Danni Levy explains three steps to weight management
Carb cycling is an eating strategy commonly used by athletes as a means to gain muscle whilst burning fat. At the launch of BodyPower expo HealthGauge took the opportunity to speak to Danni Levy, author of ‘The Pyramid Diet’, which is a diet developed around this strategy.
How carb cycling works
The basic principle behind carb cycling is very simple. The idea is to take a healthy balanced diet, and over a period of three days, tip the balance:
- Day 1 – high carb: a high level of starchy carbohydrates
- Day 2 – low carb: a low-medium amount of non starchy carbohydrates
- Day 3 – no carb: no carbohydrates
For maximum effect this is accompanied by an exercise programme that optimises the fat burning and muscle fuelling potential of carb cycling. This involves:
- Day 1 – Resistance training: Intensive resistance (weight) training or plyometrics (legs & jumping) on high carbohydrate days allows for carbohydrate which is converted into glycogen to fuel the muscles enabling a stronger performance and more intensive training.
- Day 2 – General workout: Medium carbohydrate days are accompanied by a general workout.
- Day 3 – HIIT: As the body does not have an immediate supply of carbohydrate, the intensity of the exercise forces it to burn fat for fuel. HIIT also trains the body not to store fat.
The cycle can then be repeated starting back on a high carb day. It can also be reversed starting on a no carb day. This has the added benefit of a ‘carb loading’ effect which maximises the storage of glycogen in the muscles from high carbohydrate days enabling a boost for maximum intensity HIIT the following day.
As carb cycling is an inclusive eating strategy it can be much more easy to follow and therefore can be much more effective than exclusive ‘dieting’ as no food off-limits, rather it trains to use the right foods at the right time.