What is carb cycling?
Carb cycling is a strategy to use when you are in a calorie deficit or fat loss phase where you alternate between eating lower carbs and higher carbs. To start calorie cycling, you could try eating lower carb for six days and high carbs for one, but it would be most beneficial to have five lower carb days and two back-to-back higher carb days. Many people will plan their high carb days for the weekend to have a bit more flexibility.
Being in a calorie deficit can take a toll on your energy, hormones and metabolism. When in a calorie deficit, carb cycling is great way to signal to your body that it is still “safe.”
Why should I carb cycle?
- Helps with weight loss plateaus
- A reduction in calories reduces your metabolic rate
- This serves as a period of caloric surplus OR caloric maintenance phase to offset metabolic adaptations
- It helps your recover from being in a deficit
- It increases your ability to adhere to your nutrition plan and sustain your calorie deficit for a long period of time (12 weeks tops)
How do I carb cycle?
There are four calculators below. If you are just starting to track macros, use the 6:1 calculator and as you get more acquainted and comfortable with tracking macros, transition to 5:2. Once you transition to 5:2, make sure to do your two high-carb days back-to-back whenever possible.
For those with PCOS or insulin resistance
There are different recommendations for people with PCOS or resistance to insulin. Make sure to use the correct calculators below.
For all calculators below, make sure you are plugging in the carbs that were calculated for your DEFICIT, not maintenance or baseline calories/macros.
Hack for inputting custom macros into MyFitnessPal Basic
Note: If you have the Premium membership, you can skip this video. Premium allows you to input macros by the gram versus percentages.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed?
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