Do you want to know what carb cycling is about and if it is right for you? I have heard the term before and wanted to understand what it means and how it works. Surprisingly, I learned that it is a practice which is used among bodybuilders, fitness models, athletes, or anyone who is trying to reduce their body fat to a very low percentage in order to achieve the “ripped” look.
A basic definition of carb cycling is below [source: Wikipedia]
A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of the general Ketogenic diet that is used by bodybuilders and fitness athletes in general, as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise.
Why Carb Cycling May Not Be for You
The purpose of cycling with carbs is to burn fat while performing high-intensity exercise, all without sacrificing muscle mass. If you are not needing to have a very low body fat percentage, chances are this method is unnecessary and should even be avoided. Most people who practice this method are already in great shape and good health. They also already have a low body fat percentage and typically have a ripped physique. Thus, the reason it is more commonly used amongst bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness models.
It requires discipline as there are no “cheat days” allowed. The way the cycling works is to perform it in a four or five day routine. The four day cycle is usually three days of low-carbs followed by one day of high-carbs. The five day cycle is typically three days of low-carbs and two days of high-carbs.
Any Old Carbs Won’t Do
Those who do use this method are not consuming what we often refer to as “bad carbs.” Bad carbs are simple carbohydrates, for example: bread, refined sugar, cake, cookies, etc. The good carbs (or clean carbs) are the complex carbohydrates which include food items such as brown rice, yams, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.
After reading up on this topic, it seems to me that this is an advanced method of dieting and when done properly, it helps to achieve a very low body fat percentage without losing muscle. It doesn’t appear to be a necessity for the average health enthusiast but may be worth looking into if you are wanting the fitness model type of physique. I recommend doing more research and speaking with a professional before attempting it.