Carb Cycling: The Fit Cycle

Do you want to “lean up” without compromising your athletic performance? Do you want to train for long periods of time? Then the Fit Cycle is the cycle for you. The Fit Cycle not only eliminates fat, but it also supplies your body with the fuel it needs to perform successfully, no matter what sport you choose to excel in.

Unlike the Easy, Classic, and Turbo Cycles, the Fit Cycle only has two low carb days per week, and there’s a very important reason for this: The extra high carb day allows your muscles to absorb more fuel (glycogen), which you’ll need for maximum athletic performance. During your low carb days, when this supply of glycogen gets depleted, your muscles will develop insulin sensitivity. When you then have a high carb day or your reward day, these insulin-sensitive muscles will actually soak up more carbs, your body will burn this extra fuel instead of storing it as fat, and you’ll still lose weight. It’s an amazing process!

Here’s what a Fit Cycle week looks like:

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

Every breakfast—on both low and high carb days—will consist of a portion each of protein, carb, and fat. For the next three meals of the day, you’ll eat either a low or high carb meal depending on which day you’re on. Your last meal of the day will ALWAYS be a low carb meal. Follow the portion size guide to put all of your meals together. And with the Fit Cycle, you won’t lose weight as fast as with the Turbo Cycle, but you will be able to maintain your athletic performance. However, if you do experience a slight decrease in your athletic performance with this cycle, and you’re not as concerned about losing weight, try combining the Fit Cycle with pre- and post-workout supplements or meal replacement shakes with some extra macronutrients. And as with the other cycles, you can stay on the Fit Cycle or change cycles at any time. It all depends on your weight loss and athletic goals.

For more information on the Fit Cycle, check out our book, Choose More, Lose More for Life. Interested in learning about the Extreme Cycle? Get all the info in our new book, Extreme Transformation.


And if you’d like some help creating your own meals, there’s a handy “Create Your Own Meals” chart in this post!

Note: If you’ve been carb cycling using our book, Choose Lose More, Lose More for Life, you’ll notice that we’ve changed a couple of things since that book was published: You now include a fat for breakfast, and every final meal of the day is a low carb meal. Like with a lot of things in life, the more you do them, the more you learn about how to do them even better!

183 Responses

  1. Hello, I don’t miss an episode of your show! It inspires so many, me being one of them! I lost 50lbs and what I did was watch my calories with myfintesspal and use bodymedia to track what I burned. I’ve always wondered about carb cycling and after reading this I have a few questions. On reward day what does that consist of, one meal of your favorite food or is it all meals? And the portions are not based on servings but on using your hand to figure those portions out? Are they close to what the nutritional facts are on the label? Thanks for your time….I think to better my diet I’m going to try this.

    1. Great questions! 1. On reward days you can eat up to 1000 extra calories of any foods – nothing is off limits. 2. There’s a great graphic in this post that explains the portion sizes as well as other awesome info: There’s also a great foods list beginning on page 192 in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” that outlines some calorie-related serving sizes. 3. Nutritional facts on labels can have very different serving sizes, and the serving size can be different for two products in the same categories (cereals, for example). Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. Hi, Heidi!

    First, love the show! You & Chris are awesome! The transformations are so inspiring!

    I’m thinking about trying carb-cycling. I don’t need to lose weight, per se, but would like to reduce my body fat % from the current 25% down to about 20% (top end of athlete range for my gender & age – 49 yr old female).

    I’m a mom (grown kids), grandma to 1, have a full time office job, and am a certified personal trainer, running coach, & Insanity Instructor (evenings & weekends). I’m also a distance runner myself, currently training for 2 half marathons in October, and will be training for the LA Marathon (March) starting in November. I eat high carb most of the time since I expend A LOT of energy! So – obviously, I need to do the Fit Cycle.

    Currently, I track my food & exercise on the MYFITNESSPAL app. I aim for a calorie breakdown of 60% carbs, 25% protein, and 15% fat (every day). My question is, if I do the Fit Cycle, what % of my calorie take should be from carbs on high carb days & low carb days?

    Cara Stone

    1. Hi Cara: In carb cycling we don’t track percentages or grams – we use portion sizes. For this reason, I’m not able to answer your question. There’s a great graphic (as well as some other awesome info) in this post that might help you: Good luck with all your races! 🙂

  3. Hi Heidi, I am a CrossFitter and was on a mostly primal diet, but I am finding that my energy is low and my performance is suffering a little. I do not like how wheat makes me feel and eat mostly sprouted grain products. I am trying to lose body fat and get lean, not necessarily lose weight (I am 5’6″ 132lbs), do you think the fit cycle could help me to break through this final plateau? Thanks for any advice! I absolutely love you and Chris and hope to someday help people in the same way that you do!

  4. Hi ! You guys are Awesome! What about the hypoglycemic people that want to loose wight ?!! I am currently using a trainer 3 days a week and when I start my cardio my sugar can be as low as the 50’s or 60’s …. Any advice would be appreciated !! Thanks so much !

    1. It would be best to discuss Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program with your healthcare team so they can help you make any necessary modifications for your hypoglycemia. It can be done!

  5. Hello Heidi, first let me stat off by saying thank you for taking the time out to read my comment an to make this blog post. i am 20 years old about 230 pounds 5’2 tall, i currently trying to lose weight. I stumbled across this blog post and today which i though was awesome, however Im confused as to what to do now. Yes i want to lose weight to lose weight but I also want to gain muscle and keep my curves. My question is which car cycle should i incorporate in my fitness routine and also is it possible to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time?

  6. First off I love your book, your ago, and follow you religiously on Instagram & FB!!! I have a question I work out religiously 6 days a week running and lifting then interval training 2-3 days a week as well. Would this help me to lose weight that I want? I’ve plateaued for a year or so and work my butt off not literally at the gym!!! I need help and motivation I’m terrified to gain. I hope you’ll help answer my questions! Thanks!!!

  7. Thanks for posting this. I have been thinking about buying your book for a while, but wasn’t sure if I would like the plan. I am really athletic, just completed my second marathon a month ago, but nutrition is my weakness. I would love to lose 5 pounds from my last pregnancy before starting a new one! i have upped my game with weight lifting to improve my physique, but I think to get the results I want I will finally have to make changes in the kitchen and stop blaming these 5 pounds on nursing! I think I will try the plan for a week or two and if it seems like a good match for me I’ll get the book. Love extreme weightloss; you and Chris are amazing people. Wishing you well!

    1. Try chewing some minty gum, drink some water (sometimes thirst masks itself as hunger), take a walk or do some other form of exercise, do an activity you enjoy, or anything that will keep your mind off those cravings. And make sure you’re getting enough sleep too, because sometimes cravings hit because you’re sleepy.

  8. Hi!
    my problem is not my food portion so much but it’s staying motivated. I have lost 70lbs and gained more than that back in two years. I like walking and I would walk for hours but I just keep failing. I can give up the food easily but staying motivated is a struggle. I need to loose this weight so i will give this carb cycle a shot….. wish me luck

    1. I have that struggle too. Im 36 yr old man 5’9″ 339.6. When I started to think about my health was when the dr said that I would end up eating myself to death. I have lost 31 lbs and still going. What I use for motivation is looking deep within myself and asking myself if I want to watch my girls grow up. I. Hope this helps. . If you need some more motivation hit me up on. My email pig weight

    2. Hi Pete-gaye ~

      When you feel your motivation lagging, remember why you started this journey. Your own personal ‘why’ can carry you through ANY workout and help you stay on ANY good nutrition plan (like carb-cycling).

      It would help to work with a trainer or at least find a friend who has a similar goal for added accountability. (Less likely to skip a workout if you have an appointment with someone).

      Always keep your goal and reason in mind! You can do this!


  9. I just started the Turbo Cycle and must have missed this Fit Cycle. I would like to lose about 15 lb (currently 5’6, 155 lbs)but mostly, get lean and gain muscle so weightloss is flexible. I try to work out (I’m a lover of running!) for 30-60 minutes every day. What signs should I look for from my body that might suggest it’s time to switch to Fit?

  10. Question: If I’m doing Insanity, the w/o, would I still be able to do a carb cycling diet for weight loss? I just can’t seem to lose weight anymore and I want to try something different! Thank you in advance.

    1. I’m combining Insanity HIIT workouts with Chri and Heidi’s “fit cycle” diet plan…and so far so good. I have plenty of energy for working out and am losing weight. No real cravings or hunger. Diet is probably 80% of successful weight loss, and I’m very happy with the Powell’s nutrition plan.

      Chris’ workout plan seems very “solid”, and I’ll probably fully incorporate it into my workout in the future.

    2. AS JS stated, for optimal energy, which you NEED for Insanity, I’d definitely go with the Fit Cycle!

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