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Carb BackLoading (The Proof is in the Pudding?) – Part I

Faithful readers of the Dave’s Gym Blog may remember some time last year I decided that my body-fat had gotten a tad out of control after a few years solid bulking (read: an excuse to not track my diet and eat what I wanted). After a great four month cut detailed here I managed to shed around 30lbs of fat and actually discovered I had abs hiding away under my flab (hoorah!).

Since then I’ve done a mini-bulk (not particularly successful) another small cut (pointless) and now started bulking in my traditional “eat everything that moves, can’t move, or used to move” diet. To be honest for the first two months I’ve managed to put on around a stone of bodyweight which, owing to my low-ish bodyfat percentage at the start, is largely muscle. All good things!

So what’s the problem? The problem is that my eating, though copious, is about as organised as a car full of puppies in a hurricane. If you can imagine that. Basically, it’s tough to get any set eating pattern when you don’t have a plan. Simple.

After doing a bit of reading I’ve decided to take a stab at what is supposedly the holy grail of dieting: carb backloading. CBL, created by John Kiefer, promises simultaneous muscle gain and fat loss with increases in strength – all the while allowing you to eat doughnuts, pies, chocolate milk, ice cream…everything other traditional diets would hang draw and quarter you for eating.

Sounds pretty damn good to me.

It’s not as simple as all that, however, and Kiefer makes a huge point throughout the book that his diet isn’t an excuse to go out and eat like a fatass. The system is incredibly involved, based in cutting-edge science, and isn’t as simple as “train, eat some shit, repeat”.

In a nutshell the diet revolves around the idea of eating fewer calories and no carbs before working out, and taking in the majority of your calories (and all your carbs) in the evening after training. The net result is ultra-stimulation of muscle growth, while minimizing the gain of (and frequently losing) fat. The nuts and bolts are far too much to go into in any one article, and besides – Kiefer has written an awesome book on the subject which goes into as much detail as you’d ever want to put your own CBL diet together.

 This series of posts will cover my experiences with the diet, training, and generally putting myself in a proverbial petri-dish and prodding myself.

The Diet

A basic overview of my diet right now (this will likely change a lot depending on how I respond). There’s a little more to it than this but this is what I’m working off as a template:

6:00 – Wake Up
6:30 – Coffee
8:30 – Coffee
10:30 – 1/4 Cup Almonds
12:30 – Chicken Salad, Cheese, Protein Shake
13:30 – Pre-Workout Caffeine
14:00 to 15:00 – Train
15:30 – Cottage Cheese with Pineapple, Protein Shake
17:30 to 21:30 – One to Three high-carb meals.
22:00 – Protein Shake
22:30 – Beddy Byes

So I’m not eating breakfast; having only protein, veg, and fat before training; eating most of my daily calories and all my carbs after training. Fun times!

The Training

My training is heavily based off Paul Carter’s programs over at Lift-Run-Bang because they plain work for me. I’ve had to take lower volume than I’m used to simply because I’m doing a PT course on the weekends which obviously involves a lot of exercise. Recovery is key!

Monday – Pressing (Paused Bench or Klokov Press)
Tuesday – HIIT Cardio or Rest
Wednesday – Legs (Paused Squats or Deadlifts)
Thursday – HIIT Cardio or Rest
Friday – Pulling (Rows, Chins etc)
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Rest

Each workout I’m doing one strength exercise where I’ll over-warmup (x5,x4,x3,x2,x1) then drop the weight and do as many reps as possible. The weights for these exercises will progress throughout the program so long as I keep performing on my rep work. I’m also doing one volume exercise which is something in the ballpark of 4-6 sets of 15-25 reps. I’ll generally finish up with some ultra-high rep work like 1×100 reps on curls, and then one set of ab rollouts because they’re awesome.


Weight – When I started my bulk I was weighing in at 78kg, at the start of Carb BackLoading I’m weighing in at 85kg but because of the concomitant changes in bodyfat and lean muscle on this diet I’ll also include a progress picture or two every update to show the whole story.

Feeling – This is the fourth day of CBL and the low-carb/calorie portions of the day are a little draggy in terms of mood and general mental acuity but after my keto-type dieting last year (including the weekly one-day fast I did in that period) this is nothing new and I know it’ll probably stop in a day or two and I’ll feel normal.

Lifting – Lifting isn’t suffering at all. Even though most of my time is spent without carbs, the carb-loading window every day seems to be adequately fuelling the next day’s training. As the diet goes on this might change a bit but we’ll see.


So that’s about it for this first update, hopefully I covered enough info to make this in any way useful and informative, but not enough to get me sued. But seriously, Kiefer is a incredibly intelligent guy and obviously way better at this than I am so go to his website and learn more (Dangerously Hardcore) and definitely buy the CBL book if you want to try this out for yourself.

Any questions, comments, or cakes are welcomed!

Have a good week! Train hard!


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