Carb Cycling 101 Carb cycling is the foundation of what I do every day and with every client. It works! I’m going to introduce you to the basics of carb cycling and the four different carb cycling plans—Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit—as well as 9-Minute Missions, which work in combination with carb cycling for optimal weight loss results.
First up, the carb cycling basics.
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? You can eat healthy foods, enjoy foods you love, and still lose weight.
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 (Sign up here to receive a FREE 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.
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.
The Carb Solution Plan Powell’s plan includes three meals and two snacks per day, alternating a high-carb plan one day with a low-carb plan the next. Scroll down to see a sample of high-carb and low-carb meal plans from the Carb Cycle Solution. While carbs are welcome in Powell’s plan, calories still count. The average woman consumes about 1,200 calories per day on a low-carb day, 1,500 calories per day on a high-carb day and up to 2,400 calories per day on a cheat day while following the plan, according to Powell. The average man, he says, is allowed 1,500 calories per day on a low-carb day, 2,000 calories on a high-carb day and up to 3,000 calories on a cheat day.
Powell’s 3-2-1 Exercise Rule: When it comes to exercise, Powell applies the same high-low rule that he uses in the diet, incorporating intervals to maximize fat and calorie burn. Follow this 3-2-1 plan, he says, to banish your bulge. 3 Minutes Low Intensity – You can maintain a conversation and are breathing easily. 2 Minutes Moderate Intensity – You can still maintain a conversation but your breathing is heavy. 1 Minute High Intensity – You are breathing heavily and you can’t hold a conversation longer than three words.
Powell’s Diet Tips Even the most dedicated dieter still gets cravings, so Powell has three tips to help curb hunger and keep you on track . 1) If you are going to a party or out to eat with friends, take psyllium fiber pills beforehand. The pills, available at health food stores and in some grocery stores, help keep you full longer. 2) Chew sugarless mint gum to curb cravings and distract yourself from eating more food. 3) Add a flavor packet to your water to enjoy the taste, while cutting the hundreds of calories found in regular fruit juice.
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