Carb Cycling

carb cycling diet

What is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is a diet plan that involves you eating higher amounts of carbohydrates on some days (high carb days) and medium to low carbs on other days to better achieve your fitness goals. The amount and frequency of carb intake depends on what you aim to achieve (muscle growth or fat and weight loss).

Advantages of Carb Cycling?

  • Preserve Muscle Mass
  • Prevent Muscle Wastage
  • Boost Body Fat Reduction
  • Prevent dip in Metabolic Rate
  • Promote Glycogen Supercompensation

Preserve muscle mass and prevent muscle wastage

The high carb days will help fill your muscles with glycogen (primary fuel source for your muscles), increase amino acid uptake (prevent muscle breakdown) and assist in protein synthesis.

Boost body fat reduction

Low carb days will help keep your insulin levels, increasing your insulin sensitivity and promote fat burning.

Prevent a dip in your metabolic rate

Prolonged periods of low carbohydrate intake can decrease your levels of the thyroid hormone T3. This decrease slows down your metabolism and leads to an overall reduction Basal Metabolic Rate – BMR (the number of calories burnt at rest). The planned high carb days will help pump up T3 production.

Promote Glycogen Supercompensation

Glycogen supercompensation is when your muscles store glycogen above its normal capacity. This happens when we repeatedly deplete our muscle glycogen stores by working out and cutting carbs. As, you know the muscles main energy source is glycogen, which is broken down from glucose, which is taken in when we consume carbs. So to ensure your muscles never completely run out of this energy source our bodies increase the muscle storage capacity and increase glycogen uptake the next time you consume carbs.

Other benefits include;

  • Preventing hunger and fatigue
  • Allowing for a more flexible eating approach (high carb days allow you to keep your favourite meals as part of your plan).
  • Prevention of extreme hunger and fatigue

How to plan your carb cycling diet?

For Fat Loss

Your aim should be to have low carb days during training and medium carb days when recovering.


Training Day 1 – Low Carbs

Training Day 2 – Low Carbs

Cardio /Rest Day – Medium Carbs

Training Day 3 – Low Carbs

Training Day 4 – Low Carbs

Cardio / Rest Day – Medium Carbs

Rest Day – Medium Carbs

For Muscle Growth

Your aim should be to have high carbs on training days and low carbs on rest or very low intensity days.


Training Day 1 – High Carbs

Training Day 2 – High Carbs

Cardio /Rest Day – Low Carbs

Training Day 3 – High Carbs

Training Day 4 – High Carbs

Cardio / Rest Day – Low Carbs

Rest Day – Low Carbs

For Maintenance

Your aim should be medium carbs on training days and low carbs on rest days.


Training Day 1 – Medium Carbs

Training Day 2 – Medium Carbs

Cardio /Rest Day – Low Carbs

Training Day 3 – Medium Carbs

Training Day 4 – Medium Carbs

Cardio / Rest Day – Low Carbs

Rest Day – Low Carbs