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Carb cycling

cnbbnccnbbnc Posts: 1,266Member Member Posts: 1,266Member Member
I'm giving calorie cycling a try along with my recomp. Higher calories obviously on my workout days....

Is there any benefit to eating low carb on the low calorie days? I'm not carb phobic at all as I eat plenty in general. Just wondering if this has the potential to do anything.

Replies

  • J72FITJ72FIT Posts: 5,440Member Member Posts: 5,440Member Member
    I think it's a great way to throw in some variety. Is there anything special about it? IMO no. Is it necessary? Maybe for an individual trying to get stage ready lean but for the average person probably not. Will it hurt you? Other then being a pain in the rear end when it does not fit your schedule, no...
  • cnbbnccnbbnc Posts: 1,266Member Member Posts: 1,266Member Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I think it's a great way to throw in some variety. Is there anything special about it? IMO no. Is it necessary? Maybe for an individual trying to get stage ready lean but for the average person probably not. Will it hurt you? Other then being a pain in the rear end when it does not fit your schedule, no...

    Yeah. I couldn't do low carb consistently because it gets old really fast for me. And...I love my carbs! LOL! Didn't know if sticking to more proteins/fats/low carb veggies/fruits could help with attacking fat I guess....

  • J72FITJ72FIT Posts: 5,440Member Member Posts: 5,440Member Member
    In the end it all comes down to CICO. Eat in a way that you enjoy and can sustain, get plenty of exercise and recover and the rest will work itself out...

    On a side not, you look just like my cousin... lol!
    edited May 2016
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    cnbbnc wrote: »
    Is there any benefit to eating low carb on the low calorie days? I'm not carb phobic at all as I eat plenty in general. Just wondering if this has the potential to do anything.

    The argument for it I've seen is simply that you may want to keep fat and protein at a minimum level so if cycling it makes sense to switch up carbs. I've played around with it but in connection with activity (more carbs on higher cal and activity days) and got frustrated since it was more regimented than I like and I found keeping calories mostly constant easier, but that was just me at that time, nothing negative about it as a thing to try (and one I might play with again).
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 16,118Member Member Posts: 16,118Member Member
    It's very much the default if you are following the MFP "eat back exercise calories" method of course.

    Calorie cycling - I'm not convinced that it achieves anything significantly different to same every day calories for recomp. The articles I've seen suggesting this approach never seem to state what they think the difference would be. 1% or 10% or something else? How was it measured?

    Remember calories/nutrition just supports your training, it doesn't cause muscle building.

    Carb cycling - even less convinced, you may get more wild weight (water) fluctuations but don't see this would promote fat loss out of relation with your calorie deficit....
    Didn't know if sticking to more proteins/fats/low carb veggies/fruits could help with attacking fat I guess....
    Why would it? If your calories are the same do you think playing around with macros achieves anything significant?

    But don't see any reason not to give it a try to see if it suits you. Always worth experimenting if there's no downside.
  • cnbbnccnbbnc Posts: 1,266Member Member Posts: 1,266Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    It's very much the default if you are following the MFP "eat back exercise calories" method of course.

    Calorie cycling - I'm not convinced that it achieves anything significantly different to same every day calories for recomp. The articles I've seen suggesting this approach never seem to state what they think the difference would be. 1% or 10% or something else? How was it measured?

    Remember calories/nutrition just supports your training, it doesn't cause muscle building.

    Carb cycling - even less convinced, you may get more wild weight (water) fluctuations but don't see this would promote fat loss out of relation with your calorie deficit....
    Didn't know if sticking to more proteins/fats/low carb veggies/fruits could help with attacking fat I guess....
    Why would it? If your calories are the same do you think playing around with macros achieves anything significant?

    But don't see any reason not to give it a try to see if it suits you. Always worth experimenting if there's no downside.

    I just read something somewhere suggesting that sticking more to complex carbs and heavy protein could help. But yeah....calories are calories despite everything else. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not trusting the process....

    And I'm not eating at a deficit but rather trying to stick as close to flat out maintenance as I can. To me....a deficit means I would lose more weight and at 5'4 and 118 I don't want that because I'm looking a little gaunt as it is....

    edited May 2016
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 16,118Member Member Posts: 16,118Member Member
    cnbbnc wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    It's very much the default if you are following the MFP "eat back exercise calories" method of course.

    Calorie cycling - I'm not convinced that it achieves anything significantly different to same every day calories for recomp. The articles I've seen suggesting this approach never seem to state what they think the difference would be. 1% or 10% or something else? How was it measured?

    Remember calories/nutrition just supports your training, it doesn't cause muscle building.

    Carb cycling - even less convinced, you may get more wild weight (water) fluctuations but don't see this would promote fat loss out of relation with your calorie deficit....
    Didn't know if sticking to more proteins/fats/low carb veggies/fruits could help with attacking fat I guess....
    Why would it? If your calories are the same do you think playing around with macros achieves anything significant?

    But don't see any reason not to give it a try to see if it suits you. Always worth experimenting if there's no downside.

    I just read something somewhere suggesting that sticking more to complex carbs and heavy protein could help. But yeah....calories are calories despite everything else. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not trusting the process....

    And I'm not eating at a deficit but rather trying to stick as close to flat out maintenance as I can. To me....a deficit means I would lose more weight and at 5'4 and 118 I don't want that because I'm looking a little gaunt as it is....

    I understood you were recomping at maintenance but with calorie cycling you will need to be in deficit one day and surplus another to even it out over time.
    Just seems over-complex for no defined benefit to me. Eating back exercise calories just seems far more simple way to achieve a similar thing.

    TBH if you aren't getting the results you hope for would suggest reviewing/over-hauling your training as a first step rather than fiddling about with calorie cycling.

    If you feel you are looking gaunt perhaps allow yourself slowly to gain a few pounds? Maintenance doesn't have to be so restrictive that your goal weight is set in stone.
  • cnbbnccnbbnc Posts: 1,266Member Member Posts: 1,266Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    cnbbnc wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    It's very much the default if you are following the MFP "eat back exercise calories" method of course.

    Calorie cycling - I'm not convinced that it achieves anything significantly different to same every day calories for recomp. The articles I've seen suggesting this approach never seem to state what they think the difference would be. 1% or 10% or something else? How was it measured?

    Remember calories/nutrition just supports your training, it doesn't cause muscle building.

    Carb cycling - even less convinced, you may get more wild weight (water) fluctuations but don't see this would promote fat loss out of relation with your calorie deficit....
    Didn't know if sticking to more proteins/fats/low carb veggies/fruits could help with attacking fat I guess....
    Why would it? If your calories are the same do you think playing around with macros achieves anything significant?

    But don't see any reason not to give it a try to see if it suits you. Always worth experimenting if there's no downside.

    I just read something somewhere suggesting that sticking more to complex carbs and heavy protein could help. But yeah....calories are calories despite everything else. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not trusting the process....

    And I'm not eating at a deficit but rather trying to stick as close to flat out maintenance as I can. To me....a deficit means I would lose more weight and at 5'4 and 118 I don't want that because I'm looking a little gaunt as it is....

    I understood you were recomping at maintenance but with calorie cycling you will need to be in deficit one day and surplus another to even it out over time.
    Just seems over-complex for no defined benefit to me. Eating back exercise calories just seems far more simple way to achieve a similar thing.

    TBH if you aren't getting the results you hope for would suggest reviewing/over-hauling your training as a first step rather than fiddling about with calorie cycling.

    If you feel you are looking gaunt perhaps allow yourself slowly to gain a few pounds? Maintenance doesn't have to be so restrictive that your goal weight is set in stone.

    Yeah....you're right. LOL! Maybe I'm just doing too much reading online because that's where all this is coming from. Like maybe I'm missing something....

    I'm not against gaining a little weight back. I've been hoping that if I could just whack a little more fat off me that I could possibly try a bulk. But then again, if I start seeing some results with the recomp I may change my mind and stay that course.... Whatever is going to get me where I want to be.

    Thank you. :smile:

  • christianayoung379christianayoung379 Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
    Go to Heidipowell web page. I carb cycled last year for 8 weeks and lost a lot of weight and then got pregnant...I'm doing it again...I believe the point of carb cycling is to keep your metabolism confused so it continuously burns...on the low carb days it burns stored fat instead of on the high carb days it burns the carbs you just ingested. The high protien is so that you keep your muscle while "starving" your body of carbs on low carb days...I'm not a pro though lol.
  • cnbbnccnbbnc Posts: 1,266Member Member Posts: 1,266Member Member
    Go to Heidipowell web page. I carb cycled last year for 8 weeks and lost a lot of weight and then got pregnant...I'm doing it again...I believe the point of carb cycling is to keep your metabolism confused so it continuously burns...on the low carb days it burns stored fat instead of on the high carb days it burns the carbs you just ingested. The high protien is so that you keep your muscle while "starving" your body of carbs on low carb days...I'm not a pro though lol.

    Yeah...that's pretty much what I had read somewhere else and why I asked about it. Good to know you think it's worked for you. :smile:

  • Dr1nkbleachndyeDr1nkbleachndye Posts: 445Member Member Posts: 445Member Member
    Carb cycling is great imo. Just another tool to add to a solid program.

    My glycogen gets depleted often from dieting, its even more noticeable now while doing IF.

    Carb cyling is a great way to avoid that completely. While yes you will retain more water then pulling out carbs altogether, I do better with carbs than without them.
  • cnbbnccnbbnc Posts: 1,266Member Member Posts: 1,266Member Member
    Carb cycling is great imo. Just another tool to add to a solid program.

    My glycogen gets depleted often from dieting, its even more noticeable now while doing IF.

    Carb cyling is a great way to avoid that completely. While yes you will retain more water then pulling out carbs altogether, I do better with carbs than without them.

    I wonder if this is why I saw a jump on the scale. I ate within my calories for the week, but had a three pound jump that's still sticking. I know it's water, but I never had this happen when I ate the same amount daily....

  • Dr1nkbleachndyeDr1nkbleachndye Posts: 445Member Member Posts: 445Member Member
    cnbbnc wrote: »
    Carb cycling is great imo. Just another tool to add to a solid program.

    My glycogen gets depleted often from dieting, its even more noticeable now while doing IF.

    Carb cyling is a great way to avoid that completely. While yes you will retain more water then pulling out carbs altogether, I do better with carbs than without them.

    I wonder if this is why I saw a jump on the scale. I ate within my calories for the week, but had a three pound jump that's still sticking. I know it's water, but I never had this happen when I ate the same amount daily....
    It's def water. Idk how low your carbs were prior, and for how long, but if you upped them significantly that is what it is from.

    Honestly, there are times where it is desirable to have low glycogen, mainly in situations where u may still be carrying some weight that you are looking to shed, but for the most part, having fuller looking muscles will give you the appearance of being leaner then u actually may realize. To you, those extra three pounds resemble aggravation and weight that you would rather not have on you, but to other people, having fuller muscles will give you the appearance of looking more cut, and more 'toned'.

    I would bet if you are already in good shape, that you would get more compliments on your look after a day of higher carbs, then when u look emaciated from low glycogen. That IMO is why carb cycling is great. If you are going to be going to a beach or somewhere that you will be wearing swimwear, I'd advise that your high carb day be the night before. Watch how many compliments you will get that day.

  • J72FITJ72FIT Posts: 5,440Member Member Posts: 5,440Member Member
    cnbbnc wrote: »
    Carb cycling is great imo. Just another tool to add to a solid program.

    My glycogen gets depleted often from dieting, its even more noticeable now while doing IF.

    Carb cyling is a great way to avoid that completely. While yes you will retain more water then pulling out carbs altogether, I do better with carbs than without them.

    I wonder if this is why I saw a jump on the scale. I ate within my calories for the week, but had a three pound jump that's still sticking. I know it's water, but I never had this happen when I ate the same amount daily....
    It's def water. Idk how low your carbs were prior, and for how long, but if you upped them significantly that is what it is from.

    Honestly, there are times where it is desirable to have low glycogen, mainly in situations where u may still be carrying some weight that you are looking to shed, but for the most part, having fuller looking muscles will give you the appearance of being leaner then u actually may realize. To you, those extra three pounds resemble aggravation and weight that you would rather not have on you, but to other people, having fuller muscles will give you the appearance of looking more cut, and more 'toned'.

    I would bet if you are already in good shape, that you would get more compliments on your look after a day of higher carbs, then when u look emaciated from low glycogen. That IMO is why carb cycling is great. If you are going to be going to a beach or somewhere that you will be wearing swimwear, I'd advise that your high carb day be the night before. Watch how many compliments you will get that day.
    Works pretty good for bodybuilders before they hit the stage. Forgive me if I'm wrong but don't they carb up the night before?
  • Dr1nkbleachndyeDr1nkbleachndye Posts: 445Member Member Posts: 445Member Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    cnbbnc wrote: »
    Carb cycling is great imo. Just another tool to add to a solid program.

    My glycogen gets depleted often from dieting, its even more noticeable now while doing IF.

    Carb cyling is a great way to avoid that completely. While yes you will retain more water then pulling out carbs altogether, I do better with carbs than without them.

    I wonder if this is why I saw a jump on the scale. I ate within my calories for the week, but had a three pound jump that's still sticking. I know it's water, but I never had this happen when I ate the same amount daily....
    It's def water. Idk how low your carbs were prior, and for how long, but if you upped them significantly that is what it is from.

    Honestly, there are times where it is desirable to have low glycogen, mainly in situations where u may still be carrying some weight that you are looking to shed, but for the most part, having fuller looking muscles will give you the appearance of being leaner then u actually may realize. To you, those extra three pounds resemble aggravation and weight that you would rather not have on you, but to other people, having fuller muscles will give you the appearance of looking more cut, and more 'toned'.

    I would bet if you are already in good shape, that you would get more compliments on your look after a day of higher carbs, then when u look emaciated from low glycogen. That IMO is why carb cycling is great. If you are going to be going to a beach or somewhere that you will be wearing swimwear, I'd advise that your high carb day be the night before. Watch how many compliments you will get that day.
    Works pretty good for bodybuilders before they hit the stage. Forgive me if I'm wrong but don't they carb up the night before?
    I believe so.

  • cnbbnccnbbnc Posts: 1,266Member Member Posts: 1,266Member Member
    Really interesting stuff guys. Thank you so much. :smile:
  • dannybutler2273dannybutler2273 Posts: 5Member Member Posts: 5Member Member
    Go to Heidipowell web page. I carb cycled last year for 8 weeks and lost a lot of weight and then got pregnant...I'm doing it again...I believe the point of carb cycling is to keep your metabolism confused so it continuously burns...on the low carb days it burns stored fat instead of on the high carb days it burns the carbs you just ingested. The high protien is so that you keep your muscle while "starving" your body of carbs on low carb days...I'm not a pro though lol.

  • dannybutler2273dannybutler2273 Posts: 5Member Member Posts: 5Member Member
    But you are correct. Carb cycling has everything to do with your metabolism
  • andrewq6100andrewq6100 Posts: 419Member Member Posts: 419Member Member
    I've been doing a bit of carb cycling myself and I always find it helpful when I'm trying to loose some extra stubborn Bodyfat without loosing any lean muscle mass. Yes it is mostly about speeding up your metabolism but it will suck if you don't already have a nutrition plan built, cause those low carb days are ruthless and if your not used to 50grams or less, then you will be moody! lol but it is a good method but just like with any method, it gets adapted to your body quickly so you wanna switch it up again after awhile.
  • fit_elliexfit_elliex Posts: 32Member, Premium Member Posts: 32Member, Premium Member
    So how do you get rid off the water retention from eating the carbs? By low carbing again, I'm guessing?

    Oh, it's complicated :-(
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