Carbohydrate Cycling – For Fat Loss & Muscle Gain

Carb Cycling Basics

Carb Cycling Basics

In today’s fitness world most guys assume that carbohydrates need to be completely eliminated to achieve six pack abs. This article is going to offer you an alternate approach that will speed up your fat loss and allow you to maximize the muscle building capabilities of carbohydrates.

If you want your body to become a muscle building and fat burning machine you actually NEED carbohydrates. It’s the type of carbohydrates and the timing of your intake that will make or break your body composition goals.

Some of the best physiques in the world practice the powerful diet strategy of carbohydrate cycling. From professional fitness models to ripped movie stars – this is the holy grail of dieting for fat loss without losing lean muscle mass.

The key to losing body fat quickly and getting ripped abs is that you must have long periods of low insulin levels. When you consume carbohydrates (especially the bad ones) your insulin spikes and your body is more susceptible to storing body fat. Insulin is a powerful anabolic hormone but also a fat storage hormone.

Insulin also happens to be one of the most anabolic muscle building hormones in your entire body. Strategically spiking your insulin during times when your body can utilize them to initiate protein synthesis and shuttle amino acids into your cells is key for maximizing lean muscle gains.

So how do you maximize the muscle building benefits of insulin while also losing body fat? The powerful diet strategy of carbohydrate cycling!

Fitness models, bodybuilders and ripped movie stars all practice this fat burning diet strategy.

This article is going to outline a very easy blueprint that you can follow so you can start incorporating carbohydrate cycling into your life immediately.

Easy to Follow Carbohydrate Cycling Plan

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The easiest way to carbohydrate cycle when you are trying to get ripped is to only consume carbohydrates during your pre workout meal and in your post workout shake and post workout meal.

This does several important things. You will increase your energy levels before your workout so you can train at maximum intensity. You will then replenish your muscle glycogen levels post workout after you break down the glycogen storage.

The most important muscle building benefit is the post workout insulin spike will help to shuttle amino acids from the protein into your cells and spike your insulin at the most important time: the 60 minute window after your resistance training workout.

This period directly after a resistance training workout is known as the anabolic window – and it is when your body utilizes insulin to build rock solid lean muscle mass.


So how many carbohydrates and what kind of carbohydrates work best? A good rule of thumb when your dieting down to lose belly fat and maintain muscle mass is about 1 gram of carbohydrates per lb of bodyweight.

Now – since the goal is getting ripped six pack abs you will limit your carbohydrate intake at all other times of the day. This means that all of your meals will consist of lean protein, healthy fats and fibrous vegetables.

If you stick with this carbohydrate cycling meal plan you will maximize insulin’s muscle building capabilities post workout and have periods of low insulin the rest of the day. This means you can actually build lean muscle mass and burn fat in the same day.

While it is not possible to burn body fat and build muscle at the EXACT SAME TIME, you can accomplish it in the same day with carbohydrate cycling. This is a diet secret to getting ripped abs that will benefit anyone regardless of current fitness level or age.

So what kinds of carbohydrates are ideal?

Your pre workout meal should consist of about 30 percent of your daily intake of carbohydrates. Slow digesting carbohydrates that give you sustained periods of energy work best for your pre workout meal.

Some of the best options for pre workout carbohydrates are sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, lentils and whole grain bread.

Your post workout shake should consist of rapid digesting carbohydrates that spike your insulin and shuttle amino acids into your cells. Maltodextrin or Dextrose powder works perfect for this post workout shake and you can pair it with the whey protein of your choice.

I recommend that you consume about 30 percent of your daily carbohydrate intake in this post workout shake.

The rest of your carbohydrate intake for the day should be at your post workout meal. This is when you consume muscle-building carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, white rice, brown rice, Red skin potatoes, fruits, veggies and oatmeal.

Since insulin is still important at this time for muscle building you can consume faster digesting carbohydrates such as white rice and white potatoes if you choose to. Its good to cycle different post workout meal carbohydrates so your body gets a nice variety of macronutrients each day.

Here’s a quick recap:

  1. 1 Gram of carbs per 1 lb of bodyweight a Day
  2. 30 percent of your intake in your Pre Workout Meal
  3. 30 percent of your intake in your post workout shake
  4. 40 percent of your intake in your post workout meal

Then, at all other times of the day you need to keep your insulin levels low so that means you will be consuming lean proteins and healthy fats. Remember that low insulin = maximum fat burning on the carbohydrate cycling diet so make sure to consume a variety of the following foods:

Low Insulin Muscle Building Food List:

Chicken breast, lean beef, lean turkey, fish, eggs, avocado, nuts, nut butters, olive oil, coconut oil, vegetables, fish oil, flax seeds and borage oil.

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