Heidi powell 2 Carb Cycling for Weight Loss.  What are the Benefits?Carb cycling has been a  “fat loss secret” of bodybuilders for decades.  They often use this technique in final preparation of achieving extremely low body-fat levels.  But it’s not exclusive to body-builders.  You can benefit too!

A typical carb-cycling diet alternates days of lower carbs and lower calories with days of higher carbs and higher calories.  The low carb days optimize fat-burning because your insulin levels are decreased which encourages greater fat-loss.  The higher carb and calorie days keep the body from adapting to less calories and resulting in plateaus.   The fat-loss still results from a net calorie deficit but the benefits include a longer sustained fat-losing period without the accompanying plateaus and the loss of energy and mood swings which often occur on a low carb diet.  So you receive the best of both worlds!

1.) Carb-Cycling has Physiological Benefits 

One of these benefits include elevating hormones which control  hungerThe body is efficient at adapting to caloric restrictionOne of the main hormones that controls hunger is leptin.  When we  dramatically restrict calories and carbs leptin levels are decreased resulting in hunger and cravings.  When we increase carbs and calories leptin levels are elevated and hunger and cravings come under control.

The idea here is that it’s NOT a good idea to always be in a deficit.

The problem with large prolonged deficits is that your metabolism tends to slow down as an adaptation to the caloric restriction and your appetite increases.  These detrimental effects can be controlled when hormone levels are normal.

Carb cycling works  by raising calories and carbohydrates every few days,  restoring metabolism and regulating hormones which control hunger-bringing them back  to  normal levels. Leptin levels rise telling your body that you are no longer in “starvation mode” and brings your metabolism back to normal.

2.) Carb-cycling also has Psychological Benefits.

When you’re on low calories all the time, you are  physically hungrier but you also get cravings, which can be different than physical hunger.  Have you ever been on a low carb diet and find that all you crave is carbs?  You wake up at night wanting chocolate?

With  carb cycling, you know you get to eat more carbs in a few days so  it’s easier to hold out.  Carb cycling helps most people with compliance because you don’t feel so deprived.  As a result, you avoid plateaus and less likely to binge.

3.) Carb-Cycling supports Lean Muscle

Another benefit of carb cycling is that it allows you to add muscle or maintain lean body mass while in a calorie deficit.

That’s because when you’re raising calories you are not always in a calorie deficit.  When your body is given more fuel on “high carb days”, that can be directed into muscle tissue for growth provided you are giving the muscle proper stimulus.  And you definitely need to be giving the muscle stimulus while on any calorie reduction diet so you don’t lose muscle!

Being on low calories and low carbs 100% of the time can really affect your workouts and your energy.  Including  higher calorie/carb day works wonders to increase your training endurance and intensity.  If you can train harder and longer, you can build more muscle and burn more fat.

If you are trying to lose weight and find yourself at a plateau, give carb-cycling a try.  It may be just the trick to break your plateau and get you back on the road to a slimmer and sexier you!  Check out my you-tube explaining carb cycling!  What is carb-cycling?   Click like if you like it.