Thursday, February 21, 2013

The "carb-backloading" experiment

So, there's this guy named John Kiefer. He is a physicist and has figured something out: if you go low-carb/ketogenic most of the day, work out by lifting heavy shit in the late afternoon and then eat the hell out of good-for-you carbs, you will lose body fat and look more ripped than you do now.

Now, it is all more complicated (and maybe, in some aspects, more simple) than that. There is a book, and a website, and you should read both of those, particularly if you want to dial this plan in at the highest level. (And, by the way, why yes, you *can* pull this off if you work out in the morning, but that requires minor adjustments).

But let me tell you something: you can get pretty damn good results -- in terms of body composition, even less between-meal hunger than standard paleo/primal, and generally feeling awesome -- just by lifting heavy and "partitioning" your carbs in two ways. First, don't eat any carbs other than green vegetables before 5 pm. Yes, you read that right. No fruit. No nuts. No Larabars. No carbs at all, except the little bit you get from green veggies. Secondly, if you worked out that day, stuff in the (good) carbs that night. Really... Eat the hell out of them. White rice, sweet potatoes, ripe bananas, ripe plantains, white potatoes. Stuff 'em in. The next morning, don't eat breakfast right away. Drink black or "bulletproof" (coconut oil and grassfed butter) coffee, and eat later in the morning once you are actually hungry.

If this sounds a little like intermittent fasting crossed with a ketogenic approach during the day crossed with a whole lot of glorious eating at night, particularly on workout days, then yeah, you would be right-on with that observation.

What this whole deal does is spike your insulin post-workout, allowing your muscles to employ all those carbs you are stuffing in for use in building more muscle. It also helps you burn fat.

Now, there are *tons* of extra angles to this. The book is science-y as hell. Technically, if you are a work-out-every-other-day guy like me, you are better off loading the carbs in the night *before* your workout, not after, and if you work out in the morning, that is doubly true. Oh, and the carbs you eat at night while backloading? Well, let's just say that some people (not me) go pretty far off the paleo reservation with those. (I believe the phrase "Fruity pebbles have no gluten!" is uttered by Kiefer at one point in one of the videos. And yeah, even I have eaten a little more post-workout Ben & Jerry's in the last few weeks than I used to.) If you want to get in that deep, really... read the book and scour the website (and YouTube) for more info.

But you don't *have* to follow the book and website perfectly to get decent results. Yes, if you are trying to look like a bodybuilder, go do everything exactly the way Kiefer tells you in the book and on the website. But if, like me, you just want to burn some fat and feed your muscles, so you look a little better than you do now, try lifting heavy (but you were already doing that, right?), partitioning your carbs solely into the post-5 p.m. window and eating more of those carbs the night right after a workout. Ketogenic all day, carby at night, particularly post-workout. It is pretty simple.

Just by doing that, my results have been awesome. I feel great, wake up with pretty great abs for an old guy, never get crazy hungry or feel the need to snack, and I am sleeping really well. And I feel stronger and more energetic at the gym.

I like it. Thanks, Kiefer. It's pretty damn cool. And maybe, just maybe, I will go the whole nine yards eventually and follow the book and website to a T. But even this much has gotten me great results.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I may have to try this!! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Carb Backloading is awesome! Btw, don't do it without the carbs, that's a must! Btw, check out my blog here. I have written my own personal experience with Carb Backloading, Hope u don't mind me sharing with your readers.Carb Backloading Info