One of the hardest things to do is to take an abstract diet off the internet and try to apply it to your life.  Which is why I’m going to make it super simple for you. At the end of this article, you will know how to pull off carb cycling for weight loss.

Pinkie promise.

When I first found out about carb cycling I had soooooo many question that needed to be answered through experimentation. Thankfully, I got lucky on the first try.  Like really lucky.

I had a bodybuilding show in 3 months so there was no room for error.

But ‘nuff about me.  Let’s talk you. More specifically why traditional dieting sucks the life outta you, why carb cycling is the (is that still a thing?), and then wrap it up with you knowing how to apply carb cycling for weight loss in your life.

Sound good?

Let’s hit it.


The last time you tried out a diet, hopefully you tracked calories right?  Or at very least had some sort of points system to abide by. ‘Cause right off the bat, no weight is lost without a calorie deficit.  End. Of. Story.

I don’t give a fuq what anyone tells you. What foods you restrict or how afraid you are of carbs. If you don’t eat in a calorie deficit YOU.  WILL. NOT. LOSE. WEIGHT.

Now when you tried that diet you, or someone, gave you 1 number to aim for, right? 1300.  1600. 2400.

Whatever that number was, it was your job to hit that no matter what.  This is what is known as linear dieting.


One number until you are lean and happy.

This sucks.  It gives you nothing to look forward to.  This saps motivation.

Then your body, the smart SOB that it is, adapts and things sloooowwwww down.  Hormones decrease and you are left alone on a plateau with no plan.


When you linear diet a hormone in your body, Leptin, levels drop.  Leptin is produced in fat cells and it’s sole purpose to to keep your body the way it is.  

Daily, when calories are a-plenty, like after a meal, Leptin levels are high.  This tells the brain to reduce hunger, increase activity and maintain a normal metabolic rate.

When Leptin levels are low, like with linear dieting, the exact opposite happens.  You get hungry, lethargic and your metabolism slows down.

Over the long term, Leptin levels are controlled by how much body fat you’re carrying around.  Levels are higher the more body fat you have. There is a point though, where people carrying around a lot of body fat become desensitized to Leptin.  But that’s a conversation for another day.


So after you’ve been dieting for a few days to a week, you’ll notice hunger increases.  This is your Leptin levels dropping signalling to your brain to get some food.

Needless to say, this is when motivation hits the toilet and you are more than likely to throw in the towel.


Let’s agree that the two things sabotaging your dieting efforts are motivation and hunger.  There’s prob more, like your love of beer, but for the sake of this article there’s only two.

When you have linear diet, you have nothing to look forward to.  It’s the same thing every damn day. You also miss that “full” feeling after a good meal and damn carbs are delicious.

This is when, and most importantly, why you should throw in some carb cycling.

Carb cycling is a way of cycling carbs… I guess that really didn’t need explanation.


Taking from what you just learned about Leptin wouldn’t it be nice if there was something that could spike it in the short term to help reduce hunger, give you energy and increase your metabolic rate?

Oh schnaap there is.  Carbs.

Of all the macros (protein, carbs and fat) carbs spike Leptin the most.  And with carb cycling, you increase calories which also helps to spike insulin.

On the motivation side, after a week of low calorie eating wouldn’t it be nice if there was one day you could look forward to eating a little more by adding in some extra carbs?

There’s been a bunch of studies done on this that suggests carb cycling may produce better weight loss than traditional dieting.  You can check out those studies here, here, and here.

From my experience this all comes down to motivation first and foremost.  If you aren’t motivated to eat a certain way you won’t be consistent. And consistency is the secret sauce of results.


Let’s get to the good stuff, how to apply it to you.

Weight loss is all about being in a calorie deficit.  I said it before, I’ll say it again because it’s that damn important.

With that in mind, let’s figure out calories.


You could go by any calorie calculator online but let’s just keep it simple.  

Here’s some low carb calorie guidelines in pounds because ‘Murica poo-poo’s the superior Metric System:

Over 40% body fat: 7x your bodyweight

30-40% body fat: 8x your bodyweight  

20-30% body fat: 9x your bodyweight

10-20% body fat: 10x your bodyweight

Under 10% bodyfat: 11x your bodyweight

For High carb day just increase the multiplier by 3 or stop at 14, whichever comes first.

So let’s take two dudes.  One is 200 pounds with 14% body fat and the other is 250 with 42% body fat.

Dude 1:

Low carb day:

200 pounds x 10 = 2000 calories

High carb day:

200 pounds x 14 (remember 3 + low carb day) = 2800 calories

Dude 2:

Low carb day:

250 pounds x 7 = 1750

High carb day:

250 pounds x 10 (remember 3+ low carb day) = 2500

*These calorie amounts are starting points.  Your true calorie burn throughout the day is a concoction of a bunch of different factors.  When you get your numbers above give yourself a 1+/- of 100 calories.

Word of warning.  The higher carb days are not license to eat everything in site.  You’ll just ruin everything you worked for. Be an adult, keep shit in check and you will lose weight.

It’s controlled cheating.


Protein is going to stay pretty consistent on both days.  Aim for 0.8-1.2g/ pound of bodyweight. For people over 30% body fat use lean body mass (LBM) rather than total bodyweight.  Protein has 4 calories per gram. This will be important later.

Dude 1:

0.8 x 200 = 160g

1.2 x 200 = 240g

Dude 2: 250 pounds x ((100%-40%)/100)) = 150 lbs of LBM

0.8 x 150 = 120g

1.2 x 150 = 180g


Fats should be 30% of your total calories on low days and you’ll keep the same amount on high carb days.

The reason to do this is three fold.

First, this prevents you from going ape shit and eating a ton of crappy food on your high days.  Usually crappy foods are high in carbs and fat for taste.

Secondly, if you do go over your calorie amount slightly, fats are the easiest to turn to body fat.  

When you eat carbs, your body can burn them for energy, store them as glycogen in the muscles, burn them off as heat, or, as its very last choice, turn them into fat.

When you eat protein, your body can, use it for protein synthesis amongst other things, burn it for energy, or turn it into glucose or fat.

When you eat fat though,  things change. Your body has only two options: burn it for energy, if neither carbohydrate nor excess protein is available, or store it as body fat.

Fats have 9 calories per gram.  Again, important later.

Dude 1:

2000 x 30% =600 calories / 9 = 67g

Dude 2:

1750 x 30% = 525 calories / 9 = 58g


Carbs fill in the rest of the calories.

Pretty sweet, right?  Carbs have 4 calories per gram.

Dude 1

Low Carb Day:

Total Calories: 2000

Protein: 200g (4 x 200g = 800 calories)

Fat: 67g (9 x 67g = 603 calories)

Carbs: 2000 – 800 – 603 = 597 / 4 = 150 g of carbs

High Carb Day:

Total Calories: 2800

Protein:200g (4 x 200g = 800 calories)

Fat: 67g (9 x 67g = 603 calories)

Carbs: 2800 – 800 – 603 = 1397 / 4 = 350g of carbs

Dude 2

Low Carb Day:

Total Calories: 1750

Protein: 180g (4 x 180g = 720 calories)

Fat: 58g (9 x 58g = 522 calories)

Carbs: 1750 – 720 – 522 = 608 / 4 = 127 g of carbs

High Carb Day:

Total Calories: 2500

Protein: 180g (4 x 180g = 720 calories)

Fat: 58g (9 x 58g = 522 calories)

Carbs: 2500 – 720 – 522 = 1258 / 4 = 315g of carbs

  • For people over 30% body fat stick to the higher protein amounts for satiation and it’s harder to turn to body fat than carbs and fat.

At the end of the day, you should be looking at a 40-30-30 ratio on low days, and a 30-50-20 ratio on high carb days of protein, carbs and fat.


There’s a few ways to approach this which I’ll outline then I’ll give you my recommendation.

Weekend Refeed: 5 days of low carb followed by the weekend of high carb

Mini Cycle: 11 days of low carb followed by 3 day high carb

2 and 2: 2 weeks of low carb followed by 2 weeks of higher carb

Monthly: 4 weeks of low carb followed by 2 weeks of higher carb

All these sound great but they assume you can maintain your shit for a long duration of time.  It’s tough, especially coming out of weeks of low carb dieting. People tend to overdo it as time goes on.

My suggestion is to do a 6:1 or the Weekend Refeed.  Even if you do go over a little on your calories, you have enough of a caloric deficit buffer to still see progress.  In the end that’s what we all want.


The best meal plan is the one that you can be consistent with.  It’s the one you come up with based on the foods you enjoy using the framework I’ve outlined in this article.  I could give you a general meal plan with foods I think you might like and enjoy but what good would that do you?  In a few weeks you’ll just be searching for another meal plan.

For you to get results, you need to make it sustainable so you’ll be consistent.  Because the more you enjoy what you’re eating, the more you’ll stick with it.

Here’s a list of foods to consider and that should fill up 90% of your meals.


Carb cycling is a masterful dieting plan IMO.  The two things that tank diets are hunger and motivation.  Carb cycling mitigates both.

I’ve tried Keto, Paleo, boiled chicken and broccoli but have never gotten results like I have with carb cycling.

Give it a whirl and if you need help, shoot me an email @ Dave at Aesthetic-Physiques dot com.