Carbohydrate cycling, or “carb cycling” is a type of diet low or even devoid of carbohydrates, alternated with periods of moderate or even high carbohydrates. The goal is to cycle carbohydrates to achieve a specific result…
The trade-off between fat loss and maintaining muscle mass
The majority of bodybuilders are convinced that drastically reducing carbohydrate intake over very long periods of time is good for them during periods of dryness. The main problem with this kind of diet is that it is temporary since it drains your energy and strength. This is far from the best way to lose fat and maintain muscle mass. You cannot therefore eat this way ad vitam aeternam, since your body as an athlete requires carbohydrates to function efficiently.
On the other hand, it goes without saying that a diet high in carbohydrates, although it can speed up your metabolism and promote performance, is not ideal for losing fat because there is no calorie deficit.
This is where carbohydrate cycling comes in. which is a “zig zag” method allowing you to access the benefits of the two other types of diet mentioned above, and to maintain your muscle mass while losing fat. This type of method also helps to maintain a certain mental health as well as your strength and endurance in training.
Carbohydrate cycling works by giving the body the energy it needs to speed up metabolism, while creating a deficit to initiate fat loss. Days are either high carb, moderate/low, or no carb days.
Example : 4 low carb days followed by a high day, 2 no carb days followed by a low day, a moderate day and a high day etc. Of course, this must be modulated according to each person and their personal objectives.
What usually works fine: put high carbohydrate days on the days when you perform your most intense and heavy sessions (thighs and back for example). Low carb days will be days when you do less strenuous workouts and rest days.