FAT). The calories don’t matter as much as the actual numbers of macronutrients (according to Shelby Starnes, who’s CC approach is the best IMO).

I am very pleased with my weight, but from time to time I like to lose 2-5 pounds and I try to do so by calorie cycling, but it doesn’t seem to work well. My question is this: I exercise about 6 days a week lifting weights and doing cardio and I generally burn between 250 and 450 calories, depending on what I am doing. I am 5’7" and weigh 124-125 (I weight every morning).

My RMR is 1273 and if I add to that that I exercise moderately most days of the week, it bumps it up to around 1500 as far as daily calories I am supposed to eat (I think I did that correctly). So, let’s say that today is my medium calorie day and I plan to eat 1600 calories, but I burned 455 at the gym. Do I eat 2055 calories instead since I burned 455 or do I still eat 1600? I’m always confused as to whether I am supposed to add the calories I burned off to my calories for the day.