carb cycle

Best ways to carb cycle when trying to lose fat and maintain muscle

Best ways to carb cycle when trying to lose fat and maintain Muscle

Carbohydrates are your energy food and your source to recuperation. They are your primary source of energy or fuel at 1,600 calories per pound. Carbohydrates yield 4 calories per gram. Carbs come in two forms: simple and complex.

Carb cycling is actually a process in which you learn to cycle your body carbs in order to reduce extra fat. This is an important element when it comes to bodybuilding and is one of the most basic institutes.

As stated before, carbohydrates provide the necessary fuel to our body and also help to replenish the lost glucose or glycogen amount that is spent in day to day activities. Low levels of glucose can cause fatigue and can prevent further advancement in body building.

Carb cycling basically allows consumption of a few carbs from clean sources and NOT junk foods, to produce the necessary fat for burning as fuel. It does not add to your body weight and is only used for the sole purpose of cycling of carb.

Many people think that eating carbohydrates when you are actually doing regular workouts to keep your body in shape is evil and uncalled for. But these carbs are not evil and carb cycling is not harmful as long as you are still working out regularly and your activity is consistent. In case your carb timings are improper and you are not working out well after consumption of these fatty foods, they can be stored in your body. Carb cycle will make your experience of dieting and strict eating more enjoyable and pleasurable, provided that you get these carbs from proper sources.


The main question arises: what exactly are these “proper sources” for essential carbohydrates?

You must have heard of the latest bandwagon in the discussions about dietary foods known as low carbs food. There are tons of foods available in grocery stores nowadays which are specifically low in carbohydrates. This is an excellent way to eat such foods while allowing limited consumption of these essential carbs.

Some of these low carb foods include:

  • Zucchini (7gm/medium squash)
  • Cauliflower (5gm/cup)
  • Swiss chard (1gm/cup)
  • Mushrooms (2gm/cup)
  • Celery (1gm per stalk)
  • Cherry tomatoes (6gm/cup)
  • Spaghetti squash (7gm/cup)
  • Apricots (4gm/fruit)
  • Avocado (8gm/1/2 fruit)
  • Strawberries (11gm/cup)
  • Red grape fruit (9gm/1/2 fruit)
  • Catfish (0gm/3 ounce)
  • Pink salmon canned (0gm/1/2 can)
  • Chicken drumsticks (0gm/3ounce)
  • Ground turkey (0gram/3ounce)
  • Pork tenderloin (0gm/3ounce)
  • Top sirloin steak (0gm/3ounce)
  • Roast beef (0gm/2ounce)
  • Gruyere cheese (0gm/ounce)
  • Butter (0gm/tbsp)
  • Eggs (1gm/2 large eggs)
  • Cottage cheese (6gm/cup)
  • Greek yogurt (9gm/cup)
  • Tofu (3gm/3ounce)

There are various low carb snacks as well such as:

  • Walnuts (4 gm/ounce)
  • String cheese (0gm/3ounce)
  • Jerky (3gm/ounce)
  • Kale chips (8-12gm/ounce)

Some fantastic low carb drinks include:

  • Unsweetened iced tea (0gm/cup)
  • Unsweetened almond milk (2gm/cup)
  • Maple water (3gm/cup)
  • Tomato juice (10gm/cup)

Eating these low carb foods will immensely help in retaining the fat loss plan as well as get necessary carbohydrates for fueling of your body.

Less Complex Carbs:

You don’t want to add adipose tissues in your body and get excess carbohydrates through less complex carbs or carbohydrates that are consumed at the wrong time. But if you are eating less complex carbs at the right time, when your activity is intense enough to cycle these carbs and use them as energy and not accumulate on your body, then it is totally fine. Best time to eat such carbs is when you are at work or are about to go for a workout.

It is also suggested that you should not eat carbohydrate rich junk foods before going to sleep, especially sugar laden junk food items. They are rich in fat and carbs and can accumulate in your body as excess fat. Instead, eat protein rich foods. Junk food is basically devoid of any nutrients and essential vitamins, minerals etc. and is made from calorie dense ingredients. Simply cutting down on junk food items can help reduce a lot of weight.


We are all aware of the cheat meal tactics, which is also known as cheat day or re-feed. It is when you try to celebrate after you accomplish your targets by treating yourself to carb rich foods. This is usually considered as a fun filled day but hold on- it is a taboo!

Best is to avoid the cheat days till you are just a little away from reaching your desired weight target as this can increase the lure for junk food items and can deviate you from your goal. In order to achieve your targets you must revert back to the old school thoughts: you have to make some sacrifices and give up these negative foods. Reaching that lean body target can be quite a challenge and once you start screwing up your diet by cheating again and again, it will become a habit and will create more issues for reducing weight.


The big step is now to schedule your carb intake properly over the span of the entire week so that you get proper carbohydrate requirement and time for using it up. Experts advise that you should plan 3 low carb days followed by 2 high carb days every week in order to allow time for recovery and replenishing of lost glycogen.

The second most important thing is to only consume carbs from proper sources during the high carb days and not from junk sources. Another essential point is to not overdo the diet plan. That should be reserved only for the latter days when you are close to your target.

You should devise a plan for how many carbs you should consume on high carb days in order to achieve the desired goal and to replenish the lost energy, altogether. Making a nutrition journal and maintaining it will help you achieve your targets in a more effective way.


Bryer, S. C., & Goldfarb, A. H. (2006). Effect of high dose vitamin C supplementation on muscle soreness, damage, function, and oxidative stress to eccentric exercise. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16 (3), 270.

Kesse-Guyot, E., Andreeva, V. A., Ducros, V., Jeandel, C., Julia, C., Hercberg, S., & Galan, P. (2014). Carotenoid-rich dietary patterns during midlife and subsequent cognitive function.British Journal of Nutrition, 111 (05), 915-923.

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