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.

extreme-transform-cover

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. I am an avid Crossfitter working about 5 – 6 times a week, I am going to start the Fit cycle soon for Carb Cycling but want to know if you have any sample meal plans? I would love to see what a full day of high/low carbs look like. I am 5’6″ and weigh approximately 145lbs. Thank You!

    1. Here are some meal ideas for low and high carb days (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. Happy Fit Cycling!

  2. Hi there!
    I recently bought the book ‘choose more, loose more’ and wanted to get started with the carb cycling.
    But as I am a very active person (running marathons and teaching a lot of yoga and Pilates classes), is it reasonable to stick to 1200 – 1500 kcal? I’m doing a few short runs per week (2or 3 times a week 6 to 10 miles) and one long distance run (16 miles) and 1 or 2 times a week strength/kettlebell training.
    I only want to loose 4,5 lbs (2kg) but do want to keep the same performance level.
    Hope you can help me out!

    Thanks from Holland,
    Irene

    1. With as active as you are, this cycle (the Fit Cycle) would be the one to choose. However, because you have so little weight to lose, you might try instead to have a daily calorie deficit where you eat a certain number of calories below what you’re burning through your active lifestyle. A pound equals 3500 calories, so you can decide what you want your deficit to be to be able to eat what you need to to support your activity level and still reach your weight loss goal. You can still follow carb cycling, just adjust the portion sizes/daily calories to make up for those calories you need to support your activity level.

  3. Hi. I’m looking to gain weight, muscle mass mostly but loose my belly fat from my pregnancy. Would this be good for me? I do cardio but not too much because I am thin, I just have baby fat on my belly. Also on the reward day should I work out? Thank you

    1. Yes, this could work for you. And yes, you can workout on your reward day if you’d like to. Reward day is on Sunday, which is a rest day, but you can do a light workout.

  4. Hi!

    I’ve been on my getting in shape journey for 2 years now and I’ve definitely made progress.
    I tried your Turbo Cycle and it was Awesome. I lost 10 pounds! Thank You!
    I now want to lose another 10, but I do work out about 5 times a week, would the fit cycle work for me or would I gain weight instead of lose? I’ve been maintaining for the last 3 months and just want to make sure I will still lose those last 10 🙂

    Thanks

    1. The Turbo Cycle should still work, but you can change cycles at any time. If you want to try the Fit Cycle, your weight loss could be slower but give it a try!

    2. I decided to try the classic cycle and am on day 5. I will post my progress in 2 weeks. I’m really liking it and hope it works for me, like the turbo did!

      Thanks, Again

  5. Hey Heidi !
    I wanna try to incorporate the carb cycle to my workout to see the gains I can make. I’m currently doing 4x a week crossfit, should I match the High Carb day with the workout or it doesn’t mather ?
    Thanks a lot and thanks for all the post you do on the blog 🙂

  6. Hi all,

    I just want to check this is the one that I’d want to try out. I’m a 5’5 135lb and I’m looking to lose the fat but maintain and building muscle. Would this be a good one to try out? I work out 6 times a week including weight training and cardio.

    Thank you!

    1. Yes, it sounds like this cycle would work well for you. And you can change cycles at any time!

  7. I am a group fitness instructor and teach 15-18 classes a week. My question is how do I balance the high and low carb days to the level of workouts for certain days. Mondays I teach 2 high cardio and one low cardio class. Tuesdays I have a mix of toning and high cardio, Thursday is a rough day with 4 high cardio and a stretch class. Wed and Fri is mostly senior fitness or mat toning. Weekends I don’t work so if I workout it my choice of workout. I usually have my “reward day ” on the weekend. My goal is be fueling my body to build muscle to be lean and toned, I am not so worried about weight loss. I have a 4lb range I pretty much stay in. Should a high carb day be the day before or the day after a high cardio day? What level of activity should happen on a low carb day? Thank you for your help and advice. You are so awesome!

    1. There’s cardio built into each day (Monday-Friday) during each week, no matter which cycle you’re following. It sounds like the Fit Cycle is definitely the cycle for you, and here’s a post about maintaining your weight that might help: https://heidipowell.net/5137/weight-loss-maintenance/. You can move the high/low carb schedule a bit to better fit your workout energy needs if you’d like. For example, instead of beginning the week on Monday, you can begin it on Sunday or Tuesday. Just don’t change the order of the high and low carb days. Hope that helps!

  8. Dear Team Powell

    I am wondering what carb cycle I should do: I am an avid gym goer. I work out 60 minutes, 6 times a week. I have shed 40 lbs and have kept it off for 2 years. I am looking to shed the last 10 lbs that I first set my goal at. I am 5’6 and weigh 144 lbs. I want to shed these last 10 by Christmas time. Any advice would help!
    Thank you

  9. I am looking to start carb cycling. Most days I do my workouts at night. Do I save one of my snacks for after or add an addtional protein after or do something totally different? Thanks

  10. How many carbs per pound should I eat? I have a pretty good athletic build. N just wanna try this out. I need to change my diet instead of my regular one that I’ve been on way too long. I’m not seeing any changes in my current diet. This looks like it will change me in a good way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.