Carb Cycling explained – the secret weapon

What is Carb Cycling? It is a method employed of alternating carbohydrate intake to break through plateaus and facilitate fat-loss.

With Carb Cycling you wil alternate between high, medium and low carb days in an effort to manipulate hormones and increase the bodies fat burning ability while trying to hold on to your hard earned muscle mass.

With carb cycling the body never goes into “famine” mode (an occurrence so frequently happening when too little carbs is consumed over extended periods. Such a famine mode usually results in severe muscle loss).

An interesting fact is that carb cycling is controlling the ghrelin hormone levels, the hormone responsible for feeling hunger. Because of this many people find carb cycling relatively easy because they do not feel hunger.

HIGH CARB DAYS – spike the insulin levels and fill the glycogen stores, firing up the metabolism and prevent a catabolic environment.

A dieter’s insulin levels needs to be spiked to reap the anabolic benefits of the insulin hormone. (insulin allows one to burn fat while protecting the muscle).

The low carb days can be very taxing on the body when training hard. But even with traditional carb restricted diets it has nearly the same effect. The big plus for the Carb Cycling is that the dieter can hold out one day of “starvation” with the knowledge of tomorrow he will feed carbs again.

Carb cycling is NOT considered a long term solution but a short-term strategy to just help you break through plateaus or to get your body stage ready.

Many different methods of carb cycling exists.

The more common approach is a high, medium and low carb day – 3 days in a cycle. During all three days fat and protein consumption stays roughly the same with a slight increase in protein and fat on the medium and low carb days.

An example is 300g – 400g carbs on the high days and on a low day about 50g of carbs.

Also which must be noted here is that especially in first 2 weeks there should be twice as many high and medium carb days than low carb days. Typically something like this: high, medium, high, medium, low, high, medium, high, medium, low, etc…

After about 2 weeks you can go the normal high, medium and low days as a regular 3 –day cycle.

Some people shift their training intensity to be max on the high carb days but many others ignore this and train hard no matter if it is a high, medium or low carb day. Both approaches produce good results.

How to structure your approach?

HIGH CARB DAYS (divided into 6-8 meals)

6 – 6.5g carbs for every kg bodyweight
2 – 2.2g protein per kg bodyweight
3 – 0.4g fat per kg bodyweight
Insulin must be spiked on the high carb days and thus high GI sugars best (sweets, fruit, etc…)
As the diet progresses in time you can experiment by dropping the GI content of the carbs to the lower end of the scale.
Perform the heaviest workouts on these days (back/chest/legs)
MEDUIM CARB DAYS (divided into 6-8 meals)

2g carbs for every kg bodyweight
5 – 2.75g protein per kg bodyweight
3 – 0.4g fat per kg bodyweight
Typical muscle groups suited for these days: shoulders, abs, biceps, etc…
LOW CARB DAYS (divided into 6-8 meals)

1g carbs for every kg bodyweight
3 – 3.5g protein per kg bodyweight
5 – 0.7g fat per kg bodyweight
Perform the lightest workouts on these days (preferably cardio)
Perform the heaviest workouts on these days (back/chest/legs)

Just some key notes

Try and keep on all the days the majority of carbs before/during/after training.
Water intake must be directly proportional to your amount of carbs. If you eat twice as many carbs you must drink twice as much water.
Keep a journal and monitor the effects closely on your body in terms of high GI carbs and low GI carbs, how your body react to the amount of carbs, etc… This is by now way a fixed one for all solution and you need to carefully monitor and adapt the carb cycling to best suit your body.
Carb Cycling is best done under close supervision of a skilled coach. It is not impossible to reach success on your own, but the slightest miss step might do significant harm. So educate yourself VERY WELL before venturing this route.
Wish you all happy training!
Gert Louw

GertFITNESS sites:
[Official Fitness site]
[Bodybuilding page]

  • One more time you did it!!👍👍👍👍
    Thanks very useful information!!

  • How about on the rest day? Because I do work out 5x/week. Is it on rest day both on low carbs day?

  • Hi! Really useful info there!
    Just a question I have on carbs. When you are referring to these specific grams of carbs, do you mean the net carbs coming from starchy foods (e.g. rice, bread, spaghetti, etc) and starchy veggies (e.g. potatoes, carrots, beetroot, etc)? (without including the dietary fiber). Thank you!

  • hello, i am doing workout in afternoon then should i take carbs full day after and before workout on high carb day?

  • I did hardcore keto for 6 months with zero effects. I was in deep ketosis up to 7 mg/dl BHB. I think I was getting enough calories, but the full time keto diet just doesn't work, except for maybe the super obese.

  • Great video 😀 I have a question is it ok to go low carbs mon-fre under 40g then re-feed on saturday 250-350g? Im just looking to get lean and hopping to reduce belly fat and to have a meal plan that I can live with :). ofc I maintain the recommend protein daily. Tnx 🙂

  • Hi! Thank you for the video! I have one question, are these grams based on the lean body weight or the total weight? I usually take the body fat % and do my diet based on the lean body mass but I'm wondering if with carb cycling that stays the same. Thank you a lot 🙂

  • If you make protein and fat intake stays the same, how will you fill the missing calorie in your low carb day? It's hard to reach your daily calorie needs if your on a low carb diet.

  • can I carb cycle without tracking

  • one of the best video abt carb cycling thanks for the video sir

  • sir can u tell me or make a similar video on how can obese people can lose weight through carb cycling with how many gms carb, fat & protein should be eaten?

  • I have a bulky look. And i want to lose fat and muscle. My legs are huge.

    So i can use this?

  • I liked your video…simple n good delivery

  • This is the best video on Carb Cycling.. This system is only for the Pros, not for the normal Joe….  Everyone is trying to be like Mike. Can not…. Work hard in the gym or on the tredmill and eat good … That's it.. Unless your over weight then work harder on the Tredmill and stay away from all Sugar….. Good Video.

  • I eat carbs all day , all I want – potatoes, bananas, dates, also plenty of veggies and other fruit. I love WHOLE FOODS so much. It restored my health. I recommend to all to research what to eat to feel the best 🙂 / did u hear about cyclist durianrider? check his strava. he is always on carbs with no limitations. CARBS areLIFE/ EnERGy

  • After done some calculations, I came across the fact that I'm actually eating MORE calories on the low carb day than on the medium carb day. Can that be correct??
    Weighing 75kg at this moment, my calculations are:

    High carb day:
    6-6.5g carbs x 75kg = 450-487,5g = 1800-1950 kcal
    2-2.2g protein x 75kg = 150-165g = 600-660 kcal
    0.3-0.4g fat x 75kg = 22,5-23g = 202,5-207 kcal

    TOTAL 2602,5 – 2817 kcal

    Medium carb day:
    2g carbs x 75kg = 150g = 600 kcal
    2.5-2.75g protein x 75 = 187,5 – 206,25g = 750-825 kcal
    0.3-0.4g fat x 75kg = 22,5-23g = 202,5-207 kcal

    TOTAL 1552,5 – 1632 kcal

    Low carb day:
    1g carbs x 75kg = 75g = 300 kcal
    3-3.5g protein x 75kg = 225-262,5g = 900-1050 kcal
    0.5-0.7g fat x 75kg = 37,5-52,5g = 337,5 – 472,5 kcal

    TOTAL 1537,5 – 1822,5 kcal


  • Hi ! I Just have a few questions : Wouldnt it be better to be on a low carb day on an intense workout day, even though we won't be as strong as on a high carb day ? Is it ok to be on a high carb day on a day with no workouts, but this day would be following 2 days of low carb days and intense workoutthank you!! 🙂


  • This is the best carb cycling video I have found so far. Simple and straight to the point! Thanks for sharing

  • thanks a lot

  • I am 28 years old. My body fat is 18%. Im fairly lean and hit the gym regularly. Can I do carb cycling?

  • im currently eating prety low carb on a daily base like 100/130gr a day, im keeping my protein high 2gr per kg minimum, i keep sugars very low like 30gr max, vets low to around 20/25%
    The issue im running into, i loose weight very very quick between 0.4 and 1.8kg a day when i stick to the dieet, but when im stepping out of line i gain 1/1.5kg easely in a day. how can i avoid getting the weight back that quick? when i step out of line it usually not alot of food i eat, but to much cal for sure.

  • hi!! i have a question, this gr intake is the same for men an woman??

  • Hi, I have a qns, now I am cutting(80kg) may I know do I just use the formula used? example 80x 2.2 or should I go for 79kgx2.2 thanks!

  • neat pic!

  • appreciate specific macro measurements per kg body weight (starting at 8:00)