Fad diets were once the sole preserve of frustrated overweight mother, we’ve all heard of the Atkins, the Cabbage Soup, and the starvation diet, but now serious trainers have compiled their own collection of nutrition plans, these include;
- The Paleo Diet
- IIFYM (If it fits your Macros)
- Intermittent Fasting
All these different diets are grounded in solid principles, and while they won’t work for everyone, they can be utilised to achieve specific goals, and suit certain lifestyles. There is one method of eating (it’s not really a diet per se) that’s gaining traction fast in the fitness community, and that’s carb back-loading.
As the name suggests, carb back-loading refers to the practice of weighting your carbohydrate intake towards the end of the day, or after your workout, the theory being that at this point, your body is in a much better state to absorb the carbs and put them to good use in the repair and growth process due to increased insulin sensitivity.
Carb back-loading is also ideal for minimising fat gain, particularly for those with sedentary jobs, because the body is encouraged to use fat as fuel source in the absence of carbs at the beginning of the day. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, if you get up at 7am and don’t hit the gym ’til 7pm, why take on several hundred grams of carbs if if you’re only going to be sitting on your arse?
If, like most of the population, you spread your carb intake evenly throughout the day, it may seem odd not to have any until the late afternoon or evening, but trust me, stick with it and you’ll feel much better eating less food when you really don’t need it. But how do you pack your entire carb intake into one meal? You don’t.
Try spreading it over 2-3 meals, so if your daily carb intake is 300g, try going for 50g-150g-100g in your final three meals. For a greater fat burning effect, only eat carbs after the gym (I like to have a small amount of sweet potato about an hour before I work out). So, carb back-loading is ideal for;
- People looking to loose fat, or minimise fat gain while adding muscle (probably most of us)
- People with a sedentary job
- People who can eat a shit ton of carbs in a couple of sittings
But isn’t carb back-loading the same as carb cycling? No, not in my book. Carb cycling for me refers to the practice of a planned fluctuation of carbohydrates over a period of days, for example, over the course of three days you might have a high carb day, a medium carb day, and a low carb day, but throughout the course of a day, carbs may be evenly spread across all meals.
Carb back-loading is something that can be incorporated with carb-cycling, but I’d recommend changing one thing at a time so you can see what effect it has – always leave a spare tool which you can utilise at a later date to ramp up results if necessary.
Does carb back-loading work? It definitely helped me to lose several Kg of body fat in preparation for a holiday, and now I use it as a framework for my everyday nutrition. It’s convenient, it makes perfect sense and it works. If you want to know the specific diet I used (and still do) let me know in the comments.[twitter] [gplus]