Carb Backloading Your Way to a Super Awesome Physique
Sergeant First Class Roberts plodded swiftly along in today’s 12K run. It was a dark and misty morning in northern New York and his breathe made small cloud puffs as he breathed rhythmically. Just this week he’d completed 2, 5K runs, 3 weight training sessions, a ruck march and now today he was right on track with a long distance run; it was only Wednesday. SFC Roberts was one tough SOB and his training regimen guaranteed results, despite was his aching body said at times. Mind over matter he told himself, mind over matter. During the course of his run, he wondered if he was doing the right things with his diet with so much exercise. He’d been reading a bit about Carb Backloading and was curious on how that could help him improve his physique. He made a mental note to chat with
SFC Roberts finished his run and grabbed a towel and his gym bag from his car while walking towards the gym to get his lifting session on. On the way in he saw one of his old Lieutenants, now a Captain in the National Guard. CPT Jones was one of those super-fit, muscle bound officers who not only looked the part of leading a company, but he knew a ton about lifting and working out. Roberts thought he ran a gym for his real life job after retiring from the Active Army, funny he should be coming into the gym just as Roberts needed some questions answered. Just the person to ask about his new ideas with Carb Backloading.
“Hey, Sergeant Roberts, what’s going on,” Steve asked, stopping to shake hands with SFC Roberts.
“Hey, sir,” Roberts said, “nothing much, just headed into the gym for a quick workout.” “What are you doing around here nowadays?”
“Oh, I’m just back for my annual training event with the Guard, you know a little shooting, running around through the woods with a .247 and blank ammo shooting imaginary bad guys and eating horrible MREs from morning, noon, and night,” CPT Steve Jones said with a quirky smile. “How about you?” “Still keeping after it I see.”
“Yeah, I’m doing good,” SFC Roberts said, “been hitting the gym pretty hard with plenty of the ol’ Army PT standards.” “You know the ruck marching, long runs, blah, blah…”
“Yeah, I hear ya,” Steve said. “Still keeping up with the young bucks though?”
“Oh yeah, just fine,” Roberts said. “Although, I am having a bit of trouble with my diet lately.” “Would you have a few minutes that I could pick your brain on something?”
“Oh, for sure,” CPT Jones said. “I’ve got all day, just have to get my training on sometime today, but otherwise my schedule is free.”
“Alright, well if you’d like let’s have lunch at the ol’ DFAC and we can talk then,” SFC Roberts said.
“Sure, about 12:30 sound good,” Steve said.
“Yep, sounds good.”
Both men headed into the gym and pounded through their workouts. The gym was no place for either of them for ideal conversation. They proceeded from exercise to exercise with little rest, pushing through heavy squats and deadlifts with ease. Then onto some assistance exercises before finally finishing with some mobility and light stretching of various tight muscles.
—————–later that day——————-
“Hey, Sergeant Roberts,” CPT Jones said, setting down his plate of salad and overly cooked chicken breast. “So, what did you want to run by me?”
“Well, I’ve been wondering about a new dietary protocol that I’ve read about in the media, it’s called Carb Backloading.” “Have you heard of it?”
“Yeah, for sure,” Steve said. “I’ve actually used carb backloading before while I was deployed overseas.” “Worked like a charm.”
“Really, what did you like about it?” SFC Roberts asked.
“Well, for one, it’s very easy to implement.” “It require virtually no planning on your part and you can follow along with it really easily.” “Second, it makes life pretty easy when you don’t have to plan out all of your food for the day.” “Way better than an old fashioned body building routine.”
“Yeah, that sounds good,” Roberts said. “I have such a tough time when I have to plan all of my meals out for the week and then spend a good part of Sunday trying to get everything in little containers and the like.”
“Yeah, it’s doable, but sometimes you just don’t have the time or the access to that stuff,” Steve said.
“So, how do you did you implement this diet?” SFC Roberts said. “And did you find it made a big difference in your overall physique and performance in the gym?”
“Well, implementation is easy,” Steve said. “Basically, you follow these five things…one, you don’t eat anything for several hours upon waking. Basically, you fast for the morning for a set period of time. That increases the amount of time you spend burning fat in the morning. I generally used to workout during that time period.”
“Weren’t you afraid of losing muscle mass from not eating anything after training,” Roberts said.
“To a certain extent, but at that time I wasn’t really worried too much about gaining more mass, this is more of a fat loss or maintenance program,” CPT Jones said. “Plus, I made up for the lack of calories later in the day.” “Just depends on what you want to do, gain or lose, right?” Right.” Anyway, second thing, don’t eat any carbs before your workouts, protein and fats only. You can start off by having your first meal be something like eggs and bacon.” “Both good forms of protein and fats.” “Although it could be anything with the right ratio of protein and fats, avocado and chicken breast, ground beef and olives, whatever, just protein and fats though.”
“Sounds easy I guess,” SFC Roberts said. “What about in the morning for the fast? Can you have anything?”
“Oh yeah, coffee. Black is best, but I’ve done a bit with a sweetner on occasion or some heavy cream or butter too.” “It will break the fast, but it does help you get a bit further in your day without consuming too many extra calories, the caffeine helps too.” I still have to have at least a couple cups to get going during the day.”
“Yeah, me too,” SFC Roberts said, “No problem with the carbs, I’ve never been much for them anyway, although I do like a good bowl of oatmeal now and again.”
“Yeah, skip the oatmeal, at least until you’ve gotten your training session in,” Steve said. “You want to slam some carbs in during the post workout period, heavy weight training sessions work best in order to jam those carbs into the muscles. That’s the idea anyway. The closer to the training session the better for carb intake.” “Hence training in the afternoon helps, but it often doesn’t do us much good being in the military.”
“Yeah, you never know if you can get a session in during the evening,” Roberts said, “but it is possible.”
“Of course, but for this type of protocol it’s ideal,” CPT Jones said, “But if you can’t get it done during that time period then just pick a time period after you conducted your fast and then have your carbs for dinner.” “That works pretty well too, but you won’t get the benefit of having some of the best part of carb backloading.”
“And what’s that,” SFC Roberts asked.
“The junk you can pack away post workout of course,” Steve remarked. “I used to put down some pretty serious carbs on deployment. You name it M&Ms, donuts, croissants, ice cream, whatever I could grab from the DFAC.” “As long as it was post workout it was fair game.”
“That sounds interesting, but how’d that work for fat loss,” SFC Roberts asked.
“Well, see that’s the amazing thing about it, as long as you were lean enough and working out enough to create a large deficit in your muscles from resistance training you could pack in enough carbs to make them engorge, but not spill over into your waistline. In fact it helps create a good amount of muscle mass,” CPT Jones said, “although I’ll admit it’s not for everyone and it’s not the healthiest way to go about it.”
“Yeah, eating all that junk has to just wear on you after a while,” Roberts said. “I’ll bet I couldn’t eat that much junk all the time.”
“Oh, well it’s not necessary,” Steve said, “you can do pretty much the same thing with bananas and rice. In fact, those forms of carbs are even better in many cases. Although sometimes it’s fun to eat some junky cheats every now and again that you would never think you could while burning off body fat.”
“Sure, I’m all down with some apple turnovers occasionally,” Roberts said. “Is there anything else I should know?”
“Yeah, there’s a few specifics, but that’s the gyst of it. You really can’t screw this up if you follow the basics,” CPT Jones said. “Don’t eat breakfast, eat protein and fat meals until you train, follow your training session with a large serving or two of carbs, and drink coffee.” “Sounds pretty good right?”
“Yep, thanks Cap,” SFC Roberts said. “I’d better get back to the guys, they’re working on the Strykers right now, probably got them all tore up.”
“Alright, well here’s my email at the gym,” Steve said, “give me a jingle when you’re done with your first month and I’ll help you out a little more if you need it.” “Remember just stick with the basics for now.”
“You got it, sir,” SFC Roberts said.
“Easy on the sir stuff, I’m almost a civilian now,” CPT Jones said with a smirk.
CPT SMASH – Carb Backloading is one of those buzzword nutrition schemes that is basically an advanced form of nutrient timing paired with intermittent fasting. As with every dietary protocol it operates on the principles of reducing overall calories consumed, timing your meals with your workout periods and increasing your carbs in the post workout period to enhance recovery and stimulate muscle growth. Personally I love this method for people who are lean enough to see some enhanced gains in strength and fat loss in the gym at the same time.
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