Should You Carb Cycle On A Keto Diet?

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The Ketogenic diet has consistently stayed in the spotlight, and for good reason! It's a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet that was originally used to treat epilepsy patients. More recently, however, the diet has been raved about for it's weight loss results and sustained energy, among many other things.

Keto combined with carb cycling can produce amazing results and this method is used routinely by bodybuilders. But if you're not a bodybuilder, should you carb cycle on a keto diet? Let's take a look!

1. How Keto Works

Before we get into carb cycling, let's talk about the basics of keto. The basic goal of keto is to change your body's energy source from glucose to fat. This is a metabolic shift, and the most natural state for our bodies to be in (we are born in a state of ketosis!)

The problem with using sugar as a primary energy source is that fats are not needed for energy and therefore are stored. This really becomes a problem, as the body can't store much excess glucose. This unused glucose gets converted into body fat. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that gaining body fat is not good when you are trying to lose weight.

That's where the ketogenic diet comes in. When you lower your intake of carbs, the body begins to look for an alternative energy source: fat! In the absence of carbohydrates the body will begin producing small molecules called ketones. Ketones occur from the breakdown of fat in the liver. So when you lower you carb intake, fat cells release the water they are storing and head to the liver, which stimulates weight loss and improves your overall health.

2. Carb Cycling

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Carb cycling is a method that has risen to popularity, as bodybuilders have used carb cycling to shed fat and increase muscle. When we talk about carb cycling with the ketogenic diet, we are referring to a method called the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD). This process involves entering ketosis, and then having high-carb days where you break ketosis, boost your metabolism, and fuel muscle growth.

The cyclical ketogenic diet devotes one to two full days of high carbohydrate consumption in order to fully refill muscle and liver glycogen stores. In order to achieve the best results, however, these high-carb days must be combined with heavy strength-training workouts. 

3. How To Do The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

There are quite a few ways of tackling the cyclical keto diet, and it's all about what works best for you. One pretty simple version involves low carb days where protein, fats and only green vegetables are consumed, totaling less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. On the high carb, heavy strength training days, consume a meal of healthy carbs (fruit, sweet potato) with a lean protein immediately post-workout, with as little fat as possible. Continue eating this way throughout the day, consuming as much as one gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. Fats will remain fairly low. 

With this method, the carbs are clean and junk food is not involved. That means you can have:

  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Fruit
  • Potato, Sweet Potato & Yams
  • Green Vegetables
  • Beans/Legumes
  • Bran Cereals
  • Whole and Ancient Grains

Typically, carb cycling is employed for 8-10 weeks to achieve optimal conditioning, though some people go longer or shorter. It all depends on your goals and how your body responds to this method.

The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Takeaway

All in all, the carb cycling and keto combo is great if you already have a proper workout routine in place. This method combines the benefits of ketosis with timing of healthy carbohydrates in a way that allows regular strength-trainers to get the most out of their bodies and their training.

Want to learn more about the benefits of the Keto lifestyle? Then I encourage you to grab your Free Keto Quick Start Guide Today! My main goal is to take your personal health on a transformative journey from a place of lethargy and carb addiction to that of euphoria and fat-burning. My experience, training and passion are all about educating and empowering women to get results; not just in terms of fat loss, but in improving their overall quality of life, and the lives of those around them. It is my pleasure to serve you and help you find a happy and healthy lifestyle with Ketogenic Living, so let's connect!