T Nation

Which Is Better?


I have had this question going through my mind for the past 2 weeks. So I thought I would ask it here.

Which is a better method/diet for leaning out? Carb cycling or the regular old redundant low calorie diet?

I have done both and I have to admit I noticed very fast results with carb cycling. Even dropping sizes very quickly. Though the backlash on it when I started to eat normal again I gained it back very quickly. Quickly lost, quickly gained again thing. And this was resuming a healthy diet not junk.

As for the regular redundant low cal diet I notice I don't have a terrible backlash when I do eat normal which is healthy stuff not junk. But adding back in cottage cheese, fruits, and some breads.

I guess I just wanted to hear others thoughts on this. I personally loved the carb cycling even though it was a pain in the butt at first figuring out carb grams and menus for each days needed. Once I had menus for each day it was cake. Though I do like the redundant low cal diet as well. I guess I am feeling torn in between which one I want to do.

Any thoughts?


It depends 100% on the person. Not one person in this world could just tell you flat out. But for the most COMMONLY successful, I don't know.


It depends on how your body responds to certain foods.

Losing weight isn't rocket science.Cut calories and keep protein high so you don't lose that muscle(although you risk losing some on ANY diet).

I've been lean on high carb low calorie diets;I've been lean on low carb low calories diets.

See what works best for you.
Personally,I don't do well on low carb diets when I'm looking to cut after bulking or for the summer.I try to keep it moderate carb,low fat,high protein.When I really wanna get into great shape I make each meal consist of a lean source of protein,green veggies,and in the morning,some complex carbohydrates.

Carb cycling is good though.Do higher carbs on workout days and low carbs on nonworkout days.However,I think carb cycling would be your best bet.I've had great results when I did it once,but I didn't have much I wanted to lose to begin with,so your goals might be a little different than mine.

Make sure you keep your diet clean.Carb cyclign is the most effective when you want to get cut fast.


Yes, you do lean out quite quickly esp. in the initial first weeks due to water drop. I really loved the quick results not to mention my metabolism sky rocketed. I loved it. I have been on the low cal redundant thing and I have noticed things moving slowly.

Of course it's not fair to say as I have had set backs (surgery this week) to give it a fair shot. The one thing I def. noticed is I started to drop fat in my lower half (the area that needs to lean out most ha ha) with carb cycling and also all around but very noticeably in my lower half.

I guess I really need to give the diet I was given with the cardio/workout plan a good 4 week run before I go on hiatus and say I am doing my own thing with the carb cycling.

I have had waaayyy to much time on my hands these past few days and not being able to workout and on pain meds were really screwing with my head LOL. But please keep the replies coming I just want to hear others views on it. Thanks so much for the replies.


I keep all grains to the immediate postwork out period. This keeps me fairly lean (13%ish) while still eating a 2000 plus calorie diet. I do eat veggies and some fruits all day long. If I only eat lean meats and veggies ( and keep carbs to my postwork drink only)I lean out pretty quickly.


Even though I'm not female, I'll reply.

I don't really think the low-cal approach is "redundant" at all. I have been following a low cal diet for months and eat plenty of variety. There are 100's of foods you can eat on a low cal approach.

The carb cybling method works exactly the same way the low cal diet works... calorie restriction. You cut the carbs, you cut the calories.

Try this out : The "zig-zag" method. It's another way to boost your metabolism during a calorie restriction diet. Every 3'rd or 4th day have a "normal" calorie day where you eat at, or slightly above, maintenece to let your body know "Everything is okay now, we are no longer in a food shortage, keep the metabolism up"


I guess everyone is different. But everytime I cut carbs, or cut calories to a noticable degree, my performance not just physically but mentally suffers.

For me, the best way to drop fat is to eat cleaner and exercise harder.


Does this really work? I would think it would slow the results.


Me too. I have heard if you stick with the low carb long enough you get over the hump and feel better. I have never made it that far.


It actually doesn't take that long really. Consistency is the key. Those weekend cheat meals can really screw you up if they are too high in carbs.


AMEN on that one!


Ive done the low carb thing for months at a time. I KNOW it affects my test levels. The tell-tale signs are there. My skin isnt as oily, I dont sleep as well and I dont recover as fast and my libido isnt as strong. As soon as I start gettin in the carbs and calories, everything goes back to normal. If I go on TRIBEX I really sleep extremely good, skin is very oily, and libido is out of control.

Never tried going low carb while on the TRIBEX, but TRIBEX it might prevent the side effects.


Typically on a consistantly reduced cal diet, even one that isnt severe, your body will still down regulate your metabolism. What that means is your body goes "Wait a minute... I need 2500 calories and I'm only getting 2000, I better slow down a little".

What the Zig-Zag does is every few days makes your body see that you are getting enough food. The extra 500 calories aren't going to matter in the grand scheme of things, but a slower metabolism will.


It's all about compliance and consistency in the end. Create a deficit and use whichever approach you can stick to to reach your goal.