Sean Hyson

Fitness Distilled

April/May 2014

Carb Back-Loading Book Review

posted on May 29, 2012
written by sean hyson

 

I previously mentioned that I have been working on an e-book that reviews all the best fitness and nutrition programs that have come out in the past few years. I am happy to say that we are razor close to the release date. I know many of you have had your hopes up for a while and are tired of waiting, and I apologize. But when you see this book and all the work that went into it, you’ll know why it was delayed.

And it’s also FREE, so quit complaining!
 

Last time I gave you a glimpse at the book, I posted my review of The Renegade Diet, and since I get so many questions about Carb Back-loading, I’ll give you another sneak peek with the Back-loading review below. Note that I make a few references to Kiefer’s other book, The Carb Nite Solution, which really helps you understand the science of Back-loading better. My e-book includes a thorough review of Carb Nite as well, so when you read it, your understanding of Back-loading should be more complete.

Hope this helps answers your questions.
 


Carb Back-loading

It’s a fitness magazine editor’s dream: tell people they can eat all the bad food they want and gain muscle while losing fat simultaneously. That’s essentially the promise Kiefer makes with Carb Back-loading (and the reason I’ve given him various assignments for Men’s Fitness and Muscle&Fitness). Again, he delivers. Unlike The Carb Nite Solution, his primary fat-loss protocol, Carb Back-loading is suited to people who lift weights and are looking to bulk up while staying lean. The main principle behind it violates one of the major guidelines nutritionists have been pushing for years—eat most of your carbs in the morning and taper them throughout the day. In this protocol, you’ll “back-load” your carbs, eating the bulk of them at night.

About The Author

His real name is John Kiefer, but he prefers to use his last name alone. If you think that’s a right reserved only for a rock star, I agree with you, and fortunately for him, Kiefer is just that. I’ve never met a guy who was so consumed with research. He reviewed over 20,000 articles from scientific journals to form his opinions. This is really saying something, since he makes his living marketing fitness to the mainstream, which doesn’t care about hard science. More importantly, Kiefer wants to interpret that research correctly, so he reads studies in their entirety and analyzes how they were conducted, on what population they were done, and whether the methods used were valid. He has a highly analytical mind, so it’s not surprising that he’s also a physicist and writes software. From Kiefer’s website, carbnite.com:

“Physicists develop a large number of skills during their work, the most important of which is the ability to gather, decipher, and form a theory to describe a mind-boggling number of facts. Perhaps even more important: physicists need to find the answer simply because the problem exists.”

With his egghead background, you might expect Kiefer to write a book that’s insufferably scientific, beating you over the head with jargon and formulas. Thankfully, he doesn’t, and as I’ve found over the years, the smarter the expert is, the more simply he can explain his ideas. Kiefer also matches his research library with an equally impressive record of practical experience, having worked with several clients of all fitness levels and with all kinds of goals for more than 15 years.

Does Back-loading work for women? Look at Julia Ladewski’s progress. She’s a powerlifter, strength coach, and busy mom.julia

 

How To Do It

1. Deplete carbs. Consume no more than 30 grams of carbs per day for five to 10 days. This is optional, but depleting carbs first will heighten your sensitivity to them and allow them to be better stored in your muscles.

2. Schedule your weight training in the afternoon or evening (if this isn’t an option for you, I’ll explain what morning trainees can do below). When you wake up in the morning, you can have coffee with or without heavy whipping cream, but if you choose to eat breakfast, you must not consume carbs.

3. Every meal from this point forward until after you train will comprise protein and fat sources (green vegetables are ok, too). The sources are yours to choose, and it’s hard to go wrong. Bacon, whole eggs, sausage, and cheeseburgers are all fine. Keep your carb intake very low until after your workout Kiefer has written meal plans where a tomato is allowed at lunch, plus any incidental carbs you pick up from veggies or nuts and seeds.

4. After lifting, which should ideally fall between three and six p.m., have a post-workout meal of protein and carbs. Kiefer suggests a protein shake with rilose or dextrose powder (simple sugars), which digest very quickly, but says that sugary fruits like a mango or three ripe bananas can work as well. You need about 30–50 grams of carbs and 20–40 grams protein. The same supplements Kiefer recommends on the Carb Nite program apply here as well—Blend H and leucine are perfect after the workout. While Blend H is formulated to allow you to get an insulin spike without ingesting carbs, combining it with carbs for Back-loading intensifies the insulin response, setting the stage for greater muscle gains. (Remember, too, that Carb Nite’s purpose was to prevent muscle loss, and Carb Back-loading is aimed at maximizing growth without fat gain.) You can also add five grams of creatine to the shake for an even greater effect.

5. About an hour after your post-workout meal, begin eating carbs ravenously. I’ve seen specific meal plans that Kiefer has written for his clients, and the instructions actually state, “Splurge and don’t worry about anything.” What more do you need to hear? Eat like he recommends on a Carb Nite—burgers, pizza, and ice cream. Just be sure to get some protein in with each meal (this is where protein shakes comes in handy). While you won’t count calories or grams on this program either, Kiefer still recommends getting about a gram of protein per pound of body weight. He also says it’s not uncommon for people to eat up to 400 grams of carbs in an evening and still lose body fat.

6. The next morning, evaluate yourself in the mirror. If you look lean and hard, you’re on the right track. If you look soft and bloated, you overdid it with carbs and should be a bit more conservative the next night. That’s really how he judges progress—a simple mirror test.

7. If you have to train in the morning, schedule your day like this: Wake up, drink coffee, then train. After training, have a small serving of carbs (a scoop of carb powder or two bananas) with protein, and then eat protein and fat foods until the evening. If you trained at seven a.m., begin eating carbs around six p.m. Because your feast is so far removed from the workout, your muscles can’t soak up carbs as effectively, so, unfortunately, you’ll have to be more conservative with your food choices. You can still have a few slices of pizza or a burger with fries, but beyond that, you should stick with sweet potatoes and brown rice. Eat carbs liberally until you go to bed.

8. On days that you don’t lift weights, limit your carbs to a single, conservative meal in the evening. A sweet potato or some rice at dinner, or a small dessert.

Because Carb Back-loading contradicts so much of what fitness enthusiasts have been taught over the past few decades, many are skeptical of the science behind it. The truth is, it’s pretty solid. Kiefer grants that there are studies showing that muscle is more insulin sensitive in the morning, but, he points out, so is fat. Eating carbs in the morning may cause a good portion of them to be stored in fat cells, so he gets around this by having you fast or drink coffee, which has a way of curbing hunger and shutting down fat cells.

Keeping carb intake low throughout the day not only keeps the body in a fat-burning state but also amps up the sympathetic nervous system—the mode that’s responsible for the “fight or flight” response to stress. In other words, when you go to train, you’ll be clear-headed and sharp—ready to attack the weights as if your life depended on it. Kiefer says you’ll even be able to recruit muscle fibers better, and you may see an immediate increase in your lifts. Afterward, your muscles’ sensitivity to insulin is high because they’re damaged and need repair, but your fat cells are less sensitive (especially if you’ve taken caffeine). So while it’s true that insulin sensitivity lessens as the day goes on and you’re more likely to store fat if you eat carbs late in the day, resistance training turns the tables. For this reason, Carb Back-loading can’t be practiced by sedentary people who do no weight training.

If you’re still not convinced there’s something to this, Kiefer has plenty of testimonials for you. NPC bodybuilder David Hewett raves about it. And elite powerlifters Jesse Burdick, Jason Pegg, and Brian Carroll have all benefited as well (Carroll and Burdick have even achieved single-digit body fat percentages—a rarity for someone not competing in physique competition).

Elite lifter Jesse Burdick didn’t get to look like this by eating oatmeal and egg whites in the morning.jesse

 

What I Like About It

It’s fun! Almost every day feels like a “cheat” day on this plan. You can eat all sorts of heinous foods without worrying how they affect your waistline. And again, as with The Carb Nite Solution, you don’t have the stress of having to count anything. If you’re the type who can’t stick with a regimented plan, this is as good as it’s going to get for you.

It works fast. Even if you don’t use Kiefer’s supplements or follow the program to the letter, you’ll still see results quickly. My assumption is that consuming carbs at night is such a departure for most people that the shock it provides to the body alone is enough to speed the metabolism and see fat loss. At least that was my experience.

It fits perfectly with a busy schedule. Even though I just stated that it’s a departure for most people, Carb Back-loading is at the same time just a few steps removed from most people’s ingrained habits. (They just happen to be crucial steps.) Most of us tend not to wake up feeling hungry, but we eat breakfast anyway because everything we’ve read says we should. Or maybe we drink coffee and skip it like Kiefer says to but we start eating carbs much earlier in the day than we ought to. Because we work from nine to five, we typically only get a meal at lunch and then tend to eat most of our calories at dinner or afterward when we have free time after work.

Now imagine if we just fasted or ate protein and fat in the morning, kept carbs to a minimum, trained at night, and made a point of carbing up after the workout. It’s a matter of making a few gentle tweaks to a routine we’re already comfortable with. That’s a lot easier than trying to adopt a more standard fitness diet where you’re eating five small, well-balanced, and “clean” meals throughout the day, beginning with a large carb-laden breakfast.

What To Consider

Like the Carb Nite plan, it may not be healthy long-term. I can picture the pundits at the American Dietetic Association looking aghast at Kiefer’s meal plans. As anyone familiar with bodybuilding diets knows, there’s a distinction that needs to be made between losing fat healthily and just losing it. There’s a difference between performance nutrition and health nutrition.

Eating sugar- and fat-rich foods can certainly aggravate blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but if your body fat is going down, one can make the argument that you’re still improving health. While I think Kiefer’s general tenet of consuming carbs at night is a great guideline to follow for the rest of one’s life, extreme feedings of junk foods shouldn’t be maintained for long periods. That’s just common sense, and Kiefer doesn’t argue it. If you’re concerned about eating too much junk food, stay instead with cleaner carbs like grains and potatoes.

It’s hard to gauge progress without counting. The big advantage to counting calories and macros over the course of a diet is that it gives you some basic measure of how much you’re consuming, and you get a sense of how each kind of nutrient affects you. While Kiefer has rightly pointed out that calorie needs fluctuate daily based on a number of processes in the body, not counting anything can be like flying blind—especially if you’re a beginning dieter who’s not very in tune with his body or has no concept of how much he’s really eating. If you find you’re not gaining weight or getting leaner, you may want to start estimating how much protein and carbs you’re taking in and adjust accordingly.

On A Personal Note

I’ve had great success with Carb Back-loading, and have turned many others on to it who have also done well. We all looked and felt better within a week’s time. The scale goes up yet you look leaner in the mirror. Energy during workouts is never a problem, as some might suspect it would be without carbs beforehand. In fact, looking back, eating the standard ration of egg whites and oatmeal before training made me feel downright sleepy compared to going to the gym after a plate of bacon and whole eggs, or just black coffee.

There are other diets out there that bear strong similarities to Kiefer’s method, such as the modified Warrior Diet that Michael Keck has championed, and The Renegade Diet by Jason Ferruggia (discussed HERE). All of these approaches use fasting and have you eating most of your carbs at night, which I think are the take-home points. The rest is just details.

Eat this at night, and a lot of other stuff, and you’ll be fine.waffle

Further Reading
The Carb Back-loading e-book is available HERE. He generously gives away a considerable amount of information and strategy for this approach on his site, dangerouslyhardcore.com, and in various articles he’s done for fitness magazines and other sites. Blend H is available at proteinfactory.com. Leucine and creatine can be found at truenutrition.com, per Kiefer’s recommendation.

Comments

  1. Gravatar

    29 May, 2012

    Jon Stewart

    Great summary of the book Sean, it can be a pretty dense read at times so the bullet points really do help cement some key tenets.

  2. Gravatar

    29 May, 2012

    ziga

    Good read, but why the brown rice instead of white on off days? Wouldnt that keep insulin elevated longer?

  3. Gravatar

    29 May, 2012

    jason

    I've done carb back loading with some success, but with my personality type I do much better monitoring calories (i'm totally addicted to fitday) After reading this, and Kiefer interviews, i think I have enough info to undergo Carb Nite correctly. Thanks sean! (btw is the Strength Accumulation version of CBL the unloved middlechild?)

  4. Gravatar

    29 May, 2012

    steve

    awesome summary, you mentioned that the book is free? where can i find it for free?

  5. Gravatar

    30 May, 2012

    Clement

    Hi Sean, your recommendations about am training differ from those in your interview with Kiefer, in which he states that backloading should be done the night before, not on the night of the training day itself. Are both acceptable, and is backloading on the night of the training day geared more towards fat loss, since our activity level would be higher on that day (to compensate for the higher caloric intake) and the backloading is done more comservatively?

    I train in the mornings and personally prefer backloading on the night of training days, myself. I just feel better with carbs after training.

    Also, I am not blowing the diet as long as I keep my carbs in the day below 30g, am I right? So I could eat any type of carbs, a piece of apple included, as long as my carb intake before 6pm is below 30g?

    Thank you for your time, and sorry for all the questions. These are the minor details that I'm lacking in understanding the diet fully.

  6. Gravatar

    30 May, 2012

    Clement

    Hi Sean, your recommendations about am training differ from those in your interview with Kiefer, in which he states that backloading should be done the night before, not on the night of the training day itself. Are both acceptable, and is backloading on the night of the training day geared more towards fat loss, since our activity level would be higher on that day (to compensate for the higher caloric intake) and the backloading is done more comservatively?

    I train in the mornings and personally prefer backloading on the night of training days, myself. I just feel better with carbs after training.

    Also, I am not blowing the diet as long as I keep my carbs in the day below 30g, am I right? So I could eat any type of carbs, a piece of apple included, as long as my carb intake before 6pm is below 30g?

    Thank you for your time, and sorry for all the questions. These are the minor details that I'm lacking in understanding the diet fully.

  7. Gravatar

    30 May, 2012

    Brad

    Hi Sean,

    How does this work if I got to train like 9pm at night, finish before 10.30pm and sleep by 12.30am?

    After drinking a post workout shake at 10.30, I would usually have 1 more meal (around 11.30) before sleeping. Does this mean I will have to backload a ton of carbs in last two meals? It will also make me hard to 'splurge' since it is late at night.

    From what I read, carb backloading sounds awesome and I wish to try it but I am just wondering how this fits my schedule.

    Thanks for reading.

    Rgds
    Brad

  8. Gravatar

    30 May, 2012

    Sandstorm

    @Clement:
    From what I've read in the FAQ, the ULC part of the day and breakfast skipping both serve the main purpose of accelerated fat loss in the absence of insulin. Why would you want to hinder that? Stick to the green veggies/low carb foods that won't cause significant insulin response. Just my $0.02

  9. Gravatar

    31 May, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Jon,
    Thanks. And I love The Daily Show! :-)

    Ziga,
    Brown rice would keep it up longer but white spikes it higher. This is individual tho. I've back-loaded hard on off days as well as training days. I think you need to experiment.

    Jason,
    For the purposes of a quick review, I didn't get into the strength accumulation vs. mass gain, and they weren't in Kiefer's original writings which I based most of the review on when I first wrote it. The difference is mainly amount and not as much type of nutrients.

  10. Gravatar

    31 May, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Steve,
    MY e-book will be free. Kiefer's is not. The guy has to make a living! And no one would be foolish enough to give away this much quality scot free. Except possibly me.

    Clement,
    If you train in the morning 2 DAYS IN A ROW, you back-load the night of the first day and not the second. If you train one morning, back-load that night. Or not. Again, this is something you can play with. If you handle carbs well, back-load your ass off.

  11. Gravatar

    31 May, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Clement,
    Don't eat an apple or any kind of carb thinking that as long as it's less than 30 grams you'll be ok. You really should be aiming for ZERO carbs. There are TRACE carbs in veggies and other foods that you are likely to eat that slowly add up, and that is why you have a buffer of 30 grams.

    This is IMPORTANT. Aim very low for carbs. You'll probably clock in at around 30 no matter what.

  12. Gravatar

    31 May, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Brad,

    I'm not exactly sure. I think you should try to eat a ton of carbs before you go to bed, unless you think that will affect your sleep or wake you up to pee in the middle of the night.

    On the plus side, I don't think you'll ever have to worry about getting fat doing this. If you want to gain a bunch of mass, consider back-loading on the off days to get more calories/carbs in overall. That is what I would do.

  13. Gravatar

    31 May, 2012

    Ziga

    Sean, would oats do instead of brown rice?

  14. Gravatar

    31 May, 2012

    steve

    thats why i had to ask, i was surprised that he'd be giving away such a book

  15. Gravatar

    01 Jun, 2012

    Chuck

    Sean,

    Thanks for breaking this down so clearly. What about someone like me who lifts weight occasionally, but am a triathlete and training hard cardio every evening--does carb backloading not really work then?

  16. Gravatar

    01 Jun, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Ziga,
    It's the same effect as brown rice. A moderate insulin release over a long period.

    Chuck,
    I just wrote an article for Stack.com that touches on this and will be out soon. Because you burn so many calories with your training, I think you can back-load pretty frequently. See if you can train on 0 carbs and then eat a ton afterward.

  17. Gravatar

    02 Jun, 2012

    Mike

    Sean,

    I was just wondering during the ULC preworkout part of the day and on off days for SA, is it necessary to keep it under 30g total carbs or just under 30g net carbs?

    Thanks!

    Mike

  18. Gravatar

    02 Jun, 2012

    DerSchwabe

    Bla Bla Blubb

  19. Gravatar

    03 Jun, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Mike,

    Forget about "net" carbs. Everything that isn't fiber counts and it must be under 30.

  20. Gravatar

    04 Jun, 2012

    Gus Q

    Sean,

    Although hard for me to fathom I understand no carbs even pre-workout but what about a pre-workout shake with coffee? Thinking of giving this a shot but worried about not having energy for my workout.

    Thanks,

    Gus

  21. Gravatar

    05 Jun, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Gus,

    You can do a pre-workout shake as long as it's carb free. Coffee is a good thing to include. Be careful if you're using whey tho. Only about 10 grams or a half scoop. You don't want insulin to raise.

    Forget about having no energy for training. This is one of the biggest myths in fitness history. If you're Mr. Olympia and going into the gym for a 2-hour leg blast, or Lance Armstrong about to bike 20 miles at high speed, then I'd say some carbs MAY be in order. But 99% of us don't need them. We need to recalibrate our bodies to burn fat and use carbs only for recovery.

  22. Gravatar

    07 Jun, 2012

    Trey

    Sean,


    If I'm lifting 2 days on, 1 day off every week, am I back loading every day that I train?

  23. Gravatar

    07 Jun, 2012

    Gus Q

    Sean,

    I also drink Scivation Xtend during my workouts and mid-morning for BCAA's (also just to add some flavor to water) should I cut this out or is it ok because it is carb free? I thought I read in one of your transcripts with Keifer that leucine could spike insulin...

    Thanks,

    Gus

  24. Gravatar

    11 Jun, 2012

    silas

    If I train 3 evenings in a row would I cbl after all three training sessions?

  25. Gravatar

    13 Jun, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Trey,

    Yes.


    Gus,

    If you drink it before a workout, stop. Only in the post-workout period.


    Silas,

    yes.

  26. Gravatar

    20 Jun, 2012

    Brady

    I've been doing CBL for quite some time now and I absolutely LOVE IT!! The CBL Book is a great read and very in depth! I don't know Kiefer but to all those of you asking all the questions just go buy the book, it's worth it and if you follow the diet you'll see results! And be able to eat the "fun" things!!

  27. Gravatar

    26 Jun, 2012

    Paul

    Sean,

    I train twice a week, is that too infrequent for CBL to work well?

    Paul

  28. Gravatar

    02 Jul, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Paul,

    It may be too infrequent to really see results from your training, but it's probably ok. Just back-load on those days only.

  29. Gravatar

    05 Jul, 2012

    Sam

    Hi Sean,

    Just a quick question and I would be grateful for any help.
    I'm a teen on summer break, I still train and lift religiously 4 times a week, but my free time means I sleep in relatively late and stay up to around 1AM each night. I usually get to the gym around 11AM/12PM, and finish around 1/2PM. Where would carb back loading fit into a schedule such as mine? Would it be ok to eat as many carbs as I like in the normal method, or would I need to adjust in a similar way morning lifters do?

    Any help would be appreciated, my goal is to gain around a stone in body weight while keeping fat minimal, and so CBL has interested me a lot but I am quite obsessive and strict with my diet and so would like to know I am doing it correctly.

    Regards,
    Sam.

  30. Gravatar

    09 Jul, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Sam,

    Use the morning schedule. I would also try to get to bed earlier.

  31. Gravatar

    10 Jul, 2012

    Samo

    Hi Sean
    I've just started to CBL.
    I like to train am and pm 5 times a week.
    I only eat my carbs after my 7pm workout
    But I have a 10am post workout shake with min carbs.
    I'll also have a whey protein shake around 2pm
    With as little carbs as possabol.
    Is this ok?
    Thanks for your time
    Sam

  32. Gravatar

    10 Jul, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Sam,

    Are you training in the morning and that's why you're having the shake at 10am? And then you're training again at night?

    Only have around 30g carbs after morning training. Lots more after night workouts. If you're doing two-a-days, I would forget back-loading and eat carbs regularly.

  33. Gravatar

    10 Jul, 2012

    Samo

    Hi Sean
    Thanks for the fast reply and help.

    After the 10am post shake I'll eat 3 more small protein and veg meals.

    One of those meals is a whey protein/low carb shake.
    Do you think this is a ideal meal or will it course a insulin spike before my 7pm session.

    Thanks again

  34. Gravatar

    13 Jul, 2012

    Jesse

    Hey Sean,
    I workout in the morning and was wondering if whey protein in my post-workout shake will spike my insulin the same way that carbs do? If so, what alternatives to whey? Also, you say to add a "scoop" of carb powder to post morning workout shake. Approx how many grams would that be? Thanks for your time!

  35. Gravatar

    13 Jul, 2012

    Jesse

    One more question,
    When depleting carbs you say 10 days with

  36. Gravatar

    13 Jul, 2012

    Jesse

    One more question,
    Keifer says 5-10 days for depleting carbs to start. You have written 5-10, but also 10 in other articles. I am 6' 180 lbs looking to add muscle. I handle carbs pretty well. What should my depleting duration be?

  37. Gravatar

    13 Jul, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Samo,

    No, that's ok.


    Jesse,

    you want an insulin post-workout, and whey will help with that. About 30g of carbs in the post-workout shake if in the morning. That's probably a scoop for most brands.
    It's up to you but to be safe go 10 days 0 carb. Can't do better than that and it won't hurt.

  38. Gravatar

    19 Jul, 2012

    Mimi

    Hey Sean,

    I have tried an intermittent fasting protocol before and realized that I am a breakfast person. So is it ok to have protein and fat for breakfast or would it negate the carb backloading effect?

    Also, I'm doing 2 HIIT session per week in the morning. Is it ok not to have carbs after that (just protein and fat)?

    Thank you!

  39. Gravatar

    19 Jul, 2012

    Mimi

    Sorry, one more question.

    During the recalibration phase, do we just have whey protein as a PWO shake after working out? Or shouldn't we work out at all?

    Thank you so much!

  40. Gravatar

    23 Jul, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Mimi,

    Breakfast ok, no carbs tho.

    No carbs after HIIT.

    Yes, train and have whey. You can also have leucine and hydrolysates (whey or casein).

  41. Gravatar

    04 Aug, 2012

    onur

    hi sean,

    im starting this diet on monday so i would be doing 10 days of depletion..
    so what could i eat to make my 30g of carbs ? is oats okey ?

  42. Gravatar

    05 Aug, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Omur,

    No. Read all my back-loading posts again or buy Kiefer's book. You should aim for as few carbs as possible. The 30 grams is a max and takes into account vegetables and other incidental carbs you can't avoid.

  43. Gravatar

    07 Aug, 2012

    Moff

    Sean,

    I'm about to start CBL, just had a few questions.

    1. I normally weight train 3/4 days per week so I fully understand the CBL procedure for these days, however I also play soccer so I have 2 days per week of cardio training, what should I do on these days? CBL as usual or not?

    2. Is there specific workouts that you would suggest or is this pretty open as long as you are going heavy.

  44. Gravatar

    08 Aug, 2012

    turku

    Hi Sean,

    I'm an ordinary girl (healty BMI with around 12-13% fat, a management consultant and work a lot) and though I have like three different gym memberships I rarely do more than an hour or two of power yoga session a week that could count as training - that probably sounds sinful when compared to all heavy-lifters and trainers here but let's just say that this is a case that won't probably change :D Apart from this my only daily physical activity is that I walk at least 30-40 minutes every day to work and back home.

    Yet I read a lot and came across with this diet (and Renegade too) and I thought this is JUST for me. I love black coffee in the mornings and feasting works just well for my tight schedule. I also need to be alert ALL the time during the day for my job so for the past three days it feels great. By the way although carb-back-loading suggests that it's ok to eat carbs during night I'm smart enough not to take in more than 10-20 grs a day and I usually limit my kcals to 1000 - 1100 a day since I do not workout.

    So, do you thinks this schedule would still allow me to loose body fat? AND Is this healty or just too much/too less?

    Thanks a lot!

  45. Gravatar

    09 Aug, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Moff,

    The workout doesn't really matter as long as it's weight training with reasonably heavy loads. Go to stack.com and read my CBL article for athletes.


    Turku,

    If you're not lifting, I really can't recommend CBL. You won't handle the carbs nearly as well. Renegade Diet would be better, but I would still go easy on the carbs.

  46. Gravatar

    12 Aug, 2012

    ricc

    hey sean

    im at 5% bf right now 196 is this ok

    meals through out thr day protein, cocnut oil 1 tbls per meal, broccoli, ( if its legs or back ill have some carbs with the meals.)
    430-pre workout 1 scoop whey hydrosolate, 4 tbl mct, 2 scoops bcaa, caffeine or pre workout,then train 30-60 min later
    pwo- 2 scoops whey hydro- 200 carbs no fat!
    1.5 hours later at 7-8 pm i do the back load
    I eat till im almost full but not bloated! 300-400 g carbs
    question is if im hungry again 2.5-3 hours later should i eat agin? if so is it more junk?

  47. Gravatar

    12 Aug, 2012

    ricc

    also I train hard and heavy 4-5 days a week should i do the back load on lifting days and do low crb and have 1 meal of lo glycemic carbs on off days later in the day?

  48. Gravatar

    13 Aug, 2012

    Karen

    To be sure this is right for me, my question is in reference to #4 in your post:
    during the 10 days I will still lift weights so on those days, my carbs should be post work out and include my 30 carbs which can be 2-3 bananas....and...here's the question...about 30 grams of protein like a no carb high protein shake? But on carb nite after this post workout meal, then I start my back loading?

  49. Gravatar

    13 Aug, 2012

    Karen

    So instead of C4, just black coffe pre workout and I can eat cheese on this?!!!

  50. Gravatar

    14 Aug, 2012

    James

    Hello! I like taking Assault for a pre workout around 7:30pm before I train (Approx 15 carbs). Is this alright? My diet throughout the day is protein/fat/and usually either kale, brocoli, or spinach. My main concern is the pre workout. For my post I use Recon and 50 grams of whey isolate. Is this good too?

  51. Gravatar

    16 Aug, 2012

    Brandon

    Sean,

    I've read most every blog/article on back-loading, and am still unclear as to off day back-loading. If I train Mon-Wed, take Thursday off, then train Friday, would I be back-loading after my session Wednesday? Or am I low carb after the session Wednesday, and back-loading Thursday evening in anticipation for Friday's session? A lot of blurry info. I know Keifer has said back-loading is "not so much for recovery from the day's session as it is for anticipation for the next.." but it's also said to backload on training days. Thanks

  52. Gravatar

    18 Aug, 2012

    Bob

    A quick question. If i work out two days in a row, how should the back loading scheme look? Back loading both nights then?

  53. Gravatar

    19 Aug, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Ricc,

    Yes, eat again. Also, I wouldn't do the hydrolysate before training.
    If you want to gain weight, a carb meal on off days is a good idea.

    Karen,

    No. Forget about post-workout carbs for the first 10 days. That 30g total is for the whole day. You will exceed it if you have bananas after a workout and continue to eat food the rest of the day.
    Cheese is fine.

    James,

    If you're doing this diet, you shouldn't have carbs before training. Your post shake sounds fine.

    Brandon,

    This depends on your goals and you need to fiddle with it. If you want to gain weight, more b-loading is in order. If you want to lose or maintain, do fewer days.

    Bob,

    Yes, if training at night.

  54. Gravatar

    23 Aug, 2012

    Serge

    Hi Sean,

    I read your great summary review of Kiefer's book here and on www.stack.com and I also read the brief intro that Kiefer gave on his website etc.

    I would love to try the CBL but I just want to know if it suits me. I'm a 35-year old male weighting at around 160 pounds at the moment. I used to do weights for years (without going to extremes in training just training to failure most of the time and going home. I was not using any supplements except for protein shake after training) just for myself).

    About a year ago I stopped doing any weghts training and turned to martial arts. Not competetive, just for myself, but nevertheless its very intense. I am doing about 3-4 sessions of mixed martial arts (boxing, thai boxing, bjj, wrestling) per week, always in the evening at about 5-7 pm for two hours straight on most sessions. As you understand the training itself is mostly cardio+drills+sparring+strenght and conditioning and burns I'd say at least 600 calories per session (I lost about 5 kg of fat (I hope) in the last six months.

    My eating schedule at the moment will be mostly a sandwich and a couple of boiled eggs in the morning (~7am), then small porridge as second breakfast (~10am), then lunch (pasta or rice with meat+veg) at 1pm, then a couple of fruit or yogurt in the afternoon at ~4pm, then a small porridge or an oatmeal bar right before the training at ~6pm if training at 7pm (for energy although I know I might not need to eat it and still have energy). After training it's always whey protein mixed with orange juice. Then an hour after it's an average protein/carb meal (recently I have cravings for carbs/yogurts/cottage cheese).

    What I have noticed in the last few months is that I eat loads and I had ripped significantly but that I am not gaining any weight even though I tend to eat like a horse. I know what you would say - how can you grow bigger if you don't do weights, which makes perfect sense. But I am just wondering if Kiefer's or Renegade programme suits martial arts practitioners, is there any benefit in them for us, will it help to stay lean and add lean mass, have more energy for training etc. And if yes, does the programme have to be adjusted in any way.

    Thanks very much for your reply.

  55. Gravatar

    05 Sep, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Serge,

    Yes, to gain weight you need to do weight training. That's really the answer to your question. Either diet will work but until you address the main problem, you're not going to gain weight. Your body isn't being given a reason to add muscle.

    Both of those diets can suit martial artists. Renegade diet might control inflammation better and help you recover faster, but you'd need to experiment.

  56. Gravatar

    18 Sep, 2012

    Max Manlay

    Hi Sean,
    I have been on my prep phase for a couple days and feeling leaner, so a great start for me. I have a question about AM Nutrition, I have in my kitchen coconut oil (solid format). what can I have this with in the morning if I am fasting till appx. 12 hours after y previous meal finished digesting...
    Thanks

  57. Gravatar

    25 Sep, 2012

    Sara

    Hi Sean,

    I have just started the prep phase and had a question about the fasting period. I train around 3 or 4, eat dinner around 6 and am in bed by 9 because I get up at 5 for work. So I have protein and fat and coffee at around 6 am. Is that long enough after my last meal? Some days I don't eat dinner until later, like 7-7:30. Since Cortisol peaks around 7 am, which is usually when I start work, am I not getting the full benefit by eating around 6am? Any suggestions? Thanks!

  58. Gravatar

    01 Oct, 2012

    Sean

    Hi sean. On the depletion phase do i take any carbs at all after a training session ?

  59. Gravatar

    22 Oct, 2012

    Paletasala

    HI Sean

    just started CBL
    Can you take mass gainer for post work out shake since it will absorb fast my ,carbs intake are ZERO till time to load,and will this store fat around the waist.

    Cheers Pale

  60. Gravatar

    22 Oct, 2012

    Daniel

    Great article, was introduced to CBL by a lifting buddy.

    My question is that I thought that you need to constantly eat meals throughout the day to lower insulin buildup, won't the first 10 days break that rule? Also, I'm so used to eating 6 meals a day.

  61. Gravatar

    01 Nov, 2012

    Sean Hyson

    Max,

    Coconut oil is good to cook with. Make eggs with it or put it in your coffee like you would cream.

    Sara,

    You could experiment with eating later, yes.

    Sean,

    No carbs during depletion.

    Pale,

    If it has carbs, it's fine post workout.

    Daniel,

    That science is old and has been disproven. You CAN eat that frequently but it isn't necessarily any better than many other methods. With CBL, it doesn't really work.

  62. Gravatar

    13 Nov, 2012

    Akira

    This a well summarised carb backloading article.

    This plan seems to work great for busy people who can;t manage to organize a proper meal during daytime.

    I can't help to notice that cheeseburger is ok to consume before working out. Isn't white bread restricted during low carb hours?

  63. Gravatar

    14 Nov, 2012

    Christopher

    Sean,

    Thanks for in depth review, it was very helpful.

    I’ve been lifting pretty seriously for 17 yrs, I am a healthy guy in good shape, certified trainer and got my BS in Kinesiology so I know a decent amount… but I am a fat kid at heart so this is perfect for me. I can be srict all day at work and then cheat a bit at night..

    I did CBL a few months ago, but reading more and looking back I realize I was not as strict as I should have been. (I did a pre-workout shake with carbs and did not do the initial “recalibration”) But it seemed to work anyway, maybe it was because I was just more strict on my diet, but regardless I put on about 5lbs of muscle and lost 2% body fat in a month or so…

    So my question is, I decided to try it again and plan on being super strict this time… but is the whole 10 days of “recalibration” necessary, or can it be less?

  64. Gravatar

    25 Nov, 2012

    Jack

    hey sean, just got the carb backloading ebook an it has been extremely useful to me but i have one question, i play basketball and box on consecutive days, does this count as resistance training? cuz i remember e said something bout certain kinda of training like crossfit, p90x or mike mentzer training not moving the tGlut cells or something, thanks

  65. Gravatar

    30 Nov, 2012

    Spencer

    So I have a backloading question. I am density bulking and train 3 days a week (sometimes 4). If I train on say Monday evening, would i still backload Monday nite even though I am taking off on Tuesday? Also, on Tuesday nite should I backload for Wednesday evening's training session, just have a single carb meal, or go sans carbs?

    Now let's say I train on back to back days (Mon and Tues). So I carb backload Monday nite after training and then do I carb backload after tarining on Tuesday or not since I will have an off day the next day on Wednesday?
    Last but not least if I take off for the weekend (Sat and Sun) and plan to trian on Monday, should I backload on Sunday nite for Monday's evening session or not?

    I am really confused as what to do on off days, so here's what I'm doing now:
    Off-Days 180g Protein, 180g Fat, 200g carbs (in evening)
    Training Days: 130g P, 30g Fat, 600g carbs (post-training till bed).
    My total cals for each day is around 3200 ( I am 174 trying to get to 180)
    The only differnce in each day is my macro distribution.
    Am I doing this right? (FYI I have the CBL book..just confused)

    THANKS! ;)

  66. Gravatar

    05 Dec, 2012

    Josh

    Hi Sean, just wondering how much carbs should i consume on backloading days per KG bodyweight. (i prefer to keep track of how much carbs i'm taking in). I'm 78kg and been trying to get in atleast 300g of carbs during the backload on training days.
    Thanks!

  67. Gravatar

    31 Dec, 2012

    jaga

    hi sean,
    Been doing CBL, but want to bulk. Am 165cm and 53kg.I gym 3x MWF and cardio everyday for 20mins. What should my daily Macros be?

    Thanks;]

  68. Gravatar

    31 Jan, 2013

    adamzulkafli

    That is a thorough research. I tip my hat to you! I did write an article about carb backloading recently about caffeine andnicotine gums for muscle enhancement. It might add some value here Carb Backloading- How To Burn Calories With A Cup Of Coffee And Stay Fit!

  69. Gravatar

    11 Apr, 2013

    Nelson

    Hey Sean,

    Great review of Kiefer's book. I've been with my finger on the "Enter" key to buy the CBL for some time. I think I'll finally do it, in no small part thanks to your review.

    I do have one last question (or set thereof) though: Have you tested yourself after being on the CBL, or heard of anyone that has? If so, how are your (their) stats, such as all cholesterol levels, triglycerides, glicose levels, etc? As you said in your review, lowering the fat level in the body does definitely do wonders for all of these markers, but I'm wondering about the "ravenously eating carbs at night" part. Especially since you can eat anything.

    Thanks for any info and, again, kudos on the review.

  70. Gravatar

    21 Apr, 2013

    Sean Hyson

    Akira,

    You could eat the cheeseburger without the bun. We're talking about just the burger here.

    Christopher,

    Recalibration isn't absolutely necessary but is recommended. If you train very consistently and hard, you may shorten it by a day or so. I think it's better to do it strictly and wait 10 days. If you weren't strict enough before, make up for it now.

    Jack,

    That's not enough. You have to lift weights for this to work right.

    Spencer,

    Back-load after the first workout and then again after the second one, not in between.
    You only eat carbs the night before training if you're doing it in the morning.

    Josh,

    You could go a bit higher with the carbs but that sounds ok.

    Nelson,

    My last blood test was a few months after starting CBL and I was totally fine. Nothing had worsened since the last time. To my knowledge, everyone else on CBL claims the same. However, it's common sense to assume that eating pizza and ice cream regularly will EVENTUALLY cause some problems, so I wouldn't do CBL with JUNK food forever. Just like with workouts, give it some time and then try something else.

  71. Gravatar

    03 Feb, 2014

    Ali Kuoppala

    Nice review man! I got a few questions about that diet, I saw on another Carb Back Loading Review that Kiefer himself has used CBL for years? are you aware of this, and was it on the book at all?

  72. Gravatar

    05 Feb, 2014

    carl

    Lol you state you felt sleepy on egg whites and oatmeal before working out. Derr lol Of course you will. You had no protein to go with it.
    Eating nay carbs releases serotonin in the brain which makes you feel sleepy. Thats why you need protein to create dopamine which makes you feel awake.
    I'm glad you showed a basic lack of understanding in these things because like this diet it is rubbish.
    1. You cannot get as intense workout without carbs as someone who has (Fact). Has research into sorts science showed you nothing?
    2. Your body and brain needs carbs thought the day to function properly. Mostly for memory and cognitive function. NOt to mention organ function.
    3. Blunting your insulin is like putting putty in all your organs. When you do spike it with glucose it will be massively inefficient and therefore not be assimilated as easily into the muscles etc.
    Fact, all fads come and go and all are unhealthy.
    Eating a high protein/fat/carb diet with a carb spike post workout (if you really need) will always be the healthiest way for you to live, long term and short term.

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