Carb Cycling

As much as I LOVE traveling, it’s hard for me to not over do it when I’m out of town. Today I’m hitting the “Reset” button and getting back on track with healthy eating.

I started the day with a 4 mile run, in the middle I did every other 800 at a quicker tempo.

Breakfast was an egg sandwich with laughing cow cheese and ketchup.IMG_9409 (800x533)

Then, I rushed to work to train a client that had to switch days this week.

Now I’m back home chomping on nuts and an apple before I meet my little peep for a walk. IMG_9425 (800x600)

I bought the Abs edition of Oxygen at the airport this weekend and read it on the plane. IMG_9422 (533x800)

Inside there is an article about carb cycling with a set meal plan.  (If you don’t want to buy the magazine Jamie Eason’s 12 week trainer program also has a phase of carb cycling. But, most people I’ve heard do her program don’t stick with the meal plans because it’s restrictive and hard to do long term.)IMG_9417 (800x533)

The article claims carb cycling can help make your “abs pop”. I’m curious to try it, but am going to focus on eating clean this week and am not really motivated to try anything drastic right now. But if you are interested…

Carb Cycling Diet Plan Resources:

Scooby’s Workshop let’s you input your height, weight and activity and gives you a breakdown of how many calories you should be eating per day.

This site – Fitness Lynn has a clear breakdown of meal and snack options for Low Carb and High Carb days.

What are your thoughts? Ever counted carbs or tried carb cycling?


  1. says

    Hmm…according to that site, I don’t consume nearly enough calories per day.

    I am not good with restricting carbs. I naturally have higher carb days and lower carb days, but if I consciously try to phase them out, I find myself with digestive issues, like awful heart burn. I have already eliminated gluten because I have celiac disease, so I feel like any carbs that I do eat are usually pretty healthy (potatoes, rice, oats) and that I shouldn’t restrict myself further.

  2. says

    If I want to drop some body fat I’ll do a 4 day cycle (1 regular carb day followed by 3 low carb days), and it works really well. By the end I really want to either shoot someone or take a nap, but those 3 days here and there allow for me to eat pretty liberally the rest of the time.

  3. Meg says

    I cycle carbs everyday – carbs at breakfast, lunch and dinner! Maybe that’s why I can’t find my six pack…

  4. says

    “Eating clean” is always so vague to me. Some sites claim it means no processed foods at all (including bread and catsup), and instead focusing on whole foods (meat, veggies, fruits, whole unprocessed grains). That seems more restrictive than what you’re doing.

    You should talk more about what eating clean means for you.

  5. says

    ive heard of carb cycling and thought about doing it but never committed hah…id like to try it at some doesnt sound quite as hard core as totally cutting carbs from your life so maybe after the baby? we’ll see!

  6. Ida says

    carb cycling has a certain appeal to it, but seems like to much work to keep track. Also I wonder how it would affect my running…

  7. says

    The first I heard of carb cycling was with my husband’s nutrition plan he is on for a body building competition. It looks really hard but he has had amazing results!

  8. says

    I did both carb and calorie cycling as my cutting phases for my fitness competition. They sure do work…but they also sure do mak efor some hungry/cranky days and up the cravings going from higher to lower days. I much more love an overall balance these days. Unless you count the “carb-cycling” high day I do on long run days. hehe 😉

    • says

      Thanks for chiming in! I think it might just trigger me to binge, so I don’t think I would ever seriously do it. I love that you have experience as a fitness competitor and runner – you’re the best resource!

  9. Mary R. says

    I do count carbs because I’m pre-diabetic but not really for weight loss. I’ve heard about carb cycling as well as calorie cycling before. Both really intrigue me but I’ve been to busy/lazy to try either. I’m just focusing on clean eating as well. Maybe once I have this down I’ll try some cycling but for now not in the plan.

  10. says

    I do my best at maintaining my weight when I focus on adding things rather than subtracting them. My goals include things like eating more veggies or drinking more water. Restricting myself only brings back an unhealthy view of food. Nothing is “bad” by itself. :)

  11. says

    I’d never heard of carb cycling before…I thought your post was going to have something to do with a spin class!

    A few years ago I followed the Abs Diet for Women and focused on the power foods and that really worked…along with a lot of exercise and core work. I do have noticeable abs and a relatively flat stomach but now focus on 100% plant-based diet.

    • Nicole says

      Same here – the Abs Diet for Women was a great plan to get you to eating good foods that help keep you full and support activities. I love their basic shake recipe (with the oats, pb, yogurt, and whey protein). :)

  12. says

    I tried calorie cycling once, but it did not turn out well for me. I was mad on the days where I could only eat 1200 calories and ate too much junk on my 2000+ days. Not for me!

  13. says

    Haven’t heard of carb cycling and I don’t count my carbs but I do tend to stay away from foods that have a high amount of carbs. It has been the only way to keep me from gaining weight and maintaining where I’m at.

  14. says

    Carb cycling sounds like a lot of work to me. Plus, I’m way too much of a creature of habit. It seems I eat the safe 10 meals every week…

  15. says

    Never diet-ed or counted calories nor plan to; just trying to eat as healthily as possible. Works out good for me since I’m vegan…and lots of stuff are out for me.

  16. Angie says

    I think carb cycling would lead me to binge. Whenever I think, I’m going to eat clean, or eat Paleo-style, I start obsessing. Any type of ‘plan’ that implies restriction seems to freak me out and after a few days, I go to the restricted food and feel like I’m going to binge. I saw an RD last week and after a long interview about my history, daily schedule, and exercise routine she advised I eat 3-for-3 – every 3 hours have a meal that includes a carb, fat, and protein. It’s harder than I thought to follow, but, when I do follow it, I feel better. She said when I feel like I am going to binge, it’s probably because my body feels like I’m restricting in some way and it wants to binge to make sure starvation does not occur. Anyway… I love how honest you are and how you put it all out there. Thank you :)

    • says

      Thank you Angie. I agree that even the thought of restricting makes me want to overeat or binge. That’s why I am cautious about it. Sounds like you’re doing great!

  17. Live Fit Fan says

    I’m doing Live Fit and I don’t really find the plan to be very restrictive at all, especially in the first two months. You get starches at something like four out of six meals, and you get to eat a LOT of food without even counting calories until about week six! I find it to be a very easy program to deal with if one is committed. Of course, it does take a bit of planning but… Where there’s a will there’s a way :)

  18. says

    I just started Paleo, as in today. I’ve only committed to my workout friend to do it 5 days a week, so I guess that’s a little like cycling. I’m pretty anti-diet overall because I don’t like thinking about things short term, but I’m trying to look at this as a way to challenge myself to add more whole foods and veggies to my diet so that I can eat cleaner long term.

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  22. Tess says

    Just curious if this is the entire plan? What is the dark bubble telling you to drink throughout the day? I am guessing water and possibly green tea? I’d like to try it.

    I have done carb cycling before (e.g. for an event) but it def does feel very restrictive and like what you said about Jamie Eason’s plan it is difficult to do long term (to live that way)

    For me it is the same as doing the older low carb plans like Atkins….if you go off, even for a bit you can gain a LOT of weight. I found on my high carbs days…at the end of the day… I felt and looked bloated and as if I gained up to 5 lbs, and then on the low carb days I felt my body had to work twice as hard to look leaner again. This has 3 styles of carbs though, as I said I’d be curious to try to see how it compares to a high/low cycle.

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