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Carb Cycling 101

 
Carb cycling. Hmmm. I'm intrigued. You? Most of you reading this have been brainwashed to think carbs are the devil. Not so. If you know anything about anything you know that there are good carbs and bad carbs. And the right balance of carbs, protein and fat is imperative for your overall health. Chris Powell, trainer from ABC's "Extreme Weight Loss" swears by carb cycling to lose and maintain your optimal weight loss results. Powell explains that high carb days rev up your metabolism and low carb days maximize weight loss. The theory is that when your body keeps alternating between modes, you create the perfect balance to weight loss. So what is carb cycling? In the following paragraphs, you'll learn the basics of carb cycling, four different carb cycling plans - Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit - as well as the basics of how to execute this on a weekly basis.


What is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is an eating plan with alternating high-carb and low-carb days. It’s that simple. It also has built-in reward days or reward meals (depending on the plan you’re following), so you can still eat your favorite foods on a regular basis. Sounds pretty much perfect, right?

While each plan has a different mix of high-carb and low-carb days, each day works basically the same:
  • Eat five meals—no more, no less.
  • Eat a high-carb breakfast that includes both protein and carbs within 30 minutes of waking.
  • Eat your remaining 4 meals - either high-carb or low-carb, depending on the plan you’re following - every 3 hours.
  • Choose approved foods (Click HERE for the printable food guide)
  • Drink a gallon of water.
How does it work?

In order to lose weight, our bodies need the right combination of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Here’s why:
  • Protein builds and maintains muscles and these muscles burn calories like an inferno. Protein also breaks down more slowly than carbs and fat, which burns even more calories and helps you feel fuller longer.
  • Carbs are the preferred fuel source for your muscles and organs, and they come in healthy versions (vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes), and not-so-healthy versions (cakes, cookies, soda, doughnuts, candy, and many processed foods).  Healthy carbs are also crucial for burning calories, and since they break down more slowly than those not-so-healthy carbs, they keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady, and they also keep your calorie-burning furnace hot so it burns more calories!
  • Healthy fats (unsaturated fats) eaten in moderation help the development and function of your eyes and brain and help prevent heart disease, stroke, depression, and arthritis. Healthy fats also help keep your energy levels steady and keep you from feeling hungry.
So why do we alternate high-carb and low-carb days in carb cycling? On high-carb days you’re stocking your calorie-burning furnace so that on low-carb days your furnace burns fat, and lots of it! This pattern tricks your metabolism into burning a lot of calories, even on those low-carb days. It’s an amazing and well-proven process.

For this plan, carbs are considered fruits, starches (such as bread and rice) and starchy vegetables (like peas and potatoes). Reach for non-starchy veggies (like broccoli, asparagus and spinach) all you want - they don't count toward the day's calories.

What are the benefits?

Carb cycling has many benefits:
  • It fits any lifestyle.
  • You’ll learn how to shed weight and body fat, and how to make smart lifestyle choices for the rest of your life. This puts YOU in control.
  • You’ll feel better and have more energy.
  • You’ll eat the foods you love.
  • You’ll build lean, strong muscles.
  • You’ll be empowered physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Your CARB CYCLING weekly plan:

In order to find your ideal Carb Cycling plan, click on the links below to learn more about Powell's four different Carb Cycling plans -

Easy Carb Cycle
Classic Carb Cycle
Turbo Carb Cycle
Fit Carb Cycle

Remember you'll eat five times each day from the approved food list above at three hour intervals. Each meal should be around 250 calories, not including non-starchy veggies for a total of about 1,250 calories daily. Have your first meal within 30 minutes of waking and drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water daily to fire up your metabolic engine. And if you want to see results and don't have any excuse to deviate from the plan, prep meals on Sunday for the week ahead. Pre-cook your proteins, chop veggies and store everything in the refrigerator.

Get even more details on carb cycling in Powell's books Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution, and Choose More, Lose More for Life

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