Carb Cycling: Can You Lose Weight and Gain Muscle?

carb cycling

Carb Cycling Right For You?

Heard of carb cycling? What the Hell is carb cycling and will it help you? Our author breaks down exactly what carb cycling is and how you can implement it to help you lose weight. Read on to see if this nutrition plan is right for you.

Your Carb Cycling Breakdown

There is a myriad of methods for losing excess body fat and building muscle mass. Still, all of these methods boil down to a few fitness tenets which define the entire process of body and health improvement – establishing a workout routine, developing a dietary regime, and having a sound mindset needed for overcoming both internal and external obstacles.

Now, the thing that can actually either make you or break you in such endeavors is your diet.

If you want to lose weight and gain muscle properly, let’s delve a little deeper into a little thing called carb cycling.

Carb cycling potatoWhat are carbs?

Carbohydrates are fuel for our bodies. They may not be essential to us, but they make eating much more pleasurable and easy. When we ingest them, we replenish our glucose and glycogen stores in order to prevent fatigue.

So, by eating carbs from clean sources, we provide ourselves with much-needed energy to last through our workouts; and without adding body fat, too, because cycling is what will enable us to utilize that fat as fuel.

However, this macronutrient has a reputation for being bad for our health. This is not entirely true. Bear in mind that the latest trend of cutting down on carb intake also breeds many misconceptions, some of which are nothing but a business gimmick. With carb cycling, everything is actually about timing.

You have to eat before and after each workout properly (gain energy, recover faster), otherwise, carbs can be stored as fat if not utilized on time.

Just like any other excess, if you eat a lot of carbohydrates, it will definitely add body fat. However, if you eat the majority of your carbs early in the day and after a decent workout, you will achieve completely different results.

The key is to distribute your intake accordingly, never eat carbs at night (go for protein instead), and sugar-laden junk food is, was, and always will be bad since it is a calorie bomb devoid of essential nutrients.

How to start carb cycling?

You cannot start instantaneously, or it will be a shock for your body. This isn’t a common change, we’re talking about your nutrition here. It needs to be gradual and the first step is to cut back on all the unnecessary high-calorie foods until they are cut from your diet.

Of course, you don’t have to be too rigorous, every now and then you can treat yourself to a “cheat” meal. Still, the point is to subside the cravings as much as possible so the process of cycling can be done with full effect.

carb cycling junk carbohydrate cycling
Ditch the junk!

Here’s the deal. You have to divide the entire week into ‘low-carb intake’ (LC) and ‘high-carb intake’ (HC) days. On average, it is recommended to have three LC days and consequently four HC days, but it all depends on your body type, body weight, height, metabolism rate, age, sex, level of activity, and overall goals. 50-75 grams of carbs should suffice on the lowest day and it should be reserved for resting and recovery only.

However, on your highest day, you should eat about 1 to 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of your body weight and do a lot of training. You can always add products from Legion Athletics to improve your performance during your workouts and see what supplements coincide with your whole carb cycling regime.

When it comes to carbohydrate cycling, in time you will regulate your intake, but no matter whether you raise it, or lower it, such decisions should be based on your results and your body’s response. Once you determine what works for you best, just repeat the cycle.

Also, put everything on paper, keep a nutrition journal so that you can monitor your progress and make adjustments during the entire process. This will help you determine how your body responded to certain tactics and how to plan ahead.

How to stay the course?

In the very beginning, it will not be easy. You will probably feel tired, especially on the LC days. This is when you will actually see if you have the proper attitude to last through all of the trials and tribulations.

Sacrifices simply must be made, but once you enter your second week, you will notice that your body is starting to adapt and that your energy level is being restored.

When you reach that milestone, you’ll get a sense that all the suffering is worthwhile; and it is!

You may be able to cheat once in a while, but if you repeat the deed, again and again, everything will go down the drain. Learn from your mistakes and also learn how to make tasty meals.

A stout mind is crucial in these endeavors. Educate yourself, ask for advice, call for support from your friends and family and you will definitely achieve your goals.


The science behind carb cycling has proven that you can lose weight and gain muscle at the same time. It can be tough, but this diet can bring you tremendous results.

You just have to establish a routine that will suit your needs and eliminate all the bad eating habits along the way.

Once you get used to the rhythm of this lifestyle, sculpting your body will become an immense pleasure – that is a guarantee.

Mathews is a fitness advisor and passionate weightlifter. He's hooked on healthy living and eating. He is specially interested in nutrition and workout supplements. To see more Mathew's health tips follow him at Twitter.
Mathews McGarry