When you're carb cycling, it’s easy to make common mistakes that can potentially derail your progress. It takes a very scientific approach to incorporate carb cycling into your diet plan, therefore it’s imperative that you measure and adjust based upon your activity levels and training intensity.
Carb cycling involves eating more on the days your body requires more fuel, such as higher intensity training days, or training under heavy loads, and less on the days you’re not as active or have moderate training days. Carb cycling is a great way to get the extra fuel you need to power your performance and improve energy, while reducing glycogen stores and stored body fat on the days when you’re chilling on the couch, watching your favorite show.
You’re Eating Too Much
One of the most common mistakes you can make while carb cycling is eating too much. This is where tracking with an app like my fitness pal comes in handy. If you’re not consistently measuring what you’re eating, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to achieve your goals. Figuring out exactly how many carbs you should be eating on refeed days depends on several factors such as training intensity, total daily energy expenditure or basal metabolic rate and your health and fitness goals. If your goal is to lose weight, then it’s imperative that you’re still in caloric deficit despite eating more carbohydrates. Typically, 50% of your macros should come from carbs, 30-40% protein, and 10-20% fat.
Without a nutrition coach, carb cycling really comes down to a lot of trial and error. Keeping track of your macros and how you feel will help you figure out how much you need to be eating to have improved energy levels while not feeling overly full.
You’re Eating The Wrong Type Of Carbs
Nutritional value matters. Refeed days are not the same thing as a cheat meal, not even close. Focus on eating clean complex carbohydrate sources such as sweet potatoes, yams, basmati rice, starchy vegetables and quinoa.
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You’re Not Eating Enough
A common pitfall especially amongst those trying to lose weight is not eating enough. Depriving your body of the nutrients and calories it needs will only slow down your metabolic rate and trigger your body to maintain more body fat instead of burning it. While you still need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight severe calorie restriction will be counterproductive to your health and progress.
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You’re Not Eating Enough Fat And Protein
It’s easy to neglect your other macros on refeed days when the focus is on carbs. Hitting your macronutrient goals is imperative to achieve your results. When you’re tracking your macros, you’ll be able to easily track what macros you need to hit your goals.
Carb Cycling Mistakes: Takeaway
Tracking and adjusting your carbohydrate intake based upon your goals is crucial to how you feel, perform, and achieving your goals when you carb cycle. Simply hitting your macros and eating clean carbohydrates will ensure you hit you get the results you want. If you’re not sure where to start, or feel that you’ve been making these mistakes consider hiring a nutrition coach. They can help guide you through your journey and take the guess work out it, so you see results faster.
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