Carb Backloading is starting to get tons of attention in the online fitness world! After having several people ask me my thoughts on this unique diet strategy, I thought it was time to address it in a full blown article. Whether you’re interested in this program or not, I think there will be a lot of value in this article that you can take away!
What is CBL (Carb Backloading)?
Carb backloading is a nutritional program created by DH Kiefer. The program is based around eating very low carbs during the day, training in the afternoon and loading up on carbs in the evening. DH Kiefer doesn’t discriminate against so called junk foods; pizza, icecream, donuts, pancakes! It doesn’t matter you can have it. Believe it or not, there is actually some method to the madness.
By eating very low carbs during the day, your force your body to use fat for fuel. This means an enhanced rate of fat burning. Further, keeping carbs low during the day helps many people stay alert and focused, enhancing work productivity. The afternoon or early evening is the ideal time to train on this program. After the training session your glycogen stores will be depleted and insulin sensitivity will be at an all time high. This will allow you to handle very high amounts of carbs extraordinarily well, via enhanced partitioning effects. Meaning you will get more nutrients stored in your muscle stores and less to your fat stores.
My Objective Thoughts?
My inclination is that this diet strategy will allow someone to maintain more muscle on a cut and build a higher ratio of muscle:fat on a bulk. I surely have experienced this phenomenon for myself from overloading on carbs in the evening, post training. Granted, I train fasted and use a 6-8 hour eating window. This makes the probability of overblowing my calorie intake much lower than CBL. Bringing me to one glaring flow of CBL:
With CBL you’re eating all day long. During the day you’re eating primarily protein, fats and veggies and at night you’re eating very high carbs in addition to protein and fats. Meaning; the calories are coming in all day long without any emphasis on tracking calories or macronutrient intake. To me, CBL is a superior way to limit fat gain on a dirty bulk. But as a fat loss strategy, there is no way in hell you are going to be in a caloric deficit.
For CBL to work as a fat loss strategy you will need to track your calorie and macronutrient intake. What does this mean? It means that it’s not going to be nearly as fun as DH Kiefer makes it out to be. As well, most of those junk foods won’t be very workable into your macros. This is because pizza, icecream, pie, cookies….. are not only high in carbs but also very high in fat. Since you’re eating protein and fat earlier in the day, you will need to restrict fat intake in the evening.
The CBL Solution
To make CBL more effective, I would incorporate intermittent fasting and I would track macronutrient intake. Something more or less along the lines of Nate Miyaki’s Intermittent Feast Program. If anyone knows how to get seriously ripped and make it enjoyable and lifestyle friendly it’s that guy!
Trust me, if I could get sliced to shreds using CBL I would do it in a heartbeat. I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to eat all day long with plenty of junk at night and be ripped? Unfortunately there is just no way I am gonna be in a deficit eating that way. And that is precisely why I have gravitated towards Nate Miyaki’s teachings. Nate’s Intermittent Feast is a highly functional program that actually gets you ripped. Plus the dude is living proof of his system, walking around with 1/3 of the body fat of DH Kiefer.
Nate Miyaki vs. DH Kiefer (Like I said, 1/3 the fat)
For getting ripped, go with intermittent feast! If you’re already very lean and want to add some quality muscle while staying relatively lean then CBL can work quite well. Just remember, you have to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat. The best fat loss strategy is going to be the one that allows you to eat at a deficit as effortlessly as possible. For me this happens to be 2 big meals per day in a 6-8 hour window. For other people, albeit with much lower appetites, they may be able to successfully cut with CBL. However, these people are few and far between.