T Nation

What is Carb Cycling Done for?


#1

Hi everyone,

well, I have to ask this...what is Carb Cycling done for? Does anyone have a good link to an article that I can read up?

This seems like quite a recent craze that every expert is recommending nowadays. I understand that it can be beneficial to have low carb days for fat loss, and "high" days for anabolism...but what's with the medium days?

Thanks in advance


#2

search button


#3

Gee thanks...

I asked what is the point in the medium days? Is it really going to make a hell of a difference if I eat 80g of extra or lower carbs in just one or two days a week?


#4

This one might help:

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/carb_cycling_for_idiots

I accidentally stumbled upon carb cycling when I was tracking my calories and was trying to diet. I hated how I felt in an extremely low carb state, especially when I trained with squats and deads. So I added in more carbs on those days, especially PWO and I recovered better and either didn't gain fat or lost fat and it was much more noticeable than doing the low carb thing. Adding the carbs on heavier days filled the glycogen stores in the ol' muscles which made them fuller. There is nothing more depressing than dieting your ass off and having flat muscles. Christ that sucks. Anyway, I had heard about carb cycling, but had never read up on it. It does work and I didn't even know I was doing it (sorta).


#5

I like to do it,.. just for kicks actually -lol

S


#6

I work with Shelby Starnes, any other incarnation of carb cycling(there are tons) and other styles of medium days are beyond me.

Low Day= Hard push towards fat loss, cardio almost always done on these days
High Day= Glycogen storage, possible growth, keep thyroid function up
Mod Day= still low enough calories for fat loss, just enough carbs to support training

That is the quick and dirty version of this (ie I'm not smart enough to explain it any better)... but that's what the medium carb days are for. In terms of what they look like in terms of figures for me, maybe 10 grams less fat, 40-50 grams more carbs.

Does that clear it up a bit?


#7

Carb cycling is to get the best of both worlds.
You have high days for muscle gain, and low days for fat loss, and moderate days to bridge the two.


#8

My post is in regards to body fat loss phases.

In the "offseason" the moderate days are more for workouts with smaller body parts and to not oversaturate(ie get fat) the body with carbs/calories.

If someone is training 5x a week with weights

Chest
Legs
off
Back
Shoulders
Arms/Abs
Off

or something to that effect I'd probably do 2-3 high days(definitely back and legs and then possibly a weaker bodypart like arms if they REALLY are worried about it) and moderate carbs on the other training days. Low on the well... you guessed it...off days.


#9

You can basically use the cyclical approach for 'bulking' (I hate that word), or cutting. The difference is in the numbers

S


#10

Thanks, that does really help. Thanks to the others for the help too :slight_smile:


If it weren't for ones like Shelby and CT using these techniques, I would have shrugged it off to be honest.

Has anyone seen a noticeable difference between that approach (low/med/high), and simple carb timing (e.g. 2-3 carb meals around breakfast and high activity times, and the rest low carb)?


#11

It's basically how I prep for contests,.. and even now, as a means to control my offseason and limit the fat gain.

S


#12

It's easier for me. Just to classify a whole day as high or low and then on the medium day do more like you mentioned 2-3 carb/pro meals in the morning and peri-workout then low carbs rest of the day.

I have since abandoned carb cycling and started having better results as far as bulking goes.

If you can handle carbs well there are better ways to bulk.


#13

Check out bodypus diet from Duchaine or the Ultimate Diet 2.0 from Lyle Mcdonald


#14

Both of those are more of a CKD diet (cyclical keto diet) than carb cycling. In carb cycling you usually have more than 1 high day a week and you still have carbs on your med and low days. In a CKD you are really low carb (thus the keto part of CKD) for 4-6 days and then you have a carb re-feed.


#15

Pretty sure it's done for an alternative way of existing. What else do you think food is used for?


#16

Personally speaking, other than to lose more water retention (e.g. for a show/photo), I don't believe that keto diets are superior for fat loss than simply controlling carbs. In fact, I believe you are doing yourself a disservice by going keto, since you lower T3 levels/metabolism etc and suffer the ill effects for no good reason.

This may not be everyone's experience however...


#17

That's not exactly the question though.

I'm talking more from the point of view of results...not lifestyle preferences. Although preferences will determine to a large degree what option you can stick to and thus get results, I am completely open to all options because I'm really not a fussy eater and find it quite easy to be strict enough to stick to one way or another.


#18

haha!