Many sports nutrition concepts have become mainstream and the latest once-niche nutrition tactic to make it into the mainstream is Carb cycling. “Carb cycling has built up a bankable reputation due to its extremely high successful rate. While some dieticians may frown at the mention of carbs, if truth be told, carbs are actually a good source of essential nutrition. They can work wonders for your health if utilised appropriately,” says Paraj Primlani, Founder of ParaFit, an online collaborative fitness website and one-stop-shop for all your fitness needs. He further explains what is carb cycling and how it can help you shed the stubborn kilos.
“It is a multifarious and multidimensional technique that can be adopted by anyone who is looking to shed some kilos or gain musculature for body-building. Carb-cycling is a break away from conventional dietary approaches. It allows you to eat an inclusive diet that even includes carbohydrates as long as they are good ones. It is important to know the right sort of carbs from the harmful ones. Carb cycling is all about eating what’s good for you. It involves utilizing carbs to your benefit by cycling the portion that you eat on a daily basis,” says Paraj.
“People usually practice carb cycling by oscillating between high, medium, low, and/or no carb days. The amount of carbs that are consumed depends on an individual’s nutritional requirements, vital statistics, and the fitness objective of the diet observer. The underlying conceptual premise behind carb-cycling is to maneuver the carb intake to meet the energy needs of the body with the carbs required for calories or glucose. This furnishes essential glycogen to the muscles which help in decreasing the rate of muscle breakdown during physical workouts. It is important to note that especially on low carb days, the body resorts to oxidizing fat for its energy requirements,” says Paraj.
Your training regimen or weight goal is also a crucial factor in deciding your carb intake. And so is body fat as it helps in determining how much carbs you should eat every day. He points outs that it is important to time your carbs with accordance to the day’s schedule. “Opting for high carb diets on days you dedicate to high intensity workouts and low carb diet on rest days. Consuming the amount of carbs is directly proportional to the degree of training that you commit yourself to,” says Paraj.
Paraj lists out the following benefits:
Carb cycling enables you to burn fat by deploying it as the primary source of energy on low carb days and also directing the functions of hormones like leptin and ghrelin. These hormones are primarily responsible for maintaining your appetite as leptin directs fullness while ghrelin indicates hunger.
It also enhances the body’s insulin sensitivity. When you cycle your carbs you can manipulate your insulin response which helps in bolstering your insulin response. Carb cycling is a great option for those with type-2 diabetes as it helps in curbing your body’s general insulin resistance capability. When you initiate to and fro carb cycling, the body observes a rise in its metabolic rate and glycogen level. When it is followed by a medium or low carb routine the insulin level falls. And when it is further followed with a low or no carb day, the insulin level witnesses a further drop as you eat more proteins and fats to supplement the carb cut. This enhances your insulin sensitivity by decreasing insulin resistance.
Carb cycling also allows you a higher performance as workout on high carb days will power you with sufficient energy for physical training. When you eat high carbs, the body observes a surge in glycogen which assists in boosting workout performance. This helps you to amplify the scale of your gym workouts and gain lean muscle mass.
Furthermore, cycling carbs have also been known to facilitate the production of good cholesterols such as HDL and reduce bad cholesterols like LDL.
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