Most of you know about Carb Back-loading at this point or have at least heard a few things here or there. Let me break down really fast my experience and the cliff’s notes version what Carb Back-loading is and if it’s for you!
Carb Back-loading made popular by John Kiefer is, in a nutshell, a different approach to eating to not only lose body but also build muscle while eating some of your favorite treats, snacks, and junk food along the way.
I will break down the basic method of Carb Back-loading in these quick bullet points –
- You can eat breakfast if you like (although most people who follow back-loading I have spoken with including myself skip breakfast altogether) – on a side note back-loading works well with many principles of intermittent fasting. One of the reasons it was so easy for me to try years ago when I first read about Kiefer’s program.
- You eat basically nothing but proteins and fats pre-workout – so, in essence, no carbs are eaten before you workout for the day.
- Carb Back-loading in how I am breaking it down works best if you train later in the day, let’s say around 6pm (but it can be done if you train earlier)
- You backload all your carbs for the day post workout – (Kiefer is an advocate of higher GI carbs for this –hence the snacks, treats, idea comes into play)
The idea is that by eating this way post-workout backloading you can take advantage of exercise-induced insulin sensitivity in your body.
The program is based around eating post workout – that is vital for success in back-loading. Playing off the idea you train hard deplete your muscle glycogen stores and so when you do start finally eating they get pushed to your muscle and not stored in your fat cells.
Now if that actually happens as prescribed above is another article and depends on a magnitude of factors, but that’s how I understand back-loading to work in theory. Kiefer does provide a lot of science behind his program, but if you dig deep enough you can find data to refute a lot of it as with all programs.
How I experimented with carb backloading about 3 years ago was as follows….
Per Kiefer’s recommendation:
For Days 1-10 I eat 30g of carbs total or less – yes 30 total grams, it sucks like you can imagine but you can still eat your normal protein and fat intake so it’s manageable. You can research his “Carb Nite” program for full details on this.
On the 10th day post workout, you start “back-loading” and Kiefer is a big fan of the higher glycemic foods – cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, which honestly is probably why this become so popular since people love to eat their favorite junk foods.
On training days I would backload my carbs and on non-training days you basically go back to the original 30g or less on those days with protein & fats only.
How I went through the numbers personally
Protein intake is 1g per lb per bodyweight so for me 220g per day
Fat intake is at your own discretion, just be cognizant of the number – I went with about .5g per lbs so around 100g per day
Carbs on your off days 30g per day or less.
Carbs on back-loading days range from 1 – 2g per lb of your body weight so for a 220lb man – 220g-440g carbs per back load.
If you’re looking to lose more body fat keep the carbs closer to the 1g, if you are looking to gain a little size keep it closer to the 2g per lb.
If you train in the morning there are modifications in the book Kiefer put out and he breaks down exactly how to do it.
Overall my thoughts, it’s a fun program to follow that allows you to eat some of the foods you love on a more regular basis. It also allows you to eat with friends and family enjoying pizza and ice cream from time to time. Similar to how IIFYM allows this and Intermittent Fasting if you plan out your eating schedule right.
It’s not for everybody, but if you enjoy eating bigger meals late in the evening you can certainly give this program a try without doing the body any damage. It’s more of a personal eating style preference and pending on your body type and macro goals you can either get ripped or gain mass back-loading.
It’s by no means a miracle eating style, but it’s another option to try for late night big meal eaters out there. Like any nutrition program, your micronutrients are vitally important so eating your greens like your Mom taught you still matters!
For me personally, I have been intermittent fasting for years and often backload my carbs post workout as I find it fits my lifestyle best. I don’t, however, eat a ton of high glycemic, processed, or sugar-packed foods. I enjoy eating natural, real, whole foods but that’s just how I roll. So be it cupcakes or sweet potatoes you can give carb back-loading a try and see for yourself how it works.
Source: Carb Back-loading – 1.0
Jeremy Scott is the creator of Jeremy Scott Fitness in North Scottsdale. He is an Olympia Labs Health Advisor, Reebok Athlete, Fitfluential Ambassador and the Co-Creator of Get Lean Gluten Free.
He was voted one of the Top 20 Fitness Blogs in America. He is a nationally published and contributing author for numerous fitness publications and has helped thousands of people across America get into and stay in the best shape of their lives.