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View Full Version : is there any benefits to carb cycling vs steady macro split?



xMarx
06-17-2015, 08:01 PM
with no change in overall calorie consumption, but manipulating the macro split, is there any benefits to cycling carbs (high, moderate, low days) vs a steady macro split with a refeed thrown in when needed?

EjnarKolinkar
06-17-2015, 08:23 PM
Nothing worth worrying about in terms of advantages. The main advantage to cyclical carbohydrate intake is in increasing calories and carbs around a training bout to improve performance. A YMMV topic as with most moderate deficits there are enough carbs to support training anyway.

This is why so many folks on moderate deficits think carb cycling is just additional unnecessary bookkeeping and meals juggling.

A weekly refeed can be restorative of energy for some proximal to the heaviest workout of the week, and for many relights the training fire. Another YMMV topic.

ErikTheElectric
06-17-2015, 10:48 PM
Yes, there are numerous benefits to both. However, 99% of people carb cycling do not need to do so.

Mrpb
06-17-2015, 11:05 PM
Eating more calories on the days you expend more makes sense.

Assuming you have good insulin sensitivity, having those calories come from carbs makes sense.

In that way, and only in that way, carb cycling makes sense.

Carbs cycling for the sake of carb cycling doesn't make sense.

xMarx
06-17-2015, 11:59 PM
Yes, there are numerous benefits to both. However, 99% of people carb cycling do not need to do so.
what would be the main pros and cons of both?

ironwill2008
06-18-2015, 03:06 PM
It's an unnecessarily complicated way to feed yourself that has no real benefits in RL. Most people posting here have a tough enough time just consistently meeting their same calorie/macro goals every day. Throw in another variable---juggling carb calories around day by day---and it gets worse.

xMarx
06-18-2015, 03:36 PM
It's an unnecessarily complicated way to feed yourself that has no real benefits in RL. Most people posting here have a tough enough time just consistently meeting their same calorie/macro goals every day. Throw in another variable---juggling carb calories around day by day---and it gets worse.

so there's no advantages when it come to real life application at all?

i understand what you're saying when you say people find it hard to stick to just a basic macro split, but would there be ANY advantage at all if everything was planned out a head of time, taking out the "stress" of juggling macros?

i personally don't plan to carb cycle myself, as i'm more then happy with the results i get on a steady macro split w/ refeeds.

sorry if this is a topic that has been beaten into the ground. i'm just curious on any kind of benefits

Domicron
06-18-2015, 03:49 PM
you should try doing some research on carb cycling, if you're so interested. you've gotten the same answer repeated to you multiple times in multiples fashions...

xMarx
06-18-2015, 04:03 PM
you should try doing some research on carb cycling, if you're so interested. you've gotten the same answer repeated to you multiple times in multiples fashions...
what would be the point of the nutrition forum if i couldn't ask questions about nutrition?

also, if you read the comments, i've had some people tell me there's no benefits, and another telling me there's numerous benefits, but no one telling me what they are.

shot for the help though bro..


It's an unnecessarily complicated way to feed yourself that has no real benefits in RL.


Eating more calories on the days you expend more makes sense.

Assuming you have good insulin sensitivity, having those calories come from carbs makes sense.

In that way, and only in that way, carb cycling makes sense.

Carbs cycling for the sake of carb cycling doesn't make sense.


Yes, there are numerous benefits to both.

ironwill2008
06-18-2015, 04:05 PM
so there's no advantages when it come to real life application at all?



Think about what carb cycling involves---eating a few hundred more carb calories one day, and a few hundred less another day. Now, considering that the body's processes of building muscle or losing body fat don't turn on and off like a light switch, but rather, work in a continuum over a period of several days, exactly what change would you expect to see from the process?

EjnarKolinkar
06-18-2015, 04:06 PM
you should try doing some research on carb cycling, if you're so interested. you've gotten the same answer repeated to you multiple times in multiples fashions...

Well you know write an article about anything unesessarily complicated and bodybuilders will clamor to read it, and turn their lives upside down for nothing.

I think Ill write an ebook called "The most complicated bodybuilding diet protocol ever" probably sells a million copies even though average guy eating 3 squares would get more gainz, because he was focused on training, not stressed out over minutea.

Domicron
06-18-2015, 04:21 PM
what would be the point of the nutrition forum if i couldn't ask questions about nutrition?

also, if you read the comments, i've had some people tell me there's no benefits, and another telling me there's numerous benefits, but no one telling me what they are.

shot for the help though bro..

this isn't a new question; you could easily do a search to find what you're looking for.

unless you think that the point for a forum is for people to sit at their computers waiting for you to ask us to explain 'carb cycling: it's benefits and disadvantages' to you.

there's a lot of information here: read it first, and then ask some more specific questions.

MetilHed
06-18-2015, 04:22 PM
sorry if this is a topic that has been beaten into the ground. i'm just curious on any kind of benefits

Gee, I wonder if it's even been brought up here. If only there were a way to search the forum, or just look at the first page or two of topics.

xMarx
06-18-2015, 04:26 PM
Think about what carb cycling involves---eating a few hundred more carb calories one day, and a few hundred less another day. Now, considering that the body's processes of building muscle or losing body fat don't turn on and off like a light switch, but rather, work in a continuum over a period of several days, exactly what change would you expect to see from the process?

possible changes in energy / performance / mood?

i honestly have no idea, that's why i'm asking. i'm just someone wanting to learn a little more :)

psalms1441
06-18-2015, 04:30 PM
what would be the point of the nutrition forum if i couldn't ask questions about nutrition?

also, if you read the comments, i've had some people tell me there's no benefits, and another telling me there's numerous benefits, but no one telling me what they are.

shot for the help though bro..carb cycling works great if your lean enough. like 15% and below. I use it sometimes when i get learner, although i have a different set up than most, over a 12 week cut. nevermind that guy man!

Finnegan Bell
06-18-2015, 04:32 PM
There are many benefits to low carbs diets. Less hunger , less sweets cravings , more protein , better control of calories , less choices of garbage food.

psalms1441
06-18-2015, 04:34 PM
possible changes in energy / performance / mood?

i honestly have no idea, that's why i'm asking. i'm just someone wanting to learn a little more :)just depends on how you work on low carbs. Im fortunate to feel the same on 150g of carbs a day or zero grams. any higher than 150g and i crash if its on a consistent basis

xMarx
06-18-2015, 05:20 PM
this isn't a new question; you could easily do a search to find what you're looking for.

unless you think that the point for a forum is for people to sit at their computers waiting for you to ask us to explain 'carb cycling: it's benefits and disadvantages' to you.

there's a lot of information here: read it first, and then ask some more specific questions.
no, i don't think that's the point of the forum at all. but i trust that some of the people on this forum know what they're talking about, and i'd rather hear advice from them, then wasting hours on end filtering through out dated articles or people with opinions on the subject with no solid information to back it up.

i'm not here to try to explain myself on how i choose to gather information. asking questions was how i was taught, and that's what i'm doing. simply send my a link on a reliable study supporting some benefits of carb cycling IF ANY, or if this thread is really that much a waste of time, just ignore it. i'm not forcing anyone to answer my question.

Domicron
06-18-2015, 05:53 PM
no, i don't think that's the point of the forum at all. but i trust that some of the people on this forum know what they're talking about, and i'd rather hear advice from them, then wasting hours on end filtering through out dated articles or people with opinions on the subject with no solid information to back it up.

i'm not here to try to explain myself on how i choose to gather information. asking questions was how i was taught, and that's what i'm doing. simply send my a link on a reliable study supporting some benefits of carb cycling IF ANY, or if this thread is really that much a waste of time, just ignore it. i'm not forcing anyone to answer my question.

alright buddy, keep asking. hope someone is willing to force feed you what you want to know; not sure you'd learn anything otherwise.

certainly reading a few stickies or doing a search wouldn't work...

psalms1441
06-18-2015, 06:31 PM
no, i don't think that's the point of the forum at all. but i trust that some of the people on this forum know what they're talking about, and i'd rather hear advice from them, then wasting hours on end filtering through out dated articles or people with opinions on the subject with no solid information to back it up.

i'm not here to try to explain myself on how i choose to gather information. asking questions was how i was taught, and that's what i'm doing. simply send my a link on a reliable study supporting some benefits of carb cycling IF ANY, or if this thread is really that much a waste of time, just ignore it. i'm not forcing anyone to answer my question.IGNORE that guy man!!! take it from me, if the pic in your avi is you, then carb cycling will work wonders fro you. I can show you a sample of how i do it if youd like.

Mrpb
06-18-2015, 08:49 PM
so there's no advantages when it come to real life application at all?

Some perform and recover better with higher calorie or carb intake. If you're one of those people, you can use that in your advantage.

Another potential benefit is psychological/adherence. Giving yourself some high calorie days can make dieting more pleasurable and you've got something to look forward to during the low days.

GING3R
06-19-2015, 08:20 AM
I carb cycle on my cuts < 15% bf. It works great, basically up my carbs on lifting days (higher calories days) and drop carbs on rest days (lower calorie days). I'm not anal about hitting precise numbers or keeping days consistent if something comes up and I have to change a lift day. The key is to keep it consistent for the entirety of the week, but in regards to finding success with it? Absolutely.

oldswag
06-19-2015, 03:20 PM
Carb cycling works great if you are on an Intermittent Fasting protocol (e.g leangains) for cutting

As for research... let me know if you find anything :P

Mrpb
06-19-2015, 07:32 PM
Carb cycling works great if you are on an Intermittent Fasting protocol (e.g leangains) for cutting


The two have no special connection, except that Martin Berkhan recommended them both.

He had a good point about calorie cycling, but he the 'fasting is better for body composition' myth has been busted.

Domicron
06-19-2015, 08:42 PM
my whole point is:

everyone who wants to operate at a higher level should pay attention to what they eat and how they eat. if eating carbs at a certain point relative to physical activity helps, then by all means go for it! but i think the need to label everything with a name and a term is how people get so confused and led astray from the basics.

"carb cycling" "intermittent fasting" "GOMAD" they're all fine and dandy and serve their purposes, but just like IIFYM they end up getting twisted around and misunderstood to the point where i think they set people back more than they help them to understand. and understanding the process IMO is just as important as getting the results. because if someone bulks successfully once but doesn't understand why, then they've got to start all over again anyway to try and figure it out.

xMarx
06-20-2015, 04:15 PM
my whole point is:

everyone who wants to operate at a higher level should pay attention to what they eat and how they eat. if eating carbs at a certain point relative to physical activity helps, then by all means go for it! but i think the need to label everything with a name and a term is how people get so confused and led astray from the basics.

"carb cycling" "intermittent fasting" "GOMAD" they're all fine and dandy and serve their purposes, but just like IIFYM they end up getting twisted around and misunderstood to the point where i think they set people back more than they help them to understand. and understanding the process IMO is just as important as getting the results. because if someone bulks successfully once but doesn't understand why, then they've got to start all over again anyway to try and figure it out.

thanks for the input bro, for cereal this time :)

i completely agree, and understand that at the end of the day, the basics, getting all your macros in, regardless of timing, will always be no.1 in terms of importance.

the last thing i'm trying to do is confuse people.

JitteryJoes
06-20-2015, 06:38 PM
Think about what carb cycling involves---eating a few hundred more carb calories one day, and a few hundred less another day. Now, considering that the body's processes of building muscle or losing body fat don't turn on and off like a light switch, but rather, work in a continuum over a period of several days, exactly what change would you expect to see from the process?

This.

Unless you are getting ready for a BB show, carb cycling isn't necessary. Muscles need slow and fast carbs for optimal growth. So stay consistent with your carb intake on the days you workout and stay a little bit lower on your days off since you arn't expending much energy on those days.

Consistent low carb diets for BB shows are extremely effective. Ronnie Coleman did 200g of carbs ED and on the 7th, a high carb day. So the results speak for themselves.

IMO, it's better to stay consistent with your carb intake than carb cycle.

Mrpb
06-21-2015, 12:12 AM
Some food for thought: if carb cycling allows you to perform better in the gym while staying in your calorie targets it will likely have positive effects on your body composition.

If you replace the words "carb cycling" with "poptarts intra workout" it would also hold true.

AFC96
06-21-2015, 02:35 AM
Eating more calories on the days you expend more makes sense.

Assuming you have good insulin sensitivity, having those calories come from carbs makes sense.


I do this.

I don't really track calories to the T anymore though.

I eat less on rest days and more on workout days.

I enjoy this way better. I can like pig out on workout days with family and friends.

xMarx
06-21-2015, 07:27 PM
This.

Unless you are getting ready for a BB show, carb cycling isn't necessary. Muscles need slow and fast carbs for optimal growth. So stay consistent with your carb intake on the days you workout and stay a little bit lower on your days off since you arn't expending much energy on those days.

Consistent low carb diets for BB shows are extremely effective. Ronnie Coleman did 200g of carbs ED and on the 7th, a high carb day. So the results speak for themselves.

IMO, it's better to stay consistent with your carb intake than carb cycle.
but why is carb cycling better for a bb show vs a steady macro split? just because a pro did it and it work, does that actually mean it's better? (you know, like the saying, there's more then 1 way to skin a cat)

not meaning to have a go at you, i get what you're saying. but i don't understand why it's better.


Some food for thought: if carb cycling allows you to perform better in the gym while staying in your calorie targets it will likely have positive effects on your body composition.

If you replace the words "carb cycling" with "poptarts intra workout" it would also hold true.
key word being 'if'

lets say you have 2 people exactly the same, both dieting down, one carb cycling, the other on a steady macro split, with no stress involved for juggling macros, and training to the best of their abilities each day.
would one have better results in the end then the other? or are there just too many variables to really make an accurate claim?


I do this.

I don't really track calories to the T anymore though.

I eat less on rest days and more on workout days.

I enjoy this way better. I can like pig out on workout days with family and friends.
eat less carbs? or less calories?

remember, the question i'm asking is if cycling carbs is better then staying on a steady macro split whilst keeping the calories THE SAME

thanks for the replies guys

edit:

basically what im getting so far is one isnt better then the other, its just what you prefer / helps you stay on track? would that be correct?

Mrpb
06-21-2015, 08:44 PM
would one have better results in the end then the other? or are there just too many variables to really make an accurate claim?

Lots of variables yeah.

And if you workout in the morning (I do), it might pay off more to have more carbs the night before.

You really got to find out what works for YOU. What other people say is irrelevant.

How you spread your calories over the week is really up to you.

psalms1441
06-21-2015, 08:50 PM
OP, start a carb cycling log with the same calories and find out what happens. If anything you'll at least stay the same. I'm not into studies and this and that. Find out for yourself, tract it with real world results, and end the debate

Mooredb
06-22-2015, 03:37 AM
The benefit is: High carb days, when you eat more carbohydrates, help promote muscle growth and low carb days, when you eat less carbohydrates, help minimize fat gain and even promote fat loss.

High carb days stimulate an insulin response that shuttle nutrients in your muscle cells, causing them to grow and replenish glycogen stores that fuel your muscles and make you feel good and energized.

Low carb day promote fat loss by tricking your body into burning fat for fuel (instead of the sugar from the carbs it would normally get) and keeping your body more receptive to insulin, improving your body’s muscle-building response.

This is not only carb cycling but calorie cycling as well IMO. I can speak from personal experience how it helped me. I was at 20% BF and had stalled on my fat loss. I managed to get down from 24% to 20% with just basic meal planning and proper eating. I had hit a plateau and wasn't dropping body fat. I hired a personal training and he put me on carb and calorie cycling. That did wonders for me, I gained 6 lbs of muscle and lost 6.5 lbs of body fat in 8 weeks doing carb and calorie cycling. On my low carb days I ate more fats but not the same amount of calorie intake. I really enjoye eating this way because it gives me more of a variety of meals and I didn't get burnt out of eating. I basically have 2 meal plans that i follow and are super easy. On my higher carb and calorie days, which are my training days, I have post workout shake with whey, 1 scope of vitargo and oat powder within 15 minutes of my workout. Then 45 minutes later I eat 2 servings of steel cut oats with eggs. I eat nearly all of my carbs within a 6 hour window after my workouts.

Is this the Holy Grail no, there are so many methods out there of building muscle and losing fat that ALL work. I just consider them as tools that I can pull out and use when things stall or I need to change it up so I don't get burnt out.

If I didn't do carb and calorie cycling could I have gotten the same or better results using another technique? Probably yes, probably no. There are too many variables and the fact that I got results is good enough for me. This's just my 2 cents for what it's worth.

Mrpb
06-22-2015, 04:26 AM
Low carb day promote fat loss by tricking your body into burning fat for fuel (instead of the sugar from the carbs it would normally get) and keeping your body more receptive to insulin, improving your body’s muscle-building response.

Too much bro science. Low carb doesn't make you lose more fat. And high carb diets can promote insulin sensitivity too.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/52/3/524.long

Realityy
06-22-2015, 06:42 AM
No thanks, high carbs all day everyday

GING3R
06-22-2015, 09:17 AM
It's not essentially "better" or "a more advanced" way of eating but I do better when I up my carbs after workouts and I enjoy eating more fats on rest days. Simple as that.

FaroukNaas
06-22-2015, 09:38 AM
carb cycling.... lol....

stop

JitteryJoes
06-22-2015, 06:24 PM
but why is carb cycling better for a bb show vs a steady macro split? just because a pro did it and it work, does that actually mean it's better? (you know, like the saying, there's more then 1 way to skin a cat)

not meaning to have a go at you, i get what you're saying. but i don't understand why it's better.


Carb cycling is great early on and in the middle of contest prep but come a few weeks from the show, you need to be carbing down and staying at a certain amount. Some BBers will no carb it a week out from show while others will eat as little as 25g of carbs a week out to always give their muscles some breathing room. Then come show time, depending on who reacts best to carbs, some blow up and look amazing on stage while other's will spill over with too many carbs or others will not have enough carbs and look flat.

It's really on how your body reacts and if something works, stick with it but I highly suggest experimenting.