You are here

Carb Backloading: Eating Carbohydrates to Get Lean, Muscular and Strong

Turning carbohydrates into powerful muscle-building, fat-burning weapons is a lot easier than you think.

Nutrition At a Glance A quick look at how to use each method: Carb Nite: 30 grams of carbs or fewer per day. One night per week, begin eating sugary/starchy carbs at 5 p.m. until bed.

Carb back-loading: 30 grams or fewer of carbs until around 5 p.m. On training days, ingest carbs from post-training until bed. On non-training days, have a single carb meal at night.

Postworkout Nutrition Muscles need carbs after a workout to replenish their energy stores and prevent further muscle breakdown. But if you’re on an ultra-low carb day as prescribed in the Carb Nite plan—or you’re doing carb backloading but must train early in the day—you can’t ingest many carbs without compromising the program. These supplements can help you get around this problem. We don’t recommend training without them.

Carb Nite Consume 20 to 40 grams of a protein blend containing 50% whey and/or casein hydrolysates; also have 5 grams leucine.

Carb Back-Loading The same as for Carb Nite, but add 30 to 50 grams of a high-glycemic carb source like rilose or maltodextrin powder. Pick up Kiefer’s custom supplements, Blend D and Blend H (both whey and casein hydrolysates but mixed in different amounts) at Pick up Kiefer’s custom supplements, Blend D and Blend H (both whey and casein hydrolysates but mixed in different amounts) at

What is Carb Back Loading? To lean out and gain muscle, try carb back-loading. As the name implies, this limits carb consumption to late in the day. Taking in carbs in the afternoon or evening is done for a strategic reason. Carbs make both muscle and fat cells grow—and often at the same time. But by shifting when you eat carbs, you can actually control which kind of tissue grows.

As stated earlier, Carb Nite can be effective without training. Carb backloading, on the other hand, requires resistance exercise to work. Your body’s sensitivity to insulin is highest in the morning and lowest in the afternoon, leading many to believe that we should eat carbs first thing in the morning because much insulin won’t be required to keep blood sugar under control.

The problem is that if you raise insulin even slightly by eating carbs—30 or more grams will do it—you seriously impair your body’s ability to burn fat for the rest of the day. Worse, you may even get fatter because of the presence of another hormone—cortisol. A stress hormone, cortisol will break down fat all morning, but combined with raised insulin, it can actually cause your body to create new fat cells.

For these reasons, most of your carb intake must come in the evening. Toss in a weight-training workout right before you eat carbs, and you maximize your ability for insulin to store them in your muscle cells while leaving fat alone. Studies in the Journal of Applied Physiology have demonstrated that lifting allows muscles to use and store sugar for several hours post-training—that means it will be quickly absorbed by the muscles you’ve trained to help them recover and grow. The best part? You get to eat tasty treats almost every day.



Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.

You might also like