Archive | carbs

7 facts about hunger

Crossfit Science
As a member of the Eat To Perform Science Lab, you’ll communicate with experts in the fields of nutrition, exercise physiology, and strength and conditioning, as well as hundreds of other members who’ve found themselves on a similar path.  You become a member when you purchase Met Flex for Fat Loss.
  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”


Nutrition Infographic

Too often people want to make things too complicated.  What we teach people is in this order 1.  Quality (eat mostly whole foods) 2.  Quantity (eat enough to support your athletic activity) 3.  Variety (mix it up so you get varying degrees of micronutrients/vitamins) 4.  Timing.  Our book Met Flex for Fat Loss focuses on eating moderate amounts of carbs around your workouts.  It was written in conjunction with me and for this site, a site where the majority of people do Crossfit.

Nutrition Infographic

A Day In The Life: April Blackford

I have mentioned this before that April’s approach is how we set up the ladies class.  Starting people off gradually and then moving up to improve performance, adjusting and testing along the way.  There has been a lot of talk about control days and carbohydrate intake, April ingests an average of 185 grams of carbohydrate on her control days.  So maybe what you think you know might be wrong.  For information on how to join the Science Lab click this link.

April’s “gradually awesome” approach in pictures

Some of you may (or may not) remember me from my previous article about my gradual approach to increasing carbs.  That was a while back and yet, let me say, this is still the best thing I have mentally gotten over and consistently stuck with.

This is what a 134-135 lb.-ish, 5’5 & 1/2″ (Yes, I want that 1/2 inch!) female who Eats To Perform looks like:

April Simmons Blackford
My morning started with a cup of coffee, then at around 7:30am a second cup, as well as a big bowl of chocolate protein oatmeal that I had with my creatine monohydrate. I love this oatmeal; it is so warm and filling and really hits the spot!
I headed to the gym, and during my workout I had this yummy berry pomegranate Vitamin Water. I will drink either this or a Gatorade during my WO.  My Saturdays are always my high volume workout days. What’s so high volume about them?  Well, I do deads first, and although the actual weight part isn’t a ton of reps, I do include a lot more recovery and mobility on these days than I do on the others.  My WO started around 9:30 a.m. and finished at 11:30 a.m. I am currently doing a modified version of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1. This week, I worked up to my top set of deads (based off the percentages) at 210lbs for 5 reps. My WO also included a lot of other kick ass stuff like split squats, single leg RDLs, side lunges, and a ton of calf work.

After the gym, I had to run some errands and do some shopping, so I had a  banana & a chocolate brownie Quest Bar. The banana wasn’t as spotty as I normally eat post-workout, but I had just picked these up the day before and was the best I had. The Quest Bar is not only delicious, but provides pretty decent nutrition for a protein bar.  (The best, in my opinion, compared to just making your own.)
Shopping took a little longer than planned, and I finally got home around 2:00. I wasn’t feeling like having anything heavy to eat, since dinner wouldn’t be too far off, so I had a big-ass salad with grilled chicken, lots of veggies, some raw hemp seed hearts, nutritional yeast flakes (yes, surprisingly these are very tasty and a heck of a lot good for you), and some pomegranate Balsamic vinegar.  This really hit the spot.
After this I had to go back out and run more errands (No, I’m not lying.) and come home to do some housework.  With all the running around and the big WO this morning, I was getting a little hungry.  I was excited, because I eat the majority of my carbs at night, and this was when the trip to Pleasure Town would begin. I made dinner around 6:00 p.m. and had this:April6
It’s some grilled fish with fresh made mango salsa, blackened shrimp, sautéed garlic kale and a TON of potatoes.  I also had a baked sweet potato(yam) with 2 tbsp. of peanut butter melted on top, along with two Okinawan sweet potatoes.  I swear, I’m addicted to these purple Okinawan potatoes. They seriously taste like birthday cake; who the hell doesn’t like birthday cake?
After dinner, I relaxed and spent time with my family, mostly outside on the back patio since it was such an awesome day weather-wise.  At round 9:00 p.m. (after I had retired to my robe to lie around and watched TV), I was a little under on my carbs. (Duh this was planned!)  I had two servings of golden Oreo ice cream and one serving of Snickers ice cream. It was yummy, and just what I needed to drift off into some much-deserved, deep sleep for the night.


By the way, my final carb count for the day ended up at 287 g.  I was over my 2 g but I think that’s pretty darn close to awesome for me! Oh, and I snapped a quick bathroom pic at the gym (Sorry, its semi blurry-someone was coming.) to show the my upper body muscles. They  continue to grow and get leaner every week, and I know this is partly due to me consistently feeding them!


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.

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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.

Dialing Things In a Bit

Phone Dial

Let’s be honest, navigating the waters related to nutrition and performance is tricky.  We have 100′s of people that Crossfit and do high intensity sports and we have lots of ways for you to become a Science Lab member.  Everything from free to the full package for $49.95.  If you have ever struggled with fat loss we can help.

When people read Eat To Perform, I surely hope that the first thing they think to themselves isn’t “But I don’t want to count calories!”  I’ve been writing a lot about the subject as the site develops, so please allow me to be crystal clear on this point:  not only do I not count calories, but I believe it’s virtually useless as a long term strategy.  The value in diligently weighing and tracking your food applies mostly for chronic under eaters (you know who you are) who’re just beginning to get a handle on their nutrition.  By obtaining a real measurement of how much food you’re eating and drawing correlations with your average weight, performance and look, you open the door to getting your diet back on track.  Eventually, you will “know” how much and what to eat.  You’ll move away from counting.  I am not sure this is “an article” so much as it’s a description of how I approach my carb refeeds, but it’s a strategy I recommend for a lot of folks, primarily because it resembles real-life circumstances we all deal with.

Although I know I shouldn’t, I find myself under eating on occasion too.  I get busy, can’t find the time to eat properly, and sometimes I try to make up for it by having bigger meals towards the end of the night.  That isn’t great for digestion, sleep or hormone balance.  Mostly though, I try to be prepared and eat at regular intervals.  Everything runs more smoothly that way.  I also tend to keep fats relatively high during the day.  This allows for a sort of “fat adaptation” where I rely upon fat for energy at rest, which is obviously favorable as far as staying lean is concerned.  That’s actually one of the things that sucks about the way some folks view back-loading, especially people who hear “carbs” or “sugars” and run for the hills.  CBL is mostly about eating fats.  That’s right; your boys Gary Taubes and Robb Wolf?  They’re buds with Kiefer.  So let’s be adults about this whole “carbs” and “sugar” thing.  We aren’t talking about slamming Slurpees after our 7 a.m. WOD’s and eating like children; we are talking about eating based upon a greater understanding of how our body actually works, rather than adhering to myth and superstition.  Yes, you are you are doing it mostly right by eating natural foods, but I believe you’re missing the “eat for joy occasionally” part.  This is how I approach dining out.

What “Eating for Joy” Looks Like

I’m not ashamed to say that most Fridays, I have pizza.  We go to a place called “Black Sheep Coal” in St. Paul, MN.  They have coal-fired ovens, but that isn’t why we love it.  Don’t get me wrong; the pizza is great, but many of the beautiful salads you see me post are from the same restaurant.  They usually have some sort of beet salad, or an Indian-themed cauliflower salad.  Occasionally, they have a delicious salad with potatoes that I used to avoid.  You know what?  I was really missing out!  That’s probably the best salad they offer.  Along with the pizza, this gives me plenty of carbs to get things going after being cautious all week.  I understand that grains aren’t for everyone; some people have very real food allergies that don’t allow them to eat certain foods, and then there are food allergies like mine.

When I was a child I, was plagued by a milk protein allergy.  It was so bad that my parents (Bless their souls, but they were lost.) fed me what basically amounted to sugar water.  It rotted my teeth, but the good news is you guys get to see this cute picture of me as a kid.  (Wow did I have a huge head!)

Me with a Grill

Any who, I never completely grew out of the milk protein allergy, but it did improve to the point where I can eat some cheese if I want to.  Certain things are fine, while others cause me more discomfort, but for the most part I avoid dairy.  The only real symptom I experience is that it seems to affect my cardio a bit, but I suck at cardio anyway so it’s hard to tell the difference.  Next door to Black Sheep Coal is “Key’s Café”; their House Cake and Coconut Cake are to die for.  I used to eat the whole piece, but I didn’t always feel so good afterwards.  Now I have learned to eat about half of their House Cake (it’s quite rich) and all is well.  I don’t drink, but my wife often has a glass or two of wine.  We don’t do the cake every single time, and sometimes my wife and I split the small pizza (depending upon how we ate for the day).

The point of all of this is that I give absolutely zero thought to “guilt”, “sugars”, or any of the other bull that seems to cloud most people’s thoughts related to their food intake.  I will admit that it took me a while to get here; I realize why some of you are a little fearful and you’re starting off by kind of dipping your toes in the water.  That’s cool.  What you are going to figure out is that it was never the occasional pizza, cake or wine that was the problem; it was consistently eating extremely energy dense processed foods that made you fat and unhealthy.  For our lean brothers and sisters that control their weight by under eating, let me just say that my wife and I typically crush the following day’s WOD’s.  If it scares you to eat closer to your actual energy requirements, try it out; one day of pizza isn’t going to kill you.  In fact, the opposite may end up being true.

Eating Mostly Fats, Most of the Time

On the nights I have pizza, I eat mostly fats and proteins throughout the day.  This means I’m typically as close to 0 carbs as possible, excluding fibrous veggies.  (I know I say that all the time and I apologize, but some people are new here.)  This helps avoid the spillover effect; if you have ever felt bloated after eating pasta (or any carb), I might argue that the reason you did was because you didn’t have a conscious approach to carbohydrates.  I don’t really care if you back-load or not.  It’s just a strategy, but if you are overly reliant on carbohydrates for energy and then you have another big carb meal, it might take you a while to get all that water/sugar/carbs out of your system.  Even so, it will probably happen more quickly than you’d think.  Consider this: if you have your equivalent of pizza night out on Friday, you’ll be ready for a “killer WOD” on Saturday and you will shuttle a lot of those carbs where they need to go (namely your muscles).  Sunday is a rest day.  That’s another part of back-loading that you don’t really get by simply saying, “Well now I eat carbs.”  I mean, that’s great and all, but you aren’t back-loading.  While I agree that it’s probably favorable vs. not eating carbs, it’s not really a strategy as much as it is you just being “normal”.  You want to ask yourself, “Why am I eating this pizza?  How will it help or hinder me in the near future?”

Moving ahead, on Saturday night I eat a relatively small amount of carbs, relying on mostly fats and proteins for my energy.  I have some dark chocolate and a coconut milk smoothie before bed.  I don’t typically WOD on Sunday, but I do lift on occasion if I’m feeling frisky.  Sunday night has me eating carbs in an anticipation of Monday’s workouts.  No counting, just a generalized plan with (mostly) consistent meal times.

Advanced Strategies to keep fat mobilizing

When I make the recommendation to eat close to 0 grams of carbs during the day, I inevitably hear, “For lunch I have a banana.”  In CBL, Kiefer says to try and stay under 30g throughout the day, and certainly a banana is under 30g, so who is right? Obviously, I am right, since this is my blog (hehe).  Here is my line of thinking though; as long as you eat enough on “fat days” where your calories aren’t severely restricted, your performance shouldn’t suffer all that much.  This is especially true when you consider that many of you are new to adding carbohydrates anyway.

Here is an example of a weekly schedule I might suggest for someone trying to boost fat mobilization a bit:

  • 1 high carb day, sort of like the pizza and cake example from above
  • WOD the following day
  • 2 or even 3 high fat days (probably 50-75g of carbs coming mostly from sweet potatoes and coconut milk smoothies, just less of them)

The high carb day is a rest day, and the following day is a WOD where the focus is carb depletion (lot’s of reps, maybe even mod down to really crush it from a cardio perspective).  One thing I need to caution you guys about is that for many of you (especially if you’ve been low carbing), once you add them back in your muscles will start to fill up.  This will look good in the mirror, but not on the scale (you also may feel sluggish as you begin to adapt, this is normal).  In the end, however, full muscles translate to lower body fat percentage and better body composition overall so don’t be fooled by the numbers; you didn’t gain 5 lbs. of fat overnight.  If you add carbs the third day and you feel great, then go for it, but I find that modifying down on this day is very helpful a lot of the time as well.

Oftentimes this is a good strategy when the first two days of the week are workout days followed by a rest day on Wednesday.  Now, this is the part that will get ignored and it’s very important:  if you have been low carbing for the last three years straight, this won’t work as effectively and could end up being kind of confusing initially.  You have to give it time.  Carbs fuel metabolism, so allow a month or so where you aren’t cycling fats so aggressively and I think you will be happy with the results.

The Best Part of This Plan

I haven’t mentioned counting calories at all, because you don’t need to.  As long as you have a basic understanding of what your protein needs are and what 75g of non-fibrous carbs look like, you should be good.  Also, you really need to be aggressive on your “reefed” day.  By playing it safe and going to bed hungry, you aren’t quite sending the right signal to your metabolism.  While it may sound like we are pulling metabolic strings, we are in fact going a long way towards healing the metabolism and letting it do what it needs to do.  Don’t try to rely solely on the standards for this day; it’s a good time for pizza, pasta and breadsticks.  If that’s a little too much or you have a gluten allergy, white rice and cauliflower work great too.  If you don’t get hung up on being 100% Paleo (this plan is certainly within the 80/20 range), taking a day to “live a little” can really jumpstart your metabolism and kick your performance into high gear.


The gradually awesome approach – April Blackford

April Simmons Blackford

This article is similar to the approach we teach in the Ladies Specific Q&A sessions.  The “Science Lab” allows you to interact with other people in a similar situation to yours and ask questions in a virtual classroom setting as well as a private group.  April is one of the Science Lab moderators.  When you buy our book Met Flex for Fat Loss you get a membership to the Science Lab and our webinars for free.

First, let me start out by saying that for as long as I have known what a true “carb” is, I have always (I guess not technically always) had a sort of “fear” of them. Within the past 6 months, the light bulb finally went off in my head and I had that much-needed “Ah-ha!” moment. This has truly got to be the best thing, both physically and mentally, to have ever happened to me.

I want to rewind to when this amazing experience first occurred. I am a member of the LeanYou Facebook group and in August 2012, we decided to have a friendly 16 week competition where guys and gals were separated into categories of cutting and bulking.  At the time, I honestly did not have a lot of so-called “weight” or fat to drop, but I had bulked over the summer and put on some extra fat that I wasn’t feeling comfortable with.  I decided to be a good sport and join in, to help keep the others in the group motivated. My initial plan (in my mind) was easy:  I thought, “Well crap, I’ll just go low carb with a once-a-week reefed, drop a bunch of fat and breeze through this!!”  Well, that was a nightmare; a freaking nightmare. If you look up “freaking nightmare” in the dictionary, it will reference a picture of me. I was still continuing to lift heavy at the gym 3 days a week. The first couple of days were fine, but then my workouts started to suffer. Actually, they sucked. I was so weak that my body would tremble with simple movements like dumbbell bench press. My main lifts, like deadlift, squat and bench press, were even worse.  My pulse would race to the point that I felt like I was going to have a heart attack, but I kept up with it for 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, the scale had only moved a whopping 3lbs.  “Only 3lbs???!! What??” I wanted to eat my sweet potatoes, kabocha squash, and Brussels sprouts more than once a week!! So, I sat and thought it out and said, “There has to be a better way.”

Abandoning Low Carb was scary

I immediately stopped the low carb method and started on more of a moderate carb cycling approach. The new plan consisted of low carbs on rest days, two medium carb training days, and one high carb on my heaviest training day. What happened? I started slowly dropping fat and at the end of the 16 weeks, I was down 14lbs. After the competition, I knew I had to reverse out of my diet and reset my body and hormones. At this point, my body was screaming at me.  ”What the heck are you trying to do to me!!!?” I had consistently eaten at a deficit for 16 weeks. It was time to start back increasing my calories and carbs, and yes, I was nervous; I think it is natural to have that feeling. I knew to expect an increase in water weight, mainly for the simple fact that carbs hold more water.

First week: I increased all my days by an extra 25g of carbs compared to what I was eating at before. I did that for two weeks, increased again and continued ‘til I reached my highest level yet. I was now at 150g on rest days and 225g on training days…YAY!! Time for happy dance! I get to eat carbs every day now, not just the days where I slam some heavy weight around at the gym!

Now Performance is the driver

Fast-forward to where I am now: I have been eating at maintenance since November. My strength has blown up in this time. I hit a new deadlift best of 220lbs for 2 reps a few weeks ago.  Something magical has happened; I stopped caring about the scale and losing weight, started focusing only on my lifts, and I’m getting leaner! I officially weigh 7lbs more now than November. My abs look good, my arms are getting vascular, and my butt is growing (this was the year of the butt for me you know.)

Strategic Carbs within reason

Now, what and when I eat is probably the next question. I eat protein/fat throughout the day and save the majority of my carbs (especially starchy carbs) for night. Is it Carb Back-Loading? I don’t know; I guess you could say I do a clean version of some sort. I eat a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of sweet potatoes…Like, I am seriously obsessed. I love yams; Japanese and Okinawan varieties the best. I have a natural sweet tooth, so I don’t care for regular potatoes or rice too much. My absolute favorite carb source is kabocha squash; I could seriously eat this every single day.  It is not as starchy as potatoes, therefore I limit these to my rest days only, but can you imagine eating 2lbs for less than 300 calories?

When that “Ah-ha!” moment occurred to me, things changed. I finally stopped obsessing, and started seeing results. The moment when I realized that less it not always good, and more is better, is when the magic happened. As I tell my friends now, “Don’t be scared of the carbs.” They are truly magical for me. Like, really magic.

Can CBL get and keep you lean?

Many of the people you see as testimonials for Carb Back Loading tend to be thicker powerlifting types, maybe an occasional body builder.  I met Fred Joh approximately two years ago and we were firmly entrenched in the LeanGains style of eating.  Which was great to get lean but left both of us lacking for what was the inevitable “next level”.  For Fred his profession as a male model required a certain physique and being ultra-lean was fine but he felt a need to add some muscle to get that more “shredded” look.  I think you can see from these pictures it worked.  Like most of us CBL is a strategy, it’s the always easy fall back position as a go to way of eating.  For Fred his profession requires a specific look and so sometimes he has to veer from that strategy.  I can tell you that there are a lot of stereotypes about models and as you will be able to see from these pictures he is an example that most of those are actually myths.  When he eats it’s for size and some of his meals are epic to say the least.

If you are interested in buying Carb Back Loading we offer a Q&A series that allows you to dial it in with my help if you buy using the links on this site.

Without further ado.

Fred Joh Oblique Pic

Fred Joh Back Shot

Fred Joh Abs FTW

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.




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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