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Calorie Cycling: Ideal For Body Builders

Calorie Cycling
Calorie Cycling: Idle for Body Builders

Calorie cycling is a systematic method of raising and lowering daily calorie intake. The main way this diet works is the zig-zagging of the starchy carbs, where we avoid starchy carbs (like bread, pizza, pasta, potatoes, rice) during the low days and only eat them during the high days, this enables your metabolism to run smoothly all the time (even during the low days), and keep the hormone insulin low during the low days so fat loss will occur. Muscle maintenance is also there thanks to all the high days and the carb load meals.

For example, someone wanting to lose fat might maintain a calorie deficit for 5 days per week and raise intake to maintenance on the remaining 2 days to give their bodies a break. Someone wanting to build muscle and strength while staying lean might flip this and maintain a slight calorie surplus for 5 days and use a moderate deficit on the remaining 2 days to lose the fat gained during the week.

The theory is simple enough, but does it offer any real benefits?

Yes and no.

The Benefits of Calorie Cycling

Calorie cycling really shines for people with highly adaptable metabolism. In their case, cutting down calories and staying in  deficit will leave them with a weight loss plateau in just a couple of weeks. Calorie cycling keeps your metabolism from quickly adjusting to a hypo-caloric environment.

It serves as a huge psychological boost when you’re trying to lose weight by enabling you to change up the monotonous eating of traditional dieting. One is able to add in more food variety and actually feel full. In our daily life, very rarely do we eat the same amount of food day in and day out. Instead, we naturally have varying degrees of calorie intakes throughout the week. Calorie cycling closely mimics those natural eating patterns.

It allows variety in your diet that allows you to ingest meals without guilt.

Calorie Cycling helps restore the fat burning and muscle building hormones, namely, thyroid, leptin, testosterone, and growth hormone to a higher level which might be slowed during dieting.

It is best suited to intermediate and advanced weightlifters looking to progress in their lifts while maintaining a low body fat percentage.

The Problem With Calorie Cycling

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with calorie cycling. It’s a viable dietary strategy and one that is recommend for advanced weightlifters.

Like intermittent fasting, calorie cycling is often sold as a panacea for all your fat loss and muscle building woes-the “secret” to body recomposition. This simply isn’t true. In fact, it may make you more likely to fail in your quest to get fit.

You see, calorie cycling just isn’t as universally practical for all:

Remember, you will not gain any fat weight on the high calorie days as long as you keep doing cardio workouts. You will however gain some weight most likely during the high phase, but this will mostly be glycogen weight, which is comprised of water and carbs inside the muscles, but this is good weight!  You may even increase muscle mass a little.  And it is very important to never use the scale as an indicator of progress.  The scale will fluctuate dramatically during your high and low cycles, most of this weight fluctuation is coming from water weight, glycogen, and food being digesting.
Rule of the Thumb: Keep it simple, maintain a moderate calorie deficit, eat plenty of protein, use plenty of resistance training and scanty amounts of cardio to maintain muscle and drive fat loss, and use the right supplements to speed up the fat loss process.
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