I’ve been doing the carb backloading for just over a week now and I’m not finding it as easy as I thought I would do.
In principle it is easy – (pre-prep to get into ketogenic mode), delay food intake to preserve fat burning, eat very lo carb during the day to stay in ketogenesis, train at an optimum time, slam down hi gi carbs to fuel next days training, repeat.
Since I run ketogenically for my entire comp prep and season, with one hi gi carb reefed meal/week it should be a cinch – essentially its do what I’ve been doing with the bonus of reefed meal every night!
How hard can it be?
Well, the lo carb portion of the day is easy – lunch and mid afternoon snack, identical to comp diet. The meat+veggie part of dinner – easy, identical to comp diet.
The rest of it…
Ok lets start with the ‘delay eating for as long as possible’
I like my breakfast. You all know that. It’s my ‘thing’ – even on comp prep I still go out for breakfast 2-3 times a week, to a café. I’ve always eaten breakfast my whole life – even as a kid I’d be up at 5:30 and the first thing I would do is go downstairs to eat my cornflakes and milk. Then I’d go back to bed until ‘2nd’ breakfast at 8 – which is whatever mum cooked for us.
That’s weird…I never thought of it like that before…I never realised that I naturally followed 5 meals a day even as a kid! Well there you go. I was 40 years ahead of myself!
Anyway, I digress…
So breakfast – do not take away my breakfast, it’s just what I do.
Replace breakfast with 2 coffee and 2 teaspoons of fat? (+ 1 litre + 2 or 3 mugs of green/peppermint tea to try and stop being hungry/thinking about food…)
Next. Coffee. 2-3 mugs/day – I don’t like having that much caffeine a day. Usually I have my pre-workout and 1 cup of black tea and a coffee probably once or twice a week. And the protocol also includes caffeine powder/tablets in the shakes as well, which I’m not doing at the moment – too much caffeine – I might stay ripped, but I’m probably going to end up with a serious caffeine addiction. Cant’ say I’m too thrilled about that concept.
Training in the afternoon. Yeah, not liking this either.
a) The gym is too bloody busy – everyone trains after work, hogs whatever bit of equipment they need or think they’ll need, then sit there on their mobile phones or chatting not using the equipment…until I ask them if they need it, when of course they suddenly find a use for it.
b) I’m an early person. Always have been. I wake up when it’s light and I’m ready to go. By not training in the morning I may gain an extra few hours of sleep time in theory, but that doesn’t happen. And if I do go back to snooze then I wake up about an hour later, tired and cranky.
c) Evening training uses up my useful time – I get home, eat, do my food prep, sort my stuff out for the next day and I still have about 1 ½ – 2 hours to get stuff done – writing, blogging, photos, admin. I find that I’m generally fairly tired between 5 – 6:30 immediately after work so that’s why I like to get home and eat – it doesn’t take much intellectual or physical effort. Once I’ve done that then I tend to ‘switch on’ between 6:30 – 8:30 and I often get useful stuff done. So training at 5, which in theory is when people are supposed to be at their strongest, is actually when I’m at my least motivated and my intensity has definitely dropped off over the last week or so.
I understand the reasoning behind the evening training for the purposes of this protocol and it’s the key to making it work, but I’m not particularly enjoying it right now.
Hi Gi foods every night. Well, where do I start with this one! Lo carb no problem – can do that standing on my head, upside down, blindfolded and buried in concrete. I can make it fully nutritious; cover all bases in terms of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
How do you do that with hi gi carbs? This is going to be a huge learning opportunity!
Lets start with Fibre. On my 70% protein, 5% carb (<25g/day) comp diet I average about 30-35g fibre, which is perfect for keeping things running along smoothly, so to speak.
Now with eating things like white rice, white bread, rice cakes, mashed potato, jam, gelati, chips, dextrose…anything that’s very hi gi – there’s no fibre in it!
I’m down to about 15-20g (if I’m lucky!)/day… and don’t I know it!
I look soft and squishy and feel like I’ve got a football in my stomach (hence the gallons of peppermint tea in an attempt to alleviate it!)
I’m supposed to be eating up to 130g carbs/day, but at the moment I’m struggling to get it past about 90g before I just feel glued up and fat. My protein macro has dropped to about 30-40%, yet I’m also struggling to get my carb macro much above 20%!
I’m also struggling to reach the 2200 calories I’ve set myself and most days am down at about 1900 calories…which is lower than most of my comp diet!
My dinner often ends up being about 700-800 calories! 2 hours before bed! Now I’m ok doing this once a week as a reefed…but every night?
The good thing about this is that I’m definitely NOT getting any sugar cravings – which was one of the reasons I decided to try this, so from that perspective, it’s working.
The other main goal was to not put on lots of fat…well, not sure if I’m succeeding there – as I said I look soft and squishy – abs? what are they? But I don’t think its fat, even though I’m 3kg heavier than comp weight in just 3 weeks.
Here’s why I don’t think its fat.
If you read up on Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss book he recommends a refeed of 15g/kg of carbs to refill empty glycogen stores on a ketogenic diet. The underlying premised of this protocol is to stay in ketogenesis.
For my weight (currently 56kg) that in theory allows me a whopping 840g carbs before my glycogen stores are refilled. I’m averaging about 80-100g/day but I’m also burning a fair bit (all?) of that through training and cycling.
1g of carbs attracts 2.7-4g water (depending on your info source) which means that if my glygogen stores are fully full then I will be holding 2.8kg of water.
Ok 200g of its fat. 🙂
All in all, I think the main reason I haven’t quite got to grips with this yet is because the timing and structure of training and eating is completely opposite to what I’ve been doing for so long.
I’m going to tweak it so that it fits a little more with my lifestyle – I’m going to train in the morning, which is not ideal but can be done if the rest of the theory is followed to the letter and I’m going to experiment with more nutritious, less gluggy hi gi carbs that do have fibre – (honey roasted!) parsnips, carrots, dates, prunes, baked potatoes.
Will see how I get on with that!