When you eat carbs, oats, rice or whatever your poison, they’re all broken down into glucose.In tern this produces an increase in insulin. To get rid of the excess carbs, insulin transports them—as well as protein and fat, into either muscle or fat cells. This is why we suggest you eat carbs after training in particular, the delivery will be made to your muscles to support recovery and growth. If your a lazy son of a bitch and sit about posting instagram selfies and think about going to the gym then the carbs are gonna be a great way to increase fat. Until the spike in blood sugar comes down, insulin won’t allow your body to use fat as fuel. It would much rather you get rid of the extra sugar first.
On the flip side, by avoiding carbs most of the time, your blood sugar levels remain low. There won’t be any significant insulin release, and your body will be free to burn fat as its main fuel source, helping you stay lean, but putting you in a slight risk of eating away muscle tissue if your not careful. The best time to eat carbs, then, is right after the gym, when your muscles’ carb stores are depleted and blood sugar is low. Get the carbs in and reduce the chance of going catabolic But this notion is nothing new. The timing, is what makes this method back-loading more than just another diet.
When you first wake up every morning, your body is primed to burn fat. So why introduce carbs? Cortisol, a stress hormone, rises during the night while you sleep and peaks at about 7 a.m. Left alone, it helps you burn fat, but when you feed yourself an abundance of carbs, cortisol will encourage fat storage just as insulin can. By waiting until cortisol levels fall naturally later in the day, and then strength training before ingesting carbs, you maximize carbs’ ability to benefit your physique while minimizing their potential to damage it.
But what about eating carbs before a workout and maybe during the workout ? This is often the prescription that nutritionists give, based on the assumption that carbs provide quick energy needed for exercise. However, remember what we said about insulin release and fat burning. Eating carbs pre-workout reduces the amount of fat you can burn during the session. Lets not forget that we all have plenty of fuel on our body to get through a work-out…. FAT ! The truth is, your body can run just fine on protein and fat during even the most gut-busting training session (provided you eat enough of these nutrients).
Another consideration is the effect carbs have on your nervous system. Without them, your sympathetic nervous system—your body’s “fight or flight” response to stress—is on overdrive. You become far more alert and react quickly, and can even recruit muscle fibers more efficiently, concentration levels are a tan all time high. Eating carbs dampens this response. You know how you feel lethargic and can’t concentrate after a big meal? You don’t want to be in that condition before you get in the gym spending half the workout trying to find motivation, and it only takes a small serving of carbs to impair your performance. This is where I believe the pre workout industry make so much money.
After training, you can eat carbs without the guilt…
How To Back-Load
This is the general approach, as directed by CBL’s creator, John Kiefer (visit him at dangerouslyhardcore.com).
1. For 10 days, cap your carb intake at 30 grams per day. This is as strict as you’ll have to be, so tough it out—it will train your body to store carbs more effectively when you eat them later. While 30 is your limit, that’s just a buffer zone. Aim for as few as possible.
Any kind of carbohydrate apart from fiber counts. Green vegetables are fine, but root vegetables (such as potatoes), grains, and fruit must be all but eliminated. Beyond the limited carbs, there are no other dietary restrictions, other than no alcohol. (You’ll be eating pizza soon enough, so don’t complain). Eat one gram of protein per pound of your body weight daily (so if you weigh 180 pounds, eat 180 grams), and consume plenty of fat. Red meat, whole eggs, avocadoes, cheese, and bacon are all good choices.
And don’t fear saturated fat. In 2010, the Annals of Internal Medicine affirmed earlier findings that a low-carb diet with saturated fats actually improved risk factors for heart disease. A University of Connecticut study from 2007 found that low-carb dieters who consumed more than three times the saturated fats as subjects in a low-fat group did saw greater improvement in LDL cholesterol levels. In order to preserve muscle mass, provide the energy for training, and to keep you from feeling hungry, fat must be eaten along with protein. You don’t have to count calories.
Expect to feel tired and foggy the first few days. This is a normal response to a sudden removal of carbs from the diet, and it will take a little time before your body switches over to burning fat and restores your energy levels. (Read Arnold’s post about The Spark if you need to bolster your resolve.) Coffee with heavy cream or sugar-free energy drinks are allowed. Continue to train as normal.
2. On the evening of the 10th day, eat a ton of carbs. Plan this day in advance so you can train in the afternoon or early evening. Afterward, splurge. Eat plenty of carbs and protein (ancillary fat is alright too). Your body is so depleted by this point that it can’t store carbs for fat, so don’t worry about being gluttonous. Aim for around one gram of carbs for each pound of body weight, but you may be able to handle much more. Just eat well and reward yourself.
These carbs must be the high-glycemic, insulin-driving kind. This is no time to have a conservative portion of brown rice or oats. Nothing replenishes the muscle cells like starchy and sugary foods, so white rice, white potatoes, and very ripe bananas are ideal. You can also enjoy pastries, ice cream, and other “bad” foods. A night of back-loading might include a cheeseburger with french fries, a milkshake, and an apple crisp followed a few hours later by a protein shake, milk, and cookies.
3. Repeat back-loading on days you train. On days you don’t, eat low-carb as you did for the first 10 days. Back-loading works best when exercise takes place between roughly 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., but it can be adjusted for morning training if needed. In this case, have coffee but no food before training, and then have only a small meal or shake containing 30–50 grams of protein and the same amount of carbs. Eat low-carb from then until the evening, when you can back-load, but do it more conservatively. Since your workout was earlier, your muscles aren’t as sensitive to insulin, so you’ll have to eat fewer carbs than if you had just trained, lest you risk gaining fat.
This same rule applies to women. CBL is not exclusively beneficial to men, but because males carry more muscle mass, they can handle more carbs. Ladies can even skip a post-workout meal/shake and opt to get their carbs in the form of dessert.
Apart from counting protein and ballparking your carbs, you don’t need to log anything. Just pay attention to how you look the morning after back-loads. If soft and bloated, dial down the carbs a bit next time. Lean and ripped, you’re right on track. If your goal is to gain maximum muscle mass while keeping your body fat in check, simply consume more protein and carbs after training and during your back-loads (you can also experiment with off-day back-loads). Those seeking to optimize fat loss just need to eat less.