Carb Cycling: The Classic Cycle

The Classic Cycle was first introduced in our first book, Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution. While the Easy Cycle is the easiest cycle, the Classic Cycle is the simplest carb cycle. It offers a quick and easy introduction to carb cycling and results in fast and steady weight loss.

Unlike the Easy Cycle, which has a reward meal incorporated into every high-carb day, the Classic Cycle has an entire reward day every week. Imagine that—a whole day to satisfy those cravings for your favorite foods! And you’ll still lose weight.

Here’s what a Classic Cycle week looks like:

  • Monday: Low-carb day
  • Tuesday: High-carb day
  • Wednesday: Low-carb day
  • Thursday: High-carb day
  • Friday: Low-carb day
  • Saturday: High-carb day
  • Sunday: Reward day

With the Classic Cycle, besides losing weight at a quick and constant pace, you’ll also be able to tune into what is happening in your body during this carb cycle process. You’ll learn and actually feel how food affects your body, and while you may experience some brief periods of nausea, headaches, low energy and other symptoms as you change the way you fuel your body, these will be temporary. In the end, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for this marvelous body you have! And as with the Easy Cycle, you can stick with the Classic Cycle throughout your weight loss journey or move onto another cycle. You are in control!

Find more information on the Classic Cycle in both our books—Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution and Choose More, Lose More for Life.


  1. Amy - October 11, 2015

    I’m about to start…. but I m scared. I am scared that I am going to be hungry all the time. How can I calm my fears?

    • Team Powell - October 11, 2015

      Hi Amy: No need to fear! We hear from many of our beginning carb cyclers that they’re usually full between meals. And remember, you can have two fist fulls of veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) with every single meal – both low- and high-carb. And don’t forget to drink your water too – that will also help you feel full (1/2 your body weight in ounces every day). You got this! :)

  2. Kris - October 7, 2015

    I started the weight loss journey a year ago and I lost 40 pounds, down from 285 to my current 244. I want something that will rev up my system and start losing weight. I’m so ready to get rid of the icky visceral fat that plagues my middle section.. HELP! Is carb cycling something that would work for me?

  3. Jennifer Lahlou - September 24, 2015

    Hi, I saw your diet in The List last night in Denver. I am a 68 year old female who has struggled with weight loss my entire life. I think the carb cycle diet is perfect for me and want to know if you think I’m too hold to do this! In the last few years I have developed severe osteoarthritis in my feet, lower back and neck. I try to exercise by walking but when you hurt all the time I have just about given up. I have been taking care of the health issues but there is still pain.

    Bottom line: Is my age and current health status (no diseases like diabetes) a deterrent to starting this diet plan.

    Thanks for any insight you can give me.

    • Team Powell - September 24, 2015

      Hi Jennifer: You can totally do this plan! I’d chat with your healthcare team about the program first (especially the exercise part), and then follow their recommendations. And since 90% of weight loss is through good nutrition, you can still achieve your transformation goals – follow the nutrition part of the program exactly, move as directed by your docs, and you’re good to go!

  4. Niki - September 22, 2015

    I would like to start carb cycling and have already attempted it this week and last! I’m not sure if I’m eating the correct way though. I do log into my fitness pal and it says different macros for low and high but it seems like it’s not right. Any guidance on how much protein fat and carbs to eat? My carb cycling days are high low high low etc.

  5. L Campbell - September 17, 2015

    I am almost done reading the book and I know that I will start with the classic cycle but am confused. Where does fruit come in? Is that considered a carb? Where does the flavorings come? I can only have skim milk, not almond, so would that be the protein if I were to have a carb as a cereal? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have crazy food allergies so can’t have nuts, and some fruits and veggies along with another long list of items.

    • Team Powell - September 18, 2015

      Thank you for your comment! Fruit is considered a carb in carb cycling, and the flavorings can be used whenever you’d like to complete your meals. Just be sure and keep track of those calories, because they can add up. And skim milk would not be a protein, because there’s not enough protein in a serving (1 cup) to count as a complete protein. It would count as about a 1/2 a protein portion, so you’d need to add some protein to that meal to make up the difference. Hope that helps!

  6. Erica Lee - September 14, 2015

    Thank you … I’m just nervous I started the cycle today and I’m just nervous for it all.. With paleo you had a list of foods u could eat and that’s it with cycling its alot…I’m now eating foods that I could not for so long … I’m just nervous of gaining instead of losing .also looks like I got Greek yougurts not the plain non fat ones and one question tomm Is a high carb day for my breakfast snack I made a shake with protein powder kale and blueberries ?

  7. Erica Lee - September 14, 2015

    hi heidi and chris i have started the classic carb cycle today!!! im super excited i lost 38 with paleo but then hit a plateau cause u cant tweak paleo… couple questions im been researching and reading the books and im good to go . i bout flat wraps can i only use grain or wheat bread for a high carb day and also bought all different kind of flavors of the greek yougurts for low carb day can i only do low fat plain ? other than that im good to go!!!

    • Team Powell - September 14, 2015

      Hi Erica: You can use any whole grain products as the carb portion on high carb days, and plain nonfat Greek yogurt is fine too. You can also use other flavors of low fat Greek yogurt as your protein portion of any meal as long as they are very low in carbs. Welcome to carb cycling!

  8. Erica Monroe - September 10, 2015

    hey there! im strongly thinking of starting with your classic cycle . i did paleo for almost two years and have hit a plateau. now want to start with classic and go up from there … any suggestions. being on paleo i learned my foods carbs proteins good fats and obv prepping so hoping this will take me off my plateau…

    Thanks so much

    • Team Powell - September 10, 2015

      Hi Erica: In addition to this post on the classic cycle, check out this other post that has all of the basics for Chris and Heidi’s complete carb cycling program: You can do this!

    • Erica Monroe - September 11, 2015

      thank you for your response i def think i have the tools seeing i eat healthy already…i hit a plateau recently and read paleo is a good lifestyle but after a while your body gets used to those foods… i would like to lose 30 more or so i have already lost 40… i workout 6x already i think classic may be the best for me alternating cardio days doing low carb and high carb with lifting with every other day and reward day in the end… thank you for the encouragement the toughest part for me is getting used to the foods i can now have but i have already made a shopping list and planned out meal plans so i am good to go . once i have something in my head i go all in

  9. KD - September 9, 2015

    Hi there!

    I am starting the carb cycling program (classic) and wanted to make sure I am on track for eating the right foods. Here is an example of what I will be eating on a low and high carb day.

    Low Carb:
    Breakfast – 3 eggs whites with spinach, cherry tomatoes and onions. 1 piece ezekiel bread with plain non-fat greek yogurt.
    Snack – plain non-fat greek yogurt and peanut butter (cinnamon to taste)
    Lunch – Grilled chicken with salad and olive oil/balsamic vinegar
    Snack 2 – Cottage Cheese with almonds or avocado and carrots
    Dinner – Chicken and veggies w/ avocado

    High Carb:
    Breakfast – 3 eggs whites with spinach, cherry tomatoes and onions. 1 piece ezekiel bread with plain non-fat greek yogurt.
    Snack – banana and greek yogurt
    Lunch – Veggies, chicken and brown rice
    Snack – Cottage Cheese with apple and carrots
    Dinner – Chicken, Sweet potato and veggies


    • Team Powell - September 9, 2015

      Hi KD: I’ve pasted your foods list below to make it easier to answer your question:

      Low Carb:
      Breakfast – 3 eggs whites with spinach, cherry tomatoes and onions. 1 piece ezekiel bread with plain non-fat greek yogurt. (Since the 3 egg whites are almost a complete protein – 4 make a complete protein – make sure you’re only eating a bit of Greek yogurt)
      Snack – plain non-fat greek yogurt and peanut butter (cinnamon to taste) (You need veggies)
      Lunch – Grilled chicken with salad and olive oil/balsamic vinegar
      Snack 2 – Cottage Cheese with almonds or avocado and carrots
      Dinner – Chicken and veggies w/ avocado

      High Carb:
      Breakfast – 3 eggs whites with spinach, cherry tomatoes and onions. 1 piece ezekiel bread with plain non-fat greek yogurt. (See comment above)
      Snack – banana and greek yogurt
      Lunch – Veggies, chicken and brown rice
      Snack – Cottage Cheese with apple and carrots
      Dinner – Chicken, Sweet potato and veggies

      Besides the couple of suggestions above, it looks like you’re doing great! Make sure your portion sizes are right on, and you should be good to go!

  10. Rachelle - September 4, 2015

    SO I have been trying the classic carb cycle and I am not sure I am doing this correct. I am going to post a sample meal for low carb and high carb day and please correct me where I am off…

    Low carb day

    Breakfast- Bowl of instant low sugar oatmeal, 2 eggs with 1 cup of spinach
    Snack-Low fat peanut butter on celery sticks
    Lunch- chicken breast with 1/2 avocado & 1/2 cup broccoli
    Snack- Whey protein shake with pack of almonds
    Dinner- Round Steak, cooked carrots with avocado

    High Carb day
    Breakfast- Bowl of instant low sugar oatmeal, 2 eggs with 1 cup spinach
    Snack- Apples, blackberries with pack of Almonds
    Lunch-2 Tuna Tostadas (1 can tuna with no mayo mixed with cabbage on tostada shell )
    Snack- carrots with hummus, cherry tomatoes & 1 cucumber
    Dinner- 1/4 cup jasmine rice with low sodium soy sauce, black beans, corn, sautéed bell peppers with 4 oz flat iron steak

    Ok Heidi what am I doing wrong??? Please help

    • Team Powell - September 4, 2015

      Hi Rachelle: You’re on the right track, you just need a few tweaks. :) Low carb day: Breakfast: No egg yolks (they’re fats), and you need 4 egg whites for a complete protein portion. Snack: You need a protein. Lunch: You need more veggies (2 fist fulls w/ every meal). Snack: You need veggies. High carb day: Breakfast: See breakfast notes above. Snack: No almonds (no fats on high carb days), need a protein. Lunch: Make sure you’re only getting one serving of protein. Snack: Need a protein. Dinner: Make sure you’re only getting one carb serving – it looks like you’re getting more than one. I know it all can be a bit confusing when you’re just getting started, but you’re on your way! Here’s a post that might help – it has an awesome graphic that shows you how to put together all your carb cycling meals: You got this!

  11. Tammi - September 1, 2015

    Hey Y’all … I have a question about the carb cycling. I started August 17 and am down 10 pounds! I have had no problem with the program until I began doing double workouts. I get up at 4 to get in an hour of cardio before the rest of my day starts. My question is this. How important is the eat within 30 minutes of rising? If I work out right when I get up (which starts my metabolism going) I would be eating immediately after my workout so about 70 minutes after I get up, Then every 3 hours after that with my last meal after my second workout. Thanks in advance! 😉

    • Liya - September 1, 2015

      HI there, I’ve been doing Turbo Cycle for 2 weeks and have lost 8 pounds. However I find I become sluggish the 2nd low carb day so i’m going to switch it up to Classic Cycle. I’m not concerned if I don’t lose a huge amount of weight, 1-2 lbs is great, 2 lbs is what I’m hoping for. My question is simple, is it okay if I keep myself accountable weekly on here, by posting my week and weight loss? It will just help me stay motivated I think being surrounded by people who are doing the same thing. Thanks.

    • Team Powell - September 2, 2015

      Hi Liya: Of course you can post on here to keep yourself accountable! :)

  12. Aya D - August 30, 2015

    Dear Heidi and Team Powell,

    I wanted to start off with a big THANK YOU for being such an inspiration to many! Please, know that you have one more avid follower and believer.

    I would like to ask for advice – my days start at 4 am every morning, and my breakfast is at 4.30 am. With 5 meals per day, I am “done” eating by 4.30 pm, which is…ehem… a little stretchy to hold up to. What would your advice be in this situation? Do you think it would be ok to eat one more “snack” at 7.30 pm? I go to bed at 9-10 pm. Thanks in advance!

    • Team Powell - August 31, 2015

      Hi Aya: With your early wake up time and bed time, you can either split your breakfast in 1/2 and eat 1/2 at 4:30 am and 1/2 later, or you could work a 6th eating time (snack) at night into your calories for the day. Welcome to carb cycling!

  13. Melissa - August 25, 2015

    I started working on portion control on the day after Easter this year and have lost about 35 lbs so far. I started at around 410 lbs and have gotten to 378. This has been with only changing my eating habits. I am going to begin incorporating your carb plan as well. What I struggle with is knowing what exercises to do in the gym that will help me to lose inches around my midsection. If you can give me a few tips, it would be greatly appreciated. Also, may I continue to update you on my progress?
    Thank you for being inspirations!

  14. Daniel C - August 25, 2015

    Do you still maintain the suggested 2000 calorie daily consumption for males while using a reward meal or better yet reward days? (depending on the plan chosen) Sorry if this question has already been asked but it seems it would be dificult to eat 5 meals with cheat food and still stay under 2000 calories.

    • Team Powell - August 25, 2015

      Hi Daniel: The extra 1000 calories on reward days is added to the 2000 calories for that day. The extra 250 calories/meal for reward meals is also added to the calories for that day. Hope that helps!

    • Daniel C - August 25, 2015

      It does thank you! I enjoy the fresh take on health and wellness y’all bring to the table. Really love everything your doing! So inspiring!

  15. Eugenia - August 24, 2015

    You guys are wonderful!! Thank you for all you do!!! I am starting to carb-cycle. I am doing the classic cycle. Could I have a reward meal twice a week (500 cals each) instead of doing it one day (1000 cals)? Thank you for your reply :).

    • Team Powell - August 24, 2015

      Hi Eugenia: It’s best to not change the scheduled days and reward day of the Classic Cycle as you’ve suggested. Each cycle is designed the way it is for a reason, and if you change up the design, it could very well affect your weight loss. If you’d like to have reward meals instead of a reward day, you might want to try the Easy Cycle: And each reward meal is only an extra 250 calories on the Easy Cycle (there are 4 reward meals during the week = 1000 extra calories). Welcome to carb cycling – you can do this!

  16. Debra P - August 16, 2015

    I have been following the Turbo Carb Cycling for 3 weeks.. The first week I lost 6 pounds, but the next 2 nothing. Yes I’m losing a few inches. I husband is a Nurse and he said I’m not eating enough carbs on high carb days. How many carbs should I eat on high carb days. And yes I’m an exercise program. Please help..

    • Team Powell - August 16, 2015

      Hi Debra: It is quite common for you to lose more weight in the beginning and for you weight loss to fluctuate after that. Your rate of weight loss also depends on how many pounds you want to lose. And it’s a great sign that you’re losing inches – keep in mind that you might be replacing fat pounds with muscle pounds, so this can affect that number on the scale. We don’t count grams in carb cycling, just portion sizes (and calories if you’d like to). There’s an awesome graphic in this post (as well as other helpful info) that outlines how to put together all your carb cycling meals. And the daily calorie recommendations for women are 1200 on low carb days and 1500 on high carb days. Hope that helps – you can do this!

  17. Merim - August 14, 2015

    Dear Team Powell,

    I wonder if carb cycling is suitable for me as I am a breastfeeding mom of a one year old.

    Thanks in advance

  18. Karolina - August 14, 2015

    Hi. My name is Karolina but people say to me Lena. I’m 24 years old, I’m from Poland and have beautifoul 6 months old doughter name Diana. My weight is 95 kg i think, i don’t know how much lbs is this. I suffer from thyroid Hashimoto and i don’t know what to do to lost me weight. I try many times but even if i lost little bit then this weight back. Before i get pregnancy i lost to 76 kg but then my thyroid go more bad and now i try but is hard. Do you have some passibility to help me in some way? Or show me good way to lost my weight. I’m feel bad with myself and people make me feel bad when they say something about me. Please help me Mr. And Ms. Powell.

    • Team Powell - August 14, 2015

      Hi Karolina: Thank you for your post! You can get more info on Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program (this post you’ve commented on only talks about one part of their program) in this post on this blog: Their program can teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your transformation goals! And please discuss their program with your healthcare team first, and then follow any modifications they recommend. We with you the best!

  19. Sarah Beld - August 13, 2015

    I bought the Choose to Lose book last week, and finished it in 2 days. The book is amazing! What I loved most is you really had to get deep in the mindset portion before you even got into how/what to eat. I love that! By the time I got to the chapter that goes over what/how to eat I was so set to do this! Today hits officially week 1. I have been fully committed and started doing a local boot camp 3 days a week which happen to be on the days I do my Shapers! (can I say Squats are now a regular day thing lol). The best part of the book is… its like Chris sitting right in front of you talking! It sounds just like him. I watch EWL every week (my husband and I record it and then watch together). If that is not motivating enough, then I don’t know what to tell ya! Cant wait to see how I will look and feel in 358 more days! Thank you Chris and Heidi for being so inspirational and creating a book that, A.) didn’t put me to sleep lol B.) that will change my life. I am enjoying my lifestyle transformation!

    • Team Powell - August 13, 2015

      Hi Sarah: Thank you so much for your post! Chris and Heidi’s program is amazing – you got this!

  20. Chelsea - August 10, 2015

    I noticed that shrimp are not included on the approved food list in Chris’s book. Is that an error or are shrimp not allowed? Also would lettuce for a salad be considered carbs? Or am I able to eat salad on a low carb day? Thank you for your help!!

    • Team Powell - August 10, 2015

      Hi Chelsea: Shrimp would be considered a protein, however, it’s calorie count per ounce is quite a bit higher than the lean protein recommendations in the foods list, so that would be something to take into consideration. And lettuce is considered a veggie in carb cycling, so you could eat it with any meal. There’s some really helpful carb-related information in this post from Heidi’s blog that might help: Good luck!

  21. Candy - August 8, 2015

    I read Choose More, Lose More for Life. I am gathering my lists to start the classic cycle. I was wondering if it was okay to start “day 1” as High Carb instead or it has to be low carb the day after the reward day? I want to keep the reward day as Sunday since that is my day off but because of my physical job and my work out schedule, I’d rather do high carb on Mon, Wed, Fri and Low Carb on Tues, Thurs, Sat. Will this mess me up? I would weigh in Sunday so my weigh in is after a low carb day.

    • Team Powell - August 8, 2015

      Hi Candy: It’s best to keep the days in the order as outlined for optimal results. Have you looked at the Fit Cycle? That cycle might fit better into your schedule and job/workout routine. It goes HC, HC, LC, HC, HC, LC, Reward Day. And you can change cycles at any time too.

  22. Melanie - August 4, 2015

    I love the idea of carb cycling and I would love to give it a shot. However reading all the details I feel overwhelmed! I am a busy mom of four little ones under the age of six and when I have a free minute it is not spent planning out the days meals and trying to figure out what carbs and proteins I should and should not be eating. Do you have a meal plan that actually lays out what you can eat each meal (like what specifically ) for the different cycle plans?

    • Team Powell - August 5, 2015

      Hi Melanie: Since our carb cyclers have so many different likes/dislikes, we don’t have any meal plans available, just the lists you can choose from. If planning for a week is too much, try planning a day at a time. And since all the cycles use the low and high carb days (just in different orders), the foods list in the book will work for all of the cycles. Happy carb cycling!

    • Annie - August 5, 2015

      Where is the list “just the lists you can choose from ” ?
      LOVE YOU!
      Married with 2 boys under 2 :) Having trouble getting the last 10 lbs off!

    • Team Powell - August 5, 2015

      You can find Chris and Heidi’s approved foods list in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.”

  23. Nicole - August 4, 2015

    Hi Heidi,
    I watch your show every Tuesday abd love following y’all on instagram! 😃 I’m 5’4″ 142 lbs, and fairly active. How many grams of carbs should I have on a high carb day and how many on a low carb day?

    • Team Powell - August 4, 2015

      Hi Nicole: In carb cycling, we don’t count grams of anything, we count portion sizes (and calories if you’d like). There’s a great graphic in this post that shows you how to put together every carb cycling meal: Happy carb cycling!

  24. Mary Stella - August 4, 2015

    I’ve never heard of Carb Cycling before, but I like what I’m reading here. My issue is that I had bariatric surgery a few years ago so two fistfuls of vegetables plus protein would be more than my stomach can handle. When I first had the surgery, after the recovery period and food-reintroduction period, the doctor had me on a roughly 800-1000 calorie approach without carbs for rapid weight loss. For me, if I say at around 1000 calories on low carb days and 1200 for high carb days, do you think that would be okay? Thanks in advance!

    • Team Powell - August 4, 2015

      Hi Mary: Since you have had bariatric surgery, it would be best if you discuss carb cycling with our healthcare team and then follow any modifications they recommend. They are best equipped to help you since they know your health history and can work with you on a one-on-one basis. You can do this!

  25. Jessica - August 1, 2015

    Does it matter if I start my first low carb day on Sunday or Monday?

    • Team Powell - August 2, 2015

      Hi Jessica: You can begin your week (day 1 – a low carb day for all the cycles except the Fit Cycle) on whatever day works best for you, but you’ll want to keep the days in the order as outlined in the program.

    • Aby - August 2, 2015

      I’d like to change my FREE day to Saturday. Will that mess up the cycling plan?

    • Team Powell - August 2, 2015

      You can change reward day to Saturday by having your week start on Sunday instead of Monday. Just be sure to keep the days in the same order as outlined in your cycle, and you’re good to go!

  26. Yolanda Hawthorne - July 23, 2015

    I am a little confused the recipes you have are too much food for me and my days can I eat a little less as long as I am eating one of each item on high and low carb days?

    • Team Powell - July 23, 2015

      It might seem like a lot of food at first, but try and split the recommended daily calories between your 5 meals a day, and make sure your portion sizes aren’t too large. Women should never go below 1200 calories a day – your body needs a certain number of calories to simply function properly.

  27. Shay R. - July 23, 2015

    Hey Powell Team!!!

    My husband and I are looking to be a healthier family and so you are right where I went to look for ideas. Im just wondering where we should set our calorie intake for our low and high carb days. I didn the weight X 12 and got a number but I wasnt sure how this works for both days. My husband is 29yrs 5ft 9in and 165lbs…Im 27yrs 5ft 8in and 115lbs….let me say again, by no means are we looking to lose weight just do the proper amount of calorie intake every day and excersie. we would love to just tone up our bodies!! Thanks so much for your help and cant wait to see where this new healthy life style takes us!!!

    God Bless,

    • Team Powell - July 23, 2015

      Since you’re both not looking to lose weight, you’ll want your calories consumed to be as close as possible to the calories you burn (BMR + activity during the day) on both low and high carb days. You’ll simply adjust your portion sizes to meet your calorie requirements, which could be different each day depending on how active you are. Good luck!

  28. Maria K - July 20, 2015

    Hi Team Powell!  First off….let me tell you that I love you guys and I you guys ROCK! You guys have inspired me to finally put a stop to years of Yoyo dieting and finally see this challenge all the way through successfully.

    I started the classic cycle of carb cycling today and all is good with me so far but it seems like I may end up over 1200 calories by the end of the day. I am 5’11” and weight 360#’s so I am wondering if it would be suggested for me to keep it at 1200 no matter what or if ending up around 1300 or 1400 would be ok?

    Here is what I’ve had today:
    B – 4egg white omelet with spinach and mushrooms – fuji apple – 297Calories
    M.S – ½ cup plain Greek yogurt – 1oz. unsalted mixed nuts – 230 calories
    L – 4oz chicken breast – cucumber – string cheese – 236 calories
    A.S – 3oz chicken thigh and a boiled egg – 199 calories

    Can you please tell me if I am on the right foot with how I am starting this? Also, if I add more shredder time should I be concerned that my body will go into starvation mode since my calorie deficit will be even greater.

    Thank in advance for your reply! 

    • Team Powell - July 20, 2015

      Hi Maria: Welcome to carb cycling! You’ll want to stick to the recommended calories – 1200 for low carb days and 1500 for high carb days. It looks like you’re on the right track – there’s a foods list on page 192 in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” so that might be a good resource for you (if you didn’t know about it already). And remember, you can change cycles at any time. You can do this!

  29. Suzi Shawl - July 20, 2015

    I just read your book and love it, however, I have a question. I noticed in the book the recipes don’t include the full 2 cups of vegetables mentioned for each meal. Why is that? Am I not suppose to eat 2 cups of vegies each meal but rather just eat veggies when I am hungry.


    • Team Powell - July 20, 2015

      If a recipe doesn’t contain the two fist fulls of veggies, you can add additional veggies to reach that two fist fulls portion size. Happy carb cycling!

  30. Eric - July 14, 2015

    I’ve read the entire book but I’m still a little fuzzy on how many calories I should be shooting for on my low and high carbs days. Hoping I’ve just missed something very simply, but would really love to hear back on how to calculate it!

    Thank you Team!

    • Team Powell - July 14, 2015

      Hi Eric: For men, you’ll eat 1500 calories on low carb days and 2000 calories on high carb days. Good luck – you got this!

  31. PEG - July 13, 2015

    i am 55 and have struggled with my weight for decades. Paleo has really helped, but the past year it hasn’t. I have limited resources with finances, so a gym membership is out.
    I have had success with P90x type programs when I was 49-50. What do you recommend? I also work full time and have 1-3 children at home. (Depends on college schedule for one).
    Thank you so much! I want to dump this excess baggage of 20 lbs. and to feel better both physically and mentally.

    • Team Powell - July 14, 2015

      Hi Peg: Check out Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” The book contains their complete nutrition and exercise program, and it’s the same one they use on the show. It will teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your own transformation! Learn all about it here: And their exercise program requires no equipment or gym membership, so you’re good to go there! You can do this!

  32. Denise Benz - July 13, 2015


    I’d like to start carb cycling and have been reading about the various plans you suggest. I also wanted to buy either Choose to Loose or Choose More, Lose More. I am 37 years old and have been active all my life; however, now as a mother to a 1 year old and step-mom to a 12 and 14 year old, time and money have become a lot more limited! I am 5’4, weigh 140 lbs. my goal is to lose 10-15 lbs and “tone up”…what all working mothers want lol. Which book would you recommend and would the Classic plan be best for me? I use MyFitnessPal regularly and have lost the baby weight using that, but I’m ready to push myself more!

    • Team Powell - July 13, 2015

      I’d recommend you purchase “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” It’s an update from “Choose to Lose” and contains all four carb cycles. As to which cycle is best of you, that’s totally up to you, and depends on your goals, schedule, and how quickly you want to lose the weight. There’s a chart in the book that will help decide which cycle to begin with. And remember, you can change cycles at any time!

  33. Laura - July 9, 2015

    I am on day 2 of carb cycling and while I’m excited, I’m also a little nervous. I’ve gone from 240 to 165 lbs thanks to low carb (Atkins), but I’ve reached a point where restricting carbs just isn’t sustainable for me. I go so long with cutting out certain carbs I enjoy that I would binge. And when I binge, I binge lol. Low carb every other day I can do knowing the next day I’ll be able to eat carbs. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of results I achieve. Today I was at a little less than 150g of carbs and I was amazed at the energy I felt. Low carb always gave me more energy, but today was just wow. :)

  34. Melissa M - July 7, 2015

    Hi Heidi,

    I am mentally preparing for the carb cycle. Can you tell me if in your book it has in depth about the carb cycle, breakdowns, recipes and etc. I’m a visual learner so I have to read it to understand how this carb cycling works. I will wait for the response so I can go buy the book today

    • Team Powell - July 7, 2015

      Yes! Make sure you get “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” and everything’s outlined for you. Good luck!

  35. Heather - July 6, 2015

    I am trying to do the classic carb cycle but I am extremely confused on some food which I thought were not carbs. Like for a snack with my veggies can I have a hard boiled egg. I’m having a hard time having alternate protein means other than meat at every meal

    • Team Powell - July 6, 2015

      Hi Heather: 4 egg whites = 1 portion of protein, and 2 egg yolks = 1 portion of fat. As far as carbs go, fruits, startchy/root veggies, whole grains, legumes, cereals, and pasta are all considered carbs in carb cycling. Non-root/non-starchy veggies, while still technically carbs, are separated into their own group and you can have 2 fist fulls with every meal in carb cycling – both low and high carb. Hope that helps!

  36. Gaby and Ellie - June 29, 2015

    Hi Heidi!
    My sister Ellie and I started carb cycling and we love the program! However, we are kind of running out of recipes for low carb days. I was wondering if you had any ideas for snacks and meals on low carb days?!


    • Team Powell - June 29, 2015

      There’s an extensive list of foods in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” so for low carb meals, you can simply choose a protein, choose a fat, choose a veggie (the non-root/non-starchy type), and you’re good to go! You can also use other recipes using protein sources, fats, and veggies, just keep an eye on the serving sizes. Happy carb cycling!

  37. Brian Knight - June 25, 2015

    Bought the book last night and ready to get started. Ready to head out and stock up on the right food tonight. You guys are awesome for how you are able to impact peoples lives.

    I do have a question if you can answer. I know I’m going to struggle coming off soda. Any advice?

    Thank you!

  38. Jerome - June 24, 2015

    Trying to find the classic carb cycling but every time I click the link its broken, it states page is not found. I want to start this asap so please help me or point me to the right link.
    Thanks so much.
    God bless
    Jerome =)

    • Team Powell - June 25, 2015

      Hi Jerome: Thank you for letting us know about this! The information you’re looking for has been added to the post. Happy carb cycling!

  39. Kristie - June 17, 2015

    Hi Heidi, I am really interested in starting the carb cycle. I do have a few questions before I start. Does your book or program incorporate vegetarian options? I am currently pregnant and was wondering if this is something I should start while pregnant or wait until after?

  40. Chloe - June 16, 2015

    The carb cycling sounds great. I am looking to help my sister with her weight loss. I was wondering if there is a boot camp type of program that is available. I know there is the Powell Metabolic Program but I can’t tell if a fitness plan is part of this program.

    • Team Powell - June 16, 2015

      Yes, there is a fitness component in the Powell Metabolics program. And unfortunately, there is not a boot camp for carb cycling. We wish you both the best!

  41. Liz - June 10, 2015

    Hi! I am doing carb cycling in conjunction with xyngular products. I have noticed that on high carb days I feel very lethargic, unmotivated, and I even get headaches. On my LC days I have energy and motivation and I feel good. I am seeing success and want to continue, but it is hard to want to do the HC days because of this. On HC days, aside from veggies, my carbs are whole grain. Things like Wasa crisps, whole grain pasta, brown rice… Any advice would be so much appreciated! I have only been carb cycling for a couple of weeks and am down 11.8 lbs so I want to keep this up!
    Also, I am trying hard to drink a gallon of water a day.

    • Team Powell - June 10, 2015

      Hi Liz: I do have one suggestion, on your high carb days, vary the types of carbs you’re eating. If you’re only eating whole grains, you’re missing out on the nutrients from other carbs such as legumes, fruits, and starchy/root-type veggies. It’s so important that your diet includes all these things, in addition to your proteins, veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type), and healthy fats. Here’s a post about carbs that might help: You might also double check and make sure you’re hitting your calorie allotment every day (1200 on low carb days and 1500 on high carb days). As far as your water goes, drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces daily (200 lbs = 100 ounces). I’m not familiar with the Xyngular products, so I’m not sure if they would play a part in how you’re feeling. And congrats on those 11.8 pounds gone – that’s awesome!

  42. Patrick - June 6, 2015

    Can you tell me which carb cycle is best for a type 2 diabetes. Or are they all ok?

  43. Danielle - June 2, 2015

    i have a question! I have been seeing a nutritionist for 2 years. I dropped to 22% body fat. I am concerned because my period is missing half the time. I run and train for triathlons. I work out 6 days a week. People say I don’t eat enough or work out too much. I eat about 1300-1500 and weigh 144 at 5’6. Do you think my working or food is reasoning for my absent period.

    • Team Powell - June 2, 2015

      Hi Danielle: This sounds like something that would best be discussed with your healthcare team. I hope you can find the answers you’re seeking, and congrats on all the positive transformation changes you’ve made – that’s awesome!

  44. Amanda - February 11, 2015

    Hey there! I am a clean eater, and work out on a regular basis (I strength train 3-4 days a week always with at least a 30 minute cardio portion and try to add in an additional cardio day outside of that). I’m an active mom of a 1 year old and just trying to get rid of those last 5 pesky pounds. I’ve never carb cycled before but the more I am learning about it the more I am seeing that it could be the missing piece to my weight loss. Do you have any suggestions/guidelines for workouts on low carb days? I am concerned I may be famished if I do my typical workout on those days or that I may not have enough energy to get through it? Thanks!

    • Team Powell - February 11, 2015

      All your workouts are outlined for you for every single day – you simply have to follow the plan! And if you find that you can’t get through workouts on low carb days, then you can move those more intense workout days to high carb days, or switch cycles. Happy carb cycling!

  45. Rachael - February 3, 2015

    I love the idea of carb cycling and would love to try the classic cycle as i do crossfit 3 days a week. However, I feel as though the measurements are slightly vague and the OCD in me really wants to know exactly how many grams of carbs and fat and protein that should be consumed! I love my food scale. is there anywhere that macros get broken down for meals or portion sizes?

    • Team Powell - February 3, 2015

      In carb cycling we don’t count grams, we count portion sizes, so I don’t have that information you’d like available. If it will help, you can also count calories. For women, you’ll eat 1200 calories for low carb days, and 1500 calories for high carb days. Happy carb cycling!

  46. Tony - January 17, 2015


    Would i be right in saying that i can start day 1 on a Sunday, Day 2 then is Monday and so on making Saturday the reward day then start new week. Also if low day = 1500 calories and high = 2000 calories and reward day is +1000 calories extra would this make the reward day 1500 calories +1000 calories or would it be 2000 calories +1000 calories.

    Great book


    • Team Powell - January 17, 2015

      Yes, you can do this if it fits into your schedule better, and you’ll treat your reward day as a high carb day + 1000 calories. Happy carb cycling!

  47. Colleen - January 14, 2015

    I have both the hard copy and audio version of Choose More, Lose More for Life. The audio version refers to PDF’s which I didn’t get through Audible. I would love to get PDF’s of Appendix F if possible to track and plan. I haven’t found them on your website. Is it possible to get them?

    I am really interested in this program. I just started a more restrictive version of carb cycling through a trainer but believe your system is something more sustainable for a life change.

    Thank you!

  48. Lauren - January 8, 2015

    Can Day 6 and Day 7 be swapped?

    • Team Powell - January 8, 2015

      No, it’s best not to, because the days are arranged in the best way possible for weight loss. If you need to, you can move the entire week one way or the other, but always keep the days (high and low carb) in the same order.

  49. Joe P. - December 31, 2014

    I just purchased and read through about 100 pages today of Choose More, Lose More for Life. For Carb cycling specific to turbo and classic meal plans, do we get to eat 2 fistful of veggies at each meal in additional to the protein/fat/carbs for the day? I’m looking to start the program on Friday.

    • Team Powell - December 31, 2014

      Yes! You can have two fist fulls of veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) with every single meal in carb cycling – even the high carb ones (if you’re still hungry). Happy carb cycling! :)

  50. Natascha - November 24, 2014

    Hi! I’m really glad I found your site and bought the book. It really feels like I can do it for the first time in years. I started with the Classic Circle last week (I want to switch to the turbo circle after a few weeks, when I’m used to the Classic Cirlce…) and lost about 4 pounds in this week without feeling like I’ve missed anything.

    the only thing is that it is hard for me to manage my five meals, when I’m at work. Most of the times I should eat, when I just can’t. So it is often that I get to eat after 4 hours and then I skip my 5th meal, because I don’t want to eat at 10pm when I’m on my way to bed. It’s kind of a confusing start to figure it all out, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to manage my new diet.

    • Team Powell - November 25, 2014

      Congrats on those 4 pounds gone – that’s awesome! With the eating schedule, just do the best you can and make sure you’re getting all the calories for each day (1200 for low carb days and 1500 for high carb days), you’re drinking all your water, and you’re following the protein, carb, veggie, and fat requirements for each meal. You got this! :)

  51. Michaela - November 5, 2014

    So exactly how many carbs should I be eating on low and high carb days? I am starting with the classic cycle!

  52. Karen - October 15, 2014

    Is this diet good for women with hormone issues? I am a cancer survivor and was rushed into menopause at a young age so I find losing weight impossible. I want to try this, but wonder if it is even worth it? Thanks!

    • Team Powell - October 15, 2014

      Yes, it can work for those with a variety of health issues. I’d suggest discussing carb cycling, or any nutrition and exercise program, with your healthcare team first. Give it a try – it’s an awesome program!

  53. Melissa - October 10, 2014

    Are there any type of meal replacement bars you can use for when you are on the go? If so, what kind and how do you know which type to buy?

    • Team Powell - October 10, 2014

      Quest bars are great for low carb days. With any protein bars, pay attention to the fat and carb contents so you can know which type of meal (low or high carb) they are best suited for. You’ll have to look at the nutrition labels of every bar to make sure, as there are so many varieties with differing nutritional values.

  54. Amy B - October 2, 2014

    I am a plant-based vegan. How would carb cycling work for me since all of my protein comes from soy, nuts, legumes, grains and plants? Would I just stick to nuts and seeds with green veggies on low carb days?

    • Team Powell - October 2, 2014

      For protein sources you can use tempeh, tofu, and TVP; legumes, grains, and plants would be carb sources, and any nuts would be healthy fats. It can be done! Here’s a post that might help with the carb part of carb cycling: :)

    • Amy TP - October 17, 2014

      Hi Amy,

      I too am a vegan (and an Amy : ) I was wondering if you are carb cycling now and how it is working for you? I am trying to go through in my head how our options will work and I am getting stumped. Any suggestions or sample menus would be appreciated : ) We vegans need to stick together, thank you.


  55. Erica C - October 2, 2014

    Which program would you recommend for a nursing mommy? My baby is two months old and I would like to breast-feed as long as I can… Would like to get my eating habits back on track but don’t want to risk diminishing my milk supply.

    Love your show! You and your hubby are an amazing team! Very, very inspiring!

  56. Chrsity - October 2, 2014

    What if I cannot eat within 30 mintues of waking? I take a thyroid pill 1st thing every morning and cannot eat for an hour. Will this have an effect on my results?

    • Team Powell - October 2, 2014

      With medications, it’s best to follow your doctor’s recommendations. This shouldn’t affect your weight loss at all! Happy carb cycling! :)

  57. abe - October 2, 2014

    I am confused if fruit can be eaten on the classic ?

  58. Anne Miller - October 1, 2014

    On low carb days do you still eat a high carb breakfast? What is considered high carb – oatmeal and turkey sausage for protein? And last question: 😉 Does the type of carb cycling depend on how much exercising you are doing?

    • Team Powell - October 1, 2014

      Great questions! Yes, every breakfast is a high carb breakfast. There’s an awesome graphic in this post that will show you how to put together every meal in carb cycling, both low and high carb: There’s an extensive list in both of Chris and Heidi’s books (“Choose to Lose” and Choose More, Lose More for Life”), and you can also get their free approved foods list at Enter your email address in the “Join the Transformation” section, hit “Join,” and you’ll be given a link to download the list. And the amount of recommended exercise is the same for all four carb cycles. Happy carb cycling! :)

  59. Anthony - September 26, 2014


    Love your show, absolutely so inspiring and amazing. Quick question….I want to get this book, just wanted to know if it covers carb cycling for vegans? I am vegan, so just wanted to make for sure. Thanks for all that you do!

    • Team Powell - September 26, 2014

      There are some vegan options available in the book, as well as Chris and Heidi’s complete exercise program, and lots of other awesome info. Check it out!

  60. Kelly - September 18, 2014

    On a low carbs day can I replace a meal with a Quest bar?

  61. Fat mummy - September 4, 2014

    On Sunday and Tuesday I don’t eat meat or fish or eggs.
    I really want to start carb cycling. I’m think Tuesday and Sunday should be high carb days for ease. Is there any other vegetable protein you guys could recommend and is it ok if I have lets 2 highs n then low or does it have to high low high.
    I want to carb cycle for weight loss.

    Thank you in advance.

  62. Liane T - August 5, 2014

    I just started carb cycling yesterday. My plan was to try the turbo cycle first. Yesterday was my low carb day and I ended up feeling hungry, nauseous, and dizzy all day and with a headache. I decided to change to the classic cycle. I feel much better today adding the carbs. Will I feel like I did yesterday on every low carb day? Also, where can I add a Quest bar in my day? I’ve tried them in the past and their awesome especially when you have a sweet tooth. Will it keep me full?

    • Team Powell - August 5, 2014

      Low carb days will get easier! It might take your body a bit of time to adjust, but it will adjust. This is actually pretty normal too. 😉 Quest bars can be eaten as the protein and fat portions of your low carb meal. Good luck! :)

  63. Gina - July 25, 2014

    Hi Team Powell!! I am just starting the cycling process and have a few questions. How many carbs should be taken in on a low carb day and how many on high carb day? I have done low carb off and on for years so I am not sure what the carb range is for carb cycling.

  64. Dawne Howes - July 24, 2014

    I have both books, but bought the second one on my Kindle. Is there anywhere on either Heidi or Chris’ site where I can find the exercises that he describes, and print them out? Even with the first book, if I can print them out from a website, it’s easier than trying to hold open the book (provided my cats don’t lay on either one!!) thanks :)

    • Team Powell - July 24, 2014

      I’m so sorry, but there’s not.

    • Erika - August 9, 2014

      Hi Dawne,
      Since they don’t seem to have a printable set of the exercises, try getting a cookbook holder; they would hold open the book to the page you are using and keep it upright for viewing. Plus: kitty can’t lay on it and cover your info anymore! :) Good luck!

  65. Yvonne - July 24, 2014

    I have purchased the Chris’s first book about carb cycling, but I am concerned about the frequent meals. I am a registered nurse who can barely get a 30 min break during 12.5 hrs, let alone every 3. Do you have any suggestions that might help me? I really need to lose 40 pounds to get my life and health back. Thanks in advance for your help.

  66. Lindsay Wirthlin - July 24, 2014

    Is there information in the book about aligning the cycling schedule with your workout days? I think this may be a good way to maintain energy levels while training/competing in triathlons. this is my first season and I have a lot to lose but don’t want to wait until this season is over. I know that low-carb works well for me to drop fat, but it seems to diminish my performance. So would I exercise on high-carb days? or exercise the day after high-carb days so that my body is stoked with energy from the day before?

    • Team Powell - July 24, 2014

      In the book there are charts outlining both nutrition (low/high carb days) and exercise for each day, so I’d suggest following the plan as it’s outlined in the book – it works! And every breakfast is a high carb breakfast, so you’ll have everything your body needs to get going and do what you need to do. Everything is explained very well, so check it out!

  67. Lynn Collins - July 10, 2014

    I just purchased your book, Choose More, Lose More for Life and am trying to figure out a menu for the week for my husband and I on the Classic Cycle. It’s pretty confusing… In the book it looks like you should have a protein and carb at every breakfast regardless of whether it is a HC or LC day. I notice in the comment to MaryAnn above, it is stated ” For a low carb meal, choose a protein, healthy fat, and veggies. For a high carb meal, choose a protein, carb, and veggies.” Thanks!

  68. Joelle Delancey - July 9, 2014

    In the book, are there tips for nursing and dealing with allergies (dairy, eggs, and peanuts)? My baby is almost 1, but I don’t think she plans on weaning anytime soon and I like having something in her diet that I know for sure is safe and healthy for her. Thanks for any help/advice/insight!

  69. Lauren - July 7, 2014

    Do the books provide suggestions for vegans to follow a carb cycling plan?

  70. MaryAnn Frattarole - July 6, 2014

    I’ve read Chris’ book and am excited to get started. I understand the general principles of carb cycling, but I am a little lost in converting all that info into meal plans and a shopping list. I’d be very appreciative to have more definitive guides such as several weekly meal plans with a shopping list. I’d be willing to buy this for convenience. Thanks for the great work you and your husband do!

    • Team Powell - July 7, 2014

      We don’t have any sample meal plans available, but here are some ideas that might help: (all recipes are from Chris and Heidi’s books: “Choose to Lose” and “Choose More, Lose More for Life.”). Low carb day: Breakfast (within 30 minutes of waking): Basic Omelet with a corn tortilla to make it a wrap. Snack (3 hours later): A protein shake with a portion of a healthy fat, like peanut butter, mixed in. Lunch (3 hours later): Tomato Basil and Garlic Chicken with a portion of olive oil drizzled on top. Snack (3 hours later): Sonora Cottage Cheese with a portion of avocado. Dinner: (3 hours later): Lemon Chicken drizzled with salad dressing. High carb day: Breakfast (within 30 minutes of waking): Denver Omelet with a portion of your favorite fruit or oatmeal on the side. Snack (3 hours later): Greek Yogurt Parfait with a portion of low fat granola. Lunch: (3 hours later): Caribbean Jerk Chicken with a portion of brown rice. Snack (3 hours later): Protein shake with a portion of oatmeal mixed in. Dinner (3 hours later): Apple Cider Chicken. And remember, you can have veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) with every single meal, and you can use any of the foods on Chris and Heidi’s approved foods list, in the proper proportions, to create meals to fit your needs. For a low carb meal, choose a protein, healthy fat, and veggies. For a high carb meal, choose a protein, carb, and veggies. Hope this helps – best of luck carb cycling! :)

  71. Carb Cycling for Weight Loss: Does It Work? - Life by DailyBurn - September 2, 2013

    […] “Classic Cycle,” a straightforward plan designed by Powell’s husband Chris (and featured in his book Choose to […]

  72. crystal froemming - August 8, 2013

    I started carb cycling this week using this cycle, except I am choosing to have a treat meal once every six weeks in place of weekly :) thank you for the great info! Chad Crystal Froemming on Facebook.

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