Carbohydrate Back-loading, the key to fat loss for the corporate worker?
By Neil Perkins
I recently took myself off on yet another course. This time with the well-respected KBT and their ‘Advanced Nutrition for Performance’ course. Delivered by the vastly experienced John Buckland, this was a course that was relevant to the athletes who I work and with John answering the questions, this was a course I had a vast interest in.
Boxing has a great crossover to the average gym goer. Most boxers strive to get their body in the leanest shape with minimal body fat and yet still strive for athletic performance, these goals commonly summed up as ‘getting fit, losing weight and toning up’ relate well to 90% of the people who walk through a gym door. My question with the KBT course, was how a coach that predominately works with elite level weightlifters chooses a nutrition strategy to reflect their goals.
Little did I understand that lifters (like boxers) need to be as light as possible, yet have maximal athletic performance due to the weight classifications of their sport. I would assume that I would be covering lots of the old ground that I’d learned previously and that strategies I’d successfully employed on body transformation’s and athletes would be followed again. John’s principal doesn’t involve the status quo of nutrition and follows some very simple rules based around.
- Hormone Manipulation
- Eating Superfoods
- Macro Nutrient Timing
What this translates to is the opposite to most plans that I’d followed or encouraged others to follow. In essence here is what it means
- Low carb but high fat & protein breakfast
- Including superfood in your diets
- High carb evening meal
- No calorie tracking
The Status Quo of Nutrition
The format that most nutritionists will follow based around a calorie controlled plan with minimal sugar and wheat intake. This can be quite restrictive and time consuming, this has worked and despite me reading, blogging and trying various plans from Primal, Vegan and macro-tracking. Here is a rule that I’ve found works for any nutrition plan – If you sensibly reduce calories, exercise and eat food that either grows out the ground, runs on the land or swims in the sea it will work. The thing with most of these plans (except Macro-Tracking) is the restriction placed on the foods you eat. This leads to boring food choices. The classic rule of thumb is breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper, is the polar opposite to how most city centre professionals live.
The Corporate Worker
We have an abundance of city centre professionals who use Henrietta Street Gym. Finding a nutrition and training strategy that fits with their goals and lifestyle is hard work, when hearing about the principal of carbohydrate back-loading and the rules of applying it, I thought we may have found the perfect answer to a sustainable nutrition strategy for the corporate worker. Better still, with this nutrition strategy fits perfectly with early morning and lunchtime training sessions, which we’ve found is becoming increasingly popular with busy city centre professionals.
When looking at nutrition strategies in the past with clients we have very often discovered it is evening meals that let clients down, but with carbohydrate back-loading, you’d deliberately eat a big evening meal. It is role reversal of the status quo based on a couple of factors
Rather than eat carbs for the workout your about to do, you eat carbs for the workout you’ve done
Rather than ‘no carbs after 6pm, you fuel with carbs on the evening – eat like a king.
This regimented approach we feel would suit city centre professional’s lifestyle better. The smaller ‘on the go breakfast’, almost paleo style snacks and salad throughout the day that is quick and convenient and after a busy day is followed with a rewarding evening meal
A Typical Day
2 whole eggs poached and half an avocado
Black coffee with some mixed nuts or seeds
Lunchtime workout: High intensity session e.g Bootcamp
Post workout. Protein shake
Sweet Chilli & Crayfish Salad Wrap from Pret
Grenade Carb Killa bar
Steak & Chips
On a non- training day you’d replace the carb based wrap for lunch with a salad
Chef’s Italian Chicken Salad (Pret)
Why Carbohydrate Back-Loading Works
The principal of carbohydrate back-loading is based on the principal of insulin and hormone manipulation. The theory of the low carb breakfast is that you do not encourage your body to release insulin which suppresses Human Growth Hormone. HGH is not only great for muscle gain, but also for fat loss. As your body becomes glycogen depleted, you re-feed an hour post workout and in the evening which refuels your glycogen stores so that you are ready for your next workout.
John Buckland likes to re-enforce this with the inclusion of testosterone boosting (T boosting) foods that further aid the growth of lean muscle and therefore the burning of unwanted body fat.
His favourites ‘T boosters’ include
The jury is still out on Carbohydrate back-loading. I would question any nutrition plan that has an aim of fat loss or weight loss that does not put in some form of calorie counting. It is easy to fit into lifestyle and if combined with exercise, I see no reason why it shouldn’t work. The best thing about the principal is the carb fuelled evening meals. This style of eating is best suited to people who work out early in the morning or at lunchtimes. This may be a strategy that works for you and I feel it may be a strategy that is easily adopted by the city centre professional.