Some of you may have heard of carb cycling and we often get questions about it. We are getting a little in the weeds with this topic, as you shouldn’t really worry about carb cycling unless your diet is already fantastic. If not, the focus should be on high-quality whole foods and protein.
But, if you are eating really well and wondering if carb cycling is for you, here we break it down.
First, what is carb cycling? It’s alternating the number of carbs you eat in a day depending on your activity levels.
You typically have low, moderate and high carb days – low on rest days and high on intense training days.
Here are some notes:
- No matter what level of carbs you are at during a particular day, you still maintain the same calorie goal.
- High-carb days don’t mean donuts and ice cream.
- In terms of how many carbs you need and on what days depend on the individual and the training/activity level.
There is evidence that carb cycling may improve insulin sensitivity. Some research supports carb cycling for weight loss.
On the flip side, it can be a headache. For those of you who hate tracking, this adds another layer of complexity as you have to figure out what those levels should be each day. For those of you who have tracked in the past and now don’t because you have dialed in what a day looks like, it would probably mean you need to get back to tracking.
In my opinion, it’s really not needed for the average gym-goer.
Bottom line: Eat to support your day and listen to your body. If you are extra hungry or feel depleted, add in more carbs. Choose mainly whole foods. Focus on protein. Carbs provide energy and have been demonized, but the right types of carbs are essential, especially if you work out.
If you need help with your nutrition, reach out!