Everything You Need To Know About Carb Backloading

Carb backloading decides when you eat carbs during the day.

Carb backloading is the latest fad that claims to help build muscle but it seems as though this one may have some truth to it. Carb backloading is based on a sort of timetable revolving around how sensitive our insulin levels are throughout the day.  According to supporters of the theory, the higher the insulin levels in our bodies, the more likely they are to store carbs consumed, as muscle instead of fat. It is most effective if this is done shortly after your workout.

How It Works

Eating carbs only after a workout builds muscle.

Our insulin levels are lowest in the morning and this is when our bodies are most likely to store energy as fat.1 However, by depriving the body of carbs until insulin sensitivity is highest, that is, in the evening, after a workout, the body is more likely to

store any carbs consumed as glycogen in the muscles to replace any muscle mass that is lost during the workout.

Rules To Follow

Have a protein heavy breakfast with no carbs

  • Eat a light breakfast, preferably protein heavy with little to no carbs.
  • Continue to avoid carbs until you workout in the evening.
  • Alternatively, you can do your workout mid afternoon and add in carbs into your meals starting then.
  • You can continue to eat a moderate amount of carbs until about 4 hours before you go to bed.

These are the only strict rules to this strategy. It sounds strange but there are some great benefits

Benefits of Carb Loading

1. Lets You Indulge

You can afford to eat a little heavier for dinner

Unlike most other diets which involve a cheat day, this helps you indulge a little bit every day. This is better than going all out on a cheat

day and undoing any effort you’ve been putting in. It helps that you don’t have to forego going out with your friends or have a salad while your friends are raving about the steak and potatoes.

2. Makes You Feel Less Guilty

Your body converts the carbs to muscle so there’s no need for guilt.

We all have those moments where we give in and feel less than proud of ourselves afterward. With carb loading, you have a little more license in the evenings to have a little leeway. You don’t have to beat yourself up over having that baked potato with a pat of butter on top, or for that helping of fried noodles or mashed potatoes.

3. Reduces Cravings

Cravings reduce since you’re allowed to eat heavy after a workout.

When you have the knowledge that you can eat something heavy after your workout, you’re less

likely to give in to temptation during the day.

4. Helps You Fall Asleep Faster

Carbs promote serotonin which helps you sleep

Studies show that eating carbs shortly before you go to sleep increases levels of tryptophan in the body which converts to the hormone serotonin. Serotonin helps the body fall asleep faster.2

5. Reduces Stored Fat

This method helps reduce the amount of stored fat in the body.

Of course, this is the entire point of the dieting exercise. By reducing your carb intake, your body is forced to deplete the stored fat reserves in your body during the day and during your workout. This is partly because the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are high during the day. If you consume

carbs during this time, the cortisol, combined with insulin will encourage your body to store fat.

Is It Right For You?

This diet is meant for athletes looking to perform better.

While carb loading may be an effective way to build muscle mass, it’s not the best plan to follow if you’re looking to lose weight with light or moderate exercise. You may just find yourself packing on the pounds instead. It’s great for athletes who are looking to build muscle and endurance.

Tips To Keep In Mind

  • Try to stick to high-quality carbs like sweet potato or even whole grain products.
  • Avoid things like potato chips, fries, and doughnuts.
  • Stay away from refined sugars.

The next time you’re looking to increase your performance at the gym or for a marathon, carb loading is worth a try to get your body into performance mode.