Nutrition and Diet:  Carbohydrate Cycling for Women

Nowadays, especially for women, appearance plays a very important role in life. Who has not tried losing weight at least once in their life? Taking care of diet and training at the gym becomes more and more popular. We strive to maintain a perfect figure at any price – sometimes even at the cost of our health. There are many internet diets that help you to fight with unnecessary fat. Most of them are based on starvation, aiming only to lose unnecessary kilograms regardless of the negative health conditions in the future. Fortunately, the perception of a skinny figure as a canon of beauty goes into oblivion to this shapely and muscular one. We should be aware of the fact that it is impossible to build muscle mass and reduce body fat simultaneously. Hence the popular “mass gaining and reduction” scheme allows us to obtain a dream figure. However, very often it is written down for failure, especially when during the mass gaining, with the improper use of strength training, we start gaining fat except for muscles. Have you ever wondered how to maintain the optimal level of muscle mass with maximally low adipose tissue all year long? 

One of the solutions may be a diet consisting of carbohydrate rotation, with simultaneous constant supply of both proteins and fats. This diet it’s called carb cycling. In recent times, it has achieved popularity especially among people practicing strength sports. The previous article – “Carb Cycling Diet” allows you to find out more about details. 

Carb Cycling for Whom?

Carb cycling is especially recommended for people exercising physically on the endomorphic type of build. These people are characterized by a rapid increase in body fat, problematic loss and difficulty in building muscle mass. Ectomorphic is particularly difficult to go through the period of mass and reduction due to the difficulties associated with maintaining the caloric deficit and rapid accumulation of fat during the period of mass. This method of nutrition works well for people with a certain experience in the gym and basic knowledge about healthy eating, that’s why carb cycling is not recommended for people who are just beginning their adventure with diet and training. It is also revived if we have to lose or take a lot of kilos. 

Carb Cycling for Women?

There are many articles and researches describing the principles and benefits of the carb cycling diet taking men as an example, but would women also be able to benefit from them? The answer is yes. Women have a much greater tendency to accumulate fat tissue than men. It is harder for them to maintain a perfect figure without constantly counting calories and restrictive diets. Increasing the consumption of carbohydrates on training days allows you to use accumulated energy and use it to rebuild damaged muscles and regenerate the body. 

The Advantages of Using Carb Cycling 

Increased sensitivity of cells to glucose – this is a very important factor in shaping the body. During low carbs, the period improves insulin sensitivity. Our aim is carbohydrates to be used for muscle work rather than deposition in the form of adipose tissue. – Increase in energy on training – the ability to consume more carbohydrates during intense physical activities results in increased muscle glycogen stores, which translates into longer and heavier work during training and as a result, increased work efficiency. – Less water retention in the body – because too much carbohydrate in the diet can cause retention of water in the body, especially on days with low physical activity and before the menstrual cycle. Carb cycling reduces the occurrence of this phenomenon to a minimum. 

Carbohydrate Cycling – Rules

Introducing carb cycling into life may seem complicated at first, but reading this article is enough to understand how this nutrition works. There are many types of carb cycling, but I will focus on discussing the most popular way – carb cycling over a week. In order to introduce carb cycling into life, you should start by dividing the days of the week into: 

  • low carb days (LC) – days with low carbohydrate intake 
  • carb medium days (MC) – days with average carbohydrate intake 
  • high carb days (HC) – days with high carbohydrate intake 

In addition to this division, it is necessary to know about the distribution of macronutrients in the diet. For women, it is as follows: 

Proteins – from 1.2 -1.4 g/kg body weight – depending on age, physical activity and purpose. Their value remains unchanged during all days (LC, MC, HC) – fats – should not be less than 20% of the whole energy intake – we do not change the value during all days – carbohydrates – from 5 to 10 g/kg body weight during the day in their case there is a rotation depending on the day: MC – 100% of total carbohydrates, LC – 75% of total carbohydrates, HC – 125% of total carbohydrates 

Modify depends on goal

The number of carbohydrates and calories we consume depends on what our goal is. As with any diet, start with a basic daily calculation caloric demand. We can calculate them from the Harris-Benedict Equation: 

BMR = 655.1 + ( 9.563 × weight in kg ) + ( 1.850 × height in cm ) – ( 4.676 × age in years ) 

Then we need to determine the total energy expenditure (TEE). To do this, multiply the BMR result by the PAL – physical activity level. It differs depending on our lifestyle and frequency of training: 1.4 – office work, minimal activity during the day, sedentary lifestyle 1.5-1.6 – moderate physical activity during the day 

1.8-2.0 – physical work, intense physical activity during the day 

The result obtained from the calculations is our initial calorific value. It is modified depending on our purpose. If we want to stay at the starting weight – we leave the calculated calories, if we want to go on a reduction – we subtract 15% from the result, and if we want to take on weight – we add 15% of the original calorie. 

Example: A healthy woman aged 25, weight 60 kg, height 168 cm, office work, goal: reduction Strength training: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 

Carb Cycling: 

    • Monday: a day with high carbohydrates
    • Tuesday: a day with medium carbohydrates
    • Wednesday: a day with low carbohydrates
    • Thursday: a day with high carbohydrates
    • Friday: medium carbohydrate day
    • Saturday: a day with low carbohydrates
    • Sunday: a day with high carbohydrates

BMR = 1422 Kcal TEE = 1422 Kcal x 1.5 = 2135 Kcal 2135 x 15% = 1815 Kcal – calorific value suitable for reduction from carb cycling 

Protein: 1.2g x 60 = 72g per day = 288 Kcal – constant value Fat: 1g x 60 = 60g per day = 540 Kcal – constant value Carbohydrates: 1815 Kcal – 288 Kcal -540 Kcal = 987 Kcal – value on days MC 

Carbohydrates on days HC: 987 Kcal x 125% = 1234 Kcal / 308g per day Carbohydrates on LC days: 987 Kcal x 75% = 740 Kcal / 185g per day 

Total calories on LC days: 1568 Kcal Total calories on MC days: 1815 Kcal Total calories on HC days: 2060 Kcal 

Does the type of carbohydrate consumed matter?

The origin of carbohydrates is crucial for the effects of carb cycling. Our diet should be based on carbohydrates from clean sources. Keep in mind that eating junk food, sweets or highly processed foods is never a good choice. When planning a day with high carbohydrates, put on a wise choice and do not treat it as an opportunity to eat something unhealthy.

The best sources of carbohydrates are:

Whole-grain food products: these are the perfect source of valuable carbohydrates and bring additional benefits, for example, they are a high source of fiber. Choose: rice, cereal, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, whole grain flour, quinoa or rye bread Vegetables: all vegetables are high sources of various vitamins and minerals. Choose from the available seasonal options to maintain the correct balance 

Fresh fruits: just like vegetables are a wealth of vitamins and minerals, especially blueberries, which are a source of antioxidants and have a low glycemic index Legumes: they are an ideal source of fiber and minerals. However, be careful with their quantity, because they can cause stomach problems 


Carb cycling can be a helpful diet in the fight for your dream figure, especially for women who, compared to men, have a greater tendency to store fat tissue and they are more likely to notice water retention. Carb cycling helps you optimize your diet and workouts and improve your well-being and health. Thanks to such a nutrition system, we can look at the diet from a different perspective and without hunger strike achieve our goals. There are many studies showing the beneficial effect of the carb cycling diet, however, there are no studies referring to the long-term use of this method of nutrition. It should be remembered that, as in any diet, the source of macronutrients is really important. Try to not consume fast food, confectionery, or highly processed foods and put on a healthy, conscious choice. 

Article by Damian Chlanda, Cyklopedia

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