The carb cycling diet also known as the carb rotation diet is one of the best ways to lose weight and lose body fat quickly.
There are many carb cycling plans out there and all of them do the same thing in slightly different ways.
They increase and decrease carb intake over a 7 day period in a way that forces your body to start using up stored fat for fuel.
Some plans are easier to follow than others and some are insanely complicated but get great results. Below are 4 that I've tried, how they worked for me and where to go to get more detailed information about them.
I first read about carb cycling back in 1995 in a book called Sliced by Bill Reynolds. I liked the idea of cycling carbs for fat loss but at the time I didn't know half of what I know today about fat loss.
I also was not working out the same way I do now so I felt that maybe just cutting back on starchy carbs in general and increasing the intensity of my workouts would help me get leaner.
Turns out I was right and if you're on the same boat as I was back in 1995 (you're at your desired weight, you workout regularly but you want to lose some fat and look more tight and toned) simply replace some of your starchy carb with veggies and workout with more intensity and you'll get that lean toned look fast.
If you ARE working out hard and eating healthy and struggling to lose fat the 4 carb cycling plans below can help you shed extra body fat fast.
In 2004 just a couple of years after losing 30 pounds of post pregnancy
weight (150 lb. to 122ish lb some days 120 lb.) and dropping from 32% bodyfat to 22% bodyfat... I wanted to get leaner but nothing I tried worked.
So a trainer I was working with who was a competitive cyclist started me on his carb cycling diet.
In a little over two weeks after starting I was down from 121 lb. and 22% bodyfat to 117 lb. and 17% bodyfat.
The results were so unbelievable that I actually had two trainers measure me with calipers to make sure this was correct and it was. Turns out J.B. had taught me the same system that Jayson Hunter outlines in his ebook Carb Rotation Diet.
It's the low, high, no carb approach and I've written about it before but basically it's one day low carb, one day high carb, one day no carb, repeat then on your 7th day do a low or no carb day depending on your activity level that week.
I was lucky that I had somebody planning all my meals for me which is why Jayson's Carb Cycling Diet ebook is a great option if you don't have your very own personal trainer telling you what to eat, when to eat it, and how to workout too. Jayson shows you the system then he gives you the meal plans so you don't have to stress about the details. This is a great system for beginners and intermediates who are tired of struggling with their weight or with more fatloss.
Another great carb cycling plan is Crack The Fatloss Code by Wendy Chant. I was lucky that Wendy's publishers sent me both of her books a few years back before Wendy passed away.
Her carb cycling system is actually a bit more involved and at first glance seems overwhelming but if you just dive in with her week by week planner from her second book Conquer The Fatloss Code it just gets easier and easier each day. Here's what Wendy's system is like.
Week 1 & 2 Double Accelerated Fatloss Phase - carb down day, carb down day, carb up day, carb down day, carb down day, carb up day, carbs baseline (looks similar to Carb Rotation but it's not).
Week 3-5 Metabolic Increase Cycle - no carb, baseline carbs, no carb, baseline carbs, no carb, carb up, baseline carbs
Week 6-8 Metabolic Adaptation Cycle - fats up/no carb, fats down/carbs down, fats down/baseline, fats up/no carbs, fats down/carbs down/ cheat day, fats down/baseline
Wendy's plan is a bit more involved. It also seems to have more off limit foods on certain days but tons of decadent foods on carb up day too. Her weekly planner makes it easy to follow. I tried Wendy's plan and felt that it was too complicated and not as healthy as carb rotation by Jayson Hunter. You can get Wendy's plan here: Best Fatloss Diet Plans shop.
Ori Hoffmekler's book The Anti-Estrogenic Diet is not really a carb cycling diet plan but after being on his plan for 8 weeks it kind of started feeling like one.
Ori's plan is great for people who are struggling with stubborn fat and stressed out or suffering from adrenal fatigue or any other illness that leaves you feeling exhausted. His plan is 4 phases including:
Phase 2: Anti Estrogenic (high fat, no carbs, dairy fish and a few other organic proteins)
Phase 3: Reintroduction of Foods (similar to phase 1 and 2 but more carb options)
Phase 4: Fine Tuning (finding your ideal fuel mix)
I had stage 1 adrenal fatigue back in 2006 when I tried Ori's plan and it helped me recover from that plus shed a few pounds of stubborn belly fat without having to workout harder which I could not do at the time. You can find his plan in the free workouts guide Best Fatloss Diet Plans shop. I highly recommend this to men or women who are sick, exhausted, and have stubborn belly fat. It works!
I did purchase Ori's entire line of fatloss supplements while I was on his diet. I don't think I would have recovered as quickly or lost belly fat as fast without his Tenacious Fat Solution Kit but you can totally do this diet without the supplements and it will work too.
The 4 day diet that I got when I purchased my Tacfit workout plan involves a 4 day cycle that closely matches your activity level.
Day 1: No Intensity Workout/Cleanse Eating Day
Day 2: Low Intensity Workout/Balanced Eating Day
Day 3: Moderate Intensity Workout/Carb Load Day
Day 4: High Intensity Workout/High Protein Day
If you don't need to get the entire Tacfit workout/diet system then Carb Cycling by Roman Malkov is a great option. You can also find that book in the Free Workouts Guide Best Fatloss Diet Plans shop.
1. Weigh yourself every 10 days. Carb cycling means your weight can change dramatically overnight so don’t use the scale especially after a high carb day.
2. DO NOT make the mistake of thinking high carb means you can eat as many carbs as you like just because your choices are healthy. Use a carb cycling diet plan to figure out your ideal carb intake.
3. Some carb cycling diet plans allow cheat meals or free meals and others don't. You need to determine if having a cheat meal works for you or not. This has never worked for me in the past but seems to be working right now. This is a very personal thing so figure before you start whether to cheat or not cheat.
4. Stay hydrated and eat plenty of dark leafy greens. Doing both guarantees that you don't experience cravings for sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or other foods that can prevent fatloss.
5. Get your body fat measured. The scale is not a good indicator of your fatloss progress. Use calipers or a handheld bodyfat monitor or Tanita bodyfat scale.
6. Determine a fatloss goal that is right for you. No sense trying to look like a fitness model if that's not your body type. Get real about your weightloss and fatloss goals and you will get results much faster.
7. Plan to be very busy on no-carb days and don't skip meals on this day. This makes getting through the day a lot easier. Once you've done it a few times it will be easy!
8. It takes a lot of work to stay ultra lean year round. You can do it but most people even fitness competitors don't. Once you get the fat off you can decide a good bodyfat that you might want to cycle back up to at certain times of the year. More on this soon.