IIFYM.com just released an article named “Carb Cycling: Advantages & Disadvantages. Now I won’t reiterate what was said, you can visit this link to read the article, but I would like to talk about a few points that can relate to my clients.
Many flexible dieters struggle with the same things (myself included!) like staying on track on weekends, feeling burnt out from dieting, or sometimes feeling overly restricted (after all, we’re still dieting). Carb cycling can actually help with all of these. The reason I love flexible dieting is because YOU choose how flexible you want to be! For those who are competing in bodybuilding, they choose to be more tedious with their diet to reach their strict goals. But for many of us (which includes most of my clients) we just want to reach our goals as fast as possible without losing our sanity or the weight rebounding. So how does carb cycling help with this?
For the purpose of this article I will provide a quick summary of carb cycling. Carb cycling can be set up in many different ways. Just as the name states you’ll be cycling around your total carbs in different variations throughout the week. For most people this means they have 1-2 high carb days a week; this would also mean they have lower carbs the rest of the week to accommodate the high carb days. You can also cycle fat to have higher fat on low carb days, helping to keep you more satisfied. So, what’s the point of all this?
What it Comes Down to…
- Contary to what some believe, there is not enough evidence to prove that carb cycling can promote more fat loss than having the same daily macro goal (this is assuming overall calorie intake is the same)
- It CAN, however, help the client to stay more consistent with their diet by feeling like they’re given a diet break with their high carb days
- Can provide an advantage to athletes by pairing their high carb days with an intense workout
How I Apply Carb Cycling to My Clients
As stated before, many of my clients are not athletes or competing, they simply want to get healthier and enjoy the process. I utilize high carb days for my clients in many ways. Since all my clients are different (and I do have some athletes!) I will list a few techniques I use:
- Athletes/clients focused on increasing strength- provide high carbs for training, this is especially important if they are in a deficit. When focused on building mass and increasing strength, maintenance or a surplus of calories is preferred. In these cases you wouldn’t necessarily need to cycle carbs but can
- Clients focused on body recomposition (mainten weight with goal of building muscle while losing fat)- high carb days for training, low carb rest days to promote more fat loss
- Clients who struggle to stay consistent- lower carbs on week days, high carb days on weekends for more flexibility
- Clients who are on an aggressive fat loss plan- since overall calories are lower I provide these clients with a high carb day but it would be a refeed day. A refeed day differs from carb cycling because we increase overall calories on this day (usually at our right under maintenance calories) to replenish glycogen storage and give the client a mental break
These are the four most common ways I use carb cycling for clients. Everyone is different so I use these techniques on a client to client basis and sometimes even tweak them to fit the individual’s need. Whatever makes the client stay on track is what we want to stick with. For me personally, I prefer having the same macro goal each day, it’s just easier! But I have utilized carb cycling in the past and do see the benefits of it. If you’re a current clients and are interested in implementing carb cycling, just let me know! If you have any questions drop a line below. Happy flexible dieting!