Carb Cycling Diet for Weight Loss

carbcycling

Cycling Carbohydrates: An Introduction

One of the dietary strategies you may have heard about about from bodybuilders, fitness competitors, or those just wanting to lose weight is called carb cycling.   This is a term for scheduling days of high carbohydrate consumption followed by days of successively lower carbohydrate consumption.  This approach seems to be a very effective way to maximize fat loss while maintaining training intensity.  I’ll explain the basics of why this works.

Why Lowering Carbs Works

Restricting carbohydrates (aka low carb or ketogenic diets) can be very effective for helping people lose weight.  Going several days with low carbohydrate intake (lets say 50 grams or less) eventually causes glycogen levels (glucose in the liver and muscles) to get so low that the body has to switch to another fuel source.  This metabolic shift is called ketosis, meaning the body is primarily using fat as its source of calories/fuel.   I discovered ketogenic/low carb dieting years ago and have used it with good success.

Some have adopted adopted a low carbohydrate lifestyle and credit it with saving their health (if not their very lives).  These individuals follow this diet year-around in order to stay at a healthy weight.  More power to you if you are able to do this.

The Drawbacks of Restricting Carbohydrates

But eating this way all the time is not very practical for athletes or those who engage in intense exercise like weight training.  Those of us who have trained while in ketosis can testify how sluggish the workouts are.  Eating carbohydrates refills the before-mentioned glycogen so muscles can perform optimally.

Thus the dilemma: low carb eating is great for fat loss, but not so great for exercise performance.

Carb Cycling: Lose Fat, Maintain Training Intensely

One solution to this is carb cycling, which may be able to give you the best of both worlds.  It really isn’t that complicated: you simply lower your carbohydrate over the course of a few days.  The first day, for example, you can eat 200 grams of carbs, followed by 125 on the second and only 50 on the third.  You could then repeat the cycle or just reverse it over the next two days (125 grams of carbs on day 4 and 200 again on day 5).

You may want to do your most intensive training on high carbohydrate days and try to consume most of your carbs after you work out.  This will encourage the glucose to go to your muscles and liver instead of being stored as body fat.

Most of the plans I’ve seen also incorporate a “cheat day” where you just eat what you want.  This shouldn’t hurt your fat loss in the long-term as long as you are consistent the rest of the time.

Just keep this in mind: all successful diets are based on a negative calorie balance–using more calories than you are consuming.  Carb cycling is not a “secret formula” to get around this–it is simply one dietary strategy that you may find useful.

I would encourage you to check out the 4 Cycle Solution if you’d like a step-by-step guide to this approach to fat loss.  It goes into a lot more detail than what I have written here and it is not very expensive.

4 Cycle Fat Loss Solution Review (Shaun Hadsall)

4-cycle-fat-loss-solution-review

I have had an opportunity to look over a new product called the 4 Cycle Solution diet.  I will start this review with a description of the manuals/components you get when you order this program:

4 Cycle Fat Loss Solution Program Components

Cycle 1:  7 Day Carb Depletion Diet: This phase is more of a low carbohydrate approach, designed to deplete the liver and muscles of glycogen (glucose stored within the body).  This causes a switch in your body, causing it to burn fat (ketones) instead of carbohydrates for fuel.  This will cause some fairly quick (albeit temporary) weight loss, which will hopefully motivate you to follow through with the next cycles.  More importantly, depleting your glycogen will set you up for the next phases of the diet.

Note: These first 7 days will probably be the most difficult part of the diet.  I would encourage you to stick with it because things get easier after this first week.

Cycle 2: Macro Patterning: The author begins this manual with an explanation of the pro’s and con’s of consuming carbohydrates.  He then explains how to optimize the timing of carbohydrate consumption so you keep (or build) muscle while continuing to lose fat.  The idea is to take in carbs when they are more likely to go into the muscles/liver and less likely to be stored as fat.  This keeps you from experiencing the lethargy associated with low carb diets while experiencing some of the benefits.

This phase will take you from week 2-4.

Cycle 3: Accelerated Fat Loss: This phase of the diet is similar to Cycle 2, but it is a little more intense.   You will be required to eat zero carbs on some days, but be allowed to eat a relatively high amount on others.  The idea here is to maximize your fat loss by manipulating your carbohydrates and glycogen levels in a strategic way.

This phase takes you from weeks 5-6.  It is not recommended to do this for over 14 days (the author explains this in much greater detail in the manual).

Cycle 4: The Diet Break: This phase gives you a physiological and psychological break from the strict dieting of previous weeks.  The manual explains how to increase your calories again without re-gaining the fat you lost in previous weeks.

This phase is for week 7-8 of the diet.

Success Guide and Food Journal:  This is a printable meal log so you can track what you eat on any given day.

Supplement Guide:  This is a description of the author’s recommended supplements.  The brands he recommends are a bit pricy so I would encourage you to stick to the basics (multivitamin, whey protein, fish oil, etc.) and shop around.

Bonuses:

The Fat Burning Shortcut Solution:  These are some specific exercise strategies designed to burn calories in minimal time.  You can do the diet without these, but you may want to use them as a way of making it more effective (especially if you want to add some variety to your routine).

Food Timing Tricks for Rapid Fat Loss:  This manual has more tweaks and suggestions for getting the most out of the diet.  The author goes into a little more detail regarding some of the concepts/strategies mentioned in earlier manuals.

Review:

The 4 Cycle Fat Loss Solution is built on the concept of carb cycling.  This is a popular strategy among bodybuilders and fitness competitors for good reason: it work.  I’ve seen some impressive transformations from those who use these kinds of diets to get lean.  I think this program would be good for the following type of person:

*People who have tried more traditional diet strategies and have failed to see results.

*Trainees who desire to lose fat while preserving muscle mass.

*Those who are willing to plan their meals and follow a regimented plan for eight weeks.

If this describes you then I believe the 4 Cycle Solution is worth a try.  The basic package is only 20 dollars, making it an excellent value.  Please CLICK HERE if you’d like to order or learn more.

Rapid Fat Loss Handbook Review (Lyle McDonald)

The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook: a Scientific Approach to Crash Dieting Review

I have been following the career of Lyle McDonald for almost twenty years.  His writing is some of the best (if not the best) stuff you can find on the subject of fat loss and body transformation.  Lyle’s take on rapid fat loss is a great addition to the body of work he has produced.   Here’s my review:

In an ideal world, we’d all be willing to slowly but surely lose weight. But we are not in an ideal world, and “crash dieting” can have its place. There are several reasons one may want to lose weight fast:

*Limited time until an important event, such as a bodybuilding contest, athletic competition, high school reunion, wedding, etc.  When you are up against a proverbial wall you may not be willing to do a more “balanced” approach to diet and fat loss.

*There’s a psychological advantage to seeing the numbers on the scale going down quickly–sometimes we are more likely to stay on the diet when we know it is extremely effective.

*Dieting isn’t fun, so some of us (yours truly included) would rather just do a “hard” diet and get it over with.

The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook was designed to help to help people do a “crash diet” safely and effectively. He answers some of the following questions:

What type of diet will help me lose fat while keeping most (or all) of my muscle mass? Remember—muscle loss is not what you want.

How can I use breaks/cheats to maximize the diet’s effectiveness?

How many calories should I eat for maximum fat loss?

How much exercise should I do while on this kind of diet? His answer may surprise you (hint: more is not always better).

How can I keep the fat off once I go back to a maintenance phase?

What supplements can help ensure I get the essential nutrients while crash dieting?

Lyle’s writing is thorough, but not overly technical. I also appreciate his understanding of the psychological aspects of dieting—something other authors overlook. Last but not least, the book has just enough humor to make you laugh every once in a while—a nice touch.

Now let me share who I think this diet/book is best suited for:  rapidfatlossreview

*People who are extremely focused on losing fat to the exclusion of all other goals.  This is not a muscle-building program or lifestyle program–it is a crash diet.

*Those who are willing to stick to an extremely strict diet for the purpose of maximizing results.  This is not going to be an easy diet–your food choices will be severely limited.

*People who desire to “kick-start” their weight loss for a few weeks before switching to a more moderate program.  This may be a good strategy for men and women who want to start their body transformation with serious momentum.

*Athletes/competitors who need to quickly drop weight while preserving as much lean mass (muscle) as possible.

UPDATE:

You get additional products with your order:

1. Extreme Fat Loss Special Report: this booklet shows you how to drop 5-6 pounds of fat in only 4 days.

2. Guide to Flexible Dieting:  This book will show you how to keep off the weight you lost during your crash diet.  I think you’ll find this to be an extremely helpful guide.

3. Home Exercise Handbook:  This book will show you how to exercise/train at home–perfect for those who are not ready (or able to join a gym).

This is a great deal for 47 bucks–both a short-term and long-term plan for those who want to lose weight and keep it off.   Just CLICK HERE to order or to learn more.

 

You can also check out my other recommended programs if you think something else would better suit your needs.