Carbs have long been used by bodybuilders to bulk up their muscles in preparation for competitions. They supply the energy to the muscles so that they can perform more strenuously. Some bodybuilders take a more complete carb-loading diet to improve their muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage, which in turn will increase their competitive performance.1 But recent research suggests that bodybuilders who use high-protein diets to build muscle may be decreasing their muscle mass instead of increasing it. That’s because when bodybuilders load up too much protein, they can do as much total bodywork as they do with a lower calorie diet – and the excess protein they consume can “optically” make them work harder without gaining weight.
High-protein bodybuilding diets are particularly harmful to bodybuilders that have a tendency to put on body fat quickly. Because bodybuilders who use protein sparingly may be losing muscle mass, rather than gaining it, they still have an excess amount of calories and body fat to deal with.2 Bodybuilders who switch from high-protein diets to carb cycling diets to lose body fat can see the benefit quickly, but it takes a while for the body to recover. During this recovery time, bodybuilders should eat leaner meats and high-carb vegetables to regain some of the muscle they’ve lost.
As muscle gains and fat losses happen at different rates, bodybuilders might notice that they’ve put on a lot of weight, or that they’re starting to see changes in their physiques, such as larger breasts or trimmer waistlines. If you’re a bodybuilder who is interested in building larger muscles but is concerned about putting on body fat, you can use carb cycling for bodybuilders to prevent your body from storing too much body fat. You’ll find yourself feeling stronger and healthier in no time, and bodybuilding will become easier and quicker. It might also lead you to start considering the other parts of bodybuilding: strength training, strength building, and power training.
What Is Carb Cycling?
Carb Cycling is not a low-carb diet plan, but rather a plan that involves varying the number of carbohydrates you eat over the course of several weeks to maintain a consistent blood sugar level.3 When your blood glucose level consistently drops below a certain point (high, medium, or low) it means your body has used up most of its ability to produce insulin and other hormones responsible for keeping you from gaining weight or feeling hungry. In this case, there is no longer any need to resort to tricks like “heart-healthy” or “low-fat” snacks because you are never hungry. Instead, you will have to eat more carbohydrates to create the energy you require to exercise, complete your workouts, and do everything else your body needs to work properly.4
For some people, this can be a very easy plan to follow while others struggle to keep their carb intake under control. Fortunately, those that have begun to carb cycle have discovered how to eat even when they are still within their weekly calorie range by using specially formulated carb cycling recipes.
Bodybuilders who want to lose fat may want to use a carb cycling diet because this plan is the most effective for maintaining long-term (not short-term) insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is how your body determines how efficiently it can use glucose (a type of sugar) for energy. If you eat a large number of carbohydrates, your body will use up all its insulin and metabolize all of the glucose as fat if you are not careful. For this reason, bodybuilders may want to use carb cycling diets to keep their insulin sensitivity high, so that they can continue to build muscle and lose fat.
The Many Benefits of Carb Cycling
If you are looking for diet tips to help you shed some pounds, you might want to read this article about the benefits of carb cycling. You see, carb cycling has many benefits that will not only help you shed pounds but also improves the way that your body burns fat. So, what are the benefits of carb cycling?
Most importantly, carb cycling helps you eat more without really increasing your calorie intake. This is because the workouts are so intense, and your body does not have to burn as much energy to maintain the intensity of the workouts. So even if you are eating more calories than normal, your body will still burn most of it while making sure that some of it is used up by physical activity.5
Another of the benefits of carb cycling is that your metabolism stays in a constant state of efficiency. The reason why this is beneficial is because when your metabolism is working at its optimal rate, your body burns more calories than it normally would. It is because of this that eating more often during the day (such as eating breakfast) actually has the opposite effect on your body – it helps you lose weight. This is because your metabolism works more efficiently, allowing you to eat more without gaining weight.6 And since your metabolism is always in a constant state of efficiency, the number of calories you are burning during the day is consistent.
Lastly, cycling your carbs is extremely effective at increasing your muscle mass. You see, during your workouts you are burning large amounts of calories. However, the number of calories you are burning is mainly water and glycogen (the stored glucose in your muscles). When you switch to eating more carbs during your workouts, your body quickly uses up the glycogen store and begins to burn fat for energy. So in the end, by eating more frequently while at the gym, you actually end up burning more fat, resulting in increased muscle mass.
One of the other benefits of carb cycling is that you can keep a much better track of your weight loss progress. This is because your leptin levels are more sensitive to your food intake after a workout than they are before the workout. As such, if you keep a food log, you will be able to see your progress as you go through your routines at the gym.7
Should Bodybuilders Carb Cycle?
Bodybuilders, or anyone wanting to gain muscle mass quickly and safely, need to be concerned with how many carbs they are ingesting. Too little care and you risk wasting your efforts at muscle growth; on the other hand, too much carb intake can cause you to be bloated and also give you a lethargic feeling which is counterproductive to your goal of gaining muscle.
To understand how bodybuilding carb cycling works, you have to understand how muscles gain fiber. Muscle tissue (in the form of lean body mass) is digested mostly by the liver; this is its “business” in your body. When you eat carbs, the carbohydrates are metabolized by the liver first. After the carbs are metabolized and used by the liver, the rest goes into the blood circulation and is carried out by your other organs for use.
It certainly affects how you eat but the issue lies in your ability to transfer this food to the muscles and get them to work. Just as with anything, carb cycling (and other types of carb cycling) will only get you so far. The more consistent you are with your eating, the better results you will see in terms of muscle gain.
Now, there is one thing that should be noted about carb cycling. Some bodybuilders, who have been long-term bodybuilders, swear by it and advise bodybuilders who are just starting out to follow the same program. There are many bodybuilders out there who have followed carb cycling and gained some muscle mass despite not having followed this type of program since they started. You should never discount the fact that bodybuilding is a very tedious and time-consuming task. Therefore, if you are someone who doesn’t really like to work out so much and are willing to make the effort to follow a good bodybuilding program, this may be the way for you to go.
The important thing to note about carb cycling for bodybuilders is that it should only be used under the guidance of a qualified nutritionist. This is because this type of diet is different from the one recommended for athletes and other professional athletes. If done incorrectly, it can have adverse effects on your body and can lead to possible health complications. A qualified nutritionist can guide you through the proper use of this type of diet.
Joe Fitness / 2021
Metabolic Meals / June 24, 2020
Form Nutrition / July 23, 2020
1 “Why Carbohydrates Are Important for Your Diet | Everyday Health.” 25 May. 2010, https://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/why-carbohydrates-are-important-for-your-diet.aspx Accessed 30 Jun. 2021.
2 “High-Protein Diet for Weight Loss, Foods With Protein – WebMD.” 16 Nov. 2020, https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/high-protein-diet-weight-loss Accessed 30 Jun. 2021.
3 “What is Carb Cycling and How Does it Work? – Healthline.” 12 Jun. 2017, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/carb-cycling-101 Accessed 30 Jun. 2021.
4 “Carb Cycling: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Do It [Free PDF ….” https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-carb-cycling Accessed 30 Jun. 2021.
5 “Is Carb Cycling an Effective Dietary Approach? – Verywell Fit.” https://www.verywellfit.com/is-carb-cycling-an-effective-dietary-approach-4175794 Accessed 30 Jun. 2021.
6 “Carb Cycling: What Is It, and How Does It Work? – WebMD.” 20 Jul. 2020, https://www.webmd.com/diet/carb-cycling-overview Accessed 30 Jun. 2021.
7 “The Benefits of Food Journaling – American Society for Nutrition.” 23 Oct. 2019, https://nutrition.org/the-benefits-of-food-journaling/ Accessed 30 Jun. 2021.