Benefits of Carb-Cycling


If you are into bodybuilding or fitness you surely have heard of these two words before: “carb-cycling”. The problem is, most people have no idea of what that is about, how to do it, and what would that be good for. Some people tend to cut off carbs from their diet completely, which is terrible in my opinion. You create nothing but a carb sensitivity, where you are pretty much teaching your body that carbs are bad. Nutrition is a very wide field and there are many different theories and philosophies, all of which promises awesome results and a great shape. As a matter of fact, there’s no absolute truth until the theory is duly tested and approved by each person individually. That makes nutrition and all other fields from the healthcare industry even more challenging; not everyone is the same and therefore, each one will obtain different results based on different practices. What I am about to describe through this post is something that I have been doing for almost one year and it has absolutely brought me awesome results. That doesn’t mean that it will be as awesome to everyone. I recommend that each of you test the method in order to find out if it’s going to work for you as well. And honestly, you don’t need to cut carbs from your diet if this works. Carbs are important and we need them in order to function properly.

What is carb-cycling?

“A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of diet used by bodybuilders and fitness athletes in general, as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise”.

How does it work?

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. The focus is carbs rather than protein or fats because their effects seem to have more influence  on the composition of our body and on how it looks.

High Carb Days:

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

Low Carb Days:

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


  • sweet or red potato
  • oatmeal
  • quinoa
  • whole wheat pasta or tortillas (check the Glycemic Index and choose the lowest ones)
  • fruit (especially berries)
  • brown rice
  • whole grain bread (I like Ezekiel bread)

Quick Highlights:

-> You may try doing just a low carb day then a high carb day and so on.

-> Whenever you eat less carbs, you may increase the amount of protein and slightly increase fat intake. If your goal is to lose weight, don’t forget to watch your calories, as you don’t want to exceed your recommended daily calories intake.

-> Don’t forget to take your aminos (BCAAs, glutamine, etc), especially on low carb days. Amino acids help preserving muscle mass.

-> Count all carbs, even from yogurt… that means, learn how to read the nutrition facts!!!!

-> My diet is totally focused on GI (glycemic index), so I always choose the lower GIs foods, especially carbs. Check my post about glycemic index for more information.

Finally, I’d like to share what the Calorie Coach has posted about carb-cycling:

  • Carb cycling is different because it doesn’t restrict any macronutrient. It can be incorporated into a lifestyle change because the diet has no expiration date.
  • You shouldn’t expect to lose more weight by carb cycling. However, carb cycling gives you a greater chance of holding onto your muscle while losing body fat.
  • The benefit of carb cycling over other diets is that it has both physiological and psychological benefits. Not only does it keep the fat loss moving, but it satisfies the mind – probably the most important part of any diet

Examples of carb-cycling:

  • low, low, medium, low, high – repeat
  • low, medium, low, high – repeat
  • low, high, low, high, low – repeat
  • My carb cycling routine: 50 g / 75 g/ 100 g / 150 g

I hope this post has helped clarifying about carb-cycling!!!!


50 Comments on “Benefits of Carb-Cycling

  1. Oi Bella,
    Sou sua conterrânea aqui do Brasil ahahah
    Adorei o post, mas tive uma dúvida: como vc trabalha isso junto com os treinos? Se o dia low carb cai num dia de treino vc segue mesmo assim? E se o dia de high carb cair no dia de descanso?
    Outra dúvida: vc indica o ciclo pra quem busca hipertrofia?
    bjss e obrigada :)

    • Olá. Sim, indico, so nao deixar o dia de low muito baixo. Meu low e 50 mas pra quem quer ganhar aconselho um mínimo de 75g. Tente fazer low-High-High-low. Quanto ao treino, e so vc adaptar a sua ficha e fazer o treino pesado no dia High. No low vc treina tb, normal, so perna q n aconselho nem muito cardio (ja q quer ganhar). Essa e uma boa forma de bulk up com minimal fat gain. Bjs

  2. Is there a certain carb cycling rotation you’d recommend for a woman at an average body fat percentage, looking to lose fat?

  3. Very interesting. Thank you!

    Do your cycle “fits” your workouts? I mean, low carb day on restdays and so on? Because then I cycle my carbs without knowing it, haha

  4. Hi Bella! Love your site! Regarding the carbs, do you count even the carbs in the fibrous veggies? If so, which do you recommend for the low days? Thanks!

  5. Hey Bella! Thanks for the great tips! You’re a huuuuge inspiration! I know you said “Count ALL carbs.” So you also include carbs from veggies? Just wanted to clarify! Thanks again :-)

  6. Hey Bella! You are such a huge inspiration! Thank you for all the great tips! I know you said “Count ALL carbs.” Does this also include carbs from veggies? Just wanted to clarify! Thanks again :-)

  7. Hi Bella. What type of excercises should you do on low carb days? Medium? And high? Can you please give an example. Thank you!

  8. Can I ask what the percentages come out to be for your carbs (what percentage of your caloric intake does 50g of carbs equal and so on). Curious so that I can see how many grams that would be for my daily caloric intake. Thanks Bella!

  9. Hello Bella,
    I am going to start the carb cycle diet but i am having some issues with what to snack on for the low carb days? I don’t know why but everything blows me up I don’t feel nothing works for me to lean my stomach out. Not to mention, i am naturally skinny so for me it makes it harder. Any suggestions?

  10. Hi Bella,
    I thought a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet also really focuses on high fat intake and manipulating the body the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs, making it unlike any other low carb/ carb cycle diet?

  11. bella, como tu calculaste essa quantidade de carbo? pelo teu peso? Tipo, 150g de carbo/dia seria um high carb day para qualquer pessoa?
    Eu estou pesando hoje 72kgs…como poderia adaptar esse cycling no meu caso?

  12. Bella sou do Brasil e estou amandao seu blog!! parabens! vc é linda!! só uma dúvida essas quantidades são por refeição ou por dia? bjão

  13. Bella, esclarecendo uma duvida, por exemplo 50 gr of sweet potato, eh tipo pesando em uma food scale 50 gr de batata doce ou 50 gr de carbs na tabela nutricional?? Thanks

  14. Hi Bella! Great post :) thank you for this!
    I’m just curious of how you keep track of your carbs and calories intake. Do you use an app like FitnessPal?

    Thanks again :D you’re awesome

  15. Hey Bella! Thanks for the info on carb cycling. I think I want to try this and I need your advice! I have been training and building muscle for about 6 months and I see a change in my appearance but I am having trouble lowering my bodyfat it seems and looks like. I want to be vascular (like you!) and see some of my hard work and dedication. I think i am not leaning out because of my diet. I have been trying to do research but cant seem to find the right carb cycling for me! What macros would you recommend for someone like me who wants to lean out and loose bodyfat? and could you tell me on the lower carb days how high the fat and protein you think should go? id greatly appreciate if you got back to me, i really want to try this and step up my game with my diet to start to lean out :) Thanks for all your info xoxo

    • Hi, it’s hard to say the exact amount without knowing you… try doing tests on your body and adjust your macros as you go. I am currently doing a carb cycle of 100/100/50 and so on.

  16. Aw thank you so much for your response! What does your fat and protein go up to on the low carb days? Just trying to follow your lead hehe :)

      • It depends on what I am focused on. If I am bulking I eat over 150g of carbs a day and I don’t really track protein. My minimum protein intake is 160g and fat varies based on carb intake. If I am on a low carb day, I eat around 40g of fat and if it’s high carb around 15g. When I am cutting I cycle carbs as follows: 40-60-80-100

  17. Hi Bella
    First off I wanted to say what a huge inspiration you’ve been to me the past couple years. It’s nice to see all the great things your doing. I noticed your a brand ambassador of fresh meal plan, do you eat their food everyday? I also joined on the traditional plan and I’m trying to lean out but I’ve noticed every meal consists of about 40 carbs. How does your carb cycling work around this program. I really need your help 😘☺️ Thank you

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