T Nation

Carb Cycling -- Worried about Carbs


I weigh around 175 (well 180 today..it fluctuates often) and would estimate at about 20% bf. Lost about 40 pounds from December 2010 to June 2011 with the Slow carb diet from the 4 hour body. Then switched to very low carbs for a few months (no progress) so I figured my metabolism stopped.

To restart my metabolism and lose this extra weight, I started carb cycling with high, medium, and no (approaching zero carb) days August 22nd (Twin peak version from bb.com)..Stayed at 175 the whole time WTF.

So two days ago, I started the carb cycling from T-Nation (carb cycling codex)...but I've steadily moved up to 180 now and I'm worried all these carbs are really hurting my progress (yeah I have that carbphobia, but seriously the lack of weight loss this last month makes me believe it).

I feel like I'm literally forcing carbs down (especially on high days with 273g carbs). And what's the deal for post workout shake? I'm using tons of oatmeal, blueberries and apples on the side...people are saying use pure sugar products but I feel certain I'm gonna gain weight doing that.

My diet for today (low carb and no training) was (260g protein, 54g fat, 162 carbs)

1) 40g oatmeal, 25g whey isolate, 20g casein in a shake
2) 2 small apples (42g carbs), 45g 1% cottage cheese
3) 2 cups brown rice (about 80 carbs), 2 tbsp sesame oil (one time thing, usually fats from natural peanut butter or fish/flax oil), 45g chicken breast, some greens
4) 45g chicken breast and some spinach
5) 45g chicken breast, green beans
6) 45g casein protein, 11g flax oil caps

pretty much eat the same foods on high/moderate days with of course variations in carb amounts. and hard, intense lifting during my lunch break (about 25 mins of training) on mon, tu, thr, fri, sat or sun.

help please! i need to get in shape once and for all


Well, the first thing that jumped out at me was "hard, intense" followed by "25 minutes". I personally find my workouts to be hard and intense, resting fewer than 40 seconds between sets, and i cant seem to get out of the gym in under 45 minutes on days i lift, and thats a 4-day split!..

I would take a long hard look at your workout, and consider revising it. Plenty of articles on here with great information about workout plans and training. I would HIGHLY recommend taking a look into lean gains: Intermittent Fasting. good for insulin sensitivity, hormone balance, etc...and in turn losing excess weight.

To sum up in a short blurb: consume carbs strictly within +- 1 hour of training, SKIP THE FRUIT (full of sucrose, sucrose:BAD), the 40G of oatmeal and 2 cups of rice should be consumed between pre- & post- workout, not at times during the day when you're idle. Your protein intake is good, maybe slightly high. When youre fatter is easy to lose fat. when you get less fat, its more difficult to lose fat. haha, you're gonna have to step up your training my friend.


Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely look more into those articles you mentioned

And haha...I agree with you on the workouts. I wish i could do more on weekdays but I work 11 hour days (plus 1.5 hr commute each way) so it's nearly impossible. I should mention the Friday workout (and Saturday or Sunday) is usually about an hour. mostly, intense circuits with active recovery of 1-2 min jump rope, and 30 seconds rest in between.


Your low carb days are 162g of carbs, at a bf of 20%?

No wonder you can't lose weight...

I would throw carb cycling out altogether, and keep the carbs you do eat at the peri-workout window only. Here's some John Berardi advice from an old T-Nation article...

Or, if you really DO want to keep doing carb cycling, then go to this same article and see what Shelby Starnes says (http://www.T-Nation.com/testosterone-magazine-637#from-dud-to-stud).

Testosterone: Damn, that's a lot of work, but it sounds incredibly effective. But we all know training isn't anything without nutrition. So how is this guy gonna eat for the next 30 days? JB, you wanna start us off?

Berardi: Sure. In general, three things need to happen: fewer calories, fewer carbs, and lots of water.

For the guys who like to count everything a good rule of thumb is to eat about ten times your bodyweight in calories. So a 200-pound guy should be eating around 2,000 calories.

For carbs, I'd recommend you take in three-quarters of your bodyweight. So our 200-pound guys would be consuming 150 grams of carbs per day or less. And for water, I want to see at least a gallon per day.

Split your calories into four meals per day with 40-60 grams of protein per meal. Skip the grains and get your carbs from fruits and veggies. Take a full serving of Flameout every day, and make sure to get some high-quality fats from flax seeds, avocados, olive oil, and different nuts. Just don't go too nuts (pun intended) because it'll be pretty easy to go over your caloric threshold for the day.

In essence, have some berries for breakfast, and have some Surge during your workout. And have a sweet potato if you want post-workout, but even that isn't necessary.



  1. Look at IF as an approach
  2. Carb backloading
  3. Add cardio in form of fasted walks on incline, start at 30 mins progress to 45
  4. Carb cycling though effective, works better if your around <10%bf thus less insulin resistant

have a google search n see what you think.

Loadsa good training plans about on this site, although time is the main factor in terms of losing fat/body comp.



What's the verdict on fruits? Some say absolutely no, and some are saying yes..

I'm liking the 1750 cal plan for my weight, esp. since I feel carb cycling makes me eat so much. I want to look into IF as well.

If i do 1750 a day, should I still cycle carbs? or stick wtih about 130 carbs everyday (split b/w pre and post workout). And for carbs, can I still do oats, brown rice, and some fruit? Or just fruits/veg as posted above?

And I don't have funds for supplements like Flameout yet...what else can I do?


NO FRUIT! serious blood sugar spikes, not good at your bf%. 130g is a bit high in my opinion since your workouts are only ~30 minutes long during the week. on your hour long workouts, 130g carbs in a day would be alright, but i'd should for more like 100g if youre really trying to lose some fat. 1750 cal is low if youre training.. i would suggest more around 2500 cals on days you train, get it mostly from meats&fats&veggies.

I'd suggest clicking the "articles" tab, and start reading.


Blood sugar spikes aren't anything to worry about if you are eating the right fruit (in the morning, when liver glycogen is low), AND you are eating it with a meal. OP, stick to an orange in the morning or a cup of berries.


ya but if you can skip the fruit, why not?


You are missing the point of carb cycling

Keep your diet relatively the same. Change your complex carbs dependent on the day.

Breakfast on low day, 1/4 cup of oatmeal (and the rest of your breakfast), medium day 1/2 cup, high day, 1 cup.

Get the gist here? Your low day would be, for example, 2k . Med day 2500ish and high day 3k ish.

Keep your complexe carbs before 3. Fibrous carbs at night.

As you have noticed, fruits is a hot topic. I have blueberries in my oatmeal (le gasp). Just be smart. One serving in the morning will not kill you.

Use your frigging head. It's not complicated.


ok cool, so I'll definitely stick with a little morning fruit.

@jfg...i'm understanding how it works, i'm just concerned so many carbs are gonna add fat based on my experience the whole last month staying at the same weight...especially as the others have mentioned about 162 on a low day being wayyy too high for my 20% bf range.

overall, guys: for me at 175 lbs and about 20% bf, should i go with carb cycling, or stick to just low carb just with carbs ingested only around workout times?


'Cause fruit tastes good and it's good for you.


I agree totally

Berries (particularily blueberries) increase insulin sensitivity and are full of all sorts of good stuff.
OP - I'd go targetted carbs till you get down to around 12%bf (just PW at first - assess then pre + post etc) Forget that bollocks about killing metabolism if you dont eat enough - diet WAY BELOW maintainance for 2-3 months then there may be an issue with leptin/metabolism. Create a slight deficit via diet and addd cardio/sled/conditioning work gradually....Give yourself somewhere to go when fatloss stalls in terms of energy expenditure before you go mad lowering overall cals. 100g carbs (starches) per day is a decent starting point.

Good luck man - keep at it


...not if you have fructose malabsorption....

Carb cycling is good, very good. But it has to be appropriate. I concur that 20% BF doesn't need many high days, or too many carbs. Maybe cycling where you alternate between medium-no carbs in a pattern like

med-no-no-no-med-no-no REPEAT ?


fructose mala-what-now.

that's really my only comment. who the fuck can't eat an apple? weirdos, that's who!


He's probably broccoli intolerant also.....


Hey don't blame me, i didn't invent it, i just know about it.

"Fructose malabsorption is found in up to 40% of the population of Western countries.[2]

This condition is common in patients identified to be suffering symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, although occurrence in these patients is not higher than occurrence in the normal population. Conversely, patients with fructose malabsorption often fit the profile of those with irritable bowel syndrome."


Most of the sugar in actual fruit is blunted somewhat by the actual fiber content.
Fruit Juice = bad
Actual Fruit = ok



People react to carbs differently. A low carb day for me is 20g, high would be 130g. You also got to 40lbs over what you are now, chances are you're not exactly blessed in the handling carbs department.
Also, forcing carbs down while trying to lose weight is probably feeling counterintuitive for a reason.


OP, honestly I would say that either low carb dieting or cycling would work depending on how you do it--- either way though carbs should be centered around your workout period and breakfast, no other times. For you with carb cycling you do not need high carb days--particularly with your workouta only lasting 25 minutes!. Anything over 150g is just overkill. I would suggest a low day of 50g and a medium day of 130-150g, with the medium days falling on your hardest training days (not , however, consecutive days--ie: not frid/sat.). Something like the low, low, medium, low, low, low, medium scheme suggested earlier should work great.

If you go straight low carb dieting I would suggest keeping carbs somewhere above 60g a day--too long on a restrictive low carb diet has been shown to have bad effects on carb handling as well (and metabolism, which you noted fearing in your original post), but generally speaking these are diets with less than 30g carbs a day, or ketogenic diets. Figure girls are notorious for getting into holes like this with constant stage dieting on keto or near keto diets. You can play with the amounts, but probably anything between 50-100g is going to be ok.