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Carb Backloading

Posted Dec 05 2012 10:41am

Carb Backloading Question from Facebook:

I’m in great shape right now, thanks to your advice and all your info, but notice your talking about this carb back-loading thing. You don’t think that actually works do you? I went to the site and it sounds like another “fad diet” to me. - Scott

Does Carb Backloading Work?

Scott, define “what actually works?”

If you simply mean… does this crazy sounding program carb backloading by John Kiefer that I’ve been following almost to the letter for 2 month, that has all these typical before and after shots plus the marketing pitch of eating junk food on the sales page really build muscle or burn fat like they claim?  In a minute, I will talk about some carb backloading results from my own experience if that would help.

Then Yes but there’s more to the discussion.  Here is my personal Carb Backloading Review.


Carb Backloading

Carb Backloading Cliff Notes:

Being the experimenter I am, I purchased the Carb Backloading book based on a friend’s recommendation.  At 327 pages, it’s probably one of the shorter ebooks on a fitness protocol I’ve read.  The spacing is nice, the font is large so you can breeze thru it in a day.  But I highly suggest re-reading the text several times as the first pass, you miss a lot of subtle but very important points, recommendations and tips.

  • Shift calories to later in the day
  • Eating lighter in the morning and early afternoon, and
  • Feast at night
  • This may include skipping breakfast

Almost every bullet point above in the concept of carb backloading, goes against what I’ve been taught and almost all mainstream nutritional advice.  It’s not that they are wrong, it’s just a different way of thinking and using a concept of nutrient timing to accomplish body composition changes.  Furthermore, the carb backloading protocol utilizes the time of day and insulin to spur growth.

Personal Carb Backloading Results in 32 days:

  • Start 178 lbs at 11.9% body fat
  • End at 192 lbs at 14% body fat

Carb Backloading Schedule:

My chosen carb backloading schedule was to Density Bulk on every day (even non-training) so some fat gain was unavoidable.  My strength increased on almost every lift.  My energy levels were high.  I was not hungry at any point or felt the urge to eat (that low blood sugar urge I seemed to get when I was eating 5-6 meals every 2-3 hours that included carbohydrates).  I trained in a “fasted” state (not hungry) but slammed the carbs starting with the post workout shake on wards until bedtime.  I kept my back loading windows to about 4 hours.

Carb Backloading on Off Days:

This is where you use the program as a guide but you tweak it to your needs over time based upon your results.  Depending on your initial level of body fat, you can density bulk every day, even on your off days.  This is a bit different from the Strength Accumulation option which simply says, on your off days, you don’t back load.

There’s a lot of info in the above paragraph that probably makes very little sense.  The plan is so simple it’s stupid!  There’s no workout that comes with it as it assumes you have that piece of the puzzle.  And while there is a carb backloading workout, you could do a number of bodybuilding programs that deplete your glycogen stores and get the same if not better results.

What About Carb Backloading for Morning Training?

You’ve heard somewhere that it’s not possible or doesn’t work.  That the time of day dictates the outcome of this program.  While Kiefer recommends late afternoon/early evening training, carb backloading can be tweaked to morning training routines.  Maybe you won’t get the best effects, but the concepts work and you can adapt it to such a schedule.  There’s a section in the book called “Nobody’s Perfect.”  John Kiefer outlines what to do in these type of situations to make the program work for you.

Now here’s some food for thought from another critic on the subject who’s never tried it.

“I just went to that site “Dangerously Hardcore” and I find it hard to believe not to mention the before and after photos are complete garbage. Marc, you are into this  carb backloading stuff, do you call bullshit the claims John Kiefer makes or are they legit? I think you were trying this system … Also, he says he eats cheeseburgers and fries? I mean come on man. Great that you can eat that, or want to eat it, but if you are serious about fitness you really shouldn’t consume that kind of garbage.

Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with tracking your diet, more American’s should get in the habit of this. Instead they pay more attention to the release date of new apps, “smart phones”, and when dancing with the stars is coming on TV. I also love how proud he is that he does no cardio. Who is this guy? America needs to do more cardio from my observations of the general public. They also need to pay attention to what they eat.”

Let’s be clear friend, carb backloading is NOT nutrition advice for the average mass seeker or person who’s looking to have a nice and neat healthy lifestyle.  This is performance nutrition and the lines get blurred.

The average person should indeed:

  • become aware of what they are eating
  • should do more activity (weight training over spending hours spinning on a bike)
  • steer clear of refined products, processed foods and things considered junk

Carb Backloading isn’t meant for the person who’s chubby and has random gym experience.  John Kiefer wrote a previous book called The Carb Nite Solution to address people looking to lose weight and fat as a primary goal.  This is for a different class who’s not pigeon-holed into definitions of health or what it means to “be healthy.”

I Ask You to Define: Healthy

People are quick to say “that’s not healthy!  That’s junk!”  But without the proper context of how the food or items are being used, it’s absolutely meaningless.  A handful of jelly beans after an intense workout cannot be compared to eating a bowl of fruity pebbles in the morning before school.  However, most people label and define on a broad scope without any second thought as to what they are defining and in what context.

Here is my carb backloading meal plan for your use as a template or to critique.

My own thoughts on Carb Backloading are quite simple.  It is by far the best mass gaining program (nutrition) I’ve ever used up until this point.  In no other time in my life have I gained 20 lbs with a majority of that being muscle.  It took me over a year to go from 175 to 190 in the past and it was with many more meal sessions, less productive workouts and a feeling of being stuffed all the time.  I experience none of that on carb backloading.

Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding

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