Here we go again! It’s nutrition experiment time. I’ve talked about this mini experiment I’m doing in several posts, but if you’re new and just need a general overview, check it out here.
If you’ll recall, I already did a month of Intermittent Fasting (IF), which I actually loved. The past few weeks since then have been a very loose interpretation of IF, in which I haven’t been too strict on my hours of fasting/eating, but I have been consistently continuing my fast through the mornings until after I work out. And you know what? Surprise, surprise, I haven’t been feeling nearly as good as I did when I was strict about the 16/8 fasting/eating times.
I think it was actually working for me. Who knew.
But now it’s time for the next phase of my experiment, and that is 4 weeks of Carb Back Loading (CBL). I purposely stacked IF and CBL one after the other because they are very similar, especially when following the LeanGains style of IF, which I was doing. I want to take today to just give you all a quick overview of the weeks to come and what I expect out of it. Hopefully I enjoy this as much as IF, and can find some way to combine the two when this is all said and done!
Click on the picture to link back to the CBL Site.
What Is Carb Back Loading?
CBL is a style of eating developed by John Kiefer, based on his extensive research about the way our bodies utilize carbohydrates, and how we can optimize this through nutrient timing. I’m not going to give you all the details, because if you want to learn all about this style of eating, you really should check out Kiefer’s downloadable PDF. I invested in it, and I’m glad I did, because I want to be able to do this the right way, and not just half-ass it. The basic premise of CBL is that carbs should be almost exclusively eaten at night, directly following a night time training (heavy lifting) session. And when I say carbs, I don’t mean whole grains. The rules actually tell you to eat the junkiest carbs possible — those with high glycemic index scores. One of Kiefer’s favorite suggestions? Cherry turnovers. I know, I know, I didn’t believe it or understand at first either, but after reading the e-book, it is actually starting to make sense.
The science behind this is related to insulin sensitivity and your body’s natural clock when it comes to fat burning. It is designed for people who lift heavy and train at night, but there are ways to modify this for those who train first thing in the morning (such as myself).
Essentially, I will be training fasted (as I have been doing for the last month and a half), and will eat a meal with fat, protein, and a small amount of carbs directly post lift. I will then eat only trace carbs throughout the day until dinner time, which is where it get’s a little more fun. On nights when I will be lifting the following morning, I will be actively CBL-ing, eating things like white rice, bread every once in a while, and carb-y desserts, even ice cream! (Well, let’s be real, it’s not like I avoid ice cream now). On days when I’m not lifting the next morning however, carbs have to remain trace at dinner as well. This also means that on days when I’m not training for 2 days in a row, both of those days will be very low carb all day.
What Am I Looking Forward To About CBL?
Well duh — the food obviously. But more importantly I’m looking forward to some structure in my diet. As I said before about IF, I don’t forsee this as being something that I would be 100% strict with until the end of time, but for a month? Sure, I’ll give it a go. I think my CBL nights are going to be glorious, and I’m probably going to end up eating a good amount of FroYo and animal crackers. (I don’t know why I love animal crackers so much, but I do, and I never eat them). Take Monday night for example. We had some leftover mini whoopie pies that I had made for easter… you better bet that I had one (or 2) of those, and loved every second of it! Carb me up!
What are the challenges going to be?
There will certainly be challenges to this. The times when I am supposed to be extremely low carb are going to be difficult. I don’t eat a high-carb diet, but being asked to slash it even lower than I am used to (I usually eat around a 40-30-30 carb-protein-fat spread) will be tough. I’m going to have to be super vigilant about planning ahead, especially when I need quick meals for work, because most of my usual grab-and-go meal options have a good amount of carbs in them. One other thing that may turn out to be a huge challenge will be figuring out my limits. I am not going to be able to eat as much on a CBL day as a 250 lb guy who deadlifts 500 pounds, that’s for sure. I will need to find a balance between getting in enough useful carbs to take advantage of this program, and stuffing my face just because I like cake. (I mean, I really like cake.)
My long term goal is still to lose about 3-4% bodyfat, so I will be bummed if I start gaining body fat while on this plan. Of course it won’t be the end of the world, but it sure as heck could be the end of my experimenting with CBL. Again, finding that balance will be key, as will really trying to stick with optimum nutrient timing.
Whew. This could get exhausting!
As with IF, I’ll keep you updated periodically throughout the month. I’ll also keep a log of what I’m eating, how I’m feeling, etc. and will give you all an overview of my experience once my four weeks is up. I’ll also let you in on any body composition changes that may or may not happen over this time.
Wish me luck!
Have you heard of Carb Back Loading? Does it sound like something you’d want to try?