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Carb cycling is a nutrition plan that involves eating more carbohydrates on days that your body requires more fuel (for example a heavy leg day or days you go for long runs) and less on days when your body does not need as much fuel (for example rest days or lighter upper body sessions).
In theory, this style of eating works by preventing your body from using protein as a source of energy during your big sessions, while also meaning that when you’re chilling on the sofa watching Netflix, extra carbs are not being stored as glucose in your fat cells.
It is popular among seasoned weight trainers and those just looking to shed a few extra pounds, but if you want to give it a go here are a few mistakes you need to watch out for.
You forget about fat and protein
It can be easy to get into the mindset that carbs are the only thing that matter when carb cycling, and so you neglect your other macros. You, therefore, reduce your carbs and then compensate by eating more protein and fat, which ultimately is not going to help you see much fat loss.
Make sure you’re considering your diet as a whole and how many calories you are getting on your low and high carb days.
You're overeating on refeed days
How much you should be eating on your refeed days depends on a variety of factors and so a lot of deciding how much you need to be eating on your big training days is going to come down to trial and error.
Keep track of not only your calorie intake but also how you feel when training.
You want to have energy but not feel so full and bloated you can’t move – not a productive gym session.
You’re eating too little on your low-carb days
Just as eating too much is counterproductive, eating too little on your low-carb days is also going to make achieving your goals more challenging.
Not giving your body what it needs, even on rest days, can seriously hamper your weight loss - not to mention have a negative impact on your health.
You’re eating the wrong type of carbs
While food is not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, on your high carb days certain foods should make up the majority of your carbohydrate intake due to their nutritional factors.
You want to focus your intake around unrefined foods such as potatoes, rice and legumes.
It might be tempting to grab a doughnut or sweets to help you on your way to hitting your carb goals, but this is not going to help you in the long run.