Let’s face it, if you’re looking to lose fat and build muscle, you’re going to have to eat less, eat healthier foods, drink more water, and do more cardiovascular and resistance training right? Well, not exactly. Now, we know what you’re thinking ‘oh great, another complicated faddy diet that probably doesn’t even work’ and to be honest, with the way things are lately, we wouldn’t blame you in the slightest.
It seems that everywhere you look, when it comes to losing weight, one person tells you to do one thing, whilst another will tell you do the complete opposite, completely contradicting what the last person said. Some people will tell you to eat no fat at all, whilst others will tell you to eat fats but cut down on your carbs, and others will tell you that large amounts of protein is your friend, and then before you know it, you’re scared to eat a lettuce leaf in case it ruins all of your hard work in the gym.
Losing fat and getting in shape is complicated, but if you understand the basic physiology of the human body, and understand how it works, things all of a sudden become much easier and straight forward to understand, and something that once may have sounded absolutely ridiculous when it comes to weight loss, will actually all of a sudden make perfect sense.
A great example of this is a nutritionally based idea known as carb backloading, which has proved to be extremely controversial, yet extremely effective at the same time.
What is carb backloading ?
First off, if we asked you to name foods you should eat to lose weight and build muscle, what would you say? Chicken? Salad? Vegetables? Brown rice? Egg Whites? Basically, foods which are conventionally considered as healthy and balanced right? What about pizza, ice cream, cookies, and chocolate? Yep, you did read that right, and we’ll tell you more about that shortly.
In a nutshell, carb backloading is a method of eating, in which you back-load each and every single carb you consume, so that before you workout, you’re not consuming a single carbohydrate at all. Now, at first that may sound horrendous to many of you, as carbohydrates before you workout are what gets you through each session. Well, don’t be so quick to throw in the towel, because before you workout, you’ll be consuming healthy fats and lean proteins, and saving all of your carbohydrates for immediately following your workout.
So, to be clear, before you workout and lift weights, you’ll be eating and drinking NO carbohydrates in the slightest, and will only consume them immediately following your workout. Now, if you’re still not sure, let’s go back to the pizza and ice cream part we spoke about earlier. When we talk about carbohydrates immediately following your workout, we’re not talking about rice cakes, brown rice, boiled potato, and whole wheat pasta, oh no. We’re talking about ice cream, pizza, candy, chocolate, cake, cookies, and much more.
How can eating these sorts of food help me to build muscle and burn fat?
Before you stop reading and try to get us sectioned under the mental health act, don’t worry, we having gone crazy and this isn’t some elaborate belated April fool’s prank. Consuming carbohydrates which consist mainly of simple sugars allows the body to use them to its advantage at a much quicker pace than it would have done with complex carbohydrates.
You see, when we consume carbs, they’re broken down into glucose, which the body intends to use for energy. This in turn causes the blood sugar levels to rise, which is when the pancreas secretes insulin in order to control them and bring them back down. To get rid of any excess, the insulin will then transport them around the body into either muscle, or fat cells.
Now, if you’ve been sat on the sofa all day doing nothing, the body will be well rested and will certainly not need to repair or recover, and will transport them into the fat cells, which result in more body fat being produced. However, and this is where things get really important. If you’ve recently exercised and have lifted weights in the gym, say within the last 60 – 90 minutes, they’ll instead be transported into the muscle cells, in order to help the body to repair and rebuild the muscle tissues and refill the lost glycogen.
Now, because the rest of the time you’ll have avoided carbohydrates, your blood sugar will remain low, so that means that once the nutrients from the carbs have been transported into the muscles, that’s it, there won’t be any left, so the body won’t be able to store any excess as body fat for a later date, which is ordinarily what it would do if we’d consumed carbs throughout the day.
So what’s a typical example of the carb backloading protocol ?
In order to get your body ready for eating in this way, you’ll be required to severely limit your carbohydrate intake, which means for 10 days you’ll only be consuming a maximum of 30-50 grams of carbs a day. You’ll get your nutrition from proteins and fats, which should be moderately clean and balanced, so nothing too greasy or deep fried.
You’ll still train as usual, but after 10 days is up, that’s where things really get fun. On your 10th day, no more than two hours following your workout, you should look to consume 1 gram of carbohydrates, per pound of bodyweight, so if you weigh 250lbs, you’ll need 250 grams of carbs, from simple sources such as pizza, cakes, fries, ice cream, cookies, and so on. You’ll go to bed looking and feeling bloated but satisfied, yet upon waking, your bloat will have gone, and you’ll look and feel great.
Now, on days you don’t train, do what you did on the first 10 days, and on days you do train, do carb backloading like crazy, and not only will you build muscle, you’ll also lose fat at the same time.