Carbohydrates Cycling

27 04 2011

The philosophy behind carb cycling is that for 3 days you will deplete your carbohydrates by eating fibrous carbohydrates, which will allow your body to use up muscle glycogen and burn bodyfat. Then for the next 3 days, you will load your carbohydrates by eating mostly starchy carbohydrates and thus replenish your muscle glycogen. The great thing about this technique is the following:

  1. Fibrous carbs (which are mostly made of cellulose) have an atomic structure that our digestive system has difficulty breaking down. Therefore the majority of fibrous carbs we eat just pass through our digestive system. Although they aren’t digested, they do provide intestinal bulk, and they have the added benefit of not only speeding up the digestive process but they take a considerable amount of water with them.
  2. By eating fibrous carbs all though-out the day, your body realizes that it’s getting food frequently and speeds up your metabolism. Since fibrous carbs aren’t easily digested, it requires more calories to burn them than they give up, so in effect giving you a net loss of caloric efficiency.
  3. By eating like this for 3 days and then switching to starchy carbs keeps you just shy of ketosis, and prevents your body from entering a catabolic state. Catabolism is where the body begins cannibalizing muscle tissue to get energy from the protein in the muscles.
  4. By doing cardio on the first 3 days (your fibrous carb days), you burn more bodyfat and consume more muscle glycogen. During the last 3 days (your starchy carb days), you’ll be replenishing that muscle glycogen, giving your muscles a fuller, harder look, but with less bodyfat covering them.
  5. On average, women should lean towards 125-175 grams of carbs on low days and 200-300 grams on higher days. Men, 175-225 grams on low days and 350-400 grams on high days.
  6. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. If you are lacking in energy and feeling very week, increase your starchy and fibrous carbs, but focus your starchy carbs around your workouts. But, if you have plenty of energy, but aren’t seeing any fat loss results, slowly decrease your starchy carbs.

Category

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Carb intake

Low carbs Low carbs Low carbs High carbs High carbs High carbs

Calories

50% total 50% total 50% total 100% + total 100% + total 100% + total

Training

High reps, supersets Higher reps, training Higher reps, training Off Usual-style training Usual-style training

Ketones

“trace” range

“small” range

“small-medium” range

“medium” range

“normal” range

“normal” range

Arginine?

Yes Yes Yes No No No

Fibrous or Starchy carbs?

Fibrous Fibrous Fibrous Starchy Starchy Starchy

Junk food?

No No No Tasty treat day No No

Aerobic activity?

Yes Yes Yes Optional Optional Optional
For the first 3 days, you’ll eat mostly fibrous carbohydrates, then for the next 3 days you’ll eat mostly starchy carbohydrates. These include:

Fibrous Carbohydrates

Starchy Carbohydrates

Asparagus
Green beans
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumbers
Eggplants
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Green peppers
Red peppers
Spinach
Squash
Zucchini

Barley
Lima beans
Red beans
Black-eyed peas
Corn
Whole-meal flour
Lentils
Oatmeal
Pasta
Peas
Popcorn
Potatoes
Rice
Sweet potatoes
Tomatoes
Shredded Wheat
Yams

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