Have you ever been stuck in a weight loss rut? It’s when you’re being careful about your diet, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol, but still aren’t seeing the results. You know the feeling and you’re not alone! In fact, many people suffer from weight loss plateaus. The solution to the problem is quite simple, though. You need to start carb cycling for fat loss!
What is Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is a nutritional strategy that requires you to vary your carb intake on a regular basis. This could mean alternating the number of carbs you eat every day, every week, or every month. For instance, if you planned on carb cycling this upcoming work week, you may eat no carbs for the first two days, a lot of carbs on the third day, no carbs on the fourth day, and have a limited amount of carbs on the fifth day.
The goal of carb cycling is to boost metabolism and jumpstart your weight loss. Whether you’re just starting your wellness journey or you’re just looking to shed a few pounds you’ve gained over the holiday season, carb cycling is an ideal method for burning fat fast.
Does Carb Cycling Work?
If you stick to the program, then yes! As long as you’re consistent with your caloric intake and carb consumption, you will see results. The key is to coordinate your carb cycling with your workouts. Studies have shown that by cycling carbs in tandem with an exercise program, you can promote weight and fat loss.
Pros and Cons of Carb Cycling
Carb cycling sounds great so far, right? It’s important to see both sides of the coin, however. Take a look at some of the key benefits and potential disadvantages to incorporating carb cycling into your health and wellness program.
Pros of Carb Cycling
- Optimizes lean muscle gains
- Aids in losing or maintaining weight
- Doesn’t deprive you of carbs while on the plan, helping to reduce the chances of binging
- Can improve insulin sensitivity
- Decreases the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other disorders
Cons of Carb Cycling
- Potential increase in water retention on high carb days
- Potential cravings for sweets and other unhealthy foods
- Weight loss may easily be put back on after the cycling has stopped
While the drawbacks of carb cycling may seem staggering, everyone is different. Depending on your body and its reaction, you may or may not see any of the disadvantages listed as you carb cycle. You just need to try it out to see for yourself!
Carb Cycling for Fat Loss Guidelines
Here’s the meat and potatoes — literally! We’ve created carb cycling guidelines for you so you can get started whenever you’re ready. Check out the full plan to get an idea of how you’ll be cycling carbs and how many carbs you’ll be allowed per day. Then, check out our prepared carb cycling grocery list!
Carb Cycling Plan The following plan sets you up for a full two weeks of carb cycling. Try it out and let us know how it worked for you!
The Basic Information No Carb Day = 0 Grams Carbs Low Carb Day = 25 Grams Carbs High Carb Day = 50 Grams Carbs
Day 1 — No Carbs Day 2 — No Carbs Day 3 — Low Carbs Day 4 — No Carbs Day 5 — High Carbs Day 6 — No Carbs Day 7 — No Carbs Day 8 — High Carbs Day 9 — No Carbs Day 10 — No Carbs Day 11 — No Carbs Day 12 — High Carbs Day 13 — Low Carbs Day 14 — Low Carbs
At the end of your two weeks, take a look at your progress and reward yourself with one “cheat” meal of your choice!
Carb Cycling Meal Prep
Before you get started with carb cycling, you’ll need to plan out the foods you’ll be eating. Use this list as a guide to help you as you pick things up at the grocery store:
- Egg Whites
- Lean Meat (Chicken, Ground Turkey, Fish)
- Protein Powder
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Almond Milk
- Fresh Vegetables
- Low-Calorie Popcorn
- Rice Cakes
For breakfast on a no carb day, stick with egg whites or a protein shake. On a low or high carb day, you may opt to eat oatmeal.
For lunches, try to pre-prepare about 6 oz. of lean meat with veggies for every day of the week. Making this ahead of time will help reduce the impulse to eat out or eat something not on the carb cycling plan.
For dinner, stick to another 6 oz. of lean meat with veggies. It’s a good idea to vary the meats and vegetables you’re eating for lunch and dinner each day. Alternating these items will help you feel more excited to eat each meal. Eating the same type of meat and veggies can become boring for some people, making them more susceptible to giving in to cravings.
Plan for one to two snacks during your day. These snacks may include raw veggies, low-calorie popcorn, and rice cakes. If you love to eat sweets, place a bag of grapes in the freezer. When you feel a sweet craving coming on, grab four to eight from the bag! The frozen texture and berry flavor are just enough to satisfy most sweet lovers.
Tips for Carb Cycling Success
Try Intermittent Fasting by combining carb cycling and intermittent fasting, you can help increase the amount of fat you burn. This doesn’t mean you won’t eat, though! You’ll be eating the same amount, just within a certain period of time in your day. During your fasting hours, your body will work to release and utilize any fat that has been stored. The result is a better fat burn and better weight loss results.
Take a Fat Burning Supplement
By taking a quality fat burner supplement before you work out, you can increase your metabolism and overall fat burn throughout the rest of the day. The key is to find a high-quality fat burner that works well for you! At iTrainStudio, we always recommend that our fitness members try taking the MTS Nutrition fat burner stack. This includes:
- Drop Factor, a thermogenic fat burner supplement
- Yohimbine, a targeted fat loss supplement
- L-Carnitine, a non-stimulant fat mobilizer
Together, these supplements help to retract your stored fat cells so you can burn them effectively. When taken consistently, you can take your fat loss to the next level.
Drink Up Make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day! Drinking water before and after your meals and snacks will help you feel full and satisfied. Drinking cold water also helps you burn more calories since your body has to increase the temperature of the water as it moves to your stomach.
Stay Active Keep up with your workouts and strength training, but also try joining a group or club outside of your normal daily routine. Staying busy will help keep your mind off eating! It could be as simple as volunteering at a local organization a few days a week or going to your local library after work to dive into a good book.
Related: Best Fat Burners for Men
Track Your Calories
By making sure you stay in a caloric deficit, you can ensure you’ll lose weight on the carb cycling plan! Simply use any smartphone tracking app you prefer. Some of your friends may already use one and can connect with you to cheer you on!
For some people, it’s also helpful to pre-track all the food they plan on eating each day. This allows them to schedule and tally up the full caloric total ahead of time, helping to prevent them from exceeding their limit.
Make Ice Cream
Okay, okay…not real ice cream. But it’s still delicious! You can help satisfy any unhealthy food cravings by blending up your favorite protein powder with almond milk and sticking it in the freezer. The end result is a sweet, frozen treat that (kind of) tastes like ice cream.
Find a Friend
Ask around your fitness studio to see if there’s anyone else looking to try carb cycling for fat loss. There’s strength in numbers and you can encourage each other to keep going! Who knows? At the end of the two-week plan, you may both decide to keep going for another two weeks. With another fat-burning warrior by your side, you’re sure to succeed.
Want to know more about carb cycling and how it can work for you? Contact iTrainStudio today to talk with one of our nutrition experts!
Wayne Mutata is the owner of iTrainStudio and is dedicated to helping individuals reach their health and fitness goals. As a personal trainer, nutritionist, leader, and motivator, he brings light into the Studio every day and positively influences those around him. You can follow him on Facebook at @iTrainStudio and on Instagram at @iTrainWithWayne or @iTrainStudio.Lancaster. For a free consultation, visit theiTrainStudio website!