Carb Cycling: The Classic Cycle

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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

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, eat either low or high carb meals (depending on which day you’re on). Your last meal of every day will ALWAYS be a low carb meal. Follow the portion size guide to put all of your meals together.

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 you can stick with the Classic Cycle throughout your weight loss journey or move onto another cycle. You are in control!

For more information on the Classic Cycle, check out our book, Choose More, Lose More for Life. Interested in learning about the new Extreme Cycle? You can 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!

275 Responses

  1. Hi!
    Can your reward day have a high carb dinner? I know you say all last meals should be low carb. Our family does a family feast night once a week, which would be my reward day. But it?s dinner and high carb! Thx so much!

    1. Hi Shawnda: You could have your second to the last meal of the day be a high carb meal, and then have your final meal later and make it low carb. Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. Do the macros have to be split up equally between the 5 meals. Or just make sure you get the total amount throughout the day

    1. Hi Jaime: That’s totally about preference and what will work best for you. In our app, your macros are split between 5 meals a day, and some people follow those, while others aim for daily totals. Hope that helps! 🙂

    1. Hi Leanne: There’s a “Create Your Own Meals” chart in this post, and it can help you figure this out. Just remember that each gram of protein or carb = 4 calories, and each gram of fat = 9 calories. Hope that helps! 🙂

  3. Hi team Powell,

    I am currently 74,6kg and 1.65cm. My goal would be 65kg.
    I started 5 weeks ago with the classic cycle and weighted HIIT with a pt 3 times a week and trying to walk for 45 minutes 2 times a week. And for the first 4 weeks it started of great; losing approx 0.5kg per week. I am doing the 3 times with the pt religiously but sometimes I cant fit in the walks, I also starting to have problems with keeping the eating clean for all the meals for 6 out of 7 days as the classic cycle suggests. I had some minor snacks on other days as well resulting for my last week to have gained 0.8kg. So overall I am still in a deficit (I weigh less since I started). But feel like the easy cycle is more my thing. But I’m scared now that my body has adjusted to the classic cycle with all that activity from pt and walking and adopting the easy cycle and would result in weight gain cause of the more lenient plan and also when I can’t fit in my walking days.
    Basically feeling like I started of so ambitiously and feel like I cant daily back and still lose weight. Please advice. Thank you!

    1. Hi Merit: You can change cycles at any time! It can take your body a few weeks to adapt to a new eating program, so please be patient. You got this!

    1. Hi Brenda: We recommend that you discuss any nutrition program with your healthcare team to see if it’s right for you and/or if any modifications need to be made. I’d definitely ask them about carb cycling! 🙂

  4. Hello – I am new to carb cycling! I’ve recently added intermittently fasting into my diet, but I feel like I need to be more restricted on what I’m eating instead of eating just anything. I work out about 5 times a week. 2 HIT classes, hot yoga and rebounding. I recently read about the endomorph body style and I really think that is what I am. I lost a little bit of weight when I first started the 5 day workouts, but I feel like I have hit a stand still and I definitely don’t monitor my macros or calories, but choose healthy foods for the most part with a few rewards during the week. Looking at the options, I feel like the classic is the best option for me, but I guess I’ve been reading conflicting information on what days should be high carb vs. low carb. When I do a HIT class – should that be on a low carb day or high? I have about 30 lbs to lose to be at my goal weight. Let me know what you suggest. Thanks

    1. Hi Michelle: Some people do their hardest workouts on high carb days, others find that they can do any workout on any day. I’d experiment and do what works best for you! You got this!

  5. Hello,
    I am very interested in doing carb cycling. I?ve done macros, keto, low carb,etc. I just ordered the books however they haven?t arrived yet. I strength train 3x/week(Th, Th, Sa) and do HIIT workouts 3x/week(M, W, F). I am also a diabetic controlled through diet and exercise. I?m looking to lose only about 10 pounds and lean out. Which cycle would be best? I worry about my blood sugars being high on the high carb days without fat being added to the rest of the meals.
    You guys are amazing!

    1. Hi Keri: Which books did you order? Each has different cycles. The program is formulated for you to be able to work out 5-6 days a week, so that shouldn’t be an issue no matter which cycle you choose. As far as your diabetes, it would be best to discuss the cycle you choose with your healthcare team and then follow any modifications they may recommend since each case of diabetes can require different a treatment. Please reply with the books you ordered, and we’ll go from there! 🙂

    2. I actually ordered all 3 ? and they should come by Wednesday. I was successful with macros however I had a coach at the time so they formulated all my meals/eating times for me. I have emailed my doctor for their advice- just waiting to hear back. I?ve browsed through the books in the book store, read people?s success stories online as well as looking into the app.

    3. Hi Keri: Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I’d do the Extreme Cycle in “Extreme Transformation.” You’re going to love it! 🙂

    4. How do I start? Do I purchase the app, buy a book, or purchase one of the above plans? I’m confused.

    1. Hi Hayley: If you’re following the Classic Cycle as outlined in this post and/or in Chris and Heidi’s books, you’ll aim for 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days. On your reward day, you’ll eat 1000 extra calories – 2500. 🙂

  6. I have a question…what is the starting level for carbs on the high days (how many grams) and carb level on low days (grams). I am 222 pounds and trying to lose some additional fat. I work out hard 6 days week, 1 rest day and during the six days I do 10-15 minutes of stair stepper cardio.

    1. Hi Mark: Since we’ve tried to make meal planning as simple as possible for the Classic Cycle, we don’t have any carb gram counts for this cycle, but there’s a chart in this post that can help you put your meals together. Follow the chart, and you’ll be good to go!

  7. I have a few questions. Should reward day be a pretty heavy exercise day and my rest day be on a low carb day? Also, I read a quote from Heidi on another site that says that on high carb days total calories should be 50% carb, 40% protein and 10% fat and low carb days should be 10% carb, 40% protein and 50% fat. I’ve been tracking my calories on My Fitness Pal, and because of all of the non-starchy veggies on low carb days, my carbs are closer to 18-19% and my fat is only 37%. I feel like I’m hungry enough to eat even more veggies, but I don’t want to mess things up. If I ate even more, I’d also be going over my 1200 calories a day. Is it ok to go over if it’s just from non-starchy vegetables? Thank you so much for your help!

  8. My husband and I are in our 4th week of Atkins. Neither of us have lost more than 7lbs…. And feel really deprived! Wondering is it’s time to switch to carb cycling?!? Well the transition cause us to gain back what we’ve lost?

    1. Hi Tracy: Carb cycling could be a great option for you. Since carbs do retain water, your weight might fluctuate a bit when you start carb cycling, and this is normal. Stick with the plan, be patient, and you will see results! 🙂

  9. I have a question on days….I’m doing the classic cycle. High carb days I eat 1850 while LC days are 1500. I see you posted this: “Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%.”

    What about per day… does the same apply with the percentages?

    1. Hi Lindsey: Great question! Since each meal is put together a bit differently, we don’t have macro percentages for an entire day.

  10. Wondering…I am a celiac an can only eat gluten free products. Does this effect the efficiency of the program? I can not have whole wheat/whole grain products….

    1. Hi Alyssa: Not at all! You have many other options for your carbs that are totally gluten-free!

  11. Hello,
    I’ve been doing keto for over a year now but I haven’t seen the gains I was hoping for . I started carb cycling two days ago but now I’m worried that all these carbs are going to make my belly bloat again and make my face look swollen…
    if I hit my macro goals should I be ok? Or is some “fluff” to be expected ?

    1. Hi Hailey: Your weight can naturally fluctuate during the week due to working out and whether or not you’re on a low or high carb day, so we recommend weighing once a week on the morning of day 7 (the morning of your reward day) in the Classic Cycle. And there shouldn’t be enough carbs in this cycle to cause belly bloat or a swollen face. Since you have been following the Keto diet for a while, you can gradually add in those carbs, which might also help decrease the chances of any bloating since your body is not used to the carbs. Take things one baby step at a time, be patient with yourself, and you will get there!

  12. I was wondering if carb-cycling is safe for post-bariatric patients and if you would suggest the same principles. I love you guys!!

    1. Hi Lindsay: It would be best to discuss carb cycling with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. We do have post-bariatric patients follow our plans with any modifications their healthcare team suggests. 🙂

  13. Hi!
    I am really wanting to get in better shape and I heard Carb Cycling is a good way to go from some friends of mine. I just have a few questions about it:
    1) How do I know how many calories/macros I need to hit on High and Low Carb days (I am 23yrs old, 5’5, and weigh 153lbs)
    2) Should I do the majority of training on high carb days? Or should I just workout as normal on all days?

    Thanks for you help!
    P.S- The Powell’s are awesome! 😀

    1. Hi Kate: In Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling plans, everything is figured out for you including nutrition and exercise. You simply have to follow the plan! You can get links to all of their carb cycles in this post: You can do this! 🙂

  14. I just finished choose more lose more for life. And have made today (11/3/16) day one. I’m hoping someone can answer my question. I’m breastfeeding. Are there any alterations I should do to not have my milk supply dip/dry up?

  15. Hi All,

    I have been combing thru my book and thru these questions and because there is soooo much to comb thru, I’m not finding what I need to know. Please help me to know what is a really good number to work towards for high carb and low carb quantities? I don’t even know what is reasonably low, nor reasonably high for opposite days. Thank you, I’m holding out hope that I can make a change in my journey! I have lost over 115 pounds and over the last couple years, have gained back 70! Which has made it harder to conquer it again. I can’t gain any more weight, this HAS to be what gets me back to where I was and beyond. Totally embarrassing. I even certified as CPT, helped hundreds of people lose weight and now just throwing it all away. Anyhow…thanks for your info! Be blessed Powells!! 🙂

    1. Hi Tonya: On the Classic Cycle, or any of the cycles in Chris and Heidi’s book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” everything is figured out for you – you just follow the meal plan. If you’d like to track your macros, here are the percentages for the cycles in this book: Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. And welcome to carb cycling! 🙂

  16. Hey guys! So i have a couple questions I?m hoping you can answer. I have been working out for going on 4 years now. I started out in the gym but then switched to hiit based workouts at home. This past year i have switched back to going to gym and doing more lifting than anything but still about 10-20minutes 5-6 days a week of hiit based cardio or plyos . I?m currently going to school to be a personal trainer because i found my passion in training so I?m always trying to learn new ways of being the best me i can be to help people with their goals in life with fitness and nutrition. I?ve been following iifym for a half a year now but not as closely as i should be but roughly. I recently started carb cycling and i tried to calculate the carb cycling myself and i have been cycling with high carb days: 122p 250c 50f and low carb days: 122p 150c 50f?Clearly i?m not an expert but i was following it off of my macros. I still want to follow macros but i would really like to carb cycle. Currently my stats are 26 year old female, 5?5, 122lbs. I weight train 5 days a week for about 60-70 minutes that includes 10-20minutes of hiit or plyos i basically do hiit on the treadmill or bike on days i don?t train legs and do my plyos on my leg days and currently training legs 3 days a week. My weight training days are mostly supersets so i?m constantly challenging my body and keeping my heart rate up through the entire workout. Also not sure if i should only being doing supersets and dropsets or would you recommend a heavier weight and the regular 60 sec rest in between sets? Trying to grow that booty but trying to stay lean at the same time! ;P i?m pretty active everyday gardening, cleaning, shopping, cooking, ect? most of the day i?m on my feet basically. I?m pretty lean with quite a bit of muscle on my already but i still have goals like growing the booty and growing more profound abs and just strength overall! At this point i want to try to gain muscle while still staying lean. What cycle would you reccomend and what would my high carb and low carb days look like? Thanks for help in advance

    1. Hi Natasha: If you’re following any of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles, here are the macro percentages: Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Extreme Cycle: Breakfast (EVERY day): Protein: 30%, Carb: 40%, Fat: 30%, High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 50%, Fat: 10%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 10%, Fat: 50%. If you’re following a different cycle, it would be best to work with a macro coach who can use your body composition, workout schedule, and goals to help you put together a program that will work for you and also help you tweak your program along the way. Here’s a link to the coaches Heidi uses, and they do work at a distance: 🙂

  17. Hi!! How do you carb cycle while still counting your macros daily? And what percentage would a low carb day look like and a high carb day look like?

    Also, did you count your macros while you were pregnant??

    1. HI Meaghan: If you’re following any of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles, here are the recommended macro percentages: Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Extreme Cycle: Breakfast (EVERY day): Protein: 30%, Carb: 40%, Fat: 30%, High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 50%, Fat: 10%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 10%, Fat: 50%. And here’s a post that outlines Heidi’s pregnancy/breastfeeding nutrition program: 🙂

  18. Hi. When carb cycling, should I figure my vegetable calories in with my 1200/1500 calorie count? On the 1200 days I have trouble staying under 1200 and am wondering if it is because I count the tomatoes, carrots, green beans, etc.

    1. Hi Kelley: Yes, the two fist fulls of veggies are included in those daily calorie counts, and it’s always best to track everything you put into your mouth. You can do this!

  19. Hi! I am a type one diabetic since I was ten years old. I have been struggling with my weight and have a very hard time losing weight as I am on an insulin pump. Has carb cycling worked for any other type 1 diabetics or clients you’ve had with type 1 insulin dependent diabetes?

    1. Hi Melissa: It can work for diabetics, but it’s best to discuss the program with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they might recommend. And here’s a post with some helpful information too: We wish you the best!

    2. My husband and I are type 1 diabetics. Because you eat fat on low carb days and not on higher carb days you should be fine. Just watch your blood sugars and choose what carbs you can and cannot eat based on the spike.

  20. Hi guys,
    I lost 80 pounds 2 years ago after I hemorrhaged after giving birth to twin girls as a surrogate for the second time. (both sets of twins) I needed 8 blood transfusions and an emergency hysterectomy. I’m wanting to lean out more and increase my lean muscle. I do a crossfit circuit class 6 days a week and 1 personal training session a week as well and sometimes run (I’ve done 3 half marathons best one in 1:48:17. I’ve never done crab cycling or macro counting, please help.

    1. Hi Kate: Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling programs are for weight loss, so if that’s not your main goal, check out Heidi’s macros posts (and all the links within the post) for some great info: For carb cycling for muscle gain, it’s best to work with a macro coach who can tailor your macros to your body composition, workouts, and goals. You can do this!

  21. Happy Thursday! Starting my first day on the 21 day transformation! Looking through the recipes and I was wondering if there is a good substitute for Bananas (don’t like the taste) and for the peanut butter (my daughter is allergic so we don’t keep it in the house).
    Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Joy: You can substitute other fruits for bananas in most of the recipes, and you can substitute any like recipe (low carb for low carb, etc.) for any that have nuts or bananas. Here’s a post with some other helpful meal planning tips on the Extreme Cycle: You can do this!

    2. Pea butter is a great choice to replace the peanut butter. One of my good friends as well as her two young daughters are highly allergic to all nuts. They use it all the time and it has a great flavour that is as close to peanut butter as you can get without the real deal!

  22. Hello Heidi,
    I just bought choose more lose more!! I am so excited to start my carb cycle. I had a shoulder injury so as of now I am not doing any Olympic weight lifting movements just strictly CrossFit, TRX and typical bootcamp. Work outs are an hour long which I incorporate a warm up and a strength everyday before the WOD. I workout Mon-Wed I do spinning Thursday and WOD Friday.

    I gained over 20 pounds I am 5’3 and weigh 166. I want to loose weight maybe 2 pounds a week? I am thinking of doing the classic cycle do you think that would be a good one? Or the Turbo based on my workouts.

    Also, I was reading about the slingshot Technique is that required to do every 4th week even when you start? Or should I give it more time before doing the slingshot?

    Today is Tuesday I received the book yesterday (Monday) and I have been preparing (anxious to start 😀 ) I am starting on classic today as high carb day and have my meals all tracked on my fitness pal app to stay with in 1500 calories.

    Is that an issue to start the carb cycle in the middle of the week?

    1. Hi Sandra: Welcome to carb cycling! You can choose any of the cycles, and you can change at any time. And the Slingshot Week is an important part of the program, so do it your 4th week and every 4th week thereafter. And you’re good to begin now! You can do this! 🙂

  23. Hey there! I’ve been training to run a 5k and I’ve been sticking to a moderate intensity running schedule. I run approximately 4-5 miles weekly and train 3-4x a week. I was recommended a daily 1600 calorie and below intake too. I used to be big into strength training but I gained quite a bit of muscle mass alongside it so my primary concern for right now is both weight and fat loss. Which carb cycle would you recommend and on what days should be high or low carb days?

    1. Great! I will do that! What days do you recommend that I train on? Low carb or high carb?

    2. Since up to an hour of cardio is included in the program Monday-Friday, you should be good to go. It’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer to your question since what works for someone else might not work for you based on several factors, so give this a try, and then modify as needed. You can do this!

  24. Hi this plan sounds perfect for me in terms of my workout plan. I light exercise on all the low. Carb days and on the high carb days weight train.

    My only concern is on the reward day do I have to work out as this would usually be my rest day?

    Also I’m looking to lose weight quickly and I see the turbo cycle is better for quicker results? Correct me if I’m wrong?! I do weight classes at the gym and tues, thurs and Saturday are best for this hence why I’m choosing the classic plan.

    Advice for quicker results would be much appreciated.

    Loving carb cycling!

    Melanie x

    1. Hi Melanie: You don’t have to workout on your Reward Day, and yes, the Turbo Cycle is great for faster results, so give it a try! You can do this!

    2. Is there a complete food list for high/.low carb days? Would save time when meal planning if you can pick from cohesive food list versus calculating.

  25. Hi Team Powell,

    I’m also a Crossfitter and wanting to do Carb Cycling to take off the end of my (chub) weight. I’m 135 and would love to be back at 128 but that would be my no fun zone consistently. I’m not looking to increase my muscle mass, just wanting to lean out. On the days I lift, they should be high carb days but, that would be 5 times a week if I went by that. Help? What should I do?
    Thank you for all the information you put out. You guys are amazing!

  26. Dear Team Powell

    I want to carb cycle but I do cross fit 4 days a week. from my understanding on the days you lift they should be high carb days. how would I go about this? I was told I need to eat up to 3000 calories a day to build muscle. this is all confusing. I have done carb cycling before but stopped because I missed fruit and sweet potatoes. ha ha its the little things…….

  27. Hi Heidi, I know that you said to eat within 1/2 of wake up, but I work out when I wake up. Fasted workouts have been really working for me. What do you suggest I do?

  28. Heidi, this plan is the one that I’m going to start with. I’m excited to start. However, I’m a teacher and eating every 3 hours might be difficult for me. Right now I’m on summer break but when school starts it might be a little tricky. Any suggestions?

  29. I started carb cycling this week, and I’m doing weight training mwf (weight training days) and the cardio on tuth. Ive been doing them at night after dinner, but when I’m ready to go to sleep my stomach starts growling and won’t let me sleep. I wanted to know if there was a healthy snack I could eat or if i should eat dinner after my night workouts. I don’t plan on working out at night time all the time just a few days a week.

  30. Thanks Team Powell. I always try to do things to the extreme, even when they are totally wrong for me. I will take this advice, and start out with the fit cycle on Monday. I start training for a half marathon on Monday. I just completed my third full on May 1 ?.

  31. I have been trying the turbo cycle, but it just seems like not enough energy for me. I am a long distance runner. I am going to try the classic cycle for 1 or 2 cycles and see how it goes. I am 5’11” and with 1200 calories a day, I am just starving all the time. Should I increase the calories a bit more? I also run 4 to 5 days a week, plus the 9 minute missions(btw these are awesome).

  32. Quick question on the breakfasts for carb cycling – in the Choose More, Lose More book, the breakfast recipes show low carab day / high carb day versions. If you’re on a low carb day and want to use the recipe for the breakfast meal (first meal of day), do you always use the high-carb day options? Asking because it looks like the low-carb day option doesn’t include any carbs – just the veggies? Any clarification is appreciated!

    1. Hi Carolyn: For the cycles in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” every breakfast is a high-carb meal: protein + carb + veggies (if you’re still hungry). Hope that helps!

  33. What’s the best way to move your cheat day without altering the whole schedule? I’m on the Monday start of the classic and need to make my chest day this week Friday instead of Sunday. Would I make Sunday a low carb day since that is what Friday should be? Any help for occasional cheat day swapping would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Kelly: You can move the meal schedule one way or the other, but you will want to keep the high- and low-carb days in the order they’re outlined, and only move your cheat day as little as possible. So if you want your cheat day on Friday, then that will be day 7 of the week and Saturday will be day 1. Hope that helps!

  34. Hello! I love the idea of carb cycling. I currently Weight train 3 days a week and do Cardio 2-3x a week (usually on the days I am not weight training). My weight training consists of power lifting. If I weight train Monday, Wednesday, Friday would those be my high carb days and then Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday my low carb days? Is there a type of carb cycling that you recommend?

    1. Hi Brittany: Here’s a post that has links to all 5 carb cycles so you can find the one that works best for you: And you can change cycles at any time too. As far as pairing the low- and high-carb days with your workouts, what works can be different for each person, so you might have to play around with your workout schedule to see what will work best for you. You can do this!

  35. I just read choose more lose more and extreme transformation. I am starting with the classic cycle but should I apply the new rules from the extreme cycle? Meaning keep breakfast as protein/carb/fat on all days and remove the carb from meal 5. I am on low carb day 1 of classic and followed your new tweaks.

    1. Hi Kelly: You’ll want to follow the Classic Cycle as it’s outlined in “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” You can do this!

  36. Hi Heidi & Chris.I am a italian “girl” I’m 40 years old.? i love your trasformations.I would like yuors books. But is an italian version????love? Giorgia

  37. Hi there Heidi and Chris, I have been at a two year plateau and have about 10-15 more pounds to loose. Would this carb cycling push me through this plateau? I know slow and steady wins. I also exercise almost daily (both strength training, cardio/HIIT). I have your book and am ready to go, I am just discouraged since I have been at this for two years (I lost 40 pounds before I stopped loosing).

  38. Hi my name is sharry burrow I’m 274 pounds 5.0 will carbs cycling work for me n I wanna get down to 150 pounds

  39. This might be a silly question, but I work out early in the morning (I get up at 4 and am at the gym just after 4:30) Obviously eating breakfast within 30 min of waking won’t work in this case – what should I be eating prior to working out when I’m on that kind of time crunch? I usually have breakfast (most of the time egg whites, toast and almond butter) around 8 am after I’m done getting ready for work. Suggestions please!

    1. Great, thank you! Next question – I’m sorry I just stumbled across this carb cycling article and have briefly read up and tried skimming some of the previous questions and haven’t had a chance to read the book yet (this weekend!) How does the reward day/meal work? Do you stick to a strict calorie limit?

    2. You’re so welcome! For your Reward Day, you can eat anything you want that day up to an extra 1000 calories (2500 for the day for women). It’s awesome! If you’re following the Easy Cycle, you can have a Reward Meal on any high-carb day of up to 250 extra calories. Hope that helps!

  40. Hi I am new to this carb cycle. Just wondering since you have to eat five meals a day and every 3 hours, that would make me eat my last meal of the day at 8pm. Is that okay to eat that late? And also I take the AMP women’s ripped vitapak from gnc everyday. Is it okay to continue taking them during this carb cycle? Or will it effect the whole process?

    1. Hi June: Yes, that’s okay. The important thing is to eat 30 minutes withing waking and then every 3 hours after that for 5 meals a day. And it’s best to discuss any supplements with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. You can do this!

  41. Hi Team Powell! I’m from France and we have discovered your show about 2 years ago and I must admit i really like it. Unfortunately the channel which broadcasts it only have old shows. When I discovered the show I had already lost around 121 lbs (55kg) thanks to Dukan and Weight Watchers which are very popular here. Recently I have gained some pounds (around 15lbs / 7kg) due to an extreme tiredness period over a few months and thus i have decided to lose them now and try your Carb Cycling program and especially the Classic Cycle which I think will fit to me. But I got some questions running through my mind…..
    When you say veggies for breakfast, does it mean veggies like carrot, eggplant, zucchini or things like that?
    I’m used to eat some fruits for breakfast. When i eat my carbs other than fruits can i still add a piece of fruit? I love eating cottage cheese with cornflakes and put a banana in it…
    I can see fats are used on low carb days. Can’t we use fats when cooking on high carb days?
    Looking forward to being on Monday to start this new program!!!
    Thank you

    1. Hi Magalie: Veggies are the non-root/non-starchy type of veggies. And for breakfast, you’ll have one serving of carbs, and that can be either fruit, whole grains, or legumes. So if you have a piece of fruit, that would be your carb serving and you wouldn’t want to add any additional carbs to that meal. On high-carb days, it’s best to use nonfat cooking spray or an oils in a spritzer. Good luck – you can totally do this!

    1. Hi Karla: Chris and Heidi have figured out all of your macros for you in carb cycling (for both low- and high-carb meals), so you don’t need to worry about tracking them. Follow your carb cycling plan, eat proteins, carbs, and fats when outlined in the meal plan, and you’ll be getting all the macros you need to be healthy and lose weight. However, if you’d like to count your own macros, here are some general recommendations:

      High-Carb Day:

      Protein: 40%
      Carbs: 40%
      Fats: 20%

      Low-Carb Day:

      Protein: 40%
      Carbs: 20%
      Fats: 40%

      I hope this helps!

  42. Hi Chris and Heidi,
    I had bariatric surgery in 2014 after trying everything to get my weight under control. My highest weight was 315. I tell people I’m an obese athlete as I’ve always been an athlete, but after serious health issues and a weight gain of 150 pounds, I lost myself for several years. With bariatric surgery I was able to lose 108 lbs, but as you know many weight loss surgery patients starve themselves to lose weight and that’s how I reached 108lbs lost within a year. I weight train and do cardio 6 days a week but I’ve gained 21lbs back. I’d like to start carb cycling (classic) to shed 38 lbs, but can this approach of 1200 calories on low days and 1500 on high days work for someone like me who’s lost weight basically undereating for over a year while working out? I think I may have damaged my metabolism. I currently eat around 1100 calories, but the scale isn’t moving….HELP

    1. Hi Angie: Since you have had bariatric surgery, you’ll want to discuss carb cycling with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they recommend. Good luck – you can do this!

  43. 1. I do not have any of the carb cycling books. Can you please provide a list of non-root/non-starchy type veggies allowed on the plan.

    2. Also is there a list of allowed fruits

    3. Is Hummus allowed on the plan ? Is it considered a carb or fat ? Would veggies and hummus be an appropriate snack on a hi or low carb day ?

    1. Hi Moh: I’m so sorry, but I don’t have a list available. Starchy/root veggies are ones like potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes. And you can have any fruits, which count as carbs. 2 tablespoons of hummus is considered a condiment and can be eaten on any day (just be sure to count those calories because they can add up quickly). Hummus and veggies would be part of a snack/meal on any day, but you’d need to add a protein, plus a carb for a high-carb snack/meal, or a fat for a low-carb snack/meal. Hope that helps!

  44. Hey Team Powell! Love love love your show!! Thank You for all you do in helping people with their mind body and soul. I want to start carb cycling, but not sure what I’m doing…Im a 37 yr old lady, 180lbs and 5’7″ I want to lose about 40 lbs. I have celiacs Disease and eggs dont like me much either. Does your book have recipes in it and would they be tricky with the no gluten issue i have. Also which carb cycle would you recommend to me with wanting to lose this weight by my bday in Oct?

    1. Hi Megan: Yes, all of Chris and Heidi’s books have recipes in them, and I would start with the Extreme Cycle in their newest book – “Extreme Transformation” ( Here’s a post to get you started: And with your health issues, I’d suggest you talk with your healthcare team about this program first, and then follow any modifications they recommend. You can do this!

  45. Hi Heidi and Chris! I absolutely love watching both of you and am very excited to start the Classic cycle of carb cycling. My question is with correct portions. On one chart in the newest book, “Choose More, Lose More” it says one cup of carbs, 3 oz of protein, two cups of veggies, and one tbsp of fats. But in the list for each category, it shows 100 calorie portion servings. Am I supposed to eat the one cup of carbs or the 1/2 cup to equal 100 calories? I’m confused about the proper portion size.

    1. Hi Monica: Great question! Those calorie listings are to help with counting calories if you choose to do that along with your portion sizes. They are not meant to correlate with the portion sizes. Chris and Heidi listed them that way to hopefully make things simpler. Go with portion sizes first, then count calories if you’d like to also. You got this! 🙂

  46. Hey Powell’s! I’ve been struggling with my weight since 2011 when, at 13 years old, I gained over 100 pounds as I suffered from lupus and the medications I was taking.

    Since then I’ve lost about 95 pounds, but over the summer I gained back 15. I’m looking to change things up and make a commitment to myself.

    I’m on weight watchers, and want to find a way to incorporate the high carb low carb plan. I’m a student too so I’m on a tight budget, so do the meals have to be complex? What foods should I try to have on hand at all times? How many calories will I be eating? Currently I eat 1600 on rest days and 1800 on days I workout.

    All the love,


    1. Hi Mia: No, the meals are not complex! There are lots of awesome yummy, healthy, and quick recipes in both books (“Choose to Lose” and “Choose More, Lose More for Life”), and you might be able to find them in your library. There’s an awesome graphic in this post (as well as some other helpful info) that shows you how to put all your carb cycling meals together as well as calorie recommendations: And follow the links in this post for ideas on foods you can choose: And congrats on losing all those pounds – that’s awesome!

  47. Thank you so much!!! I’m gonna re read the book gotta figure out how many carbs to eat. My boyfriend has joined my band wagon recently so I hope this helps him too he’s 340 pounds and I want him Happy & Healthy. #carbcyclersunite 🙂

  48. Hi team Powell! I want to start carb cycling. I have lost 30 pounds thus far and still have a ways to go. Currently 197 @ 5’9″ @ age 25. I think this will work for me just scared I will fail and the weight won’t come off. I’ve been trying to get past 197 but have been stuck and think maybe this will help? Any thoughts? Love you all watch your show religiously it’s amazing such inspiration.

  49. 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?

    1. 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! 🙂

  50. 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?

  51. 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.

    1. 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!

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

    1. 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!

  54. 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 ?

  55. 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!!!

    1. 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!

  56. 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

    1. 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

  57. 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


    1. 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!

  58. 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, saut?ed bell peppers with 4 oz flat iron steak

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

    1. 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!

  59. 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! 😉

    1. 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.

  60. 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!

    1. 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!

  61. 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!

  62. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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!

  63. 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 :).

    1. 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!

  64. 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..

    1. 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!

  65. 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

  66. 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.

    1. 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!

  67. 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!

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

  68. 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!!

    1. 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!

  69. 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.

    1. 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.

  70. 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?

    1. 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!

    2. Heidi,
      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!

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

  71. 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?

  72. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

  73. 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?

    1. 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.

  74. 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,

    1. 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!

  75. 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 ? ? 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! ?

    1. 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!

  76. 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.


    1. 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!

  77. 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!

    1. 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!

  78. 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.

    1. 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!

  79. Hello,

    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!

    1. 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!

  80. 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. 🙂

  81. 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

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

  82. 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

    1. 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!

  83. 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?!


    1. 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!

  84. 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!

  85. 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 =)

    1. 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!

  86. 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?

  87. 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.

    1. 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!

  88. 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.

    1. 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!

  89. 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.

    1. 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!

  90. 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!

    1. 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!

  91. 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?

    1. 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!

  92. Hi,

    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


    1. 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!

  93. 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!

    1. 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.

  94. 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.

    1. 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! 🙂

  95. 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.

    1. 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! 🙂

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

  97. 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!

    1. 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!

  98. 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?

    1. 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.

  99. 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?

    1. 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.


  100. 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!

  101. 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?

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

  102. 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?

    1. 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! 🙂

  103. Hi,

    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!

    1. 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!

  104. 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.

  105. 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?

    1. 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! 🙂

  106. 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.

  107. 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 🙂

    1. 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!

  108. 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.

    1. Me too Yvonne! There is an overwhelming majority of nurses & other healthcare workers who work 12-13hr shifts. Sometimes just a bathroom break is a luxury! Patients come first, not us. Would love to see some suggestions from Chris or Heidi!!!

  109. 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?

    1. 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!

  110. 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!

  111. 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!

  112. 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!

    1. 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! 🙂

  113. 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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