Consumption of carbohydrates, particularly simple and processed carbohydrates, encourages the body to lay down fat stores. Low-carbohydrate diets are very effective for fat loss. However, dietary carbohydrates do play an important role: they fuel intense bursts of activity, such as sprinting or power-lifting. An individual on a regular low-carbohydrate diet may find that intense bursts of effort are exhausting or even impossible to perform. In response to this conundrum, the concept of carb cycling was born and recently John Barban created the Golden Adonis Ratio program to help men cut fat and built muscle.
Bodybuilders, bikers, and runners all want to minimize their body fat while simultaneously fueling their body properly. Through carb cycling, the timing of carbohydrate consumption is manipulated to produce all of the desired results- good athletic performance, muscle building, and fat loss.
When and How Much
When following a carb cycling diet, the person alternates between no carb days, low carb days, and high carb days. On no carb days, the goal is to consume less than 25 grams of carbohydrates. On low carb days, 75 grams of healthy carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and fruit) can be eaten. On high carb days, 150 to 300 grams of healthy carbs are consumed. High carb days must always be followed by a no carb day. It’s best to plan intense workouts on high carb days, cardiovascular workouts on low carb days, and rest on no carb days. During a typical week, there will be two high carb days, two or three low carb days, and the rest of the days will be no carb days.
Carb cycling is ideal for athletes who have ten or so pounds of body fat left to lose. Athletes who are significantly heavier than that, and sedentary people, will get better results by simply following a low-carbohydrate diet. Amanda Tao, registered dietitian, says “Sedentary people really don’t need to eat any carbohydrates. If someone doesn’t burn off consumed carbohydrates within a few hours, it is just turned into body fat.”
How it Works
When carbohydrates are eaten, the body first “fills up” the energy stores in the liver and muscle. These stores are finite and fairly small. Once they are full, all further dietary carbohydrates are turned into fat. When carb cycling, high carb days are used to “fill up” the energy stores. The low carb and no carb days are used to restore insulin sensitivity and to drain out the energy stores, so that fat is never laid down.
A great Carb Cycling cheat sheet.