What is carb cycling and is it safe for vegans?
If you’ve heard of carb cycling and you want to know more then you’re in the right place. Since this is a vegan site, we’ll obviously discuss the subject from a meat-free perspective. So besides exploring what’s involved in carb cycling, we’ll also be looking at how viable it is as a vegan.
Let’s start with the basics:
What Is Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling is still a fairly new practice, so it doesn’t have a formal definition just yet. The basic principle behind it is that you alter your carbohydrate intake based on your needs. This means that the cycle is divided into phases where the timing and amount of carbs you consume will vary depending on what you need.
This technique is most common among bodybuilders, physique competitors, and athletes involved in high-performance sports. However, with the rising popularity of the Keto diet, carb cycling has become an option for regular athletes as well.
Because of this, carb cycling usually revolves around someone’s training schedule. So, for example, on days where training is intense, more carbs are needed, and when the training is low to medium intensity, fewer carbs are required. This way, a person can go through several high-carb, medium-carb, and low-carb cycles in a week.
Why Try Carb Cycling?
Carb cycling can be helpful when it comes to weight management and body fat loss because on the days your body only receives limited carbs, it relies heavily on fat to fuel your body. That means that you burn through your fat storage.
So, by being strategic with the amount of carbs you consume, you will have more energy for workouts, and you will be able to enhance your performance and your body fitness.
Who Is Carb Cycling For?
I already mentioned that carb cycling is most common among bodybuilders and endurance athletes that practice sports such as running, cycling, swimming, etc. In this case, varying carbohydrate intake throughout the year can be helpful when it comes to performance and increasing muscle glycogen stores.
Carb cycling can also be beneficial for people who are on a weight loss or fat loss journey. A low-carb diet is a helpful way to maintain weight for many people and carbs are also important when it comes to fueling our bodies during high-intensity workouts. So, carb cycling can work for weight-loss or fat-loss as long as you include HIIT or weightlifting workouts into your exercise routine.
Is Vegan Carb Cycling Possible?
So far we’ve learned that carb cycling is basically alternating between high carb and low carb days with the goal to optimize your metabolism, maximize fat loss, and increasing muscle development.
Now the question is: Is vegan carb cycling possible?
The answer is yes! But, it’s important to note that it can be more challenging for vegans and vegetarians.
Protein is essential in vegan carb cycling, so eating protein with every meal is essential if you want to feel full for longer, build lean muscle, and reach your goals. For vegans and vegetarians, protein sources can be limited, but the key is to find one you can enjoy and then eat a lot of it.
It’s important to remember that all the foods you eat contain proteins, fats, and/or carbs. Vegan and vegetarian options contain protein, but also carbs and/or fat, which can make vegan carb cycling a bit challenging. It’s not impossible, though! All you need to do is be mindful of the protein sources you intake and educate yourself on the matter.
Carbohydrates are also essential to vegan carb cycling, so it’s important to know what your primary sources of carbs are. Remember that high-carb days are also low-fat days because the point here is to make your body burn through your fat storage.
Some of the best carb sources for vegans and vegetarians include sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, quinoa, beans, oats, rice cakes, and, of course, veggies!
Now, when it comes to fats and vegan carb cycling, they’re most important on low-carb days. Because you won’t be eating too many carbs, your body will need the fat for energy. For vegans and vegetarians, some of the best fat sources include olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, nut butter, avocado, and others.
How to Begin Vegan Carb Cycling
Hopefully you now have an understanding of carb cycling and what it can offer you. If you want to know more and want to get started then go read out post on carb cycling for vegans.