Carb back loading has swept the fitness industry as a bit of a frenzy where people are told as they reach ‘’lean’’ body fat levels they can enjoy chocolate cake on a regular basis with a guilt-free conscious! How good does that sound? EPIC! Is it really that simple though? Does carb back loading really work and can you really get away with a cheeky munch or two on your favourite cake after an ass whopping in the gym? Maybe is the answer.
In order to benefit from carb back loading, to the extent that your carb content is from the likes of delicious cake and cookies there are certain things you need to at least consider first!
1 – Lean & Mean
What is your body fat currently at? In theory the less body fat carry the more insulin sensitive you are. As a result you will be better equipped to deal with the aggressive load of sugar from foods like cookie and utilise them effectively. For men you would need to be around 10% body fat or less and for ladies 16-18% would be a good zone.
If this is you, post-training nutrition can indeed consist of SOME sugary desserts. The founder of carb back loading, Dr John Kiefer would actually recommend something like a donut over sweet potato in certain instances due to the higher sugar content which behaves differently to a starch carbohydrate like sweet potato.
2 – Training Style
Without sounding like donuts are the ‘’reward’’ to a hard workout you need to create a certain environment within your body to justify the ‘’load’’ in sugar and that means working HARD! Resistance training helps improve insulin sensitivity and in turn makes the muscle behave more like a sponge in the post-workout environment according to Kiefer. Training intense, with relatively heavy weights for 45-60 minutes will do the trick!
3 – Do The Rest Right
Carb back loading is more than saving all your carbs until the night! It is also about getting enough protein, fat and fibre in during the day! If you commit to Kiefer’s principles don’t just do the bit you like the sound of!
4 – Self-Control
Whilst calorie counting isn’t necessarily the name of the game with carb back loading you need to exercise a degree of common sense here. In the post-workout window having 3-4 donuts might be recommended under the principles of Kiefer IF you fit the bill, but viewing it as a window to eat, eat and eat sugar isn’t the idea!! There is a limit to what is beneficial and eating foods like this will quickly take you into scary calorie figures!!
Is carb back loading for you? Well, if you fit the points outlined above it might well do. It is a fantastic way to enjoy your favourite treats whilst maintaining a great shape!