Archive | carb back loading

7 facts about hunger

Crossfit Science
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  1. Many people experience hunger after a high carb meal.  They wrongly blame insulin and carbohydrate consumption for their hunger.
  2. In reality, carbohydrate consumption increases the amount of leptin circulating in your blood stream.  Leptin is the “I’m full” hormone.
  3. Insulin doesn’t make you hungry; it actually makes you feel satisfied.
  4. Ghrelin is responsible for signaling hunger, and it rises during periods of low insulin.
  5. Most of the confusion arises when people eat high glycemic carbohydrates like rice and potatoes that generate a strong insulin response and possibly lead to a blood sugar crash.
  6. Chronically elevated levels of blood sugar, which render you insulin/leptin resistant, screw up your hunger signaling all together.  This makes it hard to lose fat and regulate your blood sugar/feeding patterns.
  7. You can avoid most of these problems by engaging in high intensity activity on a regular basis, eating carbs around training, and eating mixed meals of fat, carbohydrate, and protein to regulate absorption.

“Myth:  Insulin Makes You Hungry”


A Week in the Life of Murph….


The goal of Metabolic Flexibility is to fuel your workouts by loading carbohydrates around them, relying on mostly fats, proteins and fibrous vegetables the rest of the time.  For more information on our book and how to get help with your body composition goals click here for information.

By the way this is Shannon speaking…

Sunday, May 19th….

This is the post from my CrossFit box:


Saturday all classes are happening-both adult and kids.

Monday-Memorial Day we will have only one class at 10:00 am.

We will be doing Murph. Be ready to run rain or shine!
For those of you new this year Murph is a hero WOD.

For time: (the mid section of body weight exercises can be partitioned any way.)

1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 air squats
1 mile run

Do not be intimidated by this WOD; everything can be scaled.  There is no time cap, and if you think of it as one movement at a time you are golden!

See you all there!

My reaction – hell to the double f’ing no!  I will move on…

Throughout the week, I didn’t think much about Murph.  I wasn’t doing it, so why would I be concerned about it?  I went about my week completing my WOD’s, which felt awful and hard….Paul chuckled as he observed the carnage after Thursday’s deadlift WOD…I kinda wanted to beat the shit out of him as he laughed, but couldn’t lift my arms….fucker….

Later that night as we stayed for our kid’s teens class, Paul bragged that his third CF class was Murph….he failed to share his results…I still thought nothing of Murph, I would go and take some great pictures of the brave souls who came out in honor or Murph, and I would honor him as I toasted my beer to him….

Saturday, May 25th

Dalton has CrossFit teens class and my husband and I both go to watch.  There is still a lot of talk about Murph…Mostly people dreading the 2 miles of running .  I off course shared in their complaining, even though I wasn’t doing the WOD.  There were a few who asked if I was planning on doing this Hero WOD, luckily, I tweaked my groin on Thursday which gave me the perfect excuse to NOT do Murph, although I had no worries about simply telling them, “Hell No!”  After Dalton’s class, Gretch, his trainer, was telling us how it wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the other WODS.  “Just break it up and it’s doable” she says…Well, if I could break up the mile run at the beginning and end over a few days, I might be open to trying it!  We left CrossFit with no thoughts of Murph.

Later that day as I am browsing Facebook, I come across the video about Murph and his story.   Shit!  Now I am feeling a little guilty about not doing it.  Certainly not guilty enough to sign up for the WOD, but still a little guilty…

No thoughts of Murph……watching the Blackhawks beat the Redwings (Woot woot!!!)….no thoughts of Murph….

A message pops up on my Facebook…it’s from Maggie….

“Leaning towards coming back tomorrow night and would then sign up. How can I convince you to join me in an almost death WOD? (I bet we could do 10/20/30×10 rounds to break it up?)

Or I might just skip and drink . Crap. Decisions.”

DAMN YOU MAGGIE!!!!!  That was the only push I needed.  My reply…

“Ugh….I am starting to feel guilty about not doing it…I just don’t wanna run…I could walk faster than I could run…Vicki is also contemplating…it’ll be an hour + wod for me…

double crap

we could drink after…..”

That was that…I made it public information that Maggie and I were doing Murph by posting it on Facebook…no turning back now!  Now the dread begins!

Sunday, May 26th

I wake up thinking, “What the hell did I do last night?”  Regret seeps in along with a whole lot of fear.  I can’t even cancel because SO many people were so happy that I decided to do it…damn damn damn…I guess I should EAT TO PERFORM today!  CBL in all it’s glory!

Not the best carbs, but made some absolutely delicious blueberry pancakes for breakfast.  They really are phenomenal.  I was going to post that recipe, but I ate them so fast and forgot to take a picture.  I started thinking about what to make for dinner.  It’s memorial day, so grilling would be the popular choice, however, it’s 50 degrees and cloudy in Minnesota, so I have no desire to grill.  I have been contemplating making some sort of lasagna type dish but never figured out what ingredients to use.  I’m not a big fan of eggplant so I didn’t want to use that…sweet potato?  Hmmmmm…Well Murph, you not only got me to sign up for your HERO WOD, but you have a dish named after you too…Let’s hope it helps me make it through tomorrow!

Murph’s “Lasagna”


  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices (lengthwise)
  • 2 pounds italian ground turkey sausage
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I prefer the tomatoes from San Marzano – they cost more but taste DELICIOUS!)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Cook your turkey sausage in a large skillet, drain and set aside.  In the same pan, melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil and cook your onions until transluscent.  Add the 3 cans of tomatoes, coconut milk, italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.  In your crockpot, grease the bottom and sides with melted coconut oil.  Place one layer of sweet potato slices on the bottom of the crockpot, followed by a layer of the tomato mixture and then sausage.  Continue layering until you run out of one of the ingredient layers (I got about 4 or 5 layers done).  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!

CBL Prep Phase and CNS are metabolic disasters for people that Crossfit

One of the topics that comes up often is that in the book Carb Back Loading John Kiefer has an optional “prep phase”.  The prep phase basically consists of a 10 day period where you would eat less than 30 grams of carbohydrate for ten days straight.  The idea being to clear your glycogen stores as much as humanly possible.  It’s pretty much the same idea as John’s other book Carb Nite Solution, it’s a $19.99 book, supposedly CNS is what you would use for fat loss and Carb Back Loading is what you would use for muscle gaining.  Assuming of course that you are either a relatively sedate individual or someone that is not particularly active.  Does that sound like someone that does Crossfit? It doesn’t.  Ultimately my website is a business, I sell the $53 dollar book instead of the $19.99 book.  That should tell you something right there, don’t you think I know people would rather by the cheaper book that specializes in fat loss? The simple fact is that diet is not a good fit for highly active people. Let me say this in terms that can’t be mistaken, a person that does Crossfit eating under 30 grams of carbohydrate is probably harming themselves.

Then why is it even mentioned in the book

Firstly Kiefer says in the book that if you do HIIT training you can take 3 days off of the 10 day prep phase.  Crossfit is essentially HIIT training every single session! Couple that with the fact that most of the people I am talking to are already under eating carbohydrate AND THEN ALSO under eating as it relates to their performance level.  For a lot of people this has set up a scenario where they have plateaued and are looking for solutions.  So my message of eating appropriate amounts of foods coupled with a reasonable amount of carbohydrate has resonated.  Then people hear about the prep phase reading CBL and they want to snuggle back up to their old friend the low carb diet.  Right, because the eat less do less diets were serving them so well in the past.

The reason why Kiefer puts the prep phase out there is because his initial target audience was already eating carbohydrate inefficiently and in a lot of cases over eating them.  Unless you have been doing the standard american (S.A.D.) diet that probably isn’t you. Some of the arbitrary numbers related to body fat percentage probably don’t apply to you because your body composition issues are not likely similar to the average person over eating carbs that is mostly power lifting or body building (relatively low intensity activity).

Your repressed metabolism

I talk often how very low carb diets repress metabolism, compromise fat mobilization and can lead to thyroid issues as a result.  Couple that with under eating and Crossfitting and you have what the Suppversity Blog refers to as the “Athlete’s Triad”.

The goal of this site

Initially my goal was to explain to people how they can eat reasonable amounts of carbs and that no foods are inherently bad foods.  It didn’t take long to realize a lot of people were chronically under eating and so we started working on both of the issues.

“Should you workout during the prep phase”

That is the title of this video from Kiefer, if he is asking this question some alarm bells should be going off in your head. As I mentioned above he mentions HIIT training and how it dramatically alters the time needed for the prep phase. When Kiefer refer’s to heavy duty or “intensity” he is not referring to Crossfit, he is referring to lifting heavy weight in a fashion similar to Wendler’s 5-3-1 or some 5 x 5 plans.  These programs have significant rest built into the workout.  If you watch this video and still come away with the idea that you should Crossfit and very low carb then I am not really sure anyone can help you.

At the very least I hope this addresses the question once and for all of why I don’t recommend the prep phase for people that do Crossfit.

Special offers for Hard Gainers and Lean Bulkers

john keifer

The man in the picture is John Kiefer “Kiefer” wrote the book Carb Back Loading which happens to be one of the best books as it relates to the specific needs of people looking to gain mass without adding a ton of fat doing so.

The book is $53 but it gets you into the Eat To Perform “Science Lab” for a 3 month subscription as well.

For $53 this is what you get:

  • Obviously you get the get the book which is in my opinion the best manual for people in your specific situation.
  • 3 months of seminars that help you dial in how to eat talking to real live people that have done it using the concepts in carb back loading as a template.
  • Once you buy the book email and we will get you set up with all of the free materials from the Science Lab and then you will be able to sign up for classes.

Download Carb Back Loading using this link

The other option might be just as attractive

Buy your supplements through Simply Pure Nutrients.  For people trying to do Carb Back Loading in a Paleo friendly way SPN products like the Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel are in fact Paleo (ingredients are Sweet Potatoes and Eggs).  Even the whey products like Elite and Pro3 look like real food because they are nutrient dense with vitamins.  They are high quality products, with supplements you get what you pay for and these are the best for our community.  Once again email for your 3 month free membership using the link below.

The link to purchase Simply Pure Nutrient Supplements

What “Gradually Awesome” Looks Like in the Beginning

Black Coal Fennel Sausage and Pepperoni

This is part of the information I teach in the “Science Lab” seminars that we offer free when you purchase things that support our site (it’s mostly stuff you would buy anyway).  Click the link and it will give you more details.  

I am going to try to keep this short, but honestly I say that all of the time.  I can’t help it!  I have asked you guys to take a leap with me by adding strategic carbohydrates to your nutrition and eating more.  With the help of the tools and information we’re providing at Eat to Perform, many of you are achieving great results.  I wanted you to check out this bit of inspiration I pulled from the comments section of the “Dialing Things In A Bit” article.  Alyssa writes:

“Great article! I really like your perspective. Just to speak of my recent experience a bit, I was on a high fat/low carb lifestyle…and it affected my performance (and even the scale). I came across CBL this past week and I am giving it a shot. After my WOD on wednesday, I was walking back home, and passed an ice cream parlor. I thought to myself, “hmm, I’ve been feeling crappy these past few days, my body probably needs this.” I stopped in and got the flavor that sounded best to me. When I was handed the cone, I thought, how many calories is this?! haha…but then I was like, no I am going to enjoy this. And I did! Afterwards, I felt great!

Now fast forward, to my WOD on Thursday and I am SO GLAD I had that ice cream for multiple reasons! First off, I felt great throughout the day and super-pepped for my WOD (which days before I was worried about being able to get through the WOD). Secondly, I kicked butt during the WOD! It was a good burner!

Afterwards, I felt that I needed a good “backload.” How much, I wasn’t sure? 75g, 100g? I thought about getting another “treat,” but I didn’t really want one, I felt my body calling for a more wholefoods approach. Ended up having some sweet potatoes and dark chocolate and I had an amount that made me feel good, not purposely trying to eat in any way.

Now today, I feel good.

So it’s true. It is about dialing it in for yourself. No one can really tell you what you need. Everyone is different. Your body is the “expert” that will let you know what to feed it and how much. It’s all about being keen to what are sometimes subtle signals, but really are more obvious than you might think.

Again, thanks Paul for the great article!”

Thank you Alyssa!  Can I express a plea for you guys to hang out in the comments section a bit?  There are some phenomenal case examples developing there and I can assure you that if you have questions, they have probably already been answered at some point.  You aren’t alone.  The stuff we’re writing about is not sorcery; it’s real and it’s helping people all over the place.

What is Happening When I Add in the Carbs Gradually?

One part where Kiefer and I strongly disagree on nutrition is the “slamming carbs part”.  In my experience, there is no need to start with a crazy amount of carbs.  People who think they may be metabolically damaged should proceed with caution.  That’s why I support for a more gradual approach; if you have developed some level of insulin resistance related to under eating carbs and performing high intensity workouts, you are more inclined to inefficiently use those carbs in the beginning.  I recommend that you just start low, increase your calories with fats and proteins, and add the carbs as you go.  On average, I would say I eat 200g-250g of carbs a day.  I have been eating this way for almost 3 years now, but I am a 160 pound man; a smaller woman probably needs less carbs, and a larger man may (obviously) need more.  Precision isn’t our goal.  Preparation is what we aim for, experimenting along the way to see what works best and adjusting as needed.

This Is What Happens Initially

For most people, if they are starting off cautiously (100g of carbs for women and 150g for men), they won’t likely see a lot of weight gain.  A high functioning metabolism works best when the body is forced to adapt to different stimuli.  That’s what I refer to this as “metabolic flexibility” and it’s also the argument for food variety vs. eating the same thing day-in, day-out.  If you’re coming from a period of chronic under eating, you may gain some weight initially.  If you start off and the number on the scale increases, remember this:  gaining weight is a plus.  You are really going to want to do this for the rest of your life.  Does that mean intentionally stuffing yourself with 750g of carbs to gain weight quickly?  No.  It’s about gradual adaptation.

While you’re in this first stage, the number won’t be huge, but 3-5 pounds is normal; in a few days (if not immediately) the carbs you’re eating will replenish your muscles, your energy levels will rise, and most people report that they sleep a lot better.  At this stage you aren’t nearly as efficient at dealing with carbs as you’ll become, but you are probably eating a lot more than you were, and in the great scheme of things, the scale has barely moved.  This is often quite enlightening for most people.

The Next Stage

In this stage, your metabolism is healed and you’re ready to start adding in carbs (50 more grams or so) while simultaneously lowering fats to adjust total energy input (so you’ll leave out about 22 grams of fat.)  That may sound really precise, but I’d recommend that you do it that way initially so that you get a feel for how your body reacts.  What you’ll unearth on your path to discovery is that if you’re eating adequate amounts of protein and just cycle the carbs and fats around your workouts, the “specifics” really don’t matter all that much.  The added carbs during periods of intense activity accelerate protein turnover and if you are following the creatine protocol I suggest, you’ll be preserving some muscle and getting better workouts as a result.

Where the Real Magic Happens

When all of this becomes second nature, you’ll probably never count another calorie again.  You’ll eventually develop an intuitive understanding of what it looks like to add carbs or fat by modifying food choices or portions.  It doesn’t happen right out of the gate, but in time it will click and dieting will be a thing of the past.  I understand that this raises a lot of questions, mostly because you fear that you can really mess it all up.  Relax; the body doesn’t work like that.  You’re never too far gone to get things back on track, and some of the greatest discoveries will come from accidents.  If you eat too many carbs one night, simply rely more on fats the following day.  There are a lot of small details you can adjust, but in general, as your work capacity goes up and your sleep falls in line, without having to worry so much about eating right, it feels like a miracle.

Seminar Schedule is Posted

Seminar Schedule



To view the full schedule simply click the image and it will enlarge.

For a few weeks now I have started to put into place the pieces of what is ultimately becoming a school that will teach people much of the information that we talk about on the facebook page.  Clearly there are some concepts that require more than just a passive comment or a two sentence post.  Initially this will be a soft launch open only to people that have purchased Carb Back Loading through our site (so they are the guinea pigs).  This will allow us the ability to work through some of the kinks and allow me to hire some staff so I don’t have to teach all of the classes.

The only way to get into these seminars at the moment is to purchase CBL from this site.  Here are the details on what to do after that.

Currently there are 5 classes and we will be offering them at various times and adjusting as the need arises:

1.  A CBL follow up class to try and answer any tricky questions that arise from the book.

2.  A ladies specific class

3.  Meal Planning with Ashley Drobney (this one is going to be fun)

4.  Supplementing for Performance (with Paul and special guests)

The last one is pretty exciting, every week we will have a special guest on Monday evenings.  I will announce the topic but not the guest, so it will be a surprise.  I can assure you that you won’t want to miss these, they are free and will not count against the credits you earned from buying the book (essentially two sessions and then the free classes on Monday).

For people that already own Carb Back Loading

It will be at least a week before we can take paid sign ups and honestly I don’t want to sign up a bunch of you guys and disappoint you anyway.  Try to be patient and we will get this open to the larger group, in the mean time I will try and get up some of the discussions so people have some idea how the topic matter will work.


If I want to lose fat why shouldn’t I be on Carb Nite?

This wasn’t a question that came up specifically in one of the nutrition question and answers but it ended up being the answer to another question.  Namely should you be on Carb Nite Solution if you are trying to lose fat? That answer can be tricky and I have seen women doing Crossfit gut it out with what they believe is some level of success.  Typically the scale went down and certain parts of them look a little tighter because their inflammation levels were lower as a result of eating less than 30g of carbohydrates.  Here are some of the pitfalls these people run into:

Now realize I am having a discussion about populations that Crossfit and some of these negative symptoms can be lessened by eating more fats but that isn’t what most people do.  They eat about the same fat and try and rely on a calorie deficit to do the work.  It basically becomes the suckiest version of Weight Watchers ever.

1.  They often can’t sleep or have less sleep.

2.  Cardio workouts might be slightly better but during weight training they never feel really strong.

3.  Stress levels are high

4.  Metabolism slows to a crawl

Above is the video where I describe how you can do Carb Back Loading in a moderate way using Crossfit to create a drain on your energy system to get a similar result to Carb Nite Solution without the negatives.  Once again, this isn’t a knock on Carb Nite Solution, it’s a fine diet for some people and I have even had Crossfitters say it works for them.  Overwhelmingly though it’s unnecessary to restrict carbohydrate in an extreme manner with our levels of activity. The end result tends to be a more broken and confused crossfit athlete.




Stay out of your own way – Autoregulation and Homeostasis


This is a blog from James Barnum, he normally does the editing for a good majority of my stuff because there aren’t a lot of people that get what I am talking about quite the way James does.  Editing isn’t just about grammer anymore.  This is a big topic we cover in the Science Lab that confuses a lot of people.  Click the link below for most information on that.

Events on earth tend to operate in a cyclical fashion.  Human beings observe these state changes in their extremes; hot and cold, day and night, toil and cessation.  The eternal wheel spins on, but we only really pay attention to when it stops (and starts again).  For every action, there is a reaction, and that concept has (for good reason) been applied to human nutrition for many decades.  The dinosaur notion of bulking and cutting has been put to rest; by cycling everything from macronutrient ratios to meal frequency, we’re able to coax different responses from our bodies and shape our physical realities like never before.  Would you like to add muscle to your frame and lose fat?  We can do that.  How about gaining strength while remaining light?  No problem.  If you’re willing to go the distance, there is a plan that will work for you…Or so it would seem.

You’ve read about my experiences with ketogenic dieting (low carb paleo, Carb Nite, CKD, Atkins etc.) on this blog; it didn’t bring me where I wanted to go and I got wrecked in the process.  I love my carbs and it’s a huge burden psychologically (and metabolically) to avoid them for weeks at a time.  Attempting to intermittent fast and cycle macronutrients/calories based upon whether or not I was working out that day (Leangains, Warrior Diet etc.) also failed me.  No matter how hard I tried, I always hit a wall and I would end up splayed out on the floor stuffing myself when I was supposed to be under eating; other nights I’d finish training only to find that I had no appetite at all.  Hell on earth is sitting down with friends at a Chinese buffet on cheat day to gorge, and being full after one plate.

Natural Systems vs. Unnatural Cycles              

As it turns out, when I began following a diet based around diurnal rhythms (the natural cycle of rest and activity) and put more emphasis on figuring things out for myself, I made somewhat dramatic gains in strength and muscle mass.  The problem wasn’t cycling calories or carbs; the issue laid in adhering to a strict interval based on one qualifier:  training.  I wasn’t allowing any room for life; I was following the system, which thought that all I did was sleep, eat and lift weights, and it was letting me down hard.  It didn’t take into account the stress of work, relationships, and the cumulative effective of being who I am.  Sometimes, you need to eat more carbs even though you haven’t gone to the gym that day; after all, it can take up to 48 hours to replenish glycogen stores and you may be on the road to under-recovering.  Your body will tell you this, but you’ll ignore it because you’re on a diet and today is a low carb day; you don’t want to break the rules and get fat.  This is what we mean when we talk about “getting in your own way”.  This is why auto-regulation is important; these protocols are built around a theory, based upon studies, and you’re living in the real world.

Although you’re “only human,” you are the byproduct of a lifetime of individual experience.  The genes you were endowed with are only part of the recipe; you are probably not the baseline person that the protocol was designed for.  How does the diet know that you should eat less today than you did yesterday simply because today is a “rest day”?  Isn’t rest about recovery?  Doesn’t eating help you recover?  What if you’re going rock climbing this afternoon?  Do you still eat low carb?  In the real world, your energy expenditure and metabolic needs fluctuate from hour-to-hour, day-to-day.  Your body is constantly shifting towards homeostasis, trying to pump out the right amount of hundreds of different hormones to keep your heart going, digest your food, repair your muscles and put you to sleep at the end of the day.  Where all of these other protocols fail, Carb Back-Loading and biorhythm diets succeed.  These diets show you how to make educated guesses about how to eat based upon what you did today, what you’re doing tomorrow, how you look, how you perform, but mostly how you feel.

 Applying Auto-Regulatory Principles to Your Nutrition

 First of all, you need to understand that auto-regulation does not mean that you’ll be eating randomly; quite to the contrary, you will be eating with more intention and purpose than ever before.  Beginning with a sound nutritional strategy like CBL, you’ll perform checks throughout the day and engage in a lot of introspection while still doing what you know you need to do.  You’ll still hit your macros, you’ll still pay attention to the quality of your food, but you’ll throw the plan out the window if it doesn’t correlate with what your body is telling you.

Breakfast and Pre-Workout

If you’ve read CBL, you understand that a big part of why the diet works is shifting from fat-burning in the morning to carb-burning in the evening.  You also know that delaying breakfast after awakening isn’t going to kill you; it’s actually favorable as far as fat mobilization and overall recovery are concerned.  Let’s say you’re up and atom now; you take a peek in the fridge and remark that you’re not hungry.  You might delay breakfast a little longer while you get some work done, or you might make a coffee with a scoop of protein powder to stimulate myosynthesis.  Contrast this with a morning where you awaken after an all-nighter; you’re not feeling tip-top.  You consider the golden, delicious flavor of bacon and eggs cooked in grassfed butter; your mouth waters and your stomach rumbles, “Hey.  FEED ME.”  You would be wise to listen and get some high-quality protein and saturated fat into your belly, even if you just woke up.

Breakfast should be about stimulating protein synthesis and keeping stress hormones from getting out of hand so you can mobilize fat and build muscle.  You should get a large portion of your daily fat and protein intake from this meal, especially if you don’t eat lunch.  So what do you do when you know, deep down inside, that you need some carbs with your breakfast?  Go for fibrous vegetables, nuts and fruits that will fill you up without eliciting too great an insulin spike.  If fruit and vegetables aren’t cutting it, you could try some gluten-free waffles or a glass of milk.  The idea is to take what you know is optimal and let your personal preferences dictate the application; if you feel better and train harder with some fried potatoes or pancakes in you, then you are completely free to incorporate them into your plan.

Dinner and Post-Workout    

As the day progresses, dinner time arrives.  Let’s say you had a very productive squat session last night, and you hit some new PRs.  You had a big steak and a few sweet potatoes after your post-workout shake, and you slept well…You feel good today, you’re out with your friends and a nice fat Philly cheese steak sounds like it’d hit the spot.  You stop and you say to yourself, “I looked lean as hell this morning!” It might not kill you to go for it and have the Philly tonight, but your desire to eat is motivated more by delicious cheesiness than nutritional necessity and you aren’t training tomorrow.  It may be time to exercise some willpower.  Perhaps you can double the steak and cheese and forego the bread this time; maybe this will be a low carb day after all.  However, if you woke up looking (and feeling) flat, and you’re hungry as hell tonight, you may not have eaten enough the previous evening.  Maybe you also feel a little bit on the glum side and a cheese steak would be the perfect pick-me-up.  You would be foolish to ignore the signs, and it may be in your best interest to order some fries to go with your sandwich.

Completely the opposite of breakfast, dinner is the best time to eat carbs and get some extra food in if you feel like you haven’t been eating enough.  If you stayed relatively low carb throughout the day, the surge of insulin brought on by ingesting carbohydrates will signal your brain that it’s okay to burn fat tomorrow morning.  Growth hormone secretion will spike, and you’ll have more recuperative sleep.  It’s a win-win-situation.  Whether or not you’ve trained, it’s important to use this time to make sure you’ve eaten enough protein and that you’ve taken in enough overall energy.  If you have to choose between either going to bed hungry or having a cinnamon roll five minutes before you hit the hay, you should probably pick the latter.  The only situation where I would suggest going easy on the carbs is if you’re really not hungry, or if you plan on being a lay-about the next day and won’t do much of anything as far as movement goes.

Thinking for Yourself

Remember that rest days are not nearly as restful if you under eat.  Listen to your body, and make decisions about how much and what you’re eating based upon how you feel, how you look, and how you’re performing during your training.  You’re an adult, and in the end you’ve got to look out for yourself because nobody else will (unless you pay them to do so!).  Neither I nor Kiefer know how many carbohydrates you need after a workout.  Martin Berkhan and Robb Wolf can only guess at how many calories you need to eat every day to perform optimally.  Any and all suggestions are ultimately rubbish if they’re letting you down.  When something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan.  If you don’t know, find out.

Scott Paltos Crossfit Games Competitor interview

Scott Paltos

Today, I’m bringing you a short interview with Scott Paltos, owner and operator of PUMP Crossfit & Performance in East Hanover, NJ.  Scott has a great background in sports ranging from baseball to powerlifting.  He’s worked as a Strength & Conditioning coach for over a decade and as of late, he’s become a top-level CrossFit Games competitor.  This interview focuses mostly on Scott’s experiences with Carb Back-Loading where he works with John Kiefer (the author of the book) in creating custom plans so he can perform better as a Crossfit athlete.  To download a copy of the book click here.  (using this link supports this site and gets you into the Q&A sessions where we dial in some of the concepts in the book)

Paul (Eat To Perform):  So tell us; how did you meet Kiefer, and why did you think Carb Back-Loading would be a good fit for you as a CrossFitter?

Scott Paltos:  You have to understand, I come from a true strength background.  So a lot of my online reading was with EliteFTS, T-Nation, and other more performance-related sites.  I read a little about Kiefer, and was kind of floored by his approach.  My whole performance career was based on small meals, frequency, balance, etc.  So when this guy came out with CBL, I had to reach out.  I reached out, and reached out, and reached out.  He responded after me being a pest for a little.  We spoke on the phone for a while.  We clicked with what we were looking to do (to raise my performance)…and bam, we are going into our third year.  Kiefer is a SMART dude, as well as a good friend.

As far as me thinking CBL would be good…it was not my first reason.  I wanted to get leaner and keep strength.  We not only did that, but also improved a good deal of my performance with it.  Since Kiefer and I started, we have done some form of CBL or CN.  Yes, we adjust me personally, but I think that is because I like ice cream and turnovers too much.  Haha!!!!  Remember CBL is not based on some theory; it is science, and Kiefer proves that in his protocol (this is Paul, and highly referenced scientific principles, you could spend a year reading the research Kiefer devoured to put this book out).

Paul:  I feel like your experience is different than mine.  When I first heard about CBL, I was just coming off of a year of Leangains, which leaned me out, but killed my performance in the gym. Since then, I’ve taken CBL and added 15 pounds of muscle. I suspect that building mass wasn’t a big priority for you considering your background.  Can you shed some light on what you’d hoped for, and ultimately what you gained from CBL?

Scott:  Listen, I am not as lean as I should be, and I don’t always perform like I can.  That’s sport…well the first part, is because I eat too much.  Like I mentioned above, I needed to get leaner.  Strength in the sport of CrossFit, for me, is not an issue.  I don’t really need to pull 600 for reps anymore…I don’t need to bench 500, but what I needed was a way to manipulate energy systems.  CBL has helped me create a better environment for my body to burn fat.  It has also helped me recover better.  Look, in this sport I am NO spring chicken.  My 36th birthday is in a few weeks.  I need that assistance.  Pure volume alone, it takes its toll on me.  Now, I can’t reverse the aging process, but I can help make sure it doesn’t get bad too fast.  With Kiefer, we have been able to do that.

Carb Back Loading is the only book we promote on this site and on the Facebook page because I think it’s the ultimate performance way of eating.  People always ask me, is it really worth the $53? Meanwhile they walked into the gym with $109 Nanos, carrying $139 Olympic lifting shoes and $47 custom jump rope.  From an athletic progress standpoint I think it’s patentedly ridiculous that people would spend that much money on gear and then balk at the price of this book.  Thoughts?

I agree 100%

Paul:  I am not a huge diet guy.  I don’t count calories,  but I tend to have a pretty good idea where I’m at most days as far as how much I expend and consume. I don’t consider CBL a diet; I consider it a strategy to integrate into my lifestyle, because (from my experience) a strategy as it relates to carbs is favorable related to metabolism and athletic progress.  What are your thoughts?

Scott:  Great point!!!! It’s a lifestyle for performance.  Do I recommend my PUMPsters to do CBL or CN…Hell yeah.  But I also will cycle their lifestyle off of it for a periods of time too.  You are manipulating hormones, metabolism, and chemically stimulating yourself with CBL.  It’s not just a ho-dunk methodology….BUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTT, you need to train correctly as well.  That whole concept sometimes gets lost.  Intensity is something that most CrossFitters are not missing, but knowing when and how much is key.  Let’s just say I am not always a fan of how some CrossFitters train, or think what they are doing is right.  The two (nutrition AND programming) have to coincide synergistically.

And the “D” word, diet…I have been on a diet since I was 12 years old and had to make weight for junior football.  Then I was on a diet to get bigger for football, then on a diet to get smaller, bigger….It is a horrible word.  I like “Lifestyle” or like you mentioned, “Strategy”.

Paul:  This is my last question, so I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this Scott.  In the book, Kiefer is openly critical of CrossFit and paleo.  Many CrossFitters prefer to eat in a paleo style (which I believe is very realistic in combination with CBL and have written many articles on this very topic). I read Kiefer’s jabs at CrossFit like this:  “Carb Back-Loading isn’t the ideal nutrition protocol for CrossFit.”  It might not be the perfect fit for soccer either. With that said, it is BY FAR the best alternative I have come upon (aside from having your own personal Kiefer design a diet specifically for you like you did). How would you describe his criticism, and how did you reconcile that once you started working with him?  Also, do you follow a mostly paleo approach to CBL, or are your energy needs just so high that it’s almost impossible?

Scott:  This is a good one.  One:  Kiefer’s issues with CrossFit, from my view, is more of improper coaching, methodology of programming, and overall safety.  Guess what:  those are my issues with it as well.  So he and I are not far from it.  My gym, “PUMP CrossFit & Performance” in East Hanover, is a TRAINING FACILITY…not just a CrossFit.  A lot of people have seen, I do not program typical WODs from mainsite.  Not to say, that they are bad, they are just not for me or my PUMPsters.  Kiefer has caught slack, and really could not care less, for being critical of CrossFit.  The funny thing is, it’s not a rant he or I will go on.  It is strictly based on things that are seen and overviewed.  I believe a good deal of coaches in CrossFit feel entitled.  Just like a good deal of MMA coaches feel entitled.  “Well we are certified, so we can teach.”  SHIT, that is not it.  It takes years to become a great blacksmith or iron worker…What, it only takes a weekend or a few months to become a great coach or trainer?  No F’ing way…it takes time.  It takes the ability to work with people.  It takes effort and hours to work with groups.  Kiefer and I are on the same page.  You cannot just get a piece of paper and consider yourself an expert.  Do I know about Kiefer’s methodology, yes.  Do I preach it scientifically like he does?  Hell no.  There are good coaches out there, the individual needs to search for them.  Just because CrossFit is in the name, doesn’t mean it’s going to be right.

Sorry, I got off target.  Back on now…Paleo…great in theory, but not for me.  I have done CBL in a paleo mindset, I have done strict Paleo, I have done adjusted Paleo…Whatever, I have not had personal success for it in long periods.  I followed it for a while; my joints hurt more, my body recovered less…and that’s when I was in my off-season and training volume was low.  Kiefer adjusts me when I need it, but I have a pretty good grasp on when we will make changes.  If you really look at Paleo, most of the CBL meals, if done right are similar.  So there are some similarities. As far as my energy levels?  I am hyped up all day long.  Whether it’s the caffeine, or just me, I am usually pretty animated.  Around competition time there is a definite need for more intake, but I am getting better and not over regulating.  Again, my main focus right now is the season, staying healthy, and just having a good time.

I appreciate the opportunity to be in front of everybody with this, and I am always welcome to answer questions or chat.  Please feel free to email or contact me.  I do my best to answer stuff if they are general, but if it gets to the “I need to know” then I usually do ask for it to become a consultation.  Oh, and as far as the other question you asked.  “If I know any other CBL followers?”  Hell yeah…but they don’t call it CBL.  They just call it paleo with refeeds and paleo with “anything I can eat at night”.  Haha.  CrossFit followers who watch some of the personal videos of others, or read blogs from athletes, should understand what I am talking about.  There are a good deal of TOP athletes who follow a similar if not exact system of CBL.  They just don’t say it.  Good Stuff….good luck to all in the Open.

Scott Paltos

PUMP CrossFit & Performance


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