Carb Backloading: What is it?

When people talk about building muscle and losing fat the first thing that might spring to find is a strict diet, a concentration on healthier foods, accompanied by more resistance and cardio training. So what is carb backloading?

To put it simply, carb backloading is the practice of avoiding carbohydrates during the daytime, focusing instead on protein and fat. Once you have completed your workout, preferably in the afternoon or evening, then you can eat carbs.

Aren’t Carbs Bad For You?

Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation regarding carbohydrates at present and they are regularly demonized. No one macronutrient  – apart from man-made trans fats – is bad for you and macronutrients shouldn’t be thought of as either “good” or “bad”.  Completely avoiding a food group or entire macronutrient is not advisable. The key here is balance.

So How Does It Work?

The theory is that consuming all of your carbohydrates in the evening post-training, helps to manipulate the hormone insulin in your body, which helps with fat burning.

It is important to note that if you adopt this method you should avoid all carbohydrates at breakfast and throughout the day (with the exception of vegetables).

If you are a frequent gym goer, you may find this level of diet management unnecessary. The main objective of every fitness enthusiast should be hitting your macronutrient (carbohydrates, protein and fat) targets.

Won’t I Get Fat Eating Carbs In The Evening?

Don’t fall victim to the myth that eating carbs beyond a certain time in the day will make you fat. In fact most experts are in agreement that your total daily calorie consumption is far more important than the timing of your nutrient intake.

This is true of body composition too, it does not really matter the type nor timing of your carbohydrate intake; what really matters is hitting your macronutrient targets whilst eating enough fibre and eating a variety of nutrient dense foods.

Personal preference should dictate when you eat carbohydrates according to your daily schedule and overall goals.

What Kind Of Carbs Can I Eat When Carb Backloading?

The great thing about carb backloading is that all carbohydrates are allowed, from highly nutritious complex carbs such as brown rice, sweet potato and fruit to more simple refined foods such as biscuits, ice cream and cakes.

However, you should be aware that your fat loss efforts may slow down if you focus solely on simple sugary carbohydrates.

How Many Carbs Should I Eat?

For the first nine days of carb backloading, you need to limit yourself to 30 grams of carbohydrates a day. By eating in this manner, your body’s insulin response will be dramatically improved, meaning that your body will be primed to deal with carbs without sudden blood sugar spikes. On the tenth day, go ahead and eat as many carbohydrates as you wish! From this point on you can eat carbs after your evening training sessions.

What Can I Eat Between Morning And Training?

From waking up right up to the time you train you should stick to protein, fats and some vegetables. This will include lean meats, fish, nuts, healthy oils and green vegetables.