Carb cycling is a dietary approach in which you alternate carb intake on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
It is commonly used to lose fat, maintain physical performance while dieting, or overcome a weight loss plateau.
Some people adjust their carb intake day-to-day, while others may do longer periods of low, moderate and high-carb diets.
In short, carb cycling aims to time carbohydrate intake to when it provides maximum benefit and exclude carbs when they’re not needed
- Body Composition Goals: Some will reduce carbs during a diet, then add them back during a “muscle building” or performance phase.
- Training and Rest Days: One popular approach is a higher carb intake on training days and a lower carb intake on rest days.
- Scheduled Refeeds: Another popular approach is to do 1 or several days at a very high-carb intake to act as a “refeed” during a prolonged diet.
- Special Events or Competitions: Athletes will often “carb load” prior to an event, and many physique competitors will do the same before a bodybuilding show or photoshoot.
- Type of Training: Individuals will tailor carb intake depending on the intensity and duration of a particular training session; the longer or more intense the training is, the more carbs they will consume and vice versa.
- Body Fat Levels: Many individuals will cycle their carbohydrates based on their level of body fat. The leaner they become, the more high-carb days or blocks they include.