Muscle growth and fat loss has been the subject of the day in the health and fitness industry. A lot of strategies and techniques have been studied and used, but carb cycling is a common and exceptional strategy practiced for fat loss and muscle gain.
Carb cycling is a nutritional approach where there is variation in the quantity of carbohydrate consumed daily or weekly, although this approach does not have a strictly defined guideline. There are different carbohydrate cycling techniques, but most often we see the integration of low carbohydrate days mixed with moderate or high carbohydrate days in carb cycling.
Training in a low carbohydrate state can make the body burn more stored fat for energy as a replacement for carbohydrate, but you don’t have to train every session in a low carbohydrate state to see the benefits of carb cycling. The benefits of carb cycling are so glaring that they can be noticed within few days of implementation. These are three great benefits of carb cycling for fat loss and muscle gain.1. Glycogen Super-Compensation
Combining low carbohydrate days with hard training can expressively reduce the amount of glycogen stored in your muscles which in turn increases the production of glycogen synthase. Upon an increase in carb intake, the body doesn’t recognize the presence of glucose very quickly which allows the muscle to absorb the glucose above its normal capacity. This would result in an increase in muscle size, and improved body fitness.
2. Lean Muscle Mass Growth/Maintenance
On the low-fat days, your body is given a chance to burn down some body-fat as there is a reduction of lipogenesis and increase in fatty-acid break-down. On the other hand, high fat days create an anabolic environment; probably gaining some muscle and certainly holding onto more mass because of the reduced protein breakdown, increased protein synthesis, and increased amino acids uptake.
3. Improvement in Insulin Sensitivity
Long periods of both zero carbs and high carbs intake can make your cells become resistant to this carb hormone enabling the pancreas to produce more insulin in order to manage the elevated blood-sugar level.On low or zero carbs days, muscle cells develop an adaptive mechanism and become insulin resistant while on high carb days, diets cells may become insensitive to high insulin levels so as to prevent further weight gain. This helps the body to lose fat and gain muscle, but it is not too good for the health as it may cause Type-2 diabetes. This is more reason why it is advised that you effectively vary carb cycling between low and high carbohydrate days for insulin release, and ensuring optimal sensitivity for better health
Other benefits of carb cycling for fat loss and muscle gain include; prevention of metabolic slowdown by providing frequent caloric spikes, allows you to take carbs without adding body fat, and burn fat as fuel.
For an effective carb cycling, what you need to do is to keep in mind that the ratio of higher to lower carb days in a week must be adjusted to suit your goal. If you are trying to burn fat, then you should have more low-carb days than high carb days while muscle gain should take mare high carb days than low carb days. When you do have a higher carb day, be sure to implement Redcon1 RPG – Glucose Disposal into your routine. RPG as a glucose portioning agent will make sure that the insulin released by the pancreas while eating a meal in high carbs does not get there too quick and oversaturate the muscle (or fat) cells. This lengthy process will put your body in a much greater anabolic environment, more suitable to athletic goals.Example of a typical Carb Cycling workout routine:
|Monday||Weight Training||High Carb||Low Fat||200g Carbs|
|Tuesday||Aerobic/HIIT||Moderate Carb||Moderate Fat||100g Carbs|
|Wednesday||Rest Day||Low Carb||High Fat||30g Carbs|
|Thursday||Weight Training||High Carb||Low Fat||200g Carbs|
|Friday||Weight Training||High Carb||Low Fat||200g Carbs|
|Saturday||Rest Day||Low Carb||High Fat||30g Carbs|
|Sunday||Rest Day||Low Carb||High Fat||30g Carbs|