Carb Cycling: The Classic Cycle

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. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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! 🙂

  7. 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! 🙂

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

  9. 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!

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