Carb Back Loading Explained: FAQ and Is It Right For You?

Since my recent article on Dangerously Hardcore, I’ve been inundated with emails and messages.


“”I’ve tried everything in the past and nothing has worked… Will Carb Back Loading work for me?”

“Can I really eat donuts and still lose fat?”

“Is the book worth it?”

I am confident enough to say YES to all of the above. Because A) it worked for me and I had also tried everything before, B) I’ve eaten donuts and woke up leaner the next day, and C) it IS worth it… re-reading it for the third time.

Because of all the questions I get asked, I figured I would write a FAQ post so you can sift through it at your leisure.  Then, if you have more serious questions, contact me… or read the book.

1. What is Carb BackLoading (CBL)?
In a nutshell, using optimal times of training and eating for strength gains, muscle gains and body fat loss. It’s not a “diet.”  It’s not a “fad.” It’s not designed just for “weight loss”… because if the weight lost is muscle, then we’re worse off than when we started.  I’ve been utilizing the basic principles for over a year with success.

2. Do I really need to buy the book?
In my honest to goodness opinion… yes. (But it’s $89!)  Yes, I know. And it’s worth it. And you get product upgrades when a new version comes out.  And you get access to limited parts of the DH forum. And you’ll get your money back if it’s not for you. Kiefer doesn’t put out crappy products in hopes that other fitness gurus endorse it, it circulates around the web, and he makes a ton of money. So, read his articles, educate yourself and make a decision…. then buy the book.

3. I train in the morning… will it work for me?
Yes.  The book talks about some adjustments to make to maximize gains while training in the morning. 3 of my 4 training sessions are done in the morning. Again, understanding the physiological, metabolic and hormonal processes will help you make the tweaks.

4. How is it different than Intermittant Fasting?
IF typically involves longer fasts, usually 16 hours or more. CBL doesn’t recommend you go longer than 12 hours. Instead of becoming catabolic, CBL prolongs the fat burning process in the morning (which doesn’t include fasting), hence preserving muscle.

5. I don’t know… sounds almost too good to be true.

Eek! My leanest ever!

Here’s the deal… it can be as relaxed or as strict as you want.  Do you want maximized results? Or are you satisfied with good results within what you’re willing to do?  CBL can work with just about anything.  You want ice cream? Yep.  You want bagels or whole grains or pancakes? Sure. Are some of those optimal for the maximum results that you can get? Probably not. But it still works. I know, because I’ve done everything from loose to strict.
Plus, when I choose to be a little more relaxed in my food choices and backloading days (like I am now), it is soooo easy for me to maintain where I’m at.  Which means my weight doesn’t bounce up and down, I don’t get bloated, and there really is no “off season”. Most people, after going through a leaning or cutting phase, will typically blow back up again.  Or they at least have a hard time staying close to where they were. This is by far the best maintenance protocol ever. After making weight and leaning down for my meet, I can easily maintain where I’m at… and I’m not even trying.

6. I’m not a powerlifter, or a figure competitor, or a bodybuilder, or anything like that.  I’m just your average person who likes to lift and wants to see some decent results. 
It doesn’t matter. One of my best internet friends texted me the other day and said that she felt and looked her best when she was following the CBL guidelines. And she still could’ve done it better. She’s a mom of 5, not a competitor and just enjoys training to look and feel better.
I have another friend who has been doing it for several months now.  She is overweight and has tried everything to lose it all.  She found a new love for weight training and a new love for eating this way. She feels in control and happy with the foods she eats. She’s not starving (like she was with her old diet), she’s not deprived and it fits her lifestyle. “I can eat this way for the rest of my life and not bat an eye.” She’s losing inches every week and people are always asking her how much weight she lost. She’s building muscle and getting stronger and loving every second of it.

7. So, what are the main points to follow or start with?
* Skip breakfast, except for coffee/cream and possibly coconut oil in the morning. If having breakfast, protein and fat.
* Low carb throughout the day. Load up on good meats and veggies and good fats for lunch and snacks.
* Push any other carbs until post-workout (after 6pm-ish… which works well for busy moms who just want normal family dinners.)  Again, even if you’re training in the morning, or you aren’t training at all that day, you would still see results just by pushing carbs back until evening. I know, because I’ve done it all.


8. Do you have to count calories?
No. Counting calories is pointless.  Balancing calories burned with calories ingested just doesn’t work. Cutting calories to lose weight will work to some degree to lose scale weight. And then what happens when you stall? You cut a few hundred more calories. Then a few more and a few more. And now what? You’re stuck eating 800 calories a day out of fear of putting scale weight back on. You’re losing muscle and your metabolism is all screwed up now.
With CBL, it doesn’t work that way. I’ve kept track of my macros (carbs, protein and fat) on random days just to see where things are at. But I don’t have to count or calculate anything.  In fact, if you really looked at the amount of “calories” I am eating on a regular basis, it’s the same as what I was eating before. But the breakdown of those calories is different and the timing is different. So now, I can eat the same amount and still lose body fat???  You bet your bippy.

9. “No absolute best diet exists; no absolute best diet exists for anyone. But there is an absolute best diet at a specific time for a specific goal.” -Kiefer
Of the last 20 emails I’ve gotten this week regarding my results, 19 were from women and all 19 said “I want to get stronger, build some muscle, but also lose some body fat…. will this work?”  If those are your goals, then yes, it will work. I like to think of CBL as a volume knob on the radio. If you’re looking for slow, subtle changes, then you can do that by keeping the volume low (following basic guidelines).  If you want fast, maximum results, then crank it up.

I hope that answers some of your questions. Remember, there are various protocols out there that work for a lot of people. For me, it’s a no-brainer.
Great results.
Getting stronger.
Building muscle.
Losing body fat.
Feeling good.
Great energy.
No bloat.
Easy to maintain.
Hard to screw up.

About Julia Ladewski

132 Responses to “Carb Back Loading Explained: FAQ and Is It Right For You?”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. mags says:

    Can you give examples of what you eat? I’ve been reading a lot of articles on CBL and a lot of the sample diets seem so unhealthy. Yes, I want to get leaner but I also want to be healthy. Currently I eat a lot of raw veggies and fruits, lean meats, raw seeds and nuts, eggs and I juice. I’m just looking for some ideas here! Thanks 🙂

  2. Cookie says:

    Struggling with putting a healthy menu together as well! hardest part is getting the fat low enougg while still picking tasty natural carbs to fit the days macros…fine tuning fun!

  3. nthmost says:

    mags, you might be surprised how healthy a more meat-based diet actually is, and how unhealthy fruit and seeds are.

    (Me: Former raw foodist, now living high and mighty on primarily paleo CBL.)

  4. mags, it can be as healthy as you want it to be. fattier cuts of meat aren’t necessarily bad. basically, based on what you eat, you’d eat those meats, eggs, veggies and nuts, nut butters during the day, and then potatoes, rice, other veggies, and even some fruit at night.

    i have a meat and veggie for lunch, nuts and eggs for snack, and then dinner (which CAN be whatever I want… stirfry, pasta (gluten free), homemade burger and sweet potato fries… etc. etc)

    it seems as though there isn’t much in the way of food choices, but there is and you can get very creative. think omelets, meat/veggie dishes, pasta (for evenings, if you eat that), yogurt, cheeses…

    • Shauna says:

      Hi Julia!

      Is plain Greek yogurt okay to eat in the evening? My family loves it especially w smoothie.

      Love your work!!!

  5. mags says:

    Thanks for all of the replies! Getting my grocery shopping done this afternoon and starting a CBL diet tomorrow! I am super excited and will let you all know how it goes. Again, thanks for getting back to me 🙂

  6. mags says:

    Julia – do you get hungry in the morning with skipping breakfast? I wake up starving! Would it be OK to have a little something?

    And nthmost – where have you gotten your information on health benefits of a meat based diet vs. fruits/seeds? Just wondering!

  7. Mags, I did the first week, only bc my body was so used to eating something first thing. But I quickly got used to it. Coffee and cream and sometimes coconut oil hold me over pretty good.

    If you are going to have breakfast, keep it to protein and fat.

  8. EClark83 says:

    I have read your articles and have listened to the recent podcasts with yourself and Kiefer. If you buy the book now, will the updates include the book you guys are working on that’s geared towards women?

  9. dedraw631 says:

    julia what about on the off days like if we have sports practice around 4pm or decided to run high intensity brutal all out conditioining at 4pm can we still ahve the post late carb up?

    and what about the days that ur doing absolutely no training just working or staying at home, what do you do then?

    • dedraw631- first of all, i think it depends on your goals. if you’re an inseason athlete and you don’t have to worry about maintaining a weight class (like wrestling), then i wouldn’t worry too much about it body comp (unless you’re body fat is slowing you down or hindering your play). I would say you could backload after every practice and see how you feel. again, your main goal should be performance if you’re in season.

      if it’s a day i’m not doing anything… again, it depends on my goal. I just spent the last 3 weeks backloading every night. I was able to maintain my weight. I’m holding a little bit of water, but my abs are still visible. now, i’m back to only backloading for training days. make sense?

    • dedraw631 says:

      yes it does, what about for someone not involved in sports and was trying to comepletely lean out to 8-10% bf and wasnt involved in sports what would a typical day be for an off day? how about an very intense cardio day?

    • if you’re looking to really lean out, i would do your “intense cardio” (preferably HIIT) first thing in the morning. so you wouldn’t necessarily backload that night unless you were lifting. for an off day, you wouldn’t back load at all. stay ultra low carb

  10. dedraw631 says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Unknown says:

    Hi Julia,

    First, thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of these question-its much appreciated!

    I bought the book, but Im still unclear about a few things. My main goal is to build muscle, while hopefully staying fairly lean. I only weigh 102 pounds right now and would like to get back up to 108-110. I train M,W,F. Before getting the book I was kind of winging CBL and would have a small backload every night, even if it was an off day (just about 25-30g butternut squash or similar). I havent gained weight and I still wake up every morning vascular with a visible outline of my abs. Do you think I should follow the course to try to gain some mass, and then back off if I want to lean out at some point, or is it better not to back load on off days?

    Also, Im intolerant to both eggs, whey, casein. How would you suggest I go about getting in the PWO nutrition or replicating the AM accelerator shakes if I cant tolerate whats called for in the protocol?

    • if you’re looking to gain weight, then i would backload every night… but shoot for at least 100g-150g carbs. i’d start on the low end and go from there. maybe training days are 150g, and non training days are 100g.

      not sure about the PWO shake. maybe you can try a plant based protein (NOT soy), but pea or something.

  12. trixie says:

    I know I need to get the book but cant right now and want to start now. So do u backload every day or just training days. I have nationals end of June and Olympia in Sept. Have dieted down a weight class but tired of losing strengh. And when do u start carbs on days u have to train in the mornig.

    • I have backloaded every night… results are slower, but still move in the right direction. Mostly, I just backload for training days.

      If you’re losing strength from “dieting” then this will probably work well for you. when i train in the morning, i still don’t start carbs until 6pm.

  13. Mario Lopez says:

    I have just discovered CBL. I was wondering, I do weight training MWF, Mondays being Chest, Back, and Abs; Wednesdays Biceps, Triceps, and Forearms; Fridays Legs and Shoulders. Tuesday/Thursday I do cardio, not much, maybe 30mins elliptical w/ a mile jog. The other days are usually 1 1/2 to 2hrs, semi vigorous.

    I recently found CBL and have been debating whether to purchase or not. I just started (couple days ago) a ketotic diet, eating only meats basically. I was wondering whether since I am not really lifting heavy nor doing intense cardio if CBL would even work? I am also a guy, if this helps.

    I would love to purchase the book, but I want to make sure it is for me. Staying on diets for me is hard because I love eating. I really do. Especially donuts!

    What can you recommend? Backload only MWF and keep to my ketotic diet the other days?

    I want to build muscle, get bigger, but also lose fat. I currently 5’7″, weigh 180lbs, with some muscle. I have abs, they’re actually pretty hard, but they cannot be seen because of my belly fat. 🙁

    Lastly, for protein during the day I eat eggs and drink ON 100% whey, I also drink shake pre/post workout with 5g creatine, and a shake before I sleep.

    What are your recommendations?

    • Jesse says:

      I would like to read a reply to this also. Especially regarding the use of creatine with CBL. Thanks!

    • Good golly, that’s a lot of info to digest! 🙂

      I’m a bit confused b/c you said you’re not sure if CBL would work b/c you don’t really lift heavy… but you want to build muscle. Those two kinda go hand in hand, so it’s hard to give a recommendation without knowing your training. If you’re looking to get bigger, and build muscle, then yes, CBL will work.

      I’m not a huge fan of body part splits. I like, and recommend more of a strength approach with two upper body days and two lower body days, but that’s my preference.

      Backloading post workout on M/W/F could be a good start. Again, a lot of variables here so hard to give you a definite answer.

      And yes, creatine is great on CBL. Post workout and other shakes as well.

  14. carlyeam says:

    Hey Julia

    I have read the book and I am amazed by this new concept (well new to me). Anyways I am new to weight training I used to waste my time with long cardio workouts. I now do 20-30min HIIT cardio which I do early afternoon and weight training between 5-6pm as suggested in the book.

    Right now im on the 6th day of the Preparation Phase and I’ve got to say I am really looking forward to some carbs!

    Keifer says in the book (ice cream cookies pizza etc)but then says women should not binge. Im actually scared to start loading on these bad carbs. Especially since I am already seeing some results with no carbs. I’m not a body builder or an athlete I just want to lose some fat and gain some muscle. How much carb loading is too much?

    I get the concepts and guidelines of the diet I’m just worried my training, since i am just starting will not be intense enough to carb load too much. Do you have any tips for beginners?

    • Yes, in general women don’t carry as much muscle as men, therefore, our glycogen stores will be less… doesn’t take as much to fill our muscle cells before we start spilling over into fat. it’s tough to give a hard number on the number of carbs. You can eat pizza and ice cream, but you just can’t go overboard. I would start around 150g carbs and adjust accordingly.

      I don’t know anything about you (height, weight, size, strength), your training, your lifestyle, etc. etc. If you’d like to do an hour phone consultation, please shoot me an email and I’d be glad to help!

  15. Dan Walker says:

    So is this diet good for fat loss? And is it good if you aren’t a bodybuilder or fitness competitor?

    • Dan, yes, this diet is good for fat loss, re-compositioning to be exact. The idea is to be able to supply the body with the good stuff it needs to continue to build muscle and get stronger WHILE losing body fat. If you’re looking for a faster way to strip body fat, I would look into Kiefer’s Carb Nite Solution book.
      And no, you don’t have to be a competitor or anything. I have several clients and friends that are doing this without being competitive. Some are overweight, some are just looking to trim down… so many different people… it can work for everyone.

  16. Jesse says:

    You say to eat meat and veggies during the day but vegetables, fruits and nuts are carbs. I’ve heard that anything over 30 grams of carbs will through the whole thing off. Should I only eat meat during the day? Seems like it will get old. I train in the mornings 5 days a week and train jiu-jitsu and muay thai 2-3days evenings per week. How can I backload with this schedule? I’m looking to gain muscle. I’m 6′ 180 lbs. Thanks!

    • Meats, good fats and veggies during the day, yes. Fruit, no. Nuts, some of them, sure.

      The way the protocol is set up is to stay below 30 total grams of carbs per day (You might eat 40 grams but get 20 grams of fiber from the veggies, so your NET is 20 grams carbs).

      The amount of carbs in nuts is not a whole lot. Yes, you do need to count them, but you can eat them. good fats too

      I eat chicken, beef, pork, bacon, sausage, turkey, eggs, salads, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, cucumbers, eggs, some cheese, almonds, macadamias, pecans, walnuts, nut butters, cottage cheese… lots of options here. Have you read the book?? It really explains a lot of it.
      So no, it doesn’t get old. I’ve been doing it for a year and a half!

    • Jesse says:

      Thank you, I appreciate the response.

  17. lpchica36 says:

    Hello. I just started carb back loading, because I’m flat out sick of eating clean 100% of the time, and I want to be able to enjoy my favorite foods but not gain fat. I’m 5’5″, 110 lbs, am a 20 year old female, and I do 30-60 minutes of either walking or biking each day. My strength training routine consists of a 5/3/1 routine where I focus on Military Press on Mondays, Deadlifts on Tuesdays, Bench Presses on Wednesdays, Shoulders on Thursdays and Squats on Fridays. I also like to hike on Saturdays. I typically strength train for 60 to 70 minutes each day. Okay so now my details are out of the way. My question is this: I want to maintain my weight. I DO NOT want to put on fat. I used to eat 1600 calories per day. Now while doing this, my calories land between 2000-2500 and I’m eating a lot more fat and sugar than before. Will this change (going from eating chicken and veggies and fruit to egg whites, flax seeds, and a bunch of carbs, sugar and fat) cause me to get fat? I’ve been eating my carbs after I strength train, but still, the fear is there since my cals and sugar intake are higher…

  18. Hi Julia,

    I’m an ordinary girl (healty BMI with around 12-13% fat, a management consultant and work a lot) and though I have like three different gym memberships I rarely do more than an hour or two of power yoga session a week that could count as training – that probably sounds sinful when compared to all heavy-lifters and trainers here but let’s just say that this is a case that won’t probably change 😀 Apart from this my only daily physical activity is that I walk at least 30-40 minutes every day to work and back home.

    Yet I read a lot and came across with CBL diet (and Renegade too) and I thought this is JUST for me. I love black coffee in the mornings and feasting works just well for my tight work schedule. I also need to be alert ALL the time during the day for my job so for the past three days it feels great. By the way although carb-back-loading suggests that it’s ok to eat carbs during night I’m smart enough not to take in more than 30-40 grs a day and I usually limit my kcals to 1000 – 1200 a day since I do not workout.

    So, I do understand and accept that I won’t have great visible abbs like you unless I work out but do you think this schedule would still allow me to loose body fat? AND Is this healty or just too much/too less?

    Thanks a lot!

  19. Hi Julia,
    Thanks for posting all of this information! CBL is extremely new to me but I cannot wait to try. I just finished reading the book and I can’t seem to find a few answers that I’m looking for. First of all, is there any specific brand of supplements that you suggest using (whey, casein, leucine, etc)? I really want to do this right and am looking to get the best recommended supps.
    I’m also curious about how insulin reacts to certain supplements. For example, I drink “Amazing Grass Superfood” every day and take multi-vitamins, CLA, L-Carnitine, BCAAs, etc., and I don’t want anything to spike my insulin when it shouldn’t be spiked, nor do I want anything (the greens?) to slow the CBL nighttime eating. Do you have advice on any kind of supplements to avoid?
    Third, the book recommends to not only drink the post-workout shake 30 min after working out, but have half a shake with dinner and half later before bed. I’m only 5 ft tall and I really struggle with keeping the weight low (I’m the person who has tried EVERYTHING to keep weight down…) do I need this many shakes? It seems like a LOT of calories added in.
    Thanks again for your advice and guidance. I’m beyond stoked to try a plan that may actually work for me!

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      Hi Stephanie!

      Personally, I buy the Blend H blend from Protein Factory for my postworkout shake (it’s a blend of casein, hydrolysates, etc.). I also use At Large Nitrean+ for “other” protein shakes (non-postworkout shakes). Leucine I will typically order from Protein Factory since I’m placing an order.

      I’m not an “insulin spiking” expert, haha. The Amazing Grass Superfood is probably fine as it’s 4g carbs and 2g fiber. However, BCAA’s can spike insulin… CLA and L-Carnitine, I’d have to do my research.

      As for the shakes during the backload time period, I do a postworkout shake around 6pm, eat dinner around 7, then I’ll have another 1/2-full shake around 9 just before a dessert. That’s probably all most women need. Guys can do more shakes than that.

  20. pretzel says:

    I do judo twice a week on a Mon and Wed. the sessions are late at night 7-9 and I am at the gym twice a week aswell after work 4-6. Could you backload after the judo since I wouldnt get home until 10.

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      Backloading works best after heavy resistance training (strong muscle contractions). Typically, it wouldn’t be recommended for conditioning work. So, without knowing much else, I would say no. However, you could experiment with just having a post workout shake with carbs at 9:00 right after judo and then stay low carb if you’re having dinner that night.

  21. minsk says:

    G’day Julia,

    I am wondering if CBL would be possible to do for me, I eat a whole food 100% plantbased diet.

    If yes, would it be worth it to buy the e-book now, or wait until the one geared to women will be out?

    Your insights would be greatly appreciated!


    • Julia Ladewski says:

      I’ve noticed that it’s hard for vegetarians and plant-based diet people to get enough protein in and limit the amount of carbs during the day. That having been said, it can be done. I worked with a vegetarian and it took some tweaking, but we got it to work.
      The book, solely as a scientific resource, is excellent. It will help you understand the body’s responses at certain times of the day and to certain foods, so it may help you make the adjustments necessary.

      • Minsk says:

        Thanks Julia for your swift reply !
        I will get the e-book and see if I can get the tweaking figured out by myself first.

  22. Nicole says:


    We emailed back and forth a couple times on DH…. I really want to try CBL, but I am honestly afraid of what the carbs will do to me. Right now I keep to ~30g/day with one cheat meal every other week. Because I was getting tired of all the restriction, a month or so ago I tried a weekly cheat meal (3 weeks in a row) and still haven’t recovered to the weight I was before trying that.

    All the trainers and other clients at the gym have been telling me I’m looking great, which is really the only thing that keeps me going some days. But then I think about the amount of time and work it has taken to lose 9 pounds. And I want to lose 7 more before my first powerlifting meet in November? It can be so overwhelming!

    I guess I could try CBL and not worry so much about making weight in Nov–for my first meet it really doesn’t matter anyway as I’m just looking for good clean lifts. Do you know anyone who has successfully transitioned from low carb to CBL? Should I start with 1 back load per week or every night I lift (4x/week)?

    Thank you so much for writing about this!

  23. Amy says:


    First off, thanks for all the info you have provided on this site. It has been a tremendous help. I read the book and still have some questions. Just finishing up my 10-day prep phase. I am 39 yo female, 150 lbs, 22% BF and trying to drop down to 15-17% BF (and ideally drop to 135 lbs). I do fairly intense weight training MWF and do 20-30-min HIIT cardio followed by about 20 min steady state cardio T,TH,S. Typically burning about 700-800 cal/wkout. I workout between 9 and 10 in morning. Questions:
    1) Do I need the AM Accelerator drink or should I stick to just coffee with cream?
    2) Should I do PWO drink (w/o banana) on all 6 wkout days or just weight training days?
    3) My understanding was that I would backload on all 6 days but after reading your posts I’m confused on whether or not I should be backloading on cardio days. I know I don’t backload on off-day.
    4) Should I bother with the Ignition drink on training days (seems like a lot of shakes if I am having another 1/2 shake at dinner and a whole shake at bedtime with my trashy food).
    5) I understand the meal plans in the book were written more for men so I am curious what you eat for your dinner and trashy food on backload days. Just want to make sure I am not going overboard.
    6) In the book, it says women should skip the snacks but by 3 pm I’m starving and usually have 1/4 cup almonds. Is this ok? Haven’t lost in 3 days on prep phase so getting worried about whether the almonds for snack and almond butter at bedtime are undermining my progress.
    7) Last, I don’t like artificial sweeteners and have yet to find a casein or hydrolyzed whey powder sweetened with stevia (or if they do, have added cane syrup too). What do you use? I use Jay Robbs for the whey isolate. Drives my crazy that we do buy protein supplements to improve our health and then most manufactures put aspartame or sucralose in them, which in addition to being bad for us – also personally spike my insulin levels. UGH!

    Thanks so much for your help and sorry in advance for the multitude of questions. Have 3 friends doing this with me so it will really help all of us finish sorting this out.

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      1.) Not “necessary” but I do use it on Saturdays sometimes when I’m not training. I wouldn’t use it if you’re working out that morning. Typically doesn’t recommend coconut oil before a workout.

      2.) you could do PWO shake all 6 days, but it’s really only necessary after weight training. You could save yourself the protein.

      3.)Cardio/HIIT days don’t necessitate a backload. Just weight training.

      4.) I wouldn’t do the ignition shake unless you think you need it. I mean, you could. He’s says it’s optional. I don’t. I usually just do some coffee pre-training. (If you’re working out in the morning, I would just do dinner, then 1/2- 1 full shake before the dessert a couple hours later)

      5.)Check out my training log on I’m documenting my entire week of eating there. My dinners usually consist of a meat (chicken/steak, etc) a potato (love sweet potatoes), maybe a veggie. and then an hour or so later, a shake and then either some cookies, or ice cream, or some pastries. Although sunday night I had pizza, then ice cream for my dessert.

      6.) I usually have a snack. But lately I’ve been trying to skip it. If i have a snack, it’s a hard boiled egg with something fatty (sausage). or almonds. Although I will say, personally (and even some of my clients) say that almonds tend to bloat them. soooo… yeah, if you find a stall in the future, try skipping them.

      7.)Try getting it from We get ours sweetened with Stevia. 🙂

  24. Amanda says:

    Hi Julia,

    I’ve recently started carb-backloading but am a little confused when the backload of carbs should occur? Should this be after training or the day before training? I train in the evenings, heavy, currently twice per week.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      if you train in the evening, then you would have your carbs after training!! PERFECT time to get those carbs soaked up as muscle glycogen and not as fat! 🙂

  25. Max Manlay says:

    Hi Julia
    I have a lot of respect for what you do, training outside a busy schedule, and my god your results are insane, CBL is not well known in London and I have just come across it.
    I think i am going to buy the book soon, I want to do some research first, and have been doing quite a bit: a quick Q though:
    After the 10 day prep period of no more than 30g of carbs, when you start to intro carbs post workout, lets say i don’t train till 4pm (most days) what is good to eat around lunch time and untill you train ( i don’t eat a thing till at least 3-4 hours after i wake up (appx. 12 hours fast from when my last meal the night before was digested)??

  26. Max says:

    After the prep phase when carbs are introduced. If training is at 4pm(ish) and blast avoided obviously what can you eat around lunchtime? No carbs at all or low? What would be a typical meal?

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      If you’re training in the afternoon, carbs will always be post workout. So low carb at lunch. Maybe some green veggies, some meat with some good fat.

  27. Amanda says:

    That’s great! Thanks Julia 🙂

  28. Anne says:

    Hi Julia,

    First, I love your site and that you provide quick and informational responses! There are so few resources from actual women I can find about CBL. I started approximately a few weeks ago so I’m relatively new to it. I am having issues adjusting my level of carbs. I am in above average physical shape. I’m 5’9″ 170lbs around 15-17%bf at the moment and do a lot of heavy lifting. I am currently running 200g of carbs on training days and 100g on off days. My energy seems to be alright and although I wake up vascular every day, I feel as though my legs aren’t leaning out as quickly as my upper body. Is this simply the curse of being female? I’ve always held weight on my hips and legs so I may just need to give it more time I suppose, I am just looking for the opinion of a female who has experience with CBL. Thank you so much for your time!

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      Anne, it could very well be unrelated to CBL. If everything else is going well, chances are that it’s something else. (Although you could experiment with cutting back the non training days, but that’s a personal call.) Some women do hold it in their hips and thighs more. For me, it’s my stomach. My abs are my indicator, but for you, it could be your hips and legs. Also, you’d have to take into a account stress and hormones. Birth control is a huge contributing factor to certain areas retaining fat too.

  29. Jeffrey says:

    Hi Julia,

    I’m in real need of help to gain weight, but the problem is that I have a real fast metabolism. I workout about five times a week. I workout about 3 times in the morning before classes, and twice after classes. I eat three meals a day. I start the day with some breakfast, then about three hours later I get some lunch, then later on the night I get dinner. Basically, I eat as much as I can, but I burn off all the food way too quick. I could even eat something unhealthy late at night and it still will not affect me. I’m even currently taking a supplement as of right now. Is there any way that you could help? I would greatly appreciate!

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      Supplementing with shakes (proteins and carbs) can help if you can’t get in enough food. A lot of people say they eat a lot to gain weight, but in reality, they aren’t. So I’d caution you to look at that first.

      Have you looked really closely into carb backloading? My brother is a hard-gainer too and when I got him started on CBL, he started gaining weight.

  30. Jack says:

    hi, i workout in the morning (resistance training) and play basketball from 3-5. when shud i eat my dirty carbs/junk food? after the first workout or basketball, Secondly, after basketball should i continue to binge on junk food even after my post workout shake or go back to protein/fats until next morning

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      well, carb backloading was designed for the carbs to be eaten at night. So I would still eat the carbs at night after basketball. Normally “cardio” wouldn’t require a backload or a lot of carbs, but if you’re lifting the next day, then it’s all good. So have a shake, then dinner should be a lean protein with some starch (potato, rice, fries, etc), then some junk after that.

      • Jack says:

        thanks alot, i just 2 more questions, how does an insulin spike at nite from eating junk food not screw up the growth hormone at nite, thr two CANNOT COEXIST together and u need growth hornone to build muscle, secondly how many carbs shud i eat at nite, if i play bball (3-5) cuz there has to be a limit or else wont the dirty carbs just turn into fat. doesnt it make sense that ur body doesnt need all those excess calories especially from dirty food when ur resting

        • Julia Ladewski says:

          Jack, the insulin spike comes down quickly b/c it’s high glycemic. You should be back to normal before bed which means it won’t affect your GH.
          Yes, there is a limit for each person. That’s what you need to find out. I highly HIGHLY suggest you read the book. It explains everything about insulin response and why “dirty” carbs work. Extra carbs from ANYTHING will turn into fat, whether it’s dirty or not. Each person has a limit and that’s what the book talks about. But after WEIGHT training, the body is in prime mode to soak up the carbs for growth and repair, making it very difficult to store fat.

  31. Max says:

    I have just come back from injury and started training last week, am now ready to hit it hard, been reading a lot about CBL. all clear bar one thing.
    In the 10 day prep phase which i intend to start tomorrow, should i be fasting (normal 12hr period) in the morning or limit 30g carb maximum throughout the whole day? So a low carb breakfast as i am limiting carbs after training too?

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      With the 10 day prep phase, you are low carb for 9.5 days. So, I like to push back breakfast at least a few hours, depending on what time you wake up. I eat my first meal around 11:30, but have coffee and cream all morning. You should only be fasting for 12-14 hours max. so if you eat at 9pm, then wake at 7am, you could have coffee and cream until 9 or 10 and then eat. I find it easier just to have coffee all morning and then eat lunch.

      so yes, 30 grams carbs for the whole day.

  32. Alecto says:

    Hi, are the post workout shakes necessary, or can you still get in the required amount of protein through food? Also, what about the ten day depletion phase? Would you be severely limiting your results if you omitted this?

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      The 10 day prep phase is pretty crucial. You can do without it, as I omitted it when I first started, but I would suggest doing it. It gets your body into a state of ketosis

      As for the post workout shakes… I’ll say this in regards to following the entire program to a “T”… if you omit certain things, you can’t expect the best results. There is a reason he suggests certain types of protein/carbs post workout. Can you get it with food? Maybe. You can always try it out and see how you do.

  33. michael says:


    I am a 37 year old male with a body fat % of about 16 currently. I would really like to get that down to about 8 or 9% while staying lean and building some muscle. I currently work out Monday and Tuesday take Wednesday off, then workout Thursday and Friday with Sat & Sun off. I workout on my lunch hour for 30 -45 min.(that is the only time that i can with work & family time) I plan on buying the CBL book as soon as I can get the money for it, but was wondering if you could answer a few questions to get me started?

    1: During the initial 10 day prep phase, I understand the carbs are to be limited to 30g or lower but what about post workout? Isn’t that important to have after workout?

    2: Would the carb night version work better for me or the carb back-loading?

    3: What would be the best way to do either eating plan with my workout time? Should I fast all the way up to my workout at 11:30 am?

    4: Should I not back load on my rest days at all? I am confused because I take Wednesday off but workout on Thursday, so wouldn’t I need to back load on wed night?

    5: Should I just stay very low carb until after my 6 pm meal and then carb up on things very high glycemic or is that not good since i workout so early during the day?

    Any help you can give to get me started would be great.


    Michael N.

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      1. The 10 day prep phase is all low carb, even post workout. Getting the body to burn fatty acids and deplete glyocgen stores. Then after the 10 day phase you’ll start havingn carbs post workout

      2. At 16% body fat, Carb Nite will strip off the fat faster. It’s a little more “take and go” as CBL requires some playing around with the carb numbers. Carb Nite is pretty fool proof and it will get you there faster. But CBL WILL work… just slower and takes more adjusting.

      3. Personally, when I work out at noon, I have to eat before hand. I’m starving by the time noon rolls around and I can’t concentrate on the workout cuz I’m so hungry. CBL only requires you to wait an hour or two after waking before eating something. So, you could eat around 9 or 10, and then train. It would be something like eggs and bacon. But that’s totally up to you.

      4. Backloading on off days, again, depends on your goals. At 16%, I would say to start with NO backloads on off days. It gives you an entire day to burn fatty acids. Your training time is really tricky, b/c normally I would have people backload the night before a morning training session, but you train at noon, so that’s tougher.

      5. Again, you can play around with backload times. I would start with 6pm, but you might also look into having all your carbs in the 2-3 hours post workout (like JOhn Meadows). but if you want a family dinner with carbs at night, i would wait til the evening.

  34. Shauna says:

    Please explain this to me if you can as if I were a 12 year old….. If I train at aprox 3pm 3 days a week and drank coffee for breakfast, low to no carb lunch and a high carb dinner (with jaffa cakes, jellys added for good measure ;), and then a very low carb day on no training days…. am I doing this right??

  35. Matias says:

    Hola julia, soy de Argentina, estuve leyendo el libro pero como no hablo ingles muy bien, hay algunas cosas que no entendi. Luego de entrenar, debo comer carbohidratos para alcanzar un pico de insulina alto. Pero debo tambien comer proteinas?? o, sea, lo ideal seria carbohidratos y proteinas? o solo carbohidratos? mi objetivo es subir de peso. (crecer musculos) ////

    Hello Julia, I’m from Argentina, I read the book but as I do not speak English very well, there are some things I did not understand. After training, I eat carbohydrates to achieve a high insulin spike. But I also eat protein?? or, that is, the ideal would be carbohydrates and proteins? or just carbs? my goal is to gain weight. (muscle growth)

  36. chris says:


    Just a few questions.

    1. I work out in the mornings and once at 1pm during the week. Obviously, CBL prefers one works out between 3 and 6pm and then carb backload. How can I modify CBL to fit my workout schedule?

    2. Also, what is the window of time after you workout you can eat dirty carbs?


    • Julia Ladewski says:

      CBL would tell you to have your backload meals the night before your morning training session.

      After training, you would have a post workout shake, ideally with carbs, then an hour or so later, a lower fat dinner (lean meat) and carbs. And then an hour or so later a protein shake and some more carbs. It all depends on how much carbs you’re having. But technically, you could have dirty carbs up until bedtime (after evening training).

  37. Alise says:

    Hi Julia, I participated in the cincy meet last april and enjoyed watching you lift! Also like reading all about your experience with backloading. There are several of us at Derby City Crossfit who are jumping into the backloading pool. The thing is, we all work out at 5am (!!!) and I’ve read NOTHING about training/backloading with training that early in the morning. I understand that backloading isn’t recommended or favored for crossfit, but our head coach Ryan Brown programs much more strength than most crossfit gyms. Any thoughts on that kind of scenario and timing of our backloads? I suppose it will all be trial and error with us since we don’t have a good example to follow. (I’ve done carb nite since the beginning of October…saw good results the first two weeks but seemed to have leveled out) Thanks!

    • Julia Ladewski says:


      You should’ve come and said hi!! There are so many women who message me AFTER the meet to say they saw me… come by next time!!

      Ok, so with the 5am workout, CBL would tell you to backload the night before a training session. You’d have to play around with the amount of carbs to have, but that’s what I would do. And don’t backload if you’re not training the next day.

      Please keep me posted on your progress!!

  38. Sheleila says:

    Hi Julie

    This is the first time I have heard about CBL (I’m in Australia) – I have been reading blogs/posts/books and starting my prep… needless to say my partner is truly against me doing this (it goes against everything we both know about nutrition), which gives me more motivation to prove him wrong! No harm in trying something new!

    So – I am just on the prep phase (uhh.. day 3) and I have accidently been eating breakfast…
    I usually finish eating dinner at around 830pm and wake up at 7am… so my breakfast is always around 730am.
    I just read on a lady beforehand whether or not you should be fasting… I thought it was < 30g carbs throughout the day, but I could still go ahead and eat my 5/6 meals a day…

    Do you think I should start again and fast in the mornings?

    Also, I like to have a cofee in the morning.. We don't use 'cream' in coffee here in Australia, we use milk.
    Is soy milk ok for the mornings with the coffee? It has 6g carb for 100mL, I take less then 100mL and am tracking my carb intake just to start off with… but is this ok do you think?

    Can't wait for my first back load… Well, I can't wait for a heavy training session and THEN a good back load haha!!



    • Julia Ladewski says:

      The thing with breakfast… Kiefer recommends you wait 2 hours before having something. So if you wake at 6, you could have something at 8. He recommends, coffee, coconut oil and 10g protein, so you are still getting some nutrients in and not going into a catabolic state. You could also eat breakfast as long as it’s low carb.

      Yes, less than 30 grams of carbs throughout the day. Meals don’t matter, so you can eat 2 meals or 5.

      I don’t think you need to start again as long as you have been staying low carb.

      Milk has carbs, so I wouldn’t recommend it, but it depends on how much. Again, you can try it (or the soy milk) and see what happens. I’m not a fan of soy, but that’s just me.

      keep me posted!!

  39. Anjuli says:

    Hi Julia,

    Thanks for this post. And, you’re an inspiration. Man! you’re strong 🙂
    Hope to be that strong some day. I have 1.5 yr old twins and life is hectic in our house.

    I have few Qs and would appreciate it if you can answer or point me the right direction. I am new to this type of thinking that carbs PWO are ok. So, is CBL carb cycling?

    1) I workout 3x/week between 4pm-5pm (M/W/F)- Starting Strength program. According to CBL, I should eat my carbs PWO and low throughout the day. I noticed that I did slightly better lifting with some starch pre workout. Would you totally recommend I take out ALL starch carbs pre workout?

    2) I’m a bit confused. What do you suggest eating on rest days? Do you recommend eating starch carbs (not veggie) on rest days too if doing CBL?

    3) I am trying to lose lot of weight – 70lbs worth and am just afraid to eat too much 🙁

    4) Do we keep fat low when eating carbs?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      Ooh, twins!! Good luck! 😉

      You could probably say it’s a form of carb cycling. But whether you follow CBL or not, carbs postworkout are the BEST time to have carbs!!
      1) Yes, low carb throughout the day, then carbs postworkout. YOu could have some carbs pre workout, but it depends on your goals. CBL would say no carbs, but if you’re doing a heavy squat workout or something very demanding, you might need it.

      2) Rest days, if you follow CBL, would be low carb. But again, it depends on your goals. Very muscular guys can get away with it. Girls, I have found, need to be a little more regimented with their carbs. I would not eat carbs on a rest day… I stay low carb, but keep the green veggies high.

      3)Stick to protein, veggies and fat throughout the day. Since weight loss is your goal, stay low carb on off days too. Carbs post workout.

      4) Fat doesn’t need to be REAL low, but lower fat is better during that backloading window.

  40. Anjuli says:

    Oh and I do follow Intermittent Fasting per Martin Berkhan’s guide and do a 14 hour fast (night through morning). It works for me great. Thanks, anjuli

  41. Janel says:

    I got the book a week ago and I just started the prep phase I was wondering if you include the pre/during/post workout shake into your daily macros? I would appreciate your feed back.

  42. Trigirl says:

    Great info – thanks!

    I’m currently scouring the www for CBL info to see whether it would be right for me before i look at purchasing the book. I train for longer distance triathlon. I do weights twice a week. I generally train early morning (5/6ish) and then a second session later in the morning – occasionally later in the afternoon due to my work schedule. My training currently consists of quite a lot of interval / pace work on bike run and swim rather than just long slow miles.

    Would CBL be beneficial for me or do you think I need to stick with getting in carbs earlier in the day ? I’m certainly familiar with carbo loading for events and CBL seems like a mini version of this. I’m wanting to lose body fat but of course ensure I have enough fuel to be able to train and perform well.

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      This is a tricky question and not my expertise. I do think you could do a modified version of it though.

      I also know that Kiefer has trained some marathoners by utilizing Carb Nite as well.

  43. Shelley says:

    Hello Julia,

    Was just wondering if you could help answer a couple of questions I have about CNS.

    I’m on day 4 of the program and am loving it. I’ve stopped 3lbs (water weight i know but I’ll take it :).
    My questions are:

    1. Is it ok to take powdered BCAAs right before (10″) a weight session?

    2. With it being VLC what would you take with your post workout as far as being a “carb” to shuttle glycogen into muscles. My understanding is no fruit at all is allowed on CNS during the non carb nite. But I want to maximize training. Do you think eating a carrot or some higher carved veggie wound be a good choice with PWO protien shake?

    3. Clarification: NO fruit is allowed on CNS diet except for on the Carb Nite itself correct?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      1. Does the CNS program say you should take BCAA’s before a weight session? I always suggest following the program as written first, then you can add other things in and see how it changes or affects things. I know some people who do take BCAA’s before training, but I can’t tell you how much that is affecting progress or what.

      2. With CNS, the idea is to preserve muscle while stripping body fat. I understand that you want to maximize training, but then it’s not considered Carb Nite anymore. That’s more of a Carb Backloading approach. If you were going to add a carb in post workout, I would do a banana, a very ripe, brown-spotted banana.

      3. Correct, no fruit. Fruit = fructose = sugar = carb = NO-NO on carb nite.

      Many people are utilizing carb nite in various ways with success (taking BCAA’s, etc), but if you really want to run CNS like it was written, I would follow it exactly, which would mean no carbs post workout. If you want to follow a modified version of CNS and veer off the path a little bit, you can, but then it’s hard to tell where you might be stalling if you’re not making progress.

  44. Renee says:

    Hi julia!

    First of all thank you for taking the time to answer all of our difficult and sometimes repetitive questions 🙂

    Just to make sure in doing it right, my questions are:

    -just say I want 1 day off to do nothing or just cardio. Should I CBL the night before or CLB on the evening after not lifting that day, because I plan to lift the following day?

    -how do you know for sure that you’re lifting enough to warrant eating carbs that night? I usually do 5 sets of 8-10 reps with the last half of set 5 being excruciatingly hard. At the time I feel like its enough but when I leave gym (granted doms haven’t set in yet) I feel like maybe it wasnt enough to CBL that night lol :/

    -I too use milk in my coffee rather than cream…would it not be the same carb wise but with less fat?
    And can I use milk to CBL say in milkshakes?

    -I’m training to compete in a fitness model competition and was told to just walk 3x pw for 40mins ad my cardio so I don’t lose muscle….would you suggest I keep doing that whilst CBL’ing or do HIIT? I’m actually unable to my HR up to high due to a heart condition so I’m hoping long walks are ok lol!

    Thank you so much in advance 🙂

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      1. I would just stay low carb. So let’s say Sunday is your off-day. I wouldn’t CBL on Saturday, or Sunday night, if leaning out was my main goal. If you find that you are lethargic for that Monday strength session, then I would CBL Sunday night.

      2. Technically, no, milk has lactose/sugar. You’re probably only using tablespoons, so the amount of carbs might be a couple grams. The fat in the cream is what you want though in the morning, to continue the fat burning process. Again, I’m not sure if it’s holding you back or not b/c that’s not how CBL was written. Milk on a backload night is technically ok. I know when I used milk, I used a lactose free milk, like almond milk. Some women have issues with lactose stalling progress.

      3. If you can’t get HR up, then you don’t have much of a choice, do you? 😉 I do think HIIT at some point during your training to get on stage would certainly help you deplete those glycogen stores… and you’d probably have to do overall LESS cardio if it was HIIT. But depending on how far out you are, stick with the walking and see how it goes.

  45. Lory says:

    Hi Julia,

    Thanks for this very informative post. I’ve been trying to research how well CB works for women since IF does not work as well for women as for men. Your post has been a great help.

    I’m Paleo (except for the cream I put in my coffee) and already low carb. But since I have added more power workouts on top of my power lifting workouts I will have to up my carb intake for better recovery. So 4 times a week I train 2x day. CB or CNS would be a good way to go.

    I’m only concerned about the following: It took me a while to ditch refined sugar and the sugar cravings. I fear that binging on carbs once week will throw me back to those sugar cravings I’ve been working so hard to get rid of. Did you have any issues?

    When doing CNS I would still like to stay Paleo. Problem is that the Paleo diet advises against refined sugars. Would be ok just to stick to rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes and overripe bananas? Any other Paleo friendly suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Julia Ladewski says:

      Yes, there are no rules saying you HAVE to have refined sugars. Stick to ripe bananas, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes. If you’re already not having sugars, no need to add it in. The fact that you CAN have it is what people like about it.

      • Deeda says:

        Hi Julia,
        I love all the help you provide on your web site its awesome. Thank you! I am new to carb back loading and have a few?s I have always done the opposite carbs in the morning and no carbs in the afternoon evening. I was thinking I would just swap what I am already doing to make it carb back loading. I am 5’4 about 125lbs. I strenth train 4 day a week and cardio 4-5. I would like to lean out more and my stomach its my bad area.(3 kids makes it a little harder to do)Heres an example am I on the right track.
        6am coffee almond milk, stevia
        8am-6eggs whites 1 yolk, tbsp almond butter and flax meal
        9:15 train
        11:30 lean protein,pizza sauce small amout parm cheese or veggeis
        2pm greek yogurt or cottage cheese with flax meal in it sometimes nuts with
        5pm lean protein, salad w/honey mustard sauce or lots of veggies
        7pm protein shake,(this is where I need help) I moved my oatmeal from breakfast to eveing and a piece of fruit. Is the oatmeal to slow digesting of a carb. I sometimes use Ezekial bread or rice cakes. I like to eat clean and save the not so clean for the weekends only. I did try frozen yogurt and a few other sweets and I saw the scale go up. Of course that freaked me out so I went cleaner still trying to get the scale down. I really didn’t change how much I was eating though. Do you have any other sugguestions for a dessert that is clean or would work in the evening? On the weekends I do have few drinks with the hubby and thats when we have pizza or desserts. Try not to go overboard since I don’t train on the weekends. Whats better to carb load with pizza/breads or sweets?
        Sorry I know this is a lot of info but I would really like to see a change in my body I work really hard and feel like I am not making progress.
        thank you and have an awesome day!

        • Julia Ladewski says:

          Clean desserts that I like to use are cereal w/ almond milk, sweet potato, or quick oats. I have found that pastries and dry carbs work well. Candy does not. I think just trying different things is good and finding what works.

  46. Leah says:

    I always train in the morning doing 45-60 mins cardio and a hour of strength training. I don’t know if I can wait too eat two hours.. I get really nauseated without food. Will it mess it all up if I eat protein and fats sooner than two hours? Thank you 🙂 I’m competing in my first comp in June and need to start leaning out!

  47. Nick says:

    Hi Julia,

    I am in the prep phase right now and I am trying to figure out when I should backload once I’m done with these 10 days. I lift MWF mornings so should I backload the nights before lifting? He says that you should consume post workout carbs to be prepared for the next days workout. I also want to incorporate HIIT on my off days so what time of the day would you think is best to do this? Thank you so much!


  48. Dayna says:

    Hi Julia!

    My husband and I are starting the carb back loading lifestyle!!! Last week we did the “prep” phase and I lost 5.7 pounds…. I started at 144.8 pounds , 5’4 and my goal is 130-133 lbs..I would like to strength accumulate and tone…Over the years I have lost almost 60 pounds so I do have loose skin in my belly section that drives me insane and never seems to go anywhere but I am hoping this will help em tighten eveythign up!!!So we work out in the mornign and I think we adjusted everything to work for us that way. My question to you is according to that chart I am supposed to eat 500 grams of carbs per night from 6pm till bed at 9!!! How in earth is that possile? I ate 250 g last night and my calories were almost 3000 and i felt so sick!!! I saw you recommended 150 g of carbs to another lady above and wasnt sure if i should cut down to that also? thank you for all of your help!!

  49. Kerri Fives says:

    Hi Julia,
    I went through 10 prep phase days and lost 6 pounds. I have now had 6 workout/carb-backloading days and am up 6.4 pounds from where I ended on the prep phase. I have measurements to compare from after the prep phase to now and they are very close to the same and even smaller by 1/2 inch to 1 inch in my waist. Is this weight gain normal? I feel like I am following the nutritional guidelines very closely. I am supplementing as the book describes with the pre and post shakes. My workouts are intense and I’ve been following weight-lifting sessions with HIIT sessions most days. I definitely feel stronger. I’m just wondering if I need to have less carbs at night? Or is this just something my body needs more time to adjust to in order to kind of level out?

    Thank you!

    • You may need to back off on the backloads per week, or adjust each backload accordingly. Maybe bigger workouts are higher and not as intense workouts are lower. Weight gain after the prep phase is normal, but now you just need to keep adjusting to find the sweet spot.

  50. lauren says:


    I have been researching the strength accumalation method of cbl. I have read keifers book but there are some points that confuse me.

    1. On the chart that detemines the amount of carbs you should intake should you split those up throughout the week or is that daily intake?

    2. I ususlly train at night so should I eat low carb all day then postwokrout eat most of my carbs? .. I Am confused by this because of the sample meal plan in the back of the book thats givin it says if you train at 6pm to have protein shake upon waking but wouldnt this throw you out of the fasted state?

    3. I usually train everyday except Saturday so can I still cbl on Friday night?

    4. When using the strength accumalation method is it best to train fasted in the morning or at night? I Am asking this because I feel like in one part of the book it says for that method its better to train in the morning but in another part says its better to at night.

    5. And lastly once you rwach your goal weight how do you maintain it with this method?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    • Lauren,

      That chart in the book was recommended mostly for guys and that is the MAXIMUM number of carbs per day. It’s based on the amount lost during the prep phase and is the maximum number, not necessarily the optimal number.

      Yes, the book reads that… eating protein and fat during the day and carbs are post workout. The protein shake upon waking is fine. You don’t want to go too long without eating. 10-12 hours typically.

      Yes, you would still eat carbs post workout Friday.

      Honestly, you have to do whatever is best for you. If you feel strongest in the morning, train in the morning. If you feel like you do better at night, then do that.

      Maintaining is all about finding the best for YOU. You may find that you only backload 3 nights a week. Or you may find every night is maintaining. Watch how your body responds, but don’t change too many things at once.

  51. jb says:

    great article and great feedback on questions I was curious about… following you on twitter.

  52. Suzanne D. says:

    Hi Julia,

    So glad there’s a female expert on CBL as I just finished reading Kiefer’s book (got link to your site thru book), as well as reading all the posts here (a lot off great info).

    I’m 5’2″, 163 lbs & 52 yrs old (peri-meno & on BioHRT). My goal is fat loss, which is an uphill battle, and maintaining muscle (I’m strong and just need to lean out). I do BodyPump 2x, RPM 2-3x, yoga x3 & HIIT x1 on treadmill. My workouts are btwn 9 and 10:30 AM most days & I’ve been eating lo-carb for a few months now.

    I don’t like shakes (food allergies – dairy (whey/casein), soy & wheat – make it difficult) and would rather eat food. I don’t eat before W/O although I will be adding caffeine suppl (don’t like coffee). Here are my Qs:

    1. Could I skip supplementing w/shakes, and have my first meal right after BP (I have been drinking a BCAA during BP)?
    2. Kiefer seems to insist that dirty carbs be eaten in the evening, but would it be okay to switch this to lunch and eat cleaner at dinner?
    3. Would I need to eat again b/f bed if I’m not hungry?
    4. Is it too much doing BP (60 min) and RPM (30 min) back-to-back?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Suzanne, I”m going to assume that your body pump classes are tough and heavy. I know you said you are strong, but I also know that most body pump classes that I’ve seen tend to me more repetition related and less strength related.
      you can always just have real food, yes.

      Dirty carbs are recommended for a couple reasons. #1, b/c who doesn’t like to eat some sugary stuff. (helps keep us sane). and #2, it’s high glycemic, so he wants something that will enter the blood stream quickly. sweet potatoes and rice are also fine choices as well as cereal like chex, cheerios, graham crackers, etc. If you eat them after your workout, it isn’t really carb backloading as Kiefer has written in the book. It might be more of a carb cycling (lower carbs on non training days and higher carbs around workouts). 6 of one, half dozen of the other… same thing really.

      eating again before bed… that would depend on the rest of the day. some people might need a shake and a scoop of peanut butter, some might need nothing. depends on your goal and your overall calories.

      I’m not familiar with RPM. Is it too much? I don’t know. Every person is so different and individual. If RPM is your cardio, then I think you would be fine.

      Some of these questions are really hard to answer. It’s sorta trial and error (like having carbs post workout, or not eating before bed). If you find that it’s not working, then switch it. If it’s working, stay with it

  53. Hi Julia …I have a quick question. …if you have an off week and maybe have more than the allotted 30 grams of carbs on a non workout day do you have to start all over again with the five or six days in a row of little to no carbs?

    • If it’s a gorge week, perhaps. I find that it helps to mentally just start new. Sometimes it’s easy to justify things otherwise. If you have a few more carbs on a non training day, personally, I wouldn’t worry about it. But that doesn’t mean a bowl of ice cream is acceptable. If you are finding that you are consistently over (60+ grams), then you might want to re-evaluate your food choices. hOpe that helps!

  54. Jewel17 says:

    Hi Julia!

    I’m a female, 5’1, 100 pounds and looking to gain muscle. No idea on my body fat percentage but it is likely to be between 12-15%. I dont train on a regular schedule but I plan to soon. My workouts are a mix of high intensity circuit training, low intensity flow yoga and occasional weights either early morning before work or after dinner and work.

    I came across CBL and am very interested on how it could help me. I already try to consume a lot of protein (from chicken, nonfat milk, cheeses, nuts, yogurt, eggs, peanut butter) but im used to having my peanut butter sandwiches or muesli in milk in the mornings. My lunch is typically couscous or veggies with chicken and i eat whatever i want for dinner. It seems CBL advises me against my breakfast choices. Can you help me understand why fat is allowed in the mornings? Won’t it be stored as fat in my body as well?

  55. Kellen says:

    CBL is amazing! I am a 4 AM trainer and it still is great. You know you are on to something when people are asking questions. I feast at night on anything and everything and then train my ass off in the morning. Leaner, stronger and more energetic.

  56. oli says:


    I am on my sixth day of preperation phase and i´m quite sure i accidentally went over the limit (30 carbs a day). i could be around 28-35 carbs. i´m 1,94 and 93 kg. should i start again ?

    Also, i have had small amounts of 85% dark chocolate and counted that. over the 5 days i´ve had
    usually 10-15 carbs. and i don´t count vegetables.

    what should i do ? should i start over ?

  57. George Munoz says:

    Hi Julia,

    I am a bit curious on whether I should backload on every training day or not? I train 5-6 days a week and follow a chest/back/abs day one day, next day is lower body, off day, armday, off day, and repeat. Or some weeks I would only rest one day after every 3 training days. I’m looking to bulk and lose some lower back fat. Thank you.

    • think of training as a time to build muscle. you can burn fat the other 23 hours of the day. I would say yes, backload every training day, but you may adjust how much depending on the day. remember, it doesn’t take much to get the effect you’re looking for. Don’t use backloading as an excuse to crush junk food.

      • George Munoz says:

        Thanks for responding! Ok cool so how does this sound, I backload the same amount of carbs for lower body and Chest/Back/Abs, and then reduce the carbs on arm day? And I actually prefer whole foods like overripe bananas, white rice, sweet potatoes etc…

  58. Angel says:

    How can I do CBL when I work nights? When I work nights should I workout after work in the am and eat my carb meal then? And then regular on my days off when I’m up during the day? Any tips for night shift workers?

    • This varies for most people. Some people workout in the morning right after work and then eat carbs (b/c technicaly that is your nighttime) and others train and eat before work.
      i find that shift workers just need to find what works. if you can train after work in the morning, that would probably be your best bet.

  59. Amanda says:

    Hi Julia.
    I’ve read the book by kiefer. Very informative. But my heart dropped when i got towards the end and he says that its written for men and there’s only one page dedicated for women’s guidelines which is quite vague. I am training to compete. I have a LOT of fat – probably about 22%+ and my aim is to build muscle and lose a lot of fat. CB seems to be the answer – particularly the strength accumulation phase. but I’m so lost when it comes to the evening part. I’m 5’9 and 182lbs!!!! I do resistance training 5 days a week (lifting as heavy as I can) and do 60mins of HIIT six times a week. One rest day. My resistance training is at 6am.

    My day looks like this :- wake up 5am. Coffee. Cod liver oil. Train. Immediate Whey isolate+LGlut+BCAAs+maltodextrose. 1hr later 110g chicken and 150g veg. 3hrs later 1tbsp peanut butter. HIIT session at 6pm. (Some days I do extra glut isolation resistance exercise in evening after HIIT).. Then it comes to the carb eating phase…. And I’m lost.

    I’m PETRIFIED of over eating. Keifers book doesn’t specify enough what to do. My husband (who is also following CB with great results) says I can eat fries and a few slices of pizza and then later have some cake or ice cream. Hes also saying i should eat 727g of carbs in evenings based on the chart which determines it from prep stage loss. But I know this can’t be right. Aren’t those figures for men? I don’t want to get fatter.

    Upon reading your replies to the many questions it seems that something like – 110g of venison steak, 150g sweet potato and brocolli is what I need. So basically a clean meal but sub the slow carb for a fast carb. 150g white rice / 1 slice of white bread or bagel for example? So NOT fries or fried chicken or an indian takeaway. In terms of “dessert” it seems its more like .. A low fat yogurt or a croissant. Not ice cream and doughnuts and cookies. Low fats in evening?

    Please could you clarify this for me ? I would be so grateful. I don’t want to do this 90% . I want 110%. I want to make sure I’m supplementing right too… For a woman !

    Am I supposed to take leucine and supplement my meals with whey isolate like kiefer suggests? Or is that just for men?

    I’m even wondering if I should do carb Nite instead. I need FAST fat drop. What do u think ?

    If its possible I don’t mind having a more private email with u and I can send a photo of me.

    Look forward to your reply.

  60. Sarah says:

    I am new to this and wondered if anyone over the age of 50 has tried this and what were the results. I am female, training for years, but need a change as I change. Thoughts?

  61. Olivia says:

    Hi Julia!

    First off i’d just like to say i think it’s really cool that you take the time to respond to your comments! After reading through most of them i can see that it would take a lot of dedication and time! But i’m sure it is much appreciated! I recently started carb backloading after doing IIFYM for about 6 months. I wasnt seeing many gains from IIFYM and felt hungry way too often due to the low caloric intake they had set up for me! Since first starting carb backloading, I have guestimated some numbers i should aim for when it comes to fat, protein, and carbs (on backload nights) just so i dont go under or go crazy and eat way too much. But i just want to see what you would generally recommend for someone with my height and weight. (I know BF% is more accurate but i dont know what it is for sure). I am 5’10, 152, and if i had to make an educated guess on my BF% i would have to say i am 22-23%. I would love to email with you or even do a phone consultation which i saw you offered to do for someone earlier! Let me know what you think! Thanks for your time!
    P.s. I lift 5 days a week and then i do hiit 2 times a week.

    • Olivia,

      First off, it’s most important to find something that works for you and that you can do long term and adjust as needed. Perhaps your macros were just off for IIFYM.

      At 152 pounds, set your protein first, so 130-160g. then set your carbs for training days (based on BF% i would start around 100 in the evening and go from there). and then you can fill in the fat.
      150g proteinx4=600 calories
      100g carbsx4 = 400 calories
      That’s 1000 calories, so you would probably need another 800ish calories from fat so around 88g fat.

      non training days, carbs are lower, fats are higher.

  62. Dane Halstten says:


    Great website and comments. You look awesome.

    Currently I train twice a day for 4 days a week with 3 off. I have the off days down with about 30 grams of carbs in the late afternoon /evening and can tolerate that very well.

    My question is, I have a pretty decent workout in the morning that might need a little more than 30 grams of carbs to help with the insulin effect, I worry that it will mess up the entire effect CBL creates if I eat too much.

    I thought of just doing one workout a day but the volume is too much. I am 55, weight 147, fairly lean, 68 inches tall. I consume about 2400 calories (that’s when I was counting them) and this CBL you don;t really.

    I consume about 210 grams of protein, about 90 grams of fat and hope to put away at least 200 grams of carbs at the end of the day.I am not exactly cutting, sort of in between. My maintenance calorie intake is about 2100. I have some decent size but just want to lean out a tad.

    Any suggestions for the morning workout post exercise meal that won’t screw up the CBL deal?


    • Dane Halstten says:

      Almost for got to add that I intermittent fast too. I start eating at 12 noon, so the morning workout is supplemented with 10 grams of bcaa at 6 am, workout at 7 till 8, then another 10 grams of bcaa and at 10 another and then I start to pack in the fat and protein till after the second workout. It ill be then I add the carbs.

      So knowing all that, can I still add the 30 grams of carbs somewhere in there or is the bcaas enough to stave off catabolism?
      Thanks again,

      Dane Halstten (female, sometimes the name confuses people…;)

  63. Cassie says:

    I am a 22 year old female and am on the fourth day of the ten day prep stage and have maintained my starting weight. I have done sprints or interval rowing for the last 3 days as well as weight training after. I have stayed under 30 grams of carbs, have been drinking a gallon of water a day, and have been eating a sufficient amount of fat/protein. I was wondering if you had any insight as to why I have not experienced any weight loss this for.

  64. Hugo Batista says:

    Goddamn, I been doing the stuff in point 7 before I knew this, I didn’t think that they had a name for my routines. lol
    This is a great article

  65. Jan says:

    Really good article. Carb backloading really changed my life. I have written a blog in Dutch about it myself. Thnx for the information!

  66. Tammy says:

    I am totally pumped about the potential of applying this technique. Is it completely necessary to do the ten day prep?

  67. Chaz says:

    I’m injured right now and am currently strength training with low weights and high reps. I’m currently am on a low-carb diet and hoping to switch over to carb backloading. However, would carb backloading by beneficial to me even though I’m not lifting heavy?

    • Hard to say exactly Chaz. training hard and heavy is what opens up the cells to suck in the nutrients. It could be a good way for you to gradually re-introduce some carbs post workout, but the amount of carbs would need to be modified

Leave A Comment...