Carb cycling is a weapon that should be in your arsenal to help you take your physique to the next level. It is all the rage to hate on carbs and many are quick to associate dieting and fat loss with eliminating carbohydrates. Plain and simple though, if you want to maximize lean muscle gain while preventing fat gain, or inversely, prevent muscle loss while maximizing fat loss, carbs can be your best friend. Learning how to make your carbs work for your training and nutrition goals is the cherry on top of the sundae.
Your muscles crave carbohydrates for fuel, the problem lies in over stimulating the muscle with continually higher level of carbohydrates. While continually eating more and more carbs to increase muscle growth has a nasty drawback. Carbs are digested as glucose, and insulin is a hormone that controls where glucose goes. When insulin works well, glucose is sent to muscle mass and vital organs. The increased amount of carbs consumed over time impedes insulin sensitivity so that you can hit a point where eating more carbs won’t have the same anabolic effect it once did. The best way to maintain sensitivity to insulin without having to cut calories is to alter carb intakes on days when the training volume or intensity is lower.
One problem with prolonged bulking periods is that maintaining a surplus of calories and carbs results in unwanted fat gain. To delay that accumulation of fat, try implementing carb cycling in accordance with your training program. When training major muscle groups or using multiple compound movements, focus the majority of the remaining calories after protein needs are met, around carb intake. On rest days or days when the workload is significantly reduced like for arm and abs, reduce the total carbohydrate intake by 50-66%. Keep Protein similar for all days to ensure muscle retention but increase fats on lower carb days to ensure enough calories to not lose mass. This break the body gets from processing all of those extra carbs will prevent insulin resistance and unwanted fat gain during your bulking phase.
When dieting, carb cycling can also be implemented as a strategy to maintain as much muscle as you can but also to give you a break from the storm of prolonged phases of restricted caloric intake. Dieting, for most is an unpleasant experience and restricting carbs makes it even worse. The primary objective is to meet your protein goal and then focus the rest of the macros on hitting the caloric total. That is where carb cycling comes in, nobody wants to squat or deadlift when heavily restricting carbs. On days where you are training more complex movements or multiple major muscle groups (e.g. 2-3 days of the week), bump up the percentage of your calories consumed from carbs up and lower the percentage coming from fats.
Carb cycling is a tool that can be used to craft any of the body composition goals one might be after. Whether it is adding pounds of lean muscle while staying as lean as possible, or stripping away excess fat while keeping hard earned muscle intact. The key behind carb cycling is keeping the body sensitive to insulin, and if you are looking for an extra boost on your high carb days, a nutrient portioning agent could help heighten that sensitivity. Performax’s Slinmax is a great choice with multiple ingredients efficaciously dosed to bolster your body’s ability to process glucose and store it preferentially as glycogen and not adipose tissue! Get yours by clicking the image below.