Many fitness enthusiasts will often talk of high carbohydrate days and low carbohydrate days as they plan their diets. This alternation of the number of carbohydrates that they take in is what is referred to commonly as Carb cycling.
Carb cycling should however not be confused with missing entire meals or taking out carbohydrates from meals entirely. There has to be a starch on your plate in at least every meal, it is the quantity that should be affected.
This alternation of carb intake has been known to have several benefits to the body. This is especially if you are a regular when it comes to working out and fitness. One of the things you need to know while carb cycling is that you will need to keep fat intake inversely proportional to carbohydrate intake.
The best way to go about this is to eat meals with higher fat content on those days when your workouts involve moderate physical activity. This means that you limit the amount of starch and fruits that you will have. Doing this will lower your insulin levels and accelerate the rate at which your body burns fat.
On the other hand, you should eat meals with higher amounts of carbohydrates after heavier workout sessions. Of course this time you will need to keep the fat intake on the lower side. This is because your body needs to refill in glycogen reserves and also regulate leptin and ghrelin levels.
Some of the benefits that come with alternating your carb intake include:
- It is one of the best ways to keep your body fat levels low without the negative effects such as muscle catabolism that come with most of the other methods such as diets and starvation
- It makes it easier for the body to break down fats as it alternates on the amount of fat intake which minimizes the chances of gaining back the fat deposits
- It allows you to see actual gain once the fats are burnt out and the muscles can be worked on efficiently
- Its a good way to lose overall weight which is normally just fat deposits by encouraging clean eating
- It enables the body to create a balance by encouraging both muscle growth and fat loss at alternate times, giving you the best eating plan that will give you the best results continuously
- It helps the body to maintain a higher metabolism rate alongside workout routines
Whereas the benefits of carb cycling are quite many, it should not be a long-term solution for weight management. This is because prolonged adherence to this routine can lead to the development of health concerns. Some of these concerns include reduced metabolic rate, sympathetic nervous system activity, and increased thyroid hormone output. You should also be careful to take a lot of water while carb cycling. This is because you may end up with a lower fiber intake and this might just lead to constipation.
While picking a carb cycling routine to incorporate into your workout meal plans, be sure to have a clear idea of just how much calories you need to take in daily and work out how much more you might need from that point. Having a constant goal with every component on your plate at every meal will also help you maintain some kind of pattern that will enable you to see the gains achieved through the process.
Most importantly, you cannot just up and decide to alternate your carb intake, consulting a professional nutritionist before embarking on this journey will help you understand it better and ensure you do it correctly without inflicting self-harm.