If you’re someone has been trying to build muscle for a long time you have inevitably face the question of “how do I build a lot of muscle without simultaneously packing on a few pounds of fat?” In the old bodybuilding paradigm the only way to put on a lot of muscle was to basically stuff your face full of carbs and protein all day, every day. As soon as you wake up you chug a protein shake and then eat six meals a day trying to fill your muscles with as much glycogen as you can. However, an unfortunate side effect of this eating strategy is that since you’re trying to manipulate your body’s insulin to shuttle glycogen into your muscles, you’re also shuttling triglycerides (which glycogen converts into when there is no more room in your muscles or liver) into your fat cells. This allows you to bulk up, but then you have to go on a diet to lose all the extra fat you put on as well. This style of eating is exhausting and takes up way too much time and effort. The good news is that there is a way for you to build lean muscle while simultaneously losing body fat and it involves eating as much sugar filled and refined junk foods as you can handle.
How Does Carb Back-Loading Work?
Before I get into how this protocol works I would first like to mention that this protocol isn’t for everyone. Carb Back-Loading was designed for weight lifters and body builders so if you’re someone who does not weight train regularly, than I would not recommend following the program.
Carb Back-Loading is all about manipulating your body’s insulin levels, through food and exercise, to speed up recovery, promote hypertrophy, shuttle as many anabolic compounds such as protein and branch chain amino acid into the muscles as possible, as well as allowing for the most amount of glycogen to be stored in your muscles without storing any in your fat cells.
In the mornings our bodies are the most insulin sensitive. A lot of people believe this is the best time to spike your insulin levels because it’s when your muscles will be able to take in the most glycogen; however it’s also the worst time to spike your insulin because your fat cells are also their most susceptible to glycogen storage. So, how do we get glycogen into our muscle cells without also getting it into our fat cells? The solution lies in what type of exercise you do and when you eat your carbs.
When you engage in very high intensity resistance training such as the type I recommend in my post How to Hack Your Fitness, the fat cells in your body become resistant to insulin and hence resistant glycogen storage. This lays the metabolic environment for maximum glycogen storage in the muscles with minimal storage in the fat cells.
The most optimal time to eat carbs is in the evening because as the day winds down, so does your body’s insulin sensitivity. This means your body is less likely to store body fat in the latter half of the day.
Post Workout Carb Binge
Since you’re the most insulin sensitive in the mornings, you will want to workout in the evenings. After you do a high intensity resistance training workout, your fat cells will now be shut off to glycogen storage. This means your body is now primed for maximum glycogen storage in the muscle with minimum fat storage. This is when things get interesting. About an hour after your workout and after slugging back a protein shake, you basically now have free range to eat the most refined, and sugar rich foods you can find. This involves ice cream, turnovers, cakes, pies, and pizza. The reason why you want to use refined and sugar rich food is because they have the unique ability to spike ones insulin levels very high and very fast, but for only a short amount of time. You don’t want your insulin levels high throughout the night because during your sleep is when your body produces the biggest spikes in human growth hormone. Insulin blunts the effect of human growth hormone so if you want to get the most out of your body’s natural growth hormones, it’s best to binge eat on refined carbs and sugar.
To get the most out of your body in terms of maximum muscle growth it’s best to follow a high fat, carbohydrate restricted diet. When there is an absence of insulin in the body, the body will start to become more sensitive to the effects of it. This means that when you engage in Carb Back-Loading you’ll be able to get the biggest spikes in insulin. To make this happen you should be following a high fat, carbohydrate restricted diet which involves eating foods that produce a minimal insulin response such as saturated and monounsaturated fats, moderate protein, and non-starchy vegetables. To get the full diet protocol I would highly recommend checking my eBook Eat Differently: A simple guide to unlocking your true potential by eating, sleeping, and thinking differently.
My Experience With Carb Back-Loading
To me, the theory of Carb Back-Loading makes a lot of sense and when I experimented with it I saw great results. The idea of using what most people consider the “worst foods for your health” in refined carbohydrates and using it like a supplement is genius. The days I do Carb Back-Loading (which is only once a weeks due to the workout protocol I follow) my routine looks like this:
- Around 4 pm to 6 pm I’ll drink a cup of coffee and head to the gym
- I’ll do a very high intensity workout for about 20 minutes
- After my workout I will wait about one hour before drinking a protein shake that consists of:
- After that I’ll eat as many turnovers, cookies, ice cream, or pizza as I can
- If there is still room left in my stomach I’ll eat some kind of protein such as a can of salmon or some eggs before bed
It is a very bizarre experience when you go to bed bloated from eating all the junk food you could possibly want and then waking up the next day shredded and more swollen than you’ve ever been before. To fully be able to wrap your head around the idea of using refined food to get bigger muscles with simultaneously burning fat you have realize that whether it be mashed potatoes or donuts, once your body has digested and broken down those two foods, they both turn into the exact same thing which is glucose. The only difference being is that the donuts are digested and absorbed much faster than the potato. So, if your goal is to spike your insulin as high and as fast as possible, the donuts would be your ideal choice. The only time you will run into problems from eating donuts is if you’re not doing high intensity workouts which in that case it will be turned into mostly body fat.
I do recognize that there are potentially harmful components to processed and refined foods. To mitigate these negative effects I would suggest avoiding all foods made with vegetable or soybean oils. These oils are very inflammatory and should be avoided at all cost. For the cleanest refined carbs, look for foods made with butter or olive oil or try making your own desserts at home.
After doing Carb Back-Loading my whole paradigm of sugar being the worst thing for you has completely changed. When you begin abusing refined foods is when you start to see massive health issues but if you know how to use them properly and when to use them, refined foods can become your best tool for building muscle and losing fat at the same time.
If Carb Back-Loading seems like something you would want to experiment with, you can get the full protocol by purchasing a copy of Carb Back-Loading by John Kiefer. Since I personally follow Carb Back-Loading and am a strong believer in the benefits of it, I have become an affiliate for the eBook so if you would like to purchase Carb Back-Loading while also supporting the blog please follow the link below.