Carb Cycling for Fat Loss

Complex carbohydrates are used as energy by the body; they fuel our workouts, as well as providing ample energy to be used throughout the course of the day. Complex carbohydrates also replenishes our glucose and glycogen stores to prevent fatigue.

Carb cycling allows you to still eat complex carbohydrates from clean sources, without adding body fat, and cycling enables you to better utilize fat for burning as fuel, as opposed to burning carbohydrates and muscle tissue.

Are carbs the evil enemy?

People normally have the wrong idea about carbs, especially the difference between carbs: junk, refined carbs and complex carbohydrates and making the right choices.

Carbs are not the evil villain if we talk about clean complex carbohydrates. Wrong carb choices, such as refined carbs (white rice, white pasta, bread etc) as well as improper carb timing can however (before bedtime) cause these carbs to be stored as fat.

Junk carbs

Carbohydrates eaten in excess, or eaten at the wrong times, can add adipose tissue to the body, but they are not a bad thing if incorporated into a food program properly and only if they are clean organic complex carbohydrates. Eat the majority of your carbs early in the day and at the post-workout meal.

Sugar laden junk foods are always bad, and they are comprised mostly of refined carbs, and fat. And well they make you fat, sick and tired.

If people eliminated, or cut down on junk food alone, they would lose a lot of weight, and look and feel much better for it. Most junk food is simply calorie dense garbage, totally devoid of any nutrients.

The proper attitude:

Eat “clean”

There can be no half measures. You must get into the proper mindset and stay completely focused on achieving your goals, if you screw around and cheat once, you will repeat this cheating again and again.

Cycling carbs

When cycling carbs in the manner that I recommend, you have three low carb days, followed by two higher carb days, to aid in recovery, and to replenish glycogen. This gives us just the right amount of carbs to be used as fuel without becoming an excessive amount.

Always use carbs from clean organic foods, complex carbohydrates, not refined carbohydrates and not junk foods of course!

What I recommend as a starting point, to determine just how many complex clean carbs you should eat on your highest day, is to eat x 2 to x 2.5 grams of carbs per kg of clean bodyweight (meaning your specific ideal weight). Start out using the latter number and adjust according to your results.

NOTE: Do not count fibrous vegetables into your total carb count for the day. They are low in calories and carbs and are a good source of fiber and does not count in the scheme of things while carb cycling. Only count starchy complex carbohydrates.

Some tweaking will of course be necessary for most, as some of us are a bit more “carb sensitive” than others. Activity level, training intensity level, age, as well as sex, will determine how much you will need to adjust things.

After a time you can decide whether you want to raise them a bit, or lower them, based on your results, and your body’s feedback.

Below is an example of my 5-day carb cycling method using 150 grams of carbs as the highest amount on a high day.

  • Day-1: 90 grams
  • Day-2: 70 grams
  • Day-3: 50 grams
  • Day-4: 120 grams
  • Day-5: 150 grams


Repeat cycle as written, throughout the course of the food program.

Reaching a plateau

Eventually, you will more than likely reach a fat burning plateau, and this is the time where we can implement a “tweak” in the cycle plan. The body is resistant to change and it will eventually adapt to any stressors put upon it, so after a time you may stop burning fat as fuel.

You can go to zero carbs for 3 days and 3 days only. This is the only time to take fibrous vegetables into consideration, as no carbs whatsoever should be ingested during the 3 zero carb days.

Do not stay at zero carbs for any longer than 3 days, and never go below 50 carbs as your lowest amount, throughout the entire length of the diet other than the occasional zero carb 3 day period. Any lower, and the brain suffers, and thinking becomes cloudy, as the brain needs a certain amount of carbs to function optimally. You may wanna hide yourself during these three days, you may get quite irritable, tense and angry. When I am at zero carb, be aware!

Clean complex carbs!

These are the best sources of clean carbs to use when dieting in general, and when cycling carbs:

  • Baked Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal

All of the above should be organic in order to avoid chemicals, and choose gluten free oatmeal!


Sources of Clean complex Carbohydrates


Food    Calories     Protein   Carbohydrates    Fat  
Baked potatoes        93      8 %         92 %   3 %
Yams       118      5 %         95 %   1 %
Sweet potatoes        27     13 %         95 %   6 %
Brown rice      370      9 %         84 %   7 %
Oatmeal      333    14 %         88 %   7 %


I recommend not eating bread of any kind nor dairy products, staying away from these highly optimizes fat burning.

The only time to eat simple carbs other than vegetables is at the post-workout meal when you should take in 50 grams of protein shakes immediately after training.

I recommend a high protein intake, as this will help to ensure that you retain the hard earned muscle that you’ve garnered from your training.

I strongly recommend eating a lot of salad and veggies, tons of leafy greens, green and red peppers, cucumbers, carrots etc.

I hope to have inspired you to get on a clean complex carbohydrate cycle food program and achieve awesome results.


Sofie Tvarno

Sports nutritionist - Health coach - Personal trainer

Founder of F.I.T.u™ - rock your body & life with amazing results.

My mission is to bring health & happiness to your world

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