Carbohydrate Cycling For Weight Loss

Runners can rotate no-, low- and high-carbohydrate days in order to shed a few pounds. Photo:

While tricky, it’s possible to achieve that delicate balance between weight loss and optimal performance.

Losing or maintaining weight is usually a goal that ranks pretty high on a runner’s priority list. Whether it is for optimal performance, general health, or even the reason they started running in the first place, weight is a critical issue for runners. Unfortunately, despite how close the relationship may seem, losing weight and running at your best aren’t easy to do in conjunction.

If you understand the basic principles of weight loss, you recognize that the most critical factor in weight loss is incurring a calorie deficit. To do so, not only do you have to measure portion sizes, but you have to control the quality of the foods you consume; specifically, limiting your intake of simple carbohydrates. This is why low-carb diets are effective.

However, on the opposite spectrum, to train hard and recover quickly from difficult workouts, a runner must consume adequate calories and fuel with complex carbohydrates — and even simple carbohydrates at the right times. Being in a constant caloric deficit and not providing the muscles with the right type of fuel will leave you tired, struggling to recover, and will derail your performances.

So, what’s the solution if you’re a runner who wants to balance hard training and solid race performances with losing weight? Perhaps we can look again to bodybuilders for an answer. By modifying the time-tested bodybuilding strategy of carb-cycling to the specific metabolic and training demands of runners, it’s possible to achieve that delicate balance between weight loss and optimal performance.

RELATED: Healthy Weight Loss During Marathon Training


Start your FREE subscription to Competitor Digital today!

Get our monthly digital magazine, weekly running content & exclusive offers delivered to your inbox.

Recent Stories