I have always adored athletes’ physique. One day while reading an interview with an olympic champion, I was astonished to know that he gave all credit to his food expert, who steered him towards carb cycling. Carb cycling was a relatively new term for me. I thought this dietary approach was for elite athletes and bodybuilders, but once I learned this once-niche nutrition tactic, I duly agree that it has rightly acclaimed its fame.

Today, I aim to take you through the science behind carb recycling, who should try it, and whether it suits you or not.

It is a strict diet often used by athletes and bodybuilders to reduce their body fat, enhance muscle mass, and store carbs for an extended period, like during marathons or competitions. It is also popular among people who want to lose weight and maintain their performance. Carb cycling is about timing your carbohydrate intake to get maximum benefit and minus carbs from your diet when they are not required.

Programming Your Carb Intake

The key factors in programming your carb intake include:

  • Body composition goals – you might drop carb intake during a diet period or add them during the muscle building or performance stage.
  • Rest days and training days – increase your carb intake on training days and reduce it on rest days.
  • Schedule your refeeds – another popular approach is scheduling your refeeds. For example, you can take higher carbs for one or several days that will act as a refeed during a prolonged diet phase.
  • Events or competitions – athletes usually resort to carb load before their special events, and the models do the same before their photoshoots or bodybuilding competitions.
  • Training type – you can tailor your carb intake according to your training intensity. The more prolonged and more intense training requires more carbs.
  • Body fat levels – you should cycle your carbs according to your body fat level. The leaner you become, the more carb intake you can add.

Regular Carb Cycling Diet

  • Two high carb days
  • Two moderate carb days
  • Three low carb days

Your protein intake could be similar on all days, but your fat intake varies according to your carb intake—low fat on a high carb day and high fat on a low carb day. Carb cycling depends upon the biological mechanism behind carbohydrates manipulation in your body. It aims to maximize the benefits of carbs and teach your body to use fat as fuel. It speeds up body metabolism, aids in weight loss, and prevents the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiac issues and intestinal cancer.


Who should go for carb cycling?

According to food and health experts, two groups are more likely to follow carb cycling.

  • Endurance athletes
  • Individuals on a low-carb diet

Carb Recycling Menu

My recommended meal plans are to cater to your carb needs on low, high, and moderate carb intake days.

High carb day plan

  • Breakfast – Three boiled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, three bread slices, and a bowl of mixed fruits
  • Lunch – 6 oz. lean meat, a similar amount of sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables
  • Dinner – One serving rice, 6 oz. chicken or fish, home-cooked tomato sauce, mixed vegetables

You can have almond milk, oatmeal, or berries during your workout.

Moderate carb day plan

  • Breakfast – high protein yogurt, one serving of mixed berries, stevia, and one spoon of mixed seeds
  • Lunch – 6 oz. chicken salad with 3-4 oz. potatoes
  • Dinner – one serving of sweet potatoes fries, 6 oz. lean beef, kidney beans, mixed vegetables

Low carb day plan

  • Breakfast – Three eggs with two slices of bacon and vegetables
  • Lunch – 6 oz. salmon salad with one spoon of olive oil
  • Dinner – half avocado, mixed vegetables and 6 oz. steak

Dear mates, we all are unique so does our needs. What might work for many might not work for others. Self-experience carb recycling would surely be fun to determine what suits you the best. For quick results, you can take help from an expert.

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