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Muscle for life

Does Carb Backloading Work? A Scientific Review

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Does Carb Backloading Work? A Scientific Review

Is carb backloading a powerful weapon for transforming body composition? Or is it just another fad?

 

Like intermittent fasting, carb backloading has exploded in popularity over the last few years.

The pitch is pretty alluring, too: according to carb backloading’s main proponent, John Kiefer, you can use this unorthodox style of eating to lose fat and build muscle while over-indulging in your favorite sugary carbs, 7 days per week.

It sounds pretty awesome but is there any truth to it? Is carb backloading any better than traditional dieting?

Let’s find out.

Carb Backloading 101: The Method Behind the “Madness”

Does Carb Backloading Work

In case you’re not familiar with the carb backloading diet, it’s fairly simple:

  • You eat light during the morning (which may include skipping breakfast) and early afternoon hours, and feast at night.
  • You eat little-to-no carbs until after your workout, which should be later in the afternoon (5 PMish).
  • Your carb intake begins with your post-workout meal and it continues throughout the evening.

According to Kiefer, the most well-known promoter of carb backloading (I wouldn’t say the creator of the method though, as the idea has been around since Arnold’s time), this style of dieting takes advantage of the natural daily fluctuations in insulin sensitivity in muscle and fat cells, as well as the exercise-induced increase in insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.

You see, research shows that insulin sensitivity in both muscle and fat cells is higher in the morning than the evening, which means that both muscle and fat cells will be more receptive to glucose earlier in the day. This is good in the case of muscle (more glucose absorbed into the muscles = better performance in the gym), and bad in the case of fat (more glucose absorbed into the fat cells = more fat storage).

The basic premise of carb backloading is you use these mechanisms to your advantage by not eating carbs when your body is most able to store them as fat (early in the day). Instead, you eat carbs when your body is most likely to store them as glycogen in the muscles (later in the day, after working out).

The post-workout point is important: you use weightlifting later in the day to deplete glycogen stores and increase insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells, but not the fat cells, so when you then start eating carbs, your body preferentially shuttles them into the muscles, not fat cells. 

That’s the theory at least. And while it sounds pretty cutting edge and Kiefer lists dozens of studies to back up his ideas, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But before I get to that, let’s briefly review a few of the positive aspects of carb backloading.

Carb Backloading Helps Break the Mainstream Dietary Trance

carb back loading

Those stuck in the festering swamp of bullshit fad diets are misled to think that losing fat and building muscle are much trickier than they really are.

Instead of being taught the truth about healthy weight loss, they’re sold on all kinds of scientifically bankrupt (and in many cases, debunked) principles revolving around food restriction, meal frequency, starvation, worthless weight loss pills, and more.

Carb backloading can help you escape the maze of mainstream dietary nonsense and show you that proper dieting, whether your goal is weight loss or muscle growth, is nothing more than hitting daily macronutrient targets. What you eat to get there doesn’t really matter. That is…

When we’re talking body composition, WHAT you eat and WHEN isn’t nearly as important as HOW MUCH.

Carb backloading also fits certain people’s lifestyles nicely. If you train at night, you might enjoy eating your entire day’s worth of carbs afterward. I wouldn’t (I also wouldn’t enjoy having no carbs throughout the day), but that’s me.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

Carb Backloading’s Shaky Scientific Foundation

carb backloading diet

Despite the impressive roster of studies cited to back up the theory of carb backloading, it’s just that until proven effective in randomized controlled trials. Sometimes things just don’t pan out in vivo as they appear on paper, and correlations in epidemiological research are not causations.

Well, there are two such studies that are commonly touted as definitive proof that carb backloading is more effective than traditional dieting for building muscle and losing fat.

The first study compared the effects of eating 70% of daily calories in the morning vs. the evening on body composition. 10 subjects were placed on a six-week weight loss (calorie restricted) diet, and the group that ate the majority of their daily calories in the evening lost more fat and less muscle than the morning group.

While the design of this study was strong–food intake was strictly controlled and exercise was a structured routine consisting of cardio and resistance training–the sample size was quite small (10) and, more troubling, the notoriously inaccurate method of total body electrical conductivity was used to assess body composition.

The second study was published in 2011, and consisted of a 6-month program wherein Israeli police officers ate about 1,500 calories per day, with one group eating carbs throughout the day and another eating the majority of carbs at dinner. Researchers found that the evening group lost more body fat than the control group and enjoyed greater levels of satiety.

While this study sounds really promising for carb backloading, it has several major flaws:

  1. Calorie intake was self-reported, which opens the door to major inaccuracies.
  2. Protein intake was very low considering the average weight of participants:  75 – 90 grams per day with an average weight of about 215 pounds. This isn’t enough to maintain muscle mass, and is far less than you or I would eat.
  3. Subjects weren’t exercising, which is a major part of the carb backloading theory. The key isn’t just eating carbs later in the day, but eating carbs later in the day after your workouts.
  4. The evening group only lost about 5 pounds more over the course of 6 months. That’s hardly indicative of a revolutionary dietary method.

Furthermore, there are several RCTs that show that carb backloading is no better than traditional dieting when it comes to losing weight and preserving muscle:

  • This study found that calorie intake in the morning or evening didn’t affect weight loss or body composition parameters.
  • This study demonstrated interesting results: subjects that normally ate breakfast lost more weight skipping it and eating the majority of calories at dinner, whereas subjects that normally skipped breakfast lost more weight eating breakfast every day. Researchers chalked this up to greater levels of satiety and thus better dietary compliance.
  • This study showed that splitting up calories into 5 equal meals per day eaten between 9 AM and 8 PM, eating all calories in the morning, or all in the evening, didn’t affect weight loss parameters or body composition.

While the available research does indicate that eating large amounts of carbohydrates at night can help with overall satiety and thus dietary compliance, there just isn’t any compelling evidence that it does anything special in the way of maximizing fat loss and muscle growth.

Carb Backloading’s Sketchy Sales Pitch

john kiefer carb backloading

If carb backloading were being sold as nothing more than another way to make meal scheduling fit your lifestyle, should you prefer its prescriptions, it would be fairly representing itself. That’s not how it’s sold, though.

Instead, you’re told that with it you can build muscle and get an awesome six pack without counting calories or doing cardio, and you’ll get to indulge on junk food every day (this isn’t even optional–you’re instructed to!).

Yes, you can lose weight eating foods you like and it is possible to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously, and no, you don’t necessarily have to do cardio, but the only way you can do these things is by maintaining a calorie deficit and training properly–not trying to hack the body by following strange dietary routines.

The idea that you can maximize fat loss by keeping insulin levels low throughout the day, and that you can eat only protein to do this, including whey protein isolate, might sound good, but it just doesn’t pan out.

While it’s true that insulin regulates lipolysis (the process whereby the body releases energy stored in fat cells for use), any additional fat loss caused by lower insulin levels throughout the day can be negated by the fat storage resulting from when you do actually eat.

This is just how the body works–when you eat, it uses the food for immediate energy and it stores a percentage of the excess energy as fat; and once it finishes using and absorbing the energy from the meal, it turns to its fat stores for energy until the next meal.

So sure, by eating fewer calories throughout the day and keeping insulin levels low, you’ll lose more fat during that period than if you had been eating throughout it. But, that evening, if you then eat (in calories) what you would have eaten throughout the day, you’ll end up with the same result in terms of weight loss or gain.

You just can’t “hack” the body’s energy burned vs. energy consumed mechanisms by playing with meal timing or frequency.

Also, it’s worth noting that protein consumption causes insulin levels to rise as well. In fact, whey protein is more insulinogenic than white bread. If you eat protein every few hours, your insulin levels are going to remain quite elevated throughout the entire day.

There are other oddities in the carb backloading theory. For example:

  • Kiefer states that training at night results in a lower cortisol response, which helps you build more muscle.

Research shows otherwise, though: this study demonstrated that cortisol response to weightlifting is positively correlated with muscle growth. And while this study isn’t the final word on the matter, there is no valid evidence that I know of demonstrating that a lower cortisol response to exercise results in greater muscle gains.

  • Kiefer states that you need to stick to high-glycemic carbohydrates so insulin levels rapidly spike and return to normal before bed for optimal growth hormone production.

While, the jury is still out as to whether elevated insulin levels interferes with growth hormone production while sleeping, it won’t interfere with muscle growth one way or another–growth hormone isn’t anabolic like testosterone.

Furthermore, if you’re eating hundreds of grams of high-glycemic carbs a few hours before bedtime, you can be damn sure your insulin levels won’t have returned to baseline levels by the time you fall asleep. Just 35 grams of sugar is enough to raise insulin levels above baseline for a few hours, and a mixed meal of 75 grams of carbs, 37 grams of protein, and 17 grams of fat will elevate insulin levels for several hours (5+ in the study cited).

The bottom line with carb backloading is if you like eating on that type of schedule, you can do it without harming your metabolism or health. But it is not the magic pill for muscle growth and fat loss like it’s sold to be.

 

What did you think of this review of carb backloading? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • DevilDevine

    and yet another load of complicated bullshit when the truth is so simple! Everybody wants everything so damn fast these days it so sad! I like the way you write man so straight to the point and it really feels like you are talking to the reader face to face. Keep it up and rise above the bullshit:)

    • Michael Matthews

      Agreed brother and thanks–I really appreciate it.

  • A

    I am a former carb-back-loader and I approve of this message.

    • Michael Matthews

      😉

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  • Duayne Levan

    You know, everything can be manipulated in order to ‘prove’ that something works or doesn’t work or is proven or not. However, the proof is in the results at the end of the day. If the carb back loading or cycle diet works for someone and the get the results they are after, nothing else matters does it?

    • Michael Matthews

      Very true but many times people don’t understand WHY something is “working.”

      For instance, many people believe that cutting carbs down to nothing is the only way to lose weight when what they don’t realize is all they are really accomplishing by doing this is creating a calorie deficit.

      Can you make CBL work in terms of building muscle or losing fat? Absolutely. Does that mean it’s better than traditional dieting? No.

      • john k

        you dumb fuck, you have everything wrong – Kiefer

      • Stesha

        “all they are really accomplishing by doing this is creating a calorie deficit.”
        Yes, to lose weight, cut calories. Now to lose fat while simultaneously gaining muscle, carb-backload works by manipulating your metabolism.

  • YoungBane

    I was also a “former” Carb-Backloader (and I admit I do eat most of my carbs towards the end of the day), but I switched over to “Flexible Dieting” and tracking macros about 8 weeks ago. I have been pleased with the results. While I agree with your review, I will defend Keifer on one point: He does admit that whey protein isolate can cause an insulin spike and therefore recommends limiting the serving to 5-10 g, a few times per day. Just wanted to be fair!

    Overall though, love this site and its awesome advice – keep it coming. Thanks!

    • roman

      Kiefer also says the same about excessive eggs consumpsion .. and another thing he mentions is that you dont need to eat carbs to get an insulin spike.. just with post workout supplementation is possible.

      • Michael Matthews

        Thanks for the clarification.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the clarification! I was just going off the downloadable book itself but I’ve heard that he has clarified/changed points.

      Not sure what 5 – 10 grams a few times per day is really going to do for you though.

  • Felix

    Kiefer (and Jason ferruggia on the renegade diet) says that whey protein shake should be limited around 10 grams because it can raises insulin levels. And he also mentions that you can get an insuline spike after Workout just drinking a shake with whey protein and leucine (so you dont need to eat carbs post Workout to get and insulin spike..
    Im not saying CBL is a good diet or not.. But you have said thinks that arent in the book.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the clarification. I’m not sure what 10 grams of protein a few times per day is really going to do for you.

      CBL is built around post-workout carb feasting…

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  • Iain

    Great article, I was looking at carb backloading , but was a bit unsure of it. This has made up my mind. One thing that Kieffer does suggest also is an Atkins style diet for quick fat loss. One question would be, is it better to use this style of dieting so that you can get onto bulking quicker?

    • Michael Matthews

      Recent reviews of very low-carb dieting shows that they may help some people lose a bit more fat, but IMO it’s not worth it considering how shitty your training is and how generally miserable you feel, heh.

      • Kevin M

        If you have done oh so much reading why not list some of your sources that back up your claims that CBL does not work

  • USMCVet96

    Sooo…. You bash without science to back yourself although accusing someone else of the same, just to sell your pile of shit book?
    Guess that’s what you have to do when no one has ever heard of you.

    Douche. Stand on the results of your system and it’s science/results instead of trying to bash someone elses work.

    I dont follow CBL, but this kind of editorial advertisement is everything that is wrong with the entire industry you bottom feeding Fecal Leach.

  • Pedro

    Another fad that makes people do this whole fitness thing more difficult than it has to be.

    • Michael Matthews

      Basically.

  • Pedro

    Fitness is awesome when you start to enjoy it 100%, hitting numbers everyday, being stronger wvery week, and building muscle or losing fat eating foods you like and feeling great. I hate fads!

    • Michael Matthews

      I agree!

  • Peter

    Thanks for the great article. Paragraphs like this really highlight an area that I have sought clarity on:

    “So sure, by eating fewer calories throughout the day and keeping insulin
    levels low, you’ll lose more fat during that period than if you had
    been eating throughout it. But, that evening, if you then eat (in
    calories) what you would have eaten throughout the day, you’ll end up with the same result in terms of weight loss or gain.”

    Isn’t it true that our body burns calories differently pre-workout vs post-workout? Post-workout, the muscles are starved for glycogen, so food eaten post-workout first restores glycogen, and then leftover excess calories are turned into fat. If you reversed the order and ate before the workout, at the end of the day you would have more fat and less glycogen (assuming all else is equal, and the amount consumed is the same in both cases).

    I don’t know to what extent that is true, and I don’t claim it makes carb backloading work.

    Or maybe your exercised muscles retain their insulin sensitivity until your next meal, be it an hour later or a day later, and the only difference is how long you are in a glycogen-depleted state?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Peter!

      No, it doesn’t burn calories differently. It burns MORE due to the “afterburn” effect, and it can replenish glycogen stores faster. Protein is used as it always is and dietary fat is primarily stored as body fat, as it always is.

      While it sounds logical that you could “hack” your body by eating all carbs in that post-workout meal, it doesn’t work out that way in practice.

      You got the reason right: when your body’s glycogen stores are low, it will always use carbs to fill them back up before storing fat. The post-workout “window” only affects the rate at which the body does it. It doesn’t regulate the overall mechanism.

  • Marissa Georgiou

    Interesting point about whey protein and insulin! When I started taking whey religiously (often twice a day) and immediately post workout I started getting bad acne. I switched to a non-whey variety and it is clearing up! Whey doesn’t cause acne but the effect it has on insulin can exacerbate it if you are predisposed to it. I’m careful to space my carbs out through the day so I don’t have massive spikes.

    • Michael Matthews

      Interesting! Are you sure it’s the insulin effect and not an allergy to whey?

      • Marissa Georgiou

        I can’t be sure, but I don’t have any other reactions after whey. I find a once off has no effect on me but frequent use does. I am not sensitive to dairy in general either. I learnt about insulin response through a website called acne Einstein. All I know is that I’ve stopped and the skin is clearing. There’s not a lot of research though.

        • Michael Matthews

          I see. Do you get the same reactions from other insulinogenic foods like high-GI carbs?

  • Stu

    I’ve been doing carb back loading for a few weeks. While I am pleased with my progress, I am frustrated with how I feel during the day when I’m low carb, particularly if I’ve gone a day or two without carbs. I even did the 10 day ultra low carb reorientation phase to become “fat-adapted”.

    I will give it a few more weeks for a n=1 evaluation but I hear you on just feeling ultra miserable low carb. What’s weird is that I did a low carb diet years ago (when I trained more!) and felt great.

    • Michael Matthews

      I totally understand. I really do hate how I feel on a low-carb diet. Training sucks, low energy levels, mentally distracted, etc.

      • Kevin M

        Sounds like your a bit of a baby not to being able to go w out carbs though out the day , everything you speak of is based on your opinion only

    • Kevin M

      Takes a few weeks to adjust , up until this long your body has been using carbs for energy , where as now it uses first your own body fat and then after the fasting period fat is your source , try and keep the protein the same for all your meals and start to increase your fat intake , just like you would have eaten carbs for energy . The fats now replace that
      I’m on wk 3 and feel and look amazing

  • lll

    I’ve done CBL for 3.5 months now – to the letter. Went from 17 to 18 arms and 178 to 195lb. I’m the leanest I’ve ever been as well. So it DOES work – and work well.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great job! An inch on arms and 17 pounds in 3.5 months AND leaner? Anabolics or?

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      • eythor

        Michael I’m not sure what you gained out of making this negative article about carb backloading but me my self Iv’e lost 1% body fat and gained 9kg (around 18-19lbs i think) in 5 weeks and I have just started working out basicly its my 4th attempt on trying to get bigger and Iv’e tried the traditional dieting which made me fat as fuck when I tried to bulk and had to put way too much effort into cooking all these healthy meals and eating every 2-3 hours all for as little as 5lbs of WEIGHT not necessarily muscle in 5 weeks….. now read what I said one more time and tell me these hormonal hackings doesn’t work 😉 …. BTW first time I ever got my body fat % to 6% I did IF for about 6 weeks and gained alot of strenght meanwhile, I was training jiu jitsu and boxing at that time

        • Great job on your progress. That’s awesome. The point of this article isn’t that you can’t accomplish anything with CBL, it’s just that you can accomplish the same with traditional dieting. It doesn’t offer any major advantages.

          • Scott

            I just wish traditional diet didn’t mean you had to track macros if you want to achieve definition. It gets mind numbing after a while. If CBL can work for you and help you achieve desired results without needing to refer to MFP every time you eat, I can see the attraction. Emphasis on ‘if’.

          • You don’t have to track everything. I’m going to write an article on “intuitive eating” soon.

          • Scott

            I’d be very keen to read that. I actually did carb backloading as Kieffer prescribes in 2013. The depletion phase was pretty okay until one fateful Sunday evening when I played 6-a-side football. Let’s just say teams are often keen to pick me because I run and run and run. This time round though, my body felt I would be better off adopting a more pragmatic defensive approach i.e. stay back in defence and try not to move too much. In fairness, it was the second game that day but I usually play two games anyway. But I guess I should have adapted to suit the lack of carbs. The first carb back load was terrific, ate loads of carbs and woke up in the morning feeling and looking ridiculously lean. Lost 9 lbs as well during that depletion phase. But I got ill shortly after (unrelated, was a virus) and for whatever reason after I didn’t resume CBL. At least not that version, I ended up following the advice of someone who had their own version (no depletion phase needed, 50g of carbs in the AM instead of 30g, train when you want, carbs pwo regardless of time, carbs to come from low GI as well as high GI sources, on rest days keep carbs to post 4pm. Anyway, sadly tracking just got too much for me. I think the drawback to CBL is placing any sort of restriction on what you can eat and when can ignite the worst responses. If something is off limits, you may want it more than normal. And when you are allowed it, you tend to want to make up for lost time. And anything which tells you not to have oats and other great sources of carbs is unfortunate in my opinion. I love oats, especially with peanut butter. Plus I’d imagine on CBL fibre intake would drop drastically. Limiting veg to 30g in the AM and then I assume you couldn’t have any during a back load as you want the carbs to get into your system quickly rather than be slowed down by fibre. Anyway, sorry for that lengthy reply. I eagerly away your article.

          • The long story short is CBL is fine if you enjoy that style/schedule of eating. If not, you’re not missing out on anything.

  • MikeD

    I’ve been doing it for the past month or so. It sounded like a good option for people who have trouble controlling their calorie intake throughout the day. With CBL I can restrict myself during the day (skip breakfast, low carb lunch and snack, protein shakes pre- and post-workout) and then eat a huge dinner at night as a reward and still hit my targets. This is easier for me than eating small, well-planned meals throughout the day.

  • Rofl

    Bogus article. Bogus argument. Just bogus. And way to go in deriding the proponents of CBL because they believe it worked for them. It certainly adds to your credibility, and definitely supports your posturing as an unbiased reviewer. Sorry, are you a molecular biologist, endocrinologist, or gastroenterologist? What? NO? Are you a scientist, engineer, or medical professional accustomed to regular application of scientific method? Yawn.

  • Andrew Buchhalter

    Carb Backloading and Renegade Diet both work exceedingly well and have given me the best results out of any eating plan by a wide margin. For active, busy individuals, it makes the most sense to eat light during the day and to feast at night. Why put your body in relax, repair mode during the day while you’re active? I used to eat a breakfast consisting of eggs and oatmeal, and invariably, I would be exhausted an hour or two later. Since I started skipping breakfast and not eating until 12:00 PM, I’ve never had more energy and felt better. It might take someone a few days to adjust; however, once you’ve adjusted, you’ll have more energy than you could have imagined. I’m eating large amounts of white rice, potatoes, bread and other high glycemic carbohydrates at night and I’m leaner than I’ve ever been. People who dismiss many of the protocols and ideas in the book have either never committed to it or are simply ignorant. I was highly skeptical myself; however, I gave it a chance, and after a few weeks, the results were far greater than I had anticipated. The author states that he feels depleted when he doesn’t eat carbohydrates during the day; however, if he skipped breakfast (remained in flight or flight mode) and eaten sufficient quantities of carbohydrates the night before, he would have refilled his glycogen stores and had plenty of energy for the day. I work out fasted all the time and have never been stronger or had more energy.

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m glad to hear you’ve found something that works well for you! That’s really the key: eat on a schedule that fits your lifestyle and that you enjoy.

      My point with both CBL and IF variations is they’re often oversold as providing non-existent advantages over more traditional dietary routines.

      • sabretruthtiger

        Surely it’s not merely a matter of eating carbs at night, it’s eating carbs within the 2 hour window after a high intensity workout.
        Even ignoring insulin sensitivity the body is still burning calories after a workout. It makes sense.

        I agree, it sounds too good to be true, it fits too well with what I do now except that I consume sugar in my coffees, like some ice cream sometimes and have a big lunch involving carbs.

        I’ll give it a go and see how it pans out although I guess the plan assumes you workout every night which is too much for me. I work out 3-4 times a week so he doesn’t explain what you’re meant to do on the off days.

        • Michael Matthews

          While I do recommend loading carbs in your post-workout meal, it’s not a “game changer.” Check this out:

          https://www.muscleforlife.com/guide-to-post-workout-nutrition/

        • poohbearjohn

          Actually he does say what to do on off days, both if you are looking to cut or if you are bulking. He recommends you keep the carbs very low through the day if cutting or just do the normal bacloading without overdoing it if bulking.

    • Stu

      “People who dismiss many of the protocols and ideas in the book have either never committed to it or are simply ignorant.”

      C’mon, dude. This is a clown comment. Those of us who read and understand scientific studies (and not just the interpretations from those selling a solution) are not the ignorant ones.

      I’ve done CBL and IF — more energy? Ha!!!!!

      You want to know the honest truth why the protocol works for you? You’re in a calorie deficit, your body is good at oxidizing dietary fat and the eating pattern is simple (allowing you minimal stress).

      Happy for you though!

      • Michael Matthews

        Nice comment Stu. Thanks for sharing.

      • poohbearjohn

        Just read the damn CBL book, bro…bro… Even though this Kiefer guy kinda side skirts the precise question of calories in the book (which I just read cover to cover by the way and he acknowledges that it does not involve calorie counting), he has countless pages of references citing probably hundreds of studies that you seem to love so much. I always find it interesting how people selectively choose which studies to cite. Well…he cited hundreds. Just read the book before you make your clown comments about some one else’s clown comments. I am just starting to try it out. That’s what an honest person does – try it and not shoot it down because of your pre-conceived notions on what is right.

    • Kristian Hilljac

      agreed ….although overall deficit is key and appropriate macros. everyone is slightly different here….I have had amazing results using carb back loading….and yes going over my “calories” it truly works with the natural cycle of the body…just do not abuse this diet and pig out at night….I say forget studies…try it for a month:)

  • Ryan

    I am going to start off by saying there are many ways to get cut and lose fat; carb backloading is one of them and it works. I don’t know if you have read the book but he talks about how you’re body doesn’t store carbs as fat for 2+ hours after resistance training. This is what the diet hinges on, you’re muscles soak up all the carbs because the insulin spike brings tGLUT molecules to the surface of the cell. Without getting too scientific assuming you have put you’re body in the right conditions for the rest of the day, your body should not store the carbs as fat.

  • Joe LoRusso

    So I have a good question. Are you bashing CBL to promote your own diet book right under your written critique? The part where you wrote, “And that’s why I wrote Bigger…” There’s a couple of flaws with this critique. First one is, Kiefer actually recommends more of a ketogenic diet during the day. So high fat moderate protein. Not just protein alone. Which won’t cause an insulin spike. Second, one of Kiefer’s beliefs is that Calories in Calories out, the first law of thermodynamics, isn’t everything it’s made out to be. He believes more in the 2nd law of thermodynamics, in which you make your body more inefficient at burning calories, by proper nutrient timing. Big inefficiencies in metabolism can literally burn excess calories as heat. That’s the key ingredient. And lastly, he says over and over again, that you have to find out how to make CBL work for you. It’s not a cookie cutter program. He gives you the tools, you have to figure out how to make it work for you. And he tells you how in his book.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment! I’m not “bashing” it per se–I’m simply pointing out the problems with the theory and the over-hyped marketing.

      Yes I have my own books but I’m not claiming to have invented anything revolutionary, because it doesn’t take any gimmicks or unusual dietary or training methods to build a big, lean, strong body.

      Low-carb dieting offers no weight loss benefits:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/low-carb-diet/

      Insulin isn’t a problem:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/how-insulin-works/

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

    • eythor

      I aggree to you joe LoRusso…. I guess I wasn’t the only one who spotted that market leverage pulloff-attempt there

  • nicetry

    Some guy with 10 years of lifting is going to call bullshit on a physicist with much more knowledge under his belt. Yeah, I’ll believe you over Kiefer.

  • jeg

    Just a clarification on something. I’m not a CBL or CNS cheerleader, but I do have the books. One thing that everyone misunderstands is that, CBL is based on the person being in fat-burning mode. In other words, they have gone basically 10-14 days on 30g or less of carbs, BEFORE THEY even begin the backloading phase. His Carb Night Solution works the same way. Eat extremely low carbs for the first 10 days to be sure you are in the “fat burning” mode, not simply ketosis, then you have a 1 Carb day carb up in the evening. This one element that is not mentioned by people is probably why people aren’t getting the results that the program claims. I was on the CNS program for awhile, lost fat, then had to go on extended travel and that just ruined my progress :-). I didn’t go back, because I like carbs to much & now know how to use carbs effectively through this site and others.
    I just wanted to clarify though, because a lot has been misrepresented about Keifer’s programs. My 2 cents.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment!

      Ketosis isn’t “fat burning mode” as fat burning is wholly determined by energy balance. Low-carb dieting confers no special fat loss benefits:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/low-carb-diet/

      The weight loss people usually experience by cutting carbs is simply a reduction in water and glycogen in the muscles and, in some cases, fat loss caused by a calorie deficit (as many people overeat with carbs).

      • maverran

        ive been in a arguement for months with my friend who swears by low carb dieting , he has recommended it to a few of his friends and has had great results for them.. but the 3 points u bring up are the same 3 points i bring up all the time especially most people over eat with carbs then by lower the carbs they are actually now running calorie deficits

        • Michael Matthews

          Haha some people take their low-carb dieting real seriously.

          This will help you in your arguing. 😉

          https://www.muscleforlife.com/low-carb-diet/

          • Stesha

            Going from a carb heavy diet to a fat heavy diet (low carb), I increased my caloric load significantly (but reduced volume of food) and dropped weight. When you substitue fat for carbs, you are upping your caloric load significantly….

          • Not necessarily. It depends how you do it. If that’s the case it just means you were drastically UNDEREATING previously and have increased your metabolic rate.

            Check this out:

            http://www.muscleforlife.com/how-to-speed-up-metabolism/

        • poohbearjohn

          Well in case you haven’t heard I believe there is a popular study that showed where subbing protein for carbs under the same calorie counts resulted in weight loss.

  • Shelby

    I’m a current carb-back loader (woman). I’m the leanest I’ve ever been and I’m competing in a body building competition in 3 days! Love the program, but it’s something that does require you to read the book, in detail, to get the results you want.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s great! Good luck in your show!

    • Guest

      So Shelby, is the detail relating to specific foods to get the correct nutrition or specific body type/sizes?
      Surely you can just just eat little to no carbs during the day have a high intensity workout and then have a meal with a decent serving of carbs also involving vegetables for fibre ( a balanced meal) and it’s all good.

      Are there any other considerations or aspects you’ve found that you consider really important?

      Cheers

  • Byron

    Having read and your “Bigger Leaner Stronger’ and Kiefer’s ‘CBL’, I am in no doubt who’s method I favour. Sadly it’s not yours…

    Where should i start? From memory you recommend 40g of fat per day while dieting which in itself is ridiculously low. Your diet recommendations would not keep a dieter happy and are therfore flawed in the long term. Quite frankly your recipes are dull and motivate me to publish my own, far more enjoyable yet healthy options. Your training system is just a standard split with nothing special, new or unique about it. Tell me something i didn’t know, please… Your material reads as though you’ve skimmed Lyle, Norton, Aragorn etc. etc. and compiled a fitness list of greatest hits.

    The only worthwhile comments on this thread are from people challenging your views. Your response to them is to simply divert them to your other similarly dubious posts. Weak.

    I smell just another phony, average, fitness Joe trying to cash in with flimsy material and lame critique of others for the purposes of self-promotion.

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  • Stu

    So I tried Carb Backloading for my 2nd time. This time I gave it 3 months. Same experience as the first — day time hours are brutal, backloads are extreme.

    What do I mean? Low carb sucks — I feel lousy, distracted and hungry. Night time I gorge.

    While I gained a ton of strength and considerable muscle (I’m up 8 pounds — no way is this all dry muscle), I probably would’ve had the same results with a more even carb split throughout the day.

    Today is the first day I’m back to day time carbs. It’s like the skies have parted haha.

    • Michael Matthews

      I hear you. I would have a very hard time doing everything I need to do every day on no carbs as well. Especially mental work.

      Keep up the good work!

  • Michael Matthews

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:

    http://www.muscleforlife.com/signup

    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Paul

    Clearly late coming into this ha. I had a question about CBL. I train Muay Thai/kickboxing 3 hours a day 5-6 days a week mostly consisting of cardio with calisthenics as well. Would this diet suit what I do as I don’t do any weightlifting at all?
    Thanks

    • Michael Matthews

      If you like this type of eating schedule, sure.

  • Great article, Michael. I love how you cut through the BS.

    Would love to get your opinion on something related. What are your thoughts on the idea from this article recommending the shift of the majority of one’s calories to earlier in the day to minimize fat storage? Is there something to nutrient timing after all or do we still just not know?

    http://caloriesproper.com/afternoon-diabetes-and-nutrient-partitioning-2/

    • Thanks Mark!

      This article is really over-complicating the matter. Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/how-insulin-works/

      The reality is us fitness folk RARELY have insulin sensitivity issues. Exercising regularly and being lean is the key.

      • Thanks, Michael. So to summarize your position, would it be something like… meal/nutrient timing may impact fat storage for those with insulin sensitivity issues, but most “fitness folks” will see no benefit from meal timing and should just focus on their macronutrient goals for the day regardless of when those calories are consumed?

        • Basically. It would make sense to limit carb intake and eat the majority around workouts if you have insulin sensitivity issues.

          • Thanks for the response, Michael. Sounds like if you’re going to err on one side or the other, it would probably be best to just consume the majority of carbs around workouts. Appreciate the help!

          • Right. 🙂 YW.

  • Mike, I’m curios (and only answer this if you have time) how did you develop such a deep understanding of the human body, nutrition and training? I admire this very much.
    Have you studied in bits and pieces here and there and it all added up over the years?

    • Thanks Radu.

      Yeah I’ve just read a LOT of books and papers and such and continue to every week. It adds up in time.

  • TommyTee

    I’m going to give it a try after my 10 days of sports fasting (http://www.sportvasten.nl/new_language=en and the study I participated in last year: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ucr6skyv98uarl4/Fasting%20and%20exercise.pdf?dl=0), seems like a follow-up worth trying.

    From participating in the research I know that fasting in combination with exercise made my body better at burning fat for energy (check out the research, pretty cool stuff), while the body itself is naturally better at using carbs for energy.

    Without any scientific proof, it does sound plausible to me that if you switch often between periods of low calorie/lo carb and high carbs in combination with resistance training (like in CBL) , your body might also be able to switch more easily from burning fat to building (or maintaining) muscle.

  • J-nicolas Barròn

    studies studies studies…we’re all different, i did every diet, but weight my food for calories….come on thats bull shit! this diet works for burning fat, and its the best way i’ve tried! now go back to your supposely studies and continue telling shit to people only to sell a book or 2! we all love capitalism but this is pure bullshit

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  • Low body fat, just macros

    Thanks for this article. Once I heard of people talking of this “miracle” diet I knew it was BS. Tried convincing them that all it is, is a negative macronutrient spread (calories) and it doesn’t not provide enough protein to hit the macros. Why cut carbs before the gym? That’s like limiting The Krebs cycle thus limiting ATP. Unless you are using creatine or beta-alanine (which I doubt because of the ignorance of how food=energy) your workout would be rough and not 100% effective. This is just an excuse diet for those who want to eat unhealthy. A justification for dirty eating. This article actually used “science” instead of “bro science.” Only thing it promotes is diabetes it doesn’t take a monkey to realized if you eat little fat and eat less then 3500 calories a day and exercise you will lose weight pretty quickly. 1 Lb.=3500 calories -500 from exercise=a lb. A week which will be all day if you eat right. Understand the spreads! Thanks Mike for this article will share

    • Thanks for the comment! Most people won’t be able to lose weight eating 3500 cals per day though, haha.

      Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/healthy-meal-planning-tips/

      • Hasnaa El Massaoudi

        Hi thank you for your artical
        I m on the second week of crb and i want to ask you how many week can i see the results? I have fat on my bady and especial on my stomech and that maks me still afraid of eating much carbs whzt can you advise me thank you?

    • Don’t be Dense!

      3500 per day for weight loss? That’s a generalized statement, as is the idea that carb-back-loading will lead to diabetes. I would argue anyone who is doing this diet as an excuse to eat junk is destined for failure to begin with. On the flip side, I train and work with a few top tier athletes who utilize back-loading during certain parts of training and have achieved some amazing results. I’m not a CBL “fan-boy” nor would I ever suggest that anyone forsake all the other dieting tools out for CBL, but I’m also not discounting it as a very viable tool.

  • Scott

    Just a thought, if the ‘junk’ food aspect of CBL is what appeals to people, couldn’t they just eat normally and after a workout they could have something like a pizza, a doughnut, apple turnover, etc as part of a post workout meal? Even if just once a week or so.

  • Scott Davis

    Hello Michael

  • poohbearjohn

    Look, we have to admit here that both you and Kiefer are each selling competitive plans and I actually am in the middle of your first book. I don’t think that you gave credit where credit is due in my humble opinion. And I think you tried way too hard to debunk his methods to favor your own. Your notion that it is always purely a matter of energy balance is failed. You need to read a book called Why We Get Fat by a Gary Taubes I believe. This small book is a summary of a 600 page monster about why the energy balance is simply not right. I have my own, granted, uneducated observation on the matter and any thinking person will have to cede that I have a point: is 100% of the poop we crap out completely void of any calories whatsoever? I think not and therein lies the first and obvious flaw in the calories in calories out theory. Of course I would leave the rest to the scientists who claim that carbohydrates may be the reason why we are an obese society. Anyway, I have tried to be respectful and would appreciate your input. Juan

    • Honestly I don’t have much of a method to sell.

      I’m just telling people about what a century of metabolic research has taught us about energy balance and how macronutrients work into that.

      I’m not saying I’ve discovered anything revolutionary or have any “secrets” or “shortcuts” you know?

      You might find this interesting:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/why-people-are-fat/

      • poohbearjohn

        First, excellent post on why we are an obese country. I don’t doubt any of that is true and it makes perfect sense

        For the record, I bought your Bigger Leaner Stronger book and have not bought this Kiefer dude’s offering yet. I’m still a chunky guy just trying to learn the ropes but I’m doing okay. In the meantime, your book is damn excellent, but I am very interested in how the body might be using certain nutrients at different times, etc. That book on carbs I mentioned really opened my eyes as it is written by a science guy and even though you mentioned a century’s worth of research, I’m sure that this research is growing exponentially.

        Obviously your methods work, but I will also tell you that the day I decided to give up sugared sodas for diet, I immediately dropped 10 pounds without changing anything else in the slightest. When I moved to being more careful with carbs, another chunk of weight fell off but now I’m stuck and I think I have to resort to calorie counting because a Keto diet is a “HELL NAH” for me.

        Finally, perhaps that is my problem. In a busy world, people are always looking for shortcuts and secrets.

        Continued success my brutha from a more fit mutha!!!

        • Glad you liked the article and liked BLS as well.

          This is a good summary of nutrient timing:

          http://www.jissn.com/content/10/1/5

          There are some other things to consider but it’s a good place to start.

          Yeah drinking calories is just a horrible idea. Drinking a bunch of sugar is even worse.

  • Mike Dolanpalooza

    OMG, thank you for cutting through the BS. I’m so sick people latching onto the latest study-based fad. My response to anyone citing a “recent study” is, “when I see it in the New England Journal of Medicine you’ll have my attention.” Most modern studies are highly flawed. They lack sample size, controls and impartiality. Conversely, when someone actually applies science to a theory, is able to provide a scientific process for repeated, consistent outcomes (think vaccinations or cures) and it stands up to being challenged by a group of peers with expertise in the field in question, THEN is has merit.

    It’s really unfortunate that everyone is looking for the magic bullet. It’s also unfortunate that these flawed studies are touted mainly by people who stand to gain financially from them. It makes trying to improve your nutrition through online research like panning for gold.

    Mike

    • YW!

      Unfortunately there’s a lot of BS out there. You just have to look closely and see what’s credible and what isn’t.

      Panning for gold may be easier. :p

  • Thanks for this, Mike. I had no idea what carb backloading was. When I Google searched it and it came to this site, I knew you’d cut through the crap. Great work. Sounds awesome in theory but I think that all these fad diets are circumventory hacks to avoiding the thing we REALLY need to do in the gym and in life: work hard and eat well.

    Cheers,

    The Mid-Atlantic Lounge

    • NP. You’re spot on about the fad diets. Work hard and eat well, you’ll get results.

  • George Li

    Hello Mike. Do you think if I can use CBL to help increasing my powerlifting numbers? Is the part in CBL about crazy increment of Kiefer’s deadlift number true? Also, if my goal is maintain my current below 10% physique, achieved by following your BLS for 1+ year, thanks, and increase my numbers on squat, deadlift and bench press, do you think CBL is the right thing for me? If not, how about I do it once a week on my cheat day, because I hate holding back on my cheat days. Lastly, can I eat all high glycemic carb if I follow your method of cheat day in BLS?

    • You can give it a try if you’d like but I wouldn’t expect anything special to happen…

  • Jenny Hudson

    See here for very speedy weight loss. http://www.amazingaus.com/exercise-for-losing-weight/

  • scott claremont

    Would not the “science” be to do it for yourself for at least 3 months? If you see results then you must say that something is correct. Did you do this?
    I did it for about that long as saw great results. Muscle fullness, strength gains and my waist size stayed the same. I don’t think he advocates eating “junk” carbs these days, occasionally is ok but mainly eating rice and potatoes is what he recommends now for your carbs at night, I believe.

    • The problem is many times what you THINK is producing results isn’t the actual reason something is working.

      For instance, many people that follow food restriction diets (no starchy carbs, no sugar, etc.) think it’s dropping foods that causes weight loss when it’s simply the fact that they’re eating fewer calories.

      • scott claremont

        Not sure I agree with your example, but more interested in if you tried the cbl for a few months your self?

        • Of course. In fact I actually PREFER to eat the majority of my carbs later in the day.

          • scott claremont

            I must have read wrong. What exactly are you saying may be incorrect with CBL?

          • There’s nothing WRONG with it per se but there’s nothing special about it either, that’s all.

            It’s like IF–if you like eating that way, do it. If you don’t, don’t.

  • j1004796

    I have been running Carb backloading for about 2 years now, for me at least there is a noticeable difference in body composition compared to eating carbs all day long. you don’t really need to buy the book its a very simple style of eatting it isn’t a diet.

    • Glad it’s been working well for you!

      Yep, it’s quite simple to set up the diet.

      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

      • Private Property

        when people say they do Carb Backloading, I wish they would specify. I haven’t read the book but I am intrigued by the idea and am about to start experimenting as of tonight. But for me, that doesn’t involve ice cream or pies. That involves fruit and rice and beans (some of which I’ll also eat throughout the day, but not as much). Also, it doesn’t mean only lifting at night, but loading after lifting, whenever lifting is most convenient. So before we can judge outcomes and compare- like with the lady above, we need specifics of what she ate and how much, when she was doing CB. We have to compare apples to apples

  • Nick Bacon

    Hi Michael, I have a active job and I’m worried if I don’t have carbs till after my workout which is usually after 7pm, I won’t have any energy and loss muscle, is carb backloading recommend for someone with an active job? Nick

    • Hey Nick!

      You may find you have less energy to train but no, it’s not going to cause muscle loss.

  • Shayan Sharara

    Appreciate your time to write this article and putting so much effort in it.
    However, you made a huge mistake on this part (this is also where I stopped reading)
    “This is just how the body works–when you eat, it uses the food for immediate energy and it stores a percentage of the excess energy as fat; and once it finishes using and absorbing the energy from the meal, it turns to its fat stores for energy until the next meal”

    When you eat carbs, your body will turn the carbs into glucose/fructose or maltose. With the secretion of insulin it will store glucose in the muscle as glycogen. At this point, when you haven’t eaten too many carbohydrates you won’t store any glucose as fat (as the glycogen stores are not full yet). However, recent study (check the link down below I provide) has shown, just like Glut-4 transports glucose into the cells, adipocytes (fat cells) have a similar protein-binding called FATp. When carbohydrates and fats are consumed together, insulin will increase Glut-4 as well as FATp(-2). This means that fatty-acids gets stored directly into the fat cells. The key is to not digest carbs and fats together, at any given time!

    You also implies that weight gain is about calories in vs calories out. Very true! But athletes who wants to build muscle don’t want to just gain weight, they want to gain muscle. So meal timing, frequency and types of food matter, a lot. So it is not ‘hacking’ the body.

    Another point: “While, the jury is still out as to whether elevated insulin levels interferes with growth hormone production while sleeping, it won’t interfere with muscle growth one way or another–growth hormone isn’t anabolic like testosterone.”
    Insulin and growth hormone do not co-exist. Insuline want to ‘convert’ (can’t find the English word; not native language) glucose to glycogen and if needed, fat. Growth hormone want to do the opposite. So it won’t interfere with muscle growth, but it will with the increase of fat.

    There are some more point I could make to enlighten you, just don’t have the time right now. Sir, with all due respect, get your information right before sharing it with other people. Have wonderful day

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1534580702001430
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23705645
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15806828
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898565/
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577439/
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4672014/

    • Thanks for the comment! I appreciate it.

      Of course insulin stimulates the storage of dietary fat as body fat, but thanks to acylation stimulating protein, your body doesn’t need high levels of insulin to store dietary fat as body fat.

      It’s simply not true that meal timing and frequency are very important. Check this out:

      http://www.jissn.com/content/10/1/5

      And building muscle while minimizing fat gain has much more to do with caloric intake and macro breakdowns. I talk about this here:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/bulking-up/

  • Becky Ramsay

    What percentage of daily protein fat and carb would you have at each meal of you wanted to try carb backloading?

    • You’re starting your carb feeding after your training, so you’re eating a LOT late in the day.

      • Becky Ramsay

        Is that a bad thing?

        • No, it’s fine if you really want to eat that way…

          • Becky Ramsay

            How would you schedule a carb back load? How much would you leave till the evening?

          • Aj Mopho

            You don’t eat any carbs til after training. But it’s much better if you have a pre wo shake with some about 30 mins b4 so training doesn’t suck

  • Li

    Hi Mike,I just want to share my 2 cents. Here is the background: I am a female who lift weight for 2+ years. I have been doing powerlifting for the most of the time and several months before summer I do bodybuilding for better physique. I am type II diabetes. OK. Let me start the story. I used CBL for 1 month during my powerlifting training period, and it was not good. I had low energy under barbell. When I squat, I have no mental power nor real power to carry the weight. I had not seen any improvements in my records of big 3. I thought it might be the problem of training, that I should not choose powerlifting because it calls for power, for carbs, for glycogen.Then I gave CBL another try during my bodybuilding month. I felt lightheaded in the last few reps of every set while doing compound exercises. Well then for isolated exercises, I felt weak and mostly used pink dumbbells. 30min after the BIG carb meals at night, the blood sugar shoot so high that I felt faint and MUST lay down. And the huge amount of food caused digestion problems so I had low quality of sleep. I, personally, would not recommend CBL to my friends, since I had not seen improvement in strength nor physique.

    • Thanks for the comment!

      Definitely sounds like CBL is not for you! I recommend it if you enjoy it, it fits your lifestyle and helps you stay on track with your meal plan.

      If it doesn’t, I don’t recommend it.

      In fact, with the diabetes, I recommend keeping the carb intake lower. Check this out:

      https://legionathletics.com/ketogenic-diet/

      LMK what you think.

  • sean_noonan

    the way you underlined bullshit fad diet and linked it to the amazon books haha

  • TD

    What about if you train in the morning? Could you train and THEN backload your carbs starting with your post-workout meal, sticking to lighter protein-based meals the rest of the day?

    I’m intrigued by this concept but think I would personally backload with more nutritious carbs. Eating donuts, and foods like that wouldn’t truly satisfy me, to be honest.

    • Sure, that would be totally fine.

      The best advice in terms of meal planning is have some protein and carb before and after you train (unless you’re training fasted) and break everything else up into whatever works best for you.

      If I were to add one more tip, have some protein every 3 to 5 hours because it may help with muscle gain over time (as opposed to eating protein only once or twice per day).

  • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

    Hello,

    Thank you for taking the time to write the article. It seems like you have good information but then you say muscle gain/weight loss is just a matter of calories in/calories out. “You can’t “hack” the body’s energy burned vs. energy consumed mechanisms. Period.” That is just complete bull shit.

    That statement doesn’t say anything about the quality of food eaten, what that food does to your hormones, or your levels of satiety. I am sure you could lose weight drinking sugary sodas as long as you consumed less than you burned off, but how would you feel and what would that do to your body? I imagine it would not be a pretty picture. Also, a lean body doesn’t mean it is free of disease.

    That statement discounts just about everything else in the article. It makes me think, this guy is brainwashed by the old paradigm. Food quality matters. You don’t build a healthy body by putting garbage into it, regardless of how lean or fat your are.

  • Michael Federico

    I have been experimenting with intermittent fasting where I eat between noon-8pm every day and found that to be easiest. I workout fasted at around 10am which works well into my first meal at 12. My question is, would CBL be effective with the combination of IF or how do you think I should go about it? Or if I should try it at all?

    • Cool you’ve been doing IF. If it fits your lifestyle and you’re getting results, go ahead!

      Same thing goes for CBL, if you’re interested in trying it, go ahead. And if it works for you, great! Otherwise, there’s no need to do it, and it isn’t some magic pill for results.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Scratch

    I tried this method. Didn’t work out for me. Now I eat some carbs before I work out, and a lot after. The rest of the day I limit carbs. Seems to work better for me.

    • Nice. Yes, preworkout nutrition can help with your workout performance. Keep it up!

  • Jeremy Herman

    wouldn’t this depend heavily on the type of carbs? For example, I always found it much better for myself and most people to eat a lot of fruit during the day, some after working out, and saving the complex carbs for the evening. Can this be looked at as a midway point to carb backloading?

  • Mark Diesel

    With regards to Whey Isolate causing insulin spikes during the day time is this not the reason Kiefer advises to only use 10g max of Whey in the MCT Coffees? Is there a threshold in which a certain amount of Protein causes an insulin response? Ie more than 10g? or will a little as a few grams have this affect? The studies that I have read that have demonstrated an insulin spike in response to protein consumption have been as a result of consuming anything from 35-75g protein either on its own or with carbs/fat. Appreciate that protein sources such as Meats consumed during the low-carb portion of the day during CBL will inevitably produce an insulin response. I guess what I am getting at is that if 10g or less whey isolate does not raise insulin then you could eat/drink your veg, fats and 10g whey isolate coffees throughout the day up until workout then proceed with the post workout carb binge. CBL version 2.0 maybe?

    • The smaller the dose, the smaller the insulin response, but there’s an insulin response to any amount of protein.

  • Micheal Beers

    I’ve followed the carb backloading principal for six months now and everything John said would happen, happened. At 57, I look and feel better than I ever did at 37. Carb back loading WORKS…..and I’m all the proof I need!!!

    • That’s great Mike. If it’s working well for you, keep it up!

  • Sophie Joy O’sullivan

    For me back loading works with my schedule meal 1 fats meal 2 fats meal 3 carbs then weight training meal 4 carbs meal 5 carbs meal 6 fats ( every meal has protein ) I train at 2pm ao this principal works well. It doesn’t feel like a fad and I have seen great results. All meals balanced no starvation eat regularly and not hungry. I’ve seen great changes in composition. When I came away from this I got really stuck. The only time I will eat simple carbs is post work out that’s it. I am now going back to this. I’ve tried different ways of eating and this really does work for me mentally and physically. I don’t like fad diets my protein consumption is high (what it should be ) my calories are good and I don’t feel tired and weak ( when I come away from this) so it does work for me but if you aren’t as dedicated or structured then it might not work

  • gonza mengual

    4 years into the CBL now. It feels great. I feel lighter, faster, stronger, I look fine and it works with my lifestyle. Try it.

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