Let's talk carbs for a minute . . . First off, carbs are our primary source of energy that we use during training as stored glycogen in both the liver and muscles. Intense endurance training rely heavily on carbs for fuel, however strength training can also deplete glycogen levels too. So we are going to discuss how you can manipulate carb intake to enhance performance.
Benefits of Carb Cycling
Carb Cycling requires you to perform some workouts in a glycogen depleted state. This helps in promoting the creation of mitochondria (small cells that create ATP, or chemical energy for the body). Increasing the amount of mitochondria in the muscles improves energy, muscle performance, and fat oxidation.
One of the most common forms of Carb Cycling is fueling your body for the work required. It is as simple as it sounds. You will plan your carb intake based on how you plan to train for that day. So a high volume leg day that taxes the body and muscles would require a high carb day to support the training. On chest day (while still taxing, not like a leg day), you would intake a moderate carb day. On active rest days/cardio days, you would go low carb.
Using this method allows you to fuel your body appropriately for the training, avoiding carb spill over and also under-eating carbs. The other component that will help you with this style of carb cycling is to ensure you go to bed on low carbs. While more difficult for people who train in the morning, it requires carb intake before the workout, and avoiding carbs throughout the day. This will have longer effects on the mitochondria creation and fat burning capabilities.
Using carb cycling as a strategy to minimize fat gain during a bulk or maximize fat loss during a cut is a great idea, and an efficient method to help you reach your goals.