Carb Cycling Basics Explained: Diet Tips for Losing Weight

Going on a diet can be extremely boring. To avoid losing interest in a diet you might want to take note of the carb cycling basics explained in this article. Carb cycling diets have been used by all types of people including bodybuilders and fitness models. It is thought to help them get rid of unwanted fat.

People love carb cycling because it allows them to get lean, and maintain that figure over a long period of time. You couldn't follow the Atkins or Ketogenic diet for a really long time (though you may disagree). Carb cycling diets can be followed indefinitely.

What are the Carb Cycling Basics?

The concept is quite simple. For 3-6 days you eat low carbohydrate foods. Then you have a “cheat day” where you can eat loads of carbs as long as you don't exceed a certain number of calories. That is 2500-2700 calories for women, 3000-3200 calories for men.

The numbers above might seem quite generic. In reality, the number of days you stay on a low-carb diet depends on your metabolic rate and how your body reacts to these carb cycling tips.

For example:

  • If your metabolism is fast and you usually lose weight quickly, you might only need to eat low-carb for 3-4 days.
  • If you have a slow metabolism and find it hard to lose weight, you will probably need 5-6 days on the low calorie, low-carb regime.

How Does Carb Cycling Work?

After a set number of days on a low-carb, low calorie diet, your metabolism naturally slows down in an effort to avoid losing “valuable” fat cells. Your body also releases leptin: a hormone that regulates multiple weight loss processes, from appetite to how much fat is stored.

If you have a lot of leptin in your body, you will likely put on fat, not lose it. Continue on this type of diet and you will reach a weight loss plateau. This involves your body holding onto fat stores and instead burning off muscle. This is obviously less than ideal.

carb cycling basicsJust add in a cheat day! You might think having a cheat day sounds a bit wrong. Why can't you just follow a low carb diet and be done with it? By “cheating”, you will confuse your body and it's desire to generate leptin, in a way that is good news for weight loss.

Just as the body was about to go into starvation mode, the sudden addition of carbohydrates and calories will make it perk up again. You will feel energetic and the weight will steadily drop off.

If you keep up the diet using our carb cycling basics as a guide, your weight loss rate shouldn't slow down over time and you will be well on your way to a leaner body.

What's the Catch of Carb Cycling?

You may gain some weight on your cheat day but think of this diet as a five steps forward, two steps back scenario. If you put on some weight on your cheat day, it will only come off again when you go back to low-carb dieting. This is the real beauty of carb cycling for weight loss.

If you are worried about this potential temporary weight gain, you should do an intensive cardio workout. Do this on the cheat day itself to burn off any extra calories you have consumed.

Also, you have to keep your calorie surplus on cheat days to 500-700 calories extra. Apart from that, on non low-carb days you can eat anything you want. Lot's of people are out there like you looking for carb cycling tips because they like the idea of having regular cheat days to help keep them on track.

Author: Aileen

Hi, I'm Aileen, the owner of Diet Pill Judge. I have personally tried loads of diet pills over the years and found that only a few of them really work.
My background is in science, so I set out to find supplements that have scientific evidence behind them and which I can confidently recommend.

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